It sounds like an April Fools' joke that has arrived a few days late, yet it appears that Manchester Utd have drafted in an "acoustic engineer" to improve the atmosphere at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils are frequently mocked for the lack of aural passion shown at the Theatre of Dreams: the clichés suggest the majority of the fans don't live in Manchester, while the stadium is usually filled with prawn sandwich-munching corporate guests and quiet tourists making pilgrimages to see the team they have arbitrarily chosen to follow.
Utd fans did little to disprove this reputation on my last visit, where home supporters were pretty subdued, save for chanting "United! United!" when they won corners.
The Manchester Evening News have more detail on the news that's bound to fuel the flames of mockery:
The Reds have been looking at ways of turning up the volume at the Theatre of Dreams after complaints from supporters.
[...] M.E.N. Sport can reveal that, in a move which is sure to prompt jibes from across the city on the eve of Monday’s derby, the club has contracted a sound specialist to carry out a report on the stadium.
The expert attended the Liverpool match in January and will monitor noise levels at another game before the season concludes.
The findings will then be presented to the Reds’ top brass who will decide what action to take.
The complaints appear to have stemmed from the Stretford End, which is traditionally the loudest part of the 76,000-capacity venue. Apparently, their rousing chants have been getting lost in the cavernous reaches of the Premier League's largest stadium, with fans on the other side not being able to hear them.
The club have also trialled moving away fans from their traditional cramped corner of the East Stand to the fourth tier of the behemoth Sir Alex Ferguson Stand. Yet police chiefs condemned the move as frenzied away supports could cause the upper tier of the stand to "flex".
In the interest of balance, Man Utd are supposed to have one of the loudest Premiership stadiums by decibel volume — and Champions League matches are said to be pretty lively — yet perhaps they would benefit from the invite extended by Swedish side AIK Stockholm, who have this week asked their English counterparts to come and sample the atmosphere at one of their league matches.
Or maybe they should keep out those the Johnny-come-lately fans and tourists with utterly confusing stadium directions, much like they have done at Brazil's Fonte Nova World Cup stadium.
- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester Utd