Jon Foster is one of the lead presenters of Manchester United Women’s YouTube show ‘All For United Women’. He writes exclusively for Impetus about his experience of the first game back at Leigh Sports Village for fans since the pandemic.
Above: Members of United’s ‘Barmy Army’ fan group pre game. Photo: @ManUtdWomen
Scrolling back through your photo gallery, checking your twitter notifications and drinking plenty of hot liquids to help soothe the throats of many United supporters would have been top of the agenda Saturday morning. Friday 3rd September was a landmark evening for Women’s football in England.
Sky Sports aired their first game of the season parallel to fans returning to the Leigh Sports Village (LSV) to watch their team play there for the first time in eighteen months.
So what were the standout moments throughout the match day for fans who attended and for the armchair supporters?
Over 50 fans met with friends and family at the Whistling Wren pub located next to the stadium to have a pre game meal, whilst some fans chose to get photos of players getting off their coaches on arrival. Meanwhile, on Sky Sports, former head coach of Manchester United’s women’s team, Casey Stoney, was giving her opinion on the very first WSL programme to hit Sky this season.
Anticipation began increasing, fans had their digital tickets at the ready as they entered the stadium and the songs soon began. New chants were being trialled and tested to support those players who had signed during the fans absence and they went down a treat. Players acknowledged their personalised songs by waving, clapping and laughing in the warm up.
Marc Skinner, known to the fans by his energy and excitement, also couldn’t hold back from reacting to the songs that were aimed at him. His massive smile and his positive analogies are currently winning over the majority of the fan base before a ball had even been kicked, the Skinner chants got louder and louder throughout the game.
On exit, fans didn’t want to leave. Songs were just as loud, if not louder once the game had ended. Unable to hear the interviewer ask her questions, new full back Hannah Blundell had to give up trying to hear in her interview, whilst player of the match Kirsty Hanson kept breaking into smiles not able to hold back her own excitement of being drowned out by the United crowd.
The day was a step forward for women’s football both on and off the field. Sky’s tactical analysis by experts and former players was able to educated and engage both new and old fans. The return of fans who many described the atmosphere to be, “electric” has set the bench mark for other clubs throughout the rest of the season.
Jon Foster presents shows on the All For United Women YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC40kAY2mHdAH4PzhH0Ka-zg)
Follow him on Twitter – @JonFosterMUFC
Follow the show on Twitter – @AllForUnitedWFC