The Manchester United Women’s Barmy Army are the most fanatical supporters’ group in the FA Women’s Super League.
Since their formation in 2018, the loud and loyal group of followers have backed Casey Stoney’s side home and away in their numbers, playing their own unique part in United’s FA Women’s Championship title win last season and their push up the FA Women’s Super League this term.
Barmy Army member Jack Morris (@ripper48) has joined forces with the FA Women’s Super League Full-Time website and is profiling each member of the group. This week, we learn about Andy Slater, a lyrical genius responsible for many of the tunes heard wherever the Manchester United Women’s Barmy Army travel.
Name: Andy Slater
Nickname: Andy…or Slater
What is your role within the Manchester United Women’s Barmy Army?
I am the songmaster.
What do you do when you’re not cheering on Manchester United?
Husband, dad and project accountant.
Considering you have come up with a lot of what is heard at the Leigh Sports Village Stadium and everywhere the Manchester United Women’s Barmy Army travel, what is your favourite United chant or song?
Lauren James’ “She wears sixteeeeeen…”, even though her brother isn’t a pie-eater any more. I have another one yet to make an appearance which I think would sound great if it catches on, it’s about the future being bright for the Manchester United Women.
You’re teasing us now, Andy. What do you listen to away from the football pitch?
Folk, rock music.
Who is your favourite player?
Lauren James, she stood out right from that first match against Liverpool in last season’s opener in the FA Women’s Continental League Cup and I couldn’t believe she was only 16. Also, I would like to give a shout out to Martha Harris, ginger union.
What is your favourite thing to eat?
Pizza, pasta and pies, the best of Italy and Wigan.
Can’t go wrong with that Andy. What is your drink of choice?
Irn Bru or Wainwright’s Ale.
It’s an away day for the United Women. What are you eating?
Every away day starts with a pork pie from Jenkinson, the butchers in Golborne.
I do believe you were kind enough to share one of those with me. I’m a lucky lad. What do you think the players and Casey Stoney think of the Barmy Army?
I think they were all surprised by the level of support and commitment shown by the core group. It’s great to be a part of. It’s clear they appreciate the travelling fans and the noise generated at Leigh Sports Village.
How and why did you join the Barmy Army?
I went with my daughter who’d just turned three at the time to that first game away at Liverpool. I enjoyed the accessibility compared to the men’s game with ticket ballots and high prices. I’d tried to follow some women’s football before but without a team to follow it’s hard to get into any sport.
When Lizzie Arnot’s goal went in late in the game, I was surprised by how into it I was. It felt like a special moment and it was great to share it with my daughter after 30 wonderful years of following the men’s team with my dad.
After a few more games, the group that were to become the Barmy Army could be heard and it brought the good parts of men’s football culture to the women’s game, which as a new convert added a great new dimension.
Since then, I’ve enjoyed the enhanced atmosphere, the vital social aspect to following a football team, the organised away travel and the new friends I’ve made. They are also very friendly towards the kids, always making time for my daughter who doesn’t see the games as women’s football but just football.
It’s great to be bringing her up with female role models wearing the red jersey. If she happens to continue following the sport as she gets older, the Barmy Army will continue to help to make her matchday experiences more enjoyable and engaging. The Barmy Army are also a reliable source of information, even when compared to some of the official channels.
By Jack Adam Morris (@ripper48)