MAN CITY INFO VIA THE ALPS "McVittee!" #1827
DATE: Thursday 24th May 2012
In keeping with the current spirit of 'firsts', following winning our first Championship in a (my) lifetime, in the last issue we had what we believe to be MCIVTA's first article in Dutch (the translation is included in this issue) and also in this issue, we believe we have our first quotation of Wordsworth!
Dispelling rumours that Wordsworth was alive when we last won it, Jeremy Poynton evokes a poetic tone, without even mentioning the words 'cloud' 'wandered' and 'lonely'.
We also have a battle for the 'And Finally' spot between former stand-in editor Leo Fewtrell who is, whisper it, a Red, and Brisbane-based Rob Minshull. I won't spoil who wins, leaving the only way to find out...
Read on my friends, read on...Next Game: Chelsea, Community Shield, Villa Park, 12 August 2012, 3.00pm
ARTICLE: WHY BLUE?
Forgive my indulgence as I share with you my love for City.
I last contributed to MCIVTA in 1999 and we all know what happened then! I have been reflecting on the most wonderful day I can ever recall in City's history. Like so many of your readers I have been supporting City for most of my life (aged 53). Dad was a Red (RIP, left us in 1974) and my elder brother decided that was his way too.
As my surname is Doyle and middle name is Mike, there really was only one club for me. I was lucky enough to watch that magnificent team through our glory years when we were top dogs in Manchester and I have never lost faith or wavered, not even for a single minute, throughout all the heartache and lonely times we have endured.
I come from a large Irish family (5 boys and 3 girls - all born in Manchester). Two younger lads went to the Red side and youngest brother came with me (more later). Sisters have been pretty much neutral other than they all married Reds (two Rags and one 'Pool'). Mum is still alive and well in Cheetham Hill and is a Blue (mainly through me and younger Bro' cajoling her over the years and the fact that she detests bragging Rags).
I left Manchester at 16 and joined the Royal Navy (served for 20 years) and have settled in the South of England for most of my adult life, with continuous visits home to see family and, of course, City.
I joined the RN on Tuesday 11 November 1975 and for those historians amongst us 'twas the day before the famous/infamous 4-0 win against the Rags in the League Cup, which also marked the day 'the King' was effectively finished as a supreme athlete and magnificent footballer (it still brings a tear to my eye when I think about what might have been for him).
I was serving in the submarine base at Faslane, Scotland, when Colin's testimonial came around and travelled down with a Blue mate and two Liverpool lads to watch the game and pay homage. Unashamedly, I cried like a baby when he came over to the Kippax to say his farewells.
I met a lovely Portsmouth girl, got married and have 3 wonderful children, 2 boys and 1 girl, all 'dyed in the wool Blues'. My lads have endured so much throughout their tender years (aged 30 and 26) with Manchester Rag uncles and cousins constantly harping and sniping to them over the years. I took the youngest lad to the relegation game versus Liverpool (2-2 draw), the last ever game at Maine Road and the relegation game at Ipswich. We were all in Manchester, with my younger Bro' to watch the Gillingham game in a pub in Cheetham Hill (mostly Rags live there) and had to endure those 4 minutes of torture together, which culminated with Dicky's equaliser, and ensuing mayhem!
My youngest lad now plays semi-pro for Woking FC in the National Conference and a recent interview for the match programme saw him 'have a go' at me for putting him through so much torment and making him cry as a young boy. My eldest boy is also a football-mad Blue and we watched the 6-1 demolition derby together in Surrey University (Guildford) Sports Bar where, you guessed it, we were the only Blues amongst a plethora of Rags (honestly, not one Mancunian amongst them). It was such a glorious feeling to be with my boy, sharing a pint or two and watching the Surrey Rags squirm. My daughter is in 3rd year at Kingston University and is also a massive Blue and I was so lucky last year to have been able to get 4 tickets to take them all to Wembley, where we met up with my Little Bro' (now aged 42 and living in Clacton-on-sea in Essex) and his eldest boy, my godson (of course a Blue). We had the best day of our lives watching the Blues win the FA Cup. I cried so much with seeing the joy on my kids' faces and pinching myself that I was with them during one of our finest hours.
