At least they are at the game. If you based it on listening to radio phone-ins, you'd be staggered at the number of callers commenting on matches they have listened to on the radio. Empty vessels always make the most noise.
When I stand outside Old Trafford and sell fanzines, the vast majority of people who walk past are local and have gone to the match for years. They don't feel the need to paint their face and dance in front of the cameras, they just enjoy watching the team they've always supported, a cherished release from everyday life.
With average crowds of 75,000, United have more of every type of fan. More monied executives, more disabled, more hooligans, out of towners, locals and clowns who call the team Man U'.
Despite increased ticket prices and awkward kick-off times, football remains a great social leveller. One fan is a professor at Cambridge the world's pre-eminent thinker on Dante no less and he watches United home and away. A lad he goes to games with is a pornographer.
I took a coach from Manchester to Villa Park on Saturday and the variety of the people on board was staggering.
A man talked excitedly of his forthcoming trip to Blackpool away. He's going for six days and will stay in a caravan. In December.
Across the aisle, a lad in smart casual gear may have looked like the leader of a hooligan firm but he read The Economist and delighted as much in the release of Aung San Suu Kyi as in Macheda and Vidic's late goals. And you would have never guessed that the man in the black coat from Moston was an executive with responsibility for hundreds of fast-food restaurants.
There was the boyfriend and girlfriend who watch their team home and away. I'm not sure what she made of the conversation four rows behind, a surreal juvenile discussion among boys about whether they'd lend their girlfriend to a player for the night if it meant United getting three points at an away game. Given that United have drawn six of the seven away games so far this season, you could applaud their concern, if not the proposed solution.
Others asserted that the Evening News was a Blue paper'. Funny that, because the Blues I spoke to at the derby last week think it's a very different colour.
After arriving 90 minutes before kick-off, some fans made straight for the pub, others basked in the November Brummie sunshine inside the ground. A 20-something reserved the kind of love a mother would show her newborn child for his flag as he spent an age making sure his RED ARMY' banner was perfectly positioned behind the corner flag.
Villa couldn't sell all their seats and the great old ground was 3,000 short of capacity, but the locals still boasted that they were supporting their local team and that the United fans only live round the corner'.
If Manchester was only around the corner that might be true, but the vast majority of the 2,448 Reds who had paid £43 a ticket came from Greater Manchester. United proudly boast a worldwide support but the local heart still beats strongly.
One lad, slightly under-dressed in a T-shirt and tea-cosy hat, sang S-A-L-F-O-R-D, Salford Reds and MUFC throughout. That was far better than the arrogant We're Man United, we do what we want' chant which Reds fans have taken to airing.
Another told me how he'd just come out from a five-year stretch in a Greek jail where he'd managed to watch virtually every United game on TV, surrounded by Albanian gangsters and psychotic Panathinaikos fans.
He's rejoined this disparate travelling community, many who only know each other by face or a simple Alright mate'.
Like proper fans of any club, they stomp around the country and beyond, spending a fortune to watch players who earn a fortune. They sing, moan, laugh and despair. But when their team get a late equaliser and several players dive into the away end to celebrate, it all seems worthwhile.
Source: Manchester Evening News