A former Manchester United fan has drawn praise for nobly refusing to celebrate after his new favorite club, Arsenal, scored against his old favorite club.
Ed Slinkle had been a loyal Man United supporter for nine years when he decided his time with the club had run its course and took his friend Craig up on a big money offer to support Arsenal.
“Seeing what David Moyes and then Louis van Gaal were doing at United, I knew it was going to be a long time before they won another trophy,” says Slinkle. “I wanted a club that could match my ambition, so Craigy said he’d buy me a KFC Bargain Bucket if I started supporting Arsenal. And I said, ‘Yeah, sure.’ They’d won a couple of FA Cups and I thought that would just be the beginning. It’s what we all dream of as kids. To support clubs that win trophies. It was a tough choice, but I knew it would be best for me and my desire to eat a KFC Bargain Bucket.”
Slinkle’s move proved to be controversial as he was targeted with abuse from old school chums in their WhatsApp group. He was called things like “mercenary” and “gloryhunter.” He even had coins thrown at him while at his job as a wishing well repairman.
The reception at his local pub before the first Man United-Arsenal match after his change was a hostile one, but when Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring, Slinkle showed his respect for his former club by only giving a humble nod as Craig celebrated beside him.
“I supported Manchester United for nine years. I had fantastic banter there and I respect the fans, manager, players, and the whole club so that’s why I didn’t celebrate,” said Slinkle when asked by Craig why he left him hanging on a high five.
“It was a classy gesture,” said Man United captain Wayne Rooney, who has never met Slinkle. “It just shows how much his time supporting us meant to him. We had a lot of good years together. Wait, who are we talking about again?”
Slinkle says that he may retire from football fandom if he can support just one more title winner. He hopes it will come with Arsenal, but if his friend in Los Angeles offers him two buckets of KFC, he could see himself ending his career supporting an MLS side for a year or two.