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.
The Manchester United Barmy Army have joined forces with FA Women’s Super League Full-Time and are profiling each member of the group. This week, we speak with Catherine Mack, a vocal Barmy Army member in the stands.
Name: Catherine Mack
Age: Old enough to probably know better.
Location: On loan to London from Dane Bank.
What is your role within the Manchester United Women’s Barmy Army?
I am the 100% unofficial supplier of tenuous puns and terrible jokes.
Oh come on, Cat. I still remember your proposed “Earps upside your head!” chant that sadly didn’t get picked up due to the popularity and simplicity of “Mary Earps baby!”. You do more than just terrible jokes. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not cheering on Manchester United?
I’m a full-time data geek.
What are your favourite United chants or songs?
I like the blend of United standards alongside Manchester United Women-specific songs as it retains that ‘one club’ feel. I’m partial to classics like “From the banks of the Irwell” but player-wise I think Leah’s and Jackie’s have a lot of energy and are fun to sing. I’m also a massive fan of the improvised chant and we’ve got a lot of very funny members who contribute lots to the matchday experience with one-liners.
That’s true. Some of the best moments are when we have something to laugh about in the stands and we come up with something on the fly. What about your general music taste?
I listen to all sorts depending on my mood, but a song which always brightens any day is Patio Song by Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.
Who is your favourite player?
A clear fan-favourite for a lot of Reds. What is your favourite thing to eat?
Love Chinese food – pretty much anything with noodles is a win, or maybe a roast lamb sunday dinner.
You’re definitely speaking my language, Cat. What are your drinks of choice?
Matchdays probably just a generic lager or cider, whatever the ground is selling. Away from football it’d be gin or vodka.
It’s an away day for the United Women. What are you having to eat?
I’m usually a bit too hyped to bother with much pre-match so tend to just grab a sandwich on the way. Oh, the joys of train station kiosks or motorway services!
They are glorious, aren’t they? How and why did you join the Barmy Army?
Crystal Palace away last season was the first time I headed down to watch the girls. I turned up to the ground and saw a selection of flags there so headed over. I’m a bit shy so a smile and a nod was pretty much it from me but I was so impressed with the singing and joined in.
I hadn’t really expected that as my previous experience with watching FA Women’s Super League matches over the last few years was a little flat. I always enjoyed the football but the general matchday experience was lacking something for me, I think partly because I didn’t have a team to invest in personally, but a large part was that the energy from the crowd was different to what I have always been used to and I missed that. However, this group down in Bromley brought loud vocal support for the full 90 minutes with a full range of songs, and it felt very familiar.
I was hooked and when I arrived at the next match, I recognised familiar faces and introduced myself properly. I’ve never met a bunch of such welcoming people of all ages and backgrounds just with a shared interest in supporting and promoting the girls. I can’t make as many matches as I’d like to but the effort and time some members of the Barmy Army put into following the team everywhere is incredible, I feel pretty lucky to have found a great group to spend matchdays with, it really makes it about more than just the game.