Manchester United singing area experiment to start

Organisers are calling on Manchester United fans taking part in the Old Trafford singing section experiment for Wednesday’s Champions League match against Real Sociedad to arrive early in order to generate more pre-match atmosphere.

The move is an attempt to revive the moribund atmosphere that has permeated Old Trafford in recent years. The section, with a 1,500 capacity, was heavily oversubscribed when tickets went on sale.

“For the big games, the atmosphere at Old Trafford is up there with the best of them but, as with most grounds, that is not the same for the lesser matches,” said Andrew Kilduff, co-founder of Stretford End Flags, which has been responsible for many of the banners in the stadium.

“The problem is not lack of singing but more that, because of the size of the stadium and the acoustics within it, the sound doesn’t travel. You can have fans in different parts of the stadium singing different songs at the same time and none of them really being heard. The idea is to have an area of the ground where like-minded fans can be in the same place and, generally speaking, make some noise.”

United employed their own acoustics experts in a bid to generate more noise, and studies have found the most suitable areas to be the corners of the stadium opposite the Stretford End, where the roof is lower, trapping more of the sound.

“We would encourage supporters to get to Old Trafford 25 minutes before kick-off so we can make some noise as the players are warming up,”Kilduff said.

“Hopefully that atmosphere will transmit back to the players and it will improve their performance as well. We are aiming to police the area ourselves and hopefully, if it goes well, the singing section is something we can try again later in the season.

“Having it on a permanent basis is not as easy as people think. Nevertheless, if it works, it is something the club may look at because it will have a positive benefit for everyone.”

We shall see. United are certainly not unique among English clubs when it comes to struggling to create a raucous atmosphere. This season, matters have obviously not been helped by the team’s form. Could United supporters be guilty of only singing when they’re winning?