Why Do Soccer Fans Turn Their Backs?

Soccer fans are well known as supporters who like to have a good time as they watch games.

They’ll get up to all sorts of activities in the stands, from singing songs about the team they support to joyfully mocking opponent fans and players in the heat of the action.

But there’s one particular thing that certain soccer fans love to do, and that is turning their backs towards the pitch.

Soccer fans turn their backs towards the pitch as a form of sporting celebration. The action involves a small or large section of supporters standing with their backs facing the grass, linking their shoulders together on either side and proceeding to create comradery by jumping on the spot and singing along with each other.

Fans really love getting involved in celebration and this is just one way that they go about expressing themselves.

Read on to learn more about how this particular celebration of fans turning their backs on the field grew to be quite widespread.


Who made the Poznan?

This unique celebration actually originated from Poland.

In fact, within the country itself, this way of celebration isn’t even referred to as the Poznan.

Instead, people from Poland call it a “Grecque”.

Fans of many teams in Poland like to perform this celebration, but its popularity grew beyond Polish borders when the English side Manchester City came to the country to play a UEFA Champions League group stage fixture against Lech Poznan in 2010.

So, Lech Poznan fans were said to have inspired Manchester City supporters to take up this way of celebrating, even though it’s been documented here that the latter initially weren’t impressed by it.

Subsequently, the Manchester City fans are said to have adopted the celebratory dance and they’re the ones who coined it “the Poznan” in homage to Lech Poznan, whose supporters inspired them to celebrate in this way.


What does doing the Poznan mean?

In today’s soccer environment, doing the Poznan is simply a fun way of celebrating together with other fans in the stadium.

This could be when a goal is scored by the team you support, or in a situation where the final match result is favorable and highly unlikely to be overturned by the opponent.

Manchester City fans made it well known within England, with a couple of other clubs within Europe also adopting the celebration, such as:

  • Celtic FC in Scotland
  • Ajax in the Netherlands
  • Deportivo Alavés in Spain; and
  • The Western Sydney Wanderers in Australia

Another thing to note about the Poznan is that other clubs have used this celebration in the past to mock Manchester City fans themselves.

One prime example of this occurring was when a newly promoted Premier League side at the time – Cardiff City – shocked the Citizens by winning 3-2 against them in a clash that took place in August of 2013.

And finally, before Manchester City fans took up the Poznan, the first use of this dance was thought to have been as a way of protesting against the actions of club management, whilst still getting behind the team.


Why do Manchester City fans turn their backs to the pitch?

Now you know that Manchester City fans gladly adopted this move and called it the Poznan as a way of showing gratitude to the Lech Poznan fans who introduced them to it.

So, here’s a quick summary of why this set of supporters have continued to celebrate in this way over the years.


1. Celebrating a goal scored

why soccer fans turn their backs - to celebrate a goal scored

As a Manchester United fan myself, one must admit that this celebration style is really fascinating to see.

Putting rivalry aside for one minute, you just have to appreciate the beauty of it.

You can even draw some similarities with the Poznan to a Mexican wave [LINK], because the fans are all in synchronized movement as they bounce up and down on the spot with their arms linked together via the shoulders.

Here’s a brief clip that shows the Manchester City supporters pulling off the Poznan brilliantly:

Ultimately, it’s a great way for Manchester City fans to live in the moment and enjoy the atmosphere when their team manages to find the back of the net on the pitch.


2. Mocking the opposition team

Soccer fans make matches a much more entertaining spectacle.

And one of the ways in which they manage to do this is by taunting the opposition team or their set of supporters.

Manchester City fans in particular are no strangers to this, as they sometimes use the celebratory dance to mock their biggest rivals.

I vividly recall them doing the Poznan when the club came to Old Trafford and defeated Manchester United by six goals to one.

Almost everyone who watched that game live remembers Mario Balotelli lifting up his shirt to reveal a “why always me?” message, which looked like this:

That day was quite poignant as it symbolized a shift in competitive fortunes for both sets of teams.

Imagine watching your biggest rivals win trophy after trophy under Sir Alex Ferguson and not being able to get revenge for that until that moment.

So, the Manchester City fans were very jubilant and they couldn’t really pass up the opportunity to make fun of their rivals after all those years of watching them win major trophies.

Manchester City pretty much went on to become powerhouses in the Premier League after that game, with Manchester United’s fortunes slowly dwindling into obscurity.

Samuel Waihenya
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