Introduction to the Manchester United Subreddit
r/reddevils is a sub section of reddit.com (subreddit) that was created to be a place for Manchester United fans to interact and discuss news and opinions about the team. There are currently at the time of writing, 87,290 users who are subscribed to the page, and nine moderators who control the content of the sub. Any of the 87,290 can post on the page, but the moderators are the only ones who can delete comments or posts that break the rules of the subreddit. These rules, shown here, are relatively straight forward and shows how the users really have the control over the blog.
Unlike a normal blog, r/reddevils is largely a compilation of links to other articles, videos, or even other blogs, and the majority of the user interaction involves liking or disliking posts, as well as commenting. On any post or comment on reddit, a user can “upvote” or “downvote” it to express support or distaste, and the posts with the most likes move higher up the page as long as they are new content. On r/reddevils the upvote happens to be Manchester United red, and the downvote Manchester City blue. In addition to expressing your thoughts through liking or disliking, users can also comment on any post or comment. This is key as frequently long discussions between users occur on simple news articles. For example, this post announced Alexis Sanchez’s signing for Manchester United, and the 612 comments on the article expressed the subscriber’s opinions on the signing and generally their excitement.
What type of content is featured in the blog?
The content posted on the blog is generally not original content, and instead is links to news articles or images; however, some of the best content on the blog is produced on the rare occasion when it is original. For example, this piece is a satirical take on some of the criticism United was receiving after the Champions League game against Sevilla that ended 0-0 on February 21st, 2018. The author, a user named EmergencyCredit, discusses how naturally all Manchester United’s center backs are so bad that only Eric Bailly should play for the team again. Instead, De Gea should play center back and goalie as he is the only worthwhile player on the team and his reactions are quick enough to do both.
This type of satirical content is mostly popular when things are not going as well for United, as this piece came right after a relatively mediocre draw against Sevilla. However, when Manchester United is winning and dominating games, the blog generally is filled with memes and highlights as the fans enjoy the replays from wins. Regardless of United’s form, the blog always is full of the latest news and rumors about the club, which keeps the fans up to date. When it comes to transfer rumors, the moderators have even created a tier system to rate the sources of the rumors, so fans do not get too excited when sources such as the Daily Mail say Ronaldo has demanded to return to Old Trafford.
r/reddevils is also always developing and improving, as users submit new ideas for designs or even for the organization of the page. One of the most creative ideas was submitted by a user named MUFColin, who created a bot, artificial user, that can call up a GIF of any goal United has scored from the 1987-88 season until the current season (Original post). In the comment sections, where most of the discussion and debates occur on the page, users can now simply type !goalbot, then a player’s name, and then the opponent’s name. The bot will then comment on the original comment with every goal that United player has scored against that side. Reddit allows for this United blog to be truly created from the code upwards by the Manchester United fans who frequent it, which I think is truly special.
Blog’s role in the larger conversation of soccer
r/reddevils provides any soccer fan a location to keep up to date with Manchester United, as well as witness United fans as a community. While there might be a few subscribers who aren’t fans, generally the discussions that develop in the comments of posts are discussion between fans of United. Many other Premier League teams have similar subreddit’s, although I would argue none are as well organized and visited as much as r/reddevils, and I feel that these locations provide a place for fans to test out their ideas about their teams with fellow fans, as well as staying up to date on the team’s news. This is a very valuable space, especially for a club like Manchester United who have fans all over the world. There are very few places where fans from the United States, Manchester, South Africa, etc. can come together and discuss one of their biggest passions: Manchester United. This ability to not only contribute, but discuss so frequently is what I think makes r/reddevils so important in the overall soccer blog world.