Fast forward to last Sunday and I was in Gibraltar on a Royal Navy football vets tour (won both our games) with long time great Navy mates, some of whom are Rags (non-Mancunians). Also amongst us were three Sunderland supporters and two Liverpool supporters.
We met at Heathrow on Friday 11th to fly direct to Gib. and I started the weekend off with singing "Fergie are you listening, keep the trophy glistening..." etc. I sang this ditty amongst others all weekend and the lads were beginning to tire of me: "You had better bloody win now!", "Will you stop singing that 'beeping' song!" were some of the nicer comments I received.
We settled down to watch the two games in a pub with 4 large screens and my emotions were running wild with anticipation. I was feeling confident but, as with City, a little nervous of what might be. With literally 10 minutes to go I asked my Sunderland mates "is there any chance your lot could score a goal for us today?" An unequivocal "NO!" came back as the answer. "OK, then we will just have to score two of our own then won't we!" said I, not really believing it was possible.
My Liverpool mates were saying City were a disgrace for letting the Rags win another title (which of course would have taken them two past Liverpool's record). The rest is history and again I make no apologies for crying/sobbing like a baby in the pub, with all the lads so pleased for me (even the plastic Rags said well done!). I called my kids and brother and cried/shouted/sang down the phone to them and, basically, had the best day of my football life.
I am still on cloud nine and love our club so much it hurts. How good was it for City to ask 'Buzzer' and 'Skip' to walk onto the pitch with the Premier League trophy and to present to our current heroes and fantastic skipper in Vincent Kompany (my God that man has so much class). I honestly would not swap a single player for any other in the Premier League (including van Persie - who is a magnificent player) for any of our wonderful team.
To end this "Why Blue?", a very funny story: travelling back last Monday from Gib. to London, one of my Sunderland mates called his brother, who had been at the match versus the Rags and told him that everything had been set up for the Rags to celebrate with fireworks at the Stadium of Light when at, literally, the last seconds the news filtered through that the Blues had won the match versus QPR, whereupon the head workman honcho signalled to his troops with a chopping motion under his throat... "Lads, stow the kit, apparently City have p*ssed on their parade"... you couldn't pay enough to see the Rags' and Fergie's faces!
Keep the faith and enjoy the ride, 'cause the noisy neighbours are not going away!Hugh Doyle <Hugh.Doyle(at)baesystems.com>
ARTICLE: THIS TIME LAST WEEK
I type this 6:48pm on Sunday. Has it just been me or did anyone else keep checking the time today and thinking about what was happening/how they were feeling at the same exact point last week?
Seeing as people are sending in links, I thought I'd offer this one, which I just know the vast majority around here (if they've not already seen it) will enjoy:
Cheers, best and I love you all - they still haven't scraped me off the ceiling yet!Steve O'Brien <bodsnvimto(at)googlemail.com>
ARTICLE: MUTUAL APPRECIATION SOCIETY
Many, many congratulations to you Phil, Heidi plus all the recent contributors, for their excellent and wonderful contributions to the Champions' Specials - and for putting into words the almost impossible.
All the hard work for everyone involved over the years coming to fruition at last and don't we deserve it. Long may it continue.
[Ed - Dave, from all here at MCIVTA Towers to all you at KOTK Mansions, it's fantastic the work you have done over the (many) years, and suddenly all those dark, dark days are feeling like a bygone era aren't they?]Dave Wallace - King Of The Kippax fanzine <dw001e8104(at)blueyonder.co.uk>
ARTICLE: A14 BLUES
If anyone knows the City fans who carry the 'A14 Blues - Madness in City Shirts' flag, please get in touch.
I met them pre-match at Mary D's before the QPR match, and took a couple of photos that (given the momentous way the day turned out) they might want. Do contact me.Brian <bconnell(at)westminster.gov.uk>
ARTICLE: IT'S ALL DOUBLE DUTCH TO ME
As promised, the English version of my Champions' Coronation Day saga. Did I establish a precedent in having my Dutch version published in MCIVTA?
