if you were to visit your local library, or mobile library if you are rural, you could pick out any number of children’s stories that told of an underdog’s triumph against a seemingly undefeatable foe. Read on. David & Goliath, the Hare & the Tortoise, Bananas in pyjamas and even the Hungry Tiger might as well all be sent for pulping. This is another level that even Dane Bowers wouldn’t have dreamt of.
Manchester United are the world’s most popular football team with more than 700m supporters spread across the whole breadth of planet Earth. United has so much brand identity that you could show the club crest to any human on the planet and he/she/it will instantly respond ‘Manchester United’.
At the peak of their careers players such as George Best, Eric Cantona, Jesper Olsen and Dong Fangzhou were the most recognisable people in the world due to the club they were representing. All of this makes their recent bullying campaign seem even more inappropriate.
Our hero, Jack Holt, is a fan of Manchester United and has been since he was 4. He was introduced to the ‘red devils’ quite by chance when a horse in the field next to his house bit him as he was trying to feed it a tin of pineapple chunks. The nurse that stitched Jack’s ear back on was none other than Gary Bailey, former Reds Goalkeeper, and as Bailey worked he regaled Jack with tales of his time between the sticks for United. Jack was enthralled and as soon as his ear was better he pestered his Mum to buy him a Manchester United bobble hat. He still sleeps with it under his pillow to this day. Jack’s adult life has been shaped around MUFC, he died his hair orange like Wes Brown, grew it into corn rows like David Beckham, then shaved himself a bald spot like Bobby Charlton. He tried to change his name to Oshea JohnShea’o'Shea when he turned 22 and if he hadn’t been on the buttercup syrup all night he would surely have filled in the online application form correctly. In short Jack is a devoted Red.
Jack enjoys meddling in the murky waters of the twitter and he runs a couple of accounts, his own @jackkholt (follow him, he is gleefully odd) and a mildly geeky account that was trundling along tweeting the names of players that represented Manchester United.This second account used the Manchester United club crest as the display picture. Not an issue you might say, many accounts use copyrighted images on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumlbr and Friends reunited. However things they are a changing at Manchester United and last week the club took the hardline with Jack and demanded that the account be taken down. Jack shared his shock with his followers and as all good communities would they rallied round him and offered support.
Outrage was grumbling on the shop floor of the micro blogging platform and the ripples were reaching the other side of the world. An angry mob was assembling and being ring led by a doctor with a thirst, @busbymufc (as he parades himself on the twitter). This was not going unnoticed by the club’s underground security dorks though and they moved next. While Jack was midway through his morning incantations the front door flew suddenly and aggressively off its hinges. Two masked men burst into his kitchen and while the taller of the two held him the thicker set character grabbed Jack by the ear he so nearly lost at the teeth of his horse neigh-bour aged 4. They told him to ‘call off the geeks’ a reference to the fury building on social media. They threw Jack to the floor and tore down all of his John O’Shea posters, the thicker set chap did a long and very strong smelling wee in the fridge and they left laughing like a pair of drains.
Some time passed, Jack couldn’t be sure exactly how long it was because he had banged his head on the way to the floor and was a little disorientated. More people walked through the now unguarded doorway, this time two woman who had been sent by Horse & Hound magazine to negotiate an interview fee with the sinned against Mr Holt. Horse & Hound has been looking for any story that might decry the Glazer family ever since Malcolm was alleged to have interfered with Alex Ferguson’s horse. The women were persuasive and before Jack knew it they were offering him £200 and a trolley dash in countrywide farmers. However hurt and confused he felt Jack couldn’t sell his club out though and he sent the woman packing with a pack or organic vegetables and pumice stone each.
All of a sudden the tide turned in Jack’s favour. Popular Sunderland player John O’Shea was relaxing with a pink gin in his local Wetherspoons after a hard training session when Adam Johnson (already half cut on Apple Midori) called him over to show him a ‘fanboy’ he had found of his on twitter. can you guess who it was? That’s right, our Jack. JOS read on and as he read he got angrier and more frustrated with what he saw. His old club had lost the plot, how dare they try and do this to one of his number. As he choked back the tears he made a desperate phone call. What happened next is shrouded in mystery but what we do know is that the geeky twitter account was restored to the twitter and 2 lifeless bodies were carried from the ‘brand protection’ offices. Some witnesses claimed to have seen a cloven footed beast with heavy neck scarring leave the offices minutes earlier, its loin cloth covered in blood and ligaments.
This story has had a happy ending but this is only the first chapter in what is likely to be a horrific tale of internet bloodletting. We won the battle but the war has only just begun.