The modern day Red Army is nothing like it's counterpart in the 1970's & 80's, back then its main course of action was notoriously documented as the biggest "Hooligan Firm" in the country, with many, many battles with their rivals from the ICF (Inter city Firm) from West Ham United. The Red Army were featured in the 1985 documentary 'Hooligan' which was based around West Ham's trip to Old Trafford in the FA Cup 6th Round and shows The Red Army fighting with the ICF around Manchester.
The most famous member of the The Red Army was Tony O'Neill, who led the firm in the late 1970s until around 2001 when he was banned from football grounds.Tony O'Neill has since released two books about the firm, Red Army General in 2004 and The Men in Black in 2006. The name Men In Black comes from the Red Army wearing all black to matches, most notably in one match at Upton Park where they ambushed West Ham fans wearing balaclavas.
(Just click on the book picture to follow the link)
Over the years the Red Army has gone from strength to strength and now in this age of information technology and the world wide web, his reach crosses the globe in seconds, as many can testify, if he isn't happy, the world knows about it.
But it wasn't always that way, in days gone by, communication was down to word of mouth, passed on from fan to fan but even then, they found that voice and made it known that The Red Army was not to be trifled with.
When the Red Army of Manchester visited your town you knew the place would be buzzing, United never go in small groups, they travelled on mass by train, coach, car and even thumbed lifts to get there, such is the pull of the ardent United supporter, to watch his favourite team, few clubs can maintain this high level of support week in and week out, rain or shine, but still they are there, standing in their droves on some bleak and wet Tuesday night in towns like Grimsby, the positive side to this mass invading your town, your gate receipts were up, everyone likes the big clubs to come, it helps fill their coffers, thereby helping their club to better themselves over time.
Feel the wrath of the United fan
In 2006 a racing tycoon John Magnier would no doubt testify, Manchester United supporters are sensitive about their manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.
The latest to feel the red army's wrath is Hammersmith and Fulham MP, Greg Hands.
Last week, Hands posted an Early Day Motion in the Commons condemning Ferguson, right, for "his continuing efforts to prevent Wayne Rooney from playing for England in the World Cup".
It's brought him no end of grief from United fans, who have been barracking him with hate mail ever since. "I don't know if any of the e-mails are from my constituents or not," Hands said.
"All I do know is that someone called firstname.lastname@example.org is particularly unhappy with me."
This is mainly just my own views, with also input from many Manchester United fans who have talked as well about the pulling power of Manchester United and it's Infamous Red Army that is now a worldwide phenomenon.
Why do they have such a large fan base?
Sheer charisma, sheer talent, sheer brilliance?
All of the above and much much more
The Red Army is not just a Manchester based supporters club anymore, it stretches across the world, with many Countries having their own Fan Cluband with a fan base worldwide of over 300 million fans, that has to say something.
Go to any town in the world and mention Manchester United and they will have heard of them, not saying everyone likes them but they will know them.