I had to share my story with my long-suffering Dutch family and my friends at FC Vogels-Zwijndrecht. I can hardly do justice to the events of Sunday the 13th, but it is always worth the effort to give it your best effort. Location was Fahy's Irish Pub in Schiedam, Holland. The assembled public consisted of essentially English and Irish with a couple of Scots and Dutch for good measure, all working in the Schiedam offshore construction industry.
The plot was:
How did it turn out, step-by-step?
Had done all the right things and carried out all my matchday rituals (only drinking coffee out of my blue City mug with British Airways stirring spoon, donned my sky-blue polo shirt etc.), but became increasingly apprehensive and irritated leading up to the kick-off.
Installed ourselves (with Tony, sympathetic Londoner and Sean, my youngest son) in front of the City monitor in plenty of time for the 16.00 (local time) kick-off.
Soon in the dumps, because the crowd around the other monitor (screening the Sunderland game) let us know that things were not going in our favour there.
We soon got a lift when Zaba showed us the way, accompanied by all sorts of mumblings from the back, of lucky this and that.
In the dumps again when QPR equalised, much to the raucous delight of the United crowd. We soon plunged into the depths of despair, greeted by an outburst of hysteria and even a cameo appearance of possibly the only QPR shirt in all the lower countries.
My mood at this stage was extremely sombre and I was full of trepidation. My feelings of helplessness and despair reached new depths as the 90 minutes loomed ever nearer. We had the ball often enough but it wasn't going in the net.
City still behind on the 90, and City had a mountain to climb and they had to win!
The United watching crew were increasing the volume and the peanuts were bouncing more frequently off the back of my head. In the 2nd minute of injury time Dzeko scores: too little, too late?
4th minute of injury time and Sergio scores and I thought that my heart was going to burst and my head explode. My son, Sean (on the point of tears minutes earlier anticipating my disappointment), and I were dancing like dervishes.
The neutrals looked on in amusement and approval of our obvious happiness. The rest of the public, gathered around the United monitor, all seemed to be in a state of shock with bemused expressions and complete and utter silence reigned.
More than a week has passed and I still have difficulty coming to grips with what happened. I cannot explain why the goals fell when they did but, nonetheless, it still feels damned good!
At the time it seemed to all go in a haze but it obviously didn't because I would otherwise have been unable to relate my own and Sean's little epic.
Like many of your readers and contributors, I've waited so so long for this moment, but even in our darkest moments, I have always felt that our day would come. The events of this season have reinforced my life's motto: Blue ever ascendant over Red.
My only compromise, on a completely different level, is acceptance of our boys' clubs' colours: yes, red shirts, white shorts but with royal blue socks. We couldn't do too much about that because that's how it's been since the inauguration in 1933.
Greetings to all my family and friends on both sides of the puddle.
Blue Moon over Holland too.
P.S. Did anybody have misgivings about the date of the final game? 13, but then Friday the 13th has always been kind to me.Dave Lyons <Dave.Lyons(at)hfg-heerema.com>
ARTICLE: TYPICAL CITY
First of all, thanks for your sterling efforts in collating and distributing MCIVTA. Plenty of work recently I'll bet.
I'm rising to the challenge of Ian Nixon in MCIVTA 1826 and having a go at explaining why it always has been and may always be 'Typical City'.
My Granddad always used to say 'Typical City' when they lost to a team they should have beaten or won when you expected they would lose. He watched City from the first years of the 20th century. My mum always used to say 'Typical City' and laugh or groan depending on the outcome. My mates and I have always said 'Typical City' when they did the exact opposite of what we'd predicted. My daughter says 'Well, that's Typical City, Dad!' on those occasions when she's stayed optimistic and I've feared the worst.
This doesn't seem to be the definition of 'Typical City' that is used by our relaxed and reassuring Chairman. Shortly after the QPR game he said the result marked the end of 'Typical City'. He meant failing to win things. This struck me as ironic as that game was possibly the greatest ever example of 'Typical City' if you use my definition. We went into that game with the best home record in the Premier League, one of the best home records of all time. QPR had fewer away points than any other team in the League. This was a classic banana skin situation for our beloved Blues.
