Today in international break avoidance tactics, we're getting introspective. What are Manchester United fans like? Where do they come from? What do they like doing? What sets them apart from the general population. And where do they stand on the Big Questions, such as the worthiness of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York as a follow-up to the original?
Well, now we know. Sort of. YouGov, one of Britain's most prominent market research firms, has unveiled a cute little tool called the Profiler. Insert the name of any "brand, person or thing", and YouGov will interrogate its 190,000-person database to let you know just how the fans of that brand, person or thing — like "Manchester United" — differ from everybody else. So, for example ...
... we can probably do away with that tired "All United fans live in Surrey lol" gag. Strong Scottish representation, which we can probably ascribe to Darren Fletcher's generally admirable nature. Ed Woodward will doubtless be delighted to see advertisers jumping on the good ship United: game recognise game.
So there's our United fan: compared to the rest of the country, she's youngish, female, politically centrist and without a huge amount of spending money. Bad news for the Megastore. But what is she like? What moves her? What makes her tick?
Well, that's killed the dream of a fan-owned United. And this might just be tBB getting old and cynical, but does the idea of being a fan of adverts strike anybody else as being a bit, well, appalling? Gosh, I just love those 30 to 60 seconds of cynical exploitation, emotional blackmail, and talking meerkats. Look, there's him from Peep Show. Take my money! Take it! Validate me as consumer!
Still, dedicated. That's what Louis van Gaal wants to hear. Let's talk pets.
United fans, it seems, are slightly more likely to own a bird, a dog or a fish, but are quite strongly unlikely to be a cat person. Interestingly, City, Everton and Liverpool fans are all also quite unlikely to own cats, which suggests some kind of region-wide north-west anti-cat agenda. Further investigation is clearly needed.
We'll level with you here. TBB does not know what a shoofly pie is. Wikipedia tells us it's a "molasses pie considered traditional among the Pennsylvania Dutch. The pie may get its name because the sweet molasses odor attracts flies that must be "shooed" away." As to why it might be popular among Manchester United fans? We've got nothing. Though we did discover that there is a borough in York County, PA called Manchester, which used to be called Liverpool. Another victory.
Now, while she's eating her shoofly pies and failing to have a cat on her lap, how does our Manchester United fan like to relax?
Home Alone 2 currently has 24% on Rotten Tomatoes, the critics having been left largely unimpressed by a "tepid rehash" suffering from "money-grubbing sequelitis". Fools, all. Manchester United fans know differently. The rest of the country may have agreed with the Asheville Mountain Xpress — "Wasn't one of these bad enough?" — but the Reds are keeping the faith. You go, Culkin.
Not sure Mick Hucknall's forgiveable, mind, United fan though he may be.
*gazes sadly at "Customer of ... UEFA Champions League"*
*gazes wistfully at "Customer of ... The FA Cup"*
*gazes bleakly at "Customer of ... UEFA Europa League"*
And finally ...
... WHERE IS THE BUSBY BABE?