Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 15 November 2019

Paul Pogba: Manchester United fans to sing in solidarity of the Frenchman at Old Trafford after online racist abuse

Plan to show their support of midfielder during Saturday's game with Crystal Palace

Manchester United fans will show their support for Paul Pogba in song before and during Saturday’s Premier League game against Crystal Palace.

There are strong feelings among fans to get behind their No 6 after the racist abuse he has received this week on social media.

The Red Army group in the Stretford End plan to slowly sing Pogba’s name over and over to the tune of Amazing Grace.

United’s most expensive ever signing and top goalscorer last season is one of the few players without a terrace song from fans at Old Trafford.

It is a quirk rather than a personal slight, but it is true that Pogba is yet to become the hero supporters had hoped would help return United to the top of the Premier League table.

Those behind the idea hope that it will spread to other sections of Old Trafford in support of the French international who was subjected to a barrage of racist insults online after seeing his penalty saved during Monday's 1-1 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Pogba has endured a conflicted relationship with fans and suggestions that he wants to leave have not gone down well, but he remains popular, especially among younger fans.

Shirts with Pogba’s name on have been the best sellers since he moved back to United three years ago, though fans worried that he is leaving have held off putting him on the backs of their shirts this summer and Marcus Rashford's name has overtaken him.

Match going United fans are angered by such online abuse since it doesn’t reflect the reality at games.

Racist incidents at games are rare and United fans are proud of their tolerance in one of England’s leading immigrant cities.

There is anger that online comments from people purporting to be Manchester United fans are casting what is actually a cosmopolitan and multinational fan base as something very different.

The Red Army is a group of die-hard supporters who’ve injected much needed atmosphere into Old Trafford in recent years.

They have worked with the club who have belatedly realised there was a problem with the atmosphere, with vocal fans dispersed around the stadium.

The group’s 2,000 members helped create a noisy atmosphere in the club’s first league game, a 4-0 win against Chelsea. They organise who sits where and on Sunday had 950 prime seats behind the goal to fill.

They will have 900 for the Palace game and hopefully more in subsequent games for their over subscribed section.

“It’s really important to support Paul who we’d love to stay at the club,” said their spokesman. “We also want to let the world know that Manchester United fans won’t tolerate racism. The song can be sung slow, it’s loud and well known.”

The fans stand on the famous terrace which, like Manchester United fans, has had a mixed relationship with Pogba.

After the final game of last season, a home defeat to relegated Cardiff City, one Stretford Ender stood up to vent his frustration towards the under-performing Frenchman.

Yet after the opening day victory against Chelsea, Pogba was the last player to leave the field. He applauded the vast stadium and as he headed towards the Stretford End, handed his shirt to a smiling fan.

He also left the stadium to chants of ‘We want Paul’ from the families and tourists waiting for selfies with the players after the game behind the Stretford End.

On Saturday, those Stretford Enders will rise to demonstrate their support for their midfielder and that Manchester United will not tolerate the racism being pumped out by supposed online fans of the club.

Updated: August 23, 2019 02:45 PM

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