Sports Clubs / Ultras: Manchester United - Red Army

Manchester United is one of the most popular clubs in the world. There are over 200 officially recognized branches of the Manchester United Supporters Club over a variety of countries. While hooliganism has declined over the last few decades, United did not escape the plague when it was at its peak.

The largest and most notable hooligan firm that supported Manchester United was known as the Red Army. They first rose to fame in the 1974-5 season while United were in England's second division. They would travel all around the country and make trouble, as they would even outnumber the home support at times. One of the most notable incidents was when they stabbed a Blackpool fan to death in that 1974 season. In 1977, Manchester United were banned from European competitions after rioting before, during and after their UEFA Cup game against Saint-Etienne in France.

Because the group is so large, various sub-firms have been formed or seen. There are the Men in Black (due to members dressing in all black clothing), the Young Munichs, the Inter City Jibbers (ICJ), M58 Firm and the Moston Rats. The ICJ in particular are dedicated to more crimes than just hooliganism, according to Colin Blaney's book Undesirables. They also smuggle drugs, organize jail breaks, commit street robberies and more.

The Red Army term is now widely applied to all Manchester United supporters, rather than just the ultras. Hooliganism has also widely decreased, although there have still been clashes against other fan groups (most notably A.S. Roma). Only the ICJ are the most active and criminal firm remaining in the former Red Army.


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