It’s like when all the frats were having parties to lure in new meat at the beginning of freshman year, and I showed up to the sixth barbecue of the weekend (which, according to the email, promised some “chill bros” who “weren’t like the others”) and said “Hey, you have a pretty nice frat house,” and all the brothers got mad.
“Why are you mad? Isn’t that what you are? A frat?”
“No. We’re a fraternity. Would you call your country a cunt?”
See, some organizations don’t like it when you shorten their proper name to something that is easier to spell or say. As it turns out, Manchester United is one of those organizations — though their reason is slightly better than what Delta Chi told me back in the day.
From the Jakarta Globe:
They’re called “Man United,” “United” or, by Indonesians, “MU,” but using the nickname “Man U” to refer to Manchester United is not politically correct because of its derogatory origin. But out of ignorance, even some United fans still do it.
These days “Man U” is widely used by supporters of rival clubs as an insult to Manchester United. The origin of the term can be traced back to the 1950s, not so long after the Munich air disaster that claimed the lives of more than half of Manchester United’s squad. The club was flying home after playing Bayern Munich in the European Cup when the plane crashed following an abortive takeoff on a snowy night.
“Duncan Edwards is manure, rotting in his grave. Man you are manure, rotting in your grave,” so the song goes. Rival fans derived the derogatory “Man U” nickname from the song and began to use it as an insult.
Fans of two of United’s fiercest rivals, Liverpool and Leeds United, made sure they didn’t miss the chance to wind up United and jumped on the mocking bandwagon. They had their own renditions of “Man U” songs.
Unfortunately for Manchester United fans, “Man U” seems to have caught on both colloquially and in the shorthand-happy world of Twitter, where “chester” and “nited” means you need to burn an extra 12 characters to complete a tweet.
Honestly, like people who take bad nicknames and own them (“Yeah, I’m the Fat Man, what are you gonna do about it?”), it sounds like Man U needs to take back the meaning of the phrase. But what do I know? I’m an American. I call this sport soccer.