It was possible to imagine a situation where QPR might park the bus and we'd do everything but score for an hour then we'd get nervous and the players would get tense but no, we scored in the first half and all thoughts of 'Typical City' were forgotten. Oh, then Lescott and Kompany make uncharacteristic errors and we're 1-2 down. Just when all hope is evaporating in stoppage time, two goals arrive from nowhere. How totally and gloriously unpredictable was all that in a game that the bookies had down as one of the certs of the season!
This roller-coaster of twisting fortunes can be identified in individual games or over whole seasons. Here are ten examples in chronological order:
Now, can a century and more of unpredictability be explained?
I have two theories. Firstly, there is a combination of factors that mean these events are more likely to occur to City. We have a history of playing attacking football in front of patient and good-natured fans. Winning at all costs has never been essential and we attract managers and players with a similar attitude. They are talented and play to win but that victory has to come by playing better football than the opposition. We love to win but are not scared of losing. This provides the element of uncertainty that permeates individual games and whole seasons.
Alternatively it is all down to chance. There are so many teams that it is quite possible that just one of them could experience a series of unexpected events over a protracted period of time. In all probability the next ten years will be far more consistent and predictable and 'Typical City' will be a thing of the past.
Somehow I have my doubts.John Clancy <johnnyclancers(at)hotmail.co.uk>
ARTICLE: NOW THE DUST HAS SETTLED
Okay, as I sit here typing, we are over a week on from that oh so very special day. The dust has settled and I figured I'd like to share a few thoughts from before, during and after. Please be gentle, as after going through that second half, my mind may never be fully right again.
As much as the jitters had a hold on me over much of the season, building to a point over the last three weeks in which I simply couldn't take my mind off it, morning noon or night, for any sustained period, last weekend it all hit crescendo mode. Quality sleep was impossible - indeed, I was on about four hours per night for several days and the nerves were making me feel physically nauseous.
As I have previously mentioned, I was lucky enough to swing an invitation into the Legends' Lounge, a first and most likely last for a peasant like me. Arriving early to be wined'n'dined, or that was the theory, a sumptuous three-course spread and as much booze as I wanted was on offer as pre-match refreshment but all I could get down my neck were a few scraps of meat and some fizzy water. I did get to rub shoulders with Colin Bell and Joe Corrigan though, both childhood heroes of mine; indeed, Colin is still my all-time favourite footballer. All top stuff in retrospect but not something I could look back on with any fondness had the Great Escape not been performed.
Then I felt like a dead man walking as we made our way out for the match itself. I won't dig up details all over again as it's been extensively and wonderfully covered in the last mighty couple of issues (which I'll save as long as I live!) but just thought I'd mention that since then I simply cannot (nor do I wish to) take my mind off that moment of our winning goal.
In retrospect, I hadn't seen how great Mario's part was, I just remember that Sergio had got himself around the outside and into shooting position, then the back of the net bulged and my first reaction, before leaping up in the air, was to check out the hand of Mike Dean. Yes!
I then let go and delirium set in (thus I never even considered watching the replay on the screens). Everybody was hugging each other and jumping around like kids but, in all that madness, the other thing that sticks most in my mind was not the pile-up on top of Agüero, not the almost pornographic scene between Mancini and Kidd, but (probably because he was closest to our end) the sight of Joe Hart running around in circles, arms outstretched, like a cross between a rabid dog and a remote-controlled aeroplane, before grabbing Gael Clichy and the pair trying to squeeze the life out of each other.
At this stage, mixed in with the ecstasy were just two worries - one was that QPR still had time to march down-field and score again (that was put to rest when they hoofed it deep into touch and didn't bother to cross the halfway line), and the other worry was that, given the sudden and surreal nature of what had just happened, I'd wake up at any moment and it would still be Sunday morning. I'd had several dreams of the match throughout the week after all, and none of them were as outlandish as the events unfurling before my eyes.
