Vanarama National League column – February 7
Manchester United can take inspiration from the Vanarama National League to boost subdued Old Trafford atmosphere
By Luke Coulson of the FWA and Ebbsfleet United
After Manchester United returned to winning ways against Huddersfield, with a home debut goal for new signing Alexis Sanchez, eyebrows were raised when Jose Mourinho decided to concentrate on the lack of atmosphere at Old Trafford.
Despite winning 2-0, the Portuguese manager quickly diverted his answers away from the performance and his new Chilean forward, instead choosing to focus on the subdued ‘Theatre of Dreams’ that lacks enthusiasm.
Unfortunately for us, our opposition last Saturday definitely did not suffer from a home crowd with a low volume setting.
Despite my slight feeling of bitterness towards Tranmere Rovers for not signing me after a trial, I can’t deny that Prenton Park is an intimidating place to play due to the passionate home fans. Therefore, during the game I wasn’t surprised to hear a certain Tranmere fan shout ‘Coulson, you’ve been our best player!’
In my two visits to Prenton Park with Eastleigh and Ebbsfleet, I have been on the losing side twice and the loud home support has without doubt contributed to those results.
After losing 3-0 to Boreham Wood, a second 3-0 defeat in two games was definitely not what we had been training hard for throughout the week. However, our manager, Daryl McMahon, couldn’t fault our effort and hard work against a strong Tranmere team that have now won their last eight home games.
The first half was a game of limited chances with both teams cancelling each other out with structured formations. Yet, Tranmere broke the deadlock and doubled their lead before half time with two precise long range efforts that not even Nathan Ashmore, the best goal keeper in the league could save.
We continued to create chances throughout the game but a third goal for the home side in the second half sealed their victory and moved them up to fourth in the table.
With fourteen games left in the season and on the back of two defeats, it is vitally important that our mental toughness, positive attitude and togetherness remain strong for the remainder of the campaign.
Fortunately for us, Tranmere are not the only club with a loud and passionate following. Our own Ebbsfleet fans can produce a lot of noise, too, and we want them to produce that ‘Prenton Park atmosphere’ when we play host to Solihull Moors at Stonebridge Road this weekend. As a team we want to excite and entertain, and it is a real boost to have the noise of the Ebbsfleet faithful echoing on the wind behind us.