Until the glory of injury-time I had been sat there thinking about the sheer hell that would be my immediate future: facing that lot, more interested in rubbing it in than enjoying their own success for what it would have been. I'd already decided that summer was cancelled (I'd already made that decision a few weeks earlier when we were eight points back!) and though there was always the thought of how far we'd come in so short a time, nah, that was never going to be enough of a comfort.
After the whistle and the all-round initial celebration, and after the players had gone off whilst the stage was set for the moment we had feared had been lost, it was magic to see them, upon reappearance, still bouncing-off-the-walls every bit as much as the crowd around them. Mercenaries? Never! Don't anyone tell me they didn't care.
We watched the ceremony, the lap of honour, every last moment being savoured but my throat was suddenly dry and no fizzy water was going to do the trick now. Some other kind of fizz was called for, and we retreated to the bar, sucking down the shampoo until 6pm. One great moment during this time was the sight of Gary Neville walking past us outside the window. Oh did we give him pelters!
Then it was down into town proper and was it ever rocking with wall-to-wall, singing, dancing, partying (drinking, drinking, drinking) happy, non-violent Blues! By morning my voice had gone (again) and so had those of the lads I was with and I'm guessing several thousand others. I cut out in time for MotD but must admit I had to put a hand over one eye, otherwise I was watching 44 men chasing two balls around.
As utterly wonderful as all of this was though, I don't think it was until the next morning that it had fully sunk in. I watched, re-watched, re-re-watched etc. every last drop of sports news I could squeeze in. It was Monday morning when I finally shed a few tears. Even now, mind, watching those last moments, my chest swells up to a point where I feel it may burst and though I don't spill any tears they still well up.
Now that all is done and dusted, can I remind everyone of the 1-6 at the Swamp? The ManUre fans' mantra after that match was that "it's just three points". Well imagine it was 1-0, re-jig the goal-difference and goals scored accordingly, and see what you come up with. Just three points?
Anyhow, in closing, and after a long, stressful but ultimately magnificent season, I'd like to thank the two Phil's, Mr A. for all the work he has undertaken since being handed the reins, Mr B. for being essentially the spine of most issues - many of which would have been a tad anaemic without his input and, most of all, I'd like to thank everyone around here for their part in this great group.
Let's relax and enjoy a majestic summer, eh? When people ask me how I'm feeling I've taken to responding "Champion, thanks". I suggest you all adopt it.Steven O'Brien <bodsnvimto(at)googlemail.com>
ARTICLE: CHAMPIONS! CHAMP16NS... ONE WEEK ON...
One week on and I cannot say, hand on heart, that I am over the tension of the closest and best title race ever.
The first two days after the great day I felt drained. Make that extremely happy but drained. The build up from the Newcastle game up to the QPR game was excruciating (Vincent Kompany spoke for so many of us when he said he could have kicked off the QPR game straight after the win over Newcastle), and the game was even worse for 92 minutes.
There was so much at stake, the culmination of a season's hard work. A season when we had played by far the best football, no matter how much the Southern press hyped Tottenham.
The contrast in the potential consequences of defeat as opposed to winning. Trailing 1-2 into extra time and the prospect of facing Rags and those so-called experts who would have said "I told you so" wasn't a great prospect. A lot of ground had to be made up in a short space of time. The potential negative effects on morale at our club, had we lost, were almost unthinkable.
The next three minutes after Dzeko equalised at least gave us fresh hope. I'll never forget the anticipation when Agüero received the ball before playing in Mario Balotelli and his taking the return ball before his driving run to the right.
I'll never forget the sudden rush of positive energy and explosion of joy as the ball hit the net.
I've played it over and over in my mind, relishing it. Agüero... the anticipation... Balotelli... go on... Agüero... yes, yes... net billows... Y-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-S . Supreme elation! Supreme, lasting, bouncing, ecstatic elation.
I would be a liar if I said that it hasn't brought a tear to my eye as well as a broad smile when I have thought about this or watched Match of the Day again.
Sunday 13th May 2012 was a surreal day. Hope and tension turned into mental torture and back to hope and total elation again. Even the choice of records was rather surreal. After Zaba's opener and our chant of "Do, do, do Pablo Zabaleta...", we were treated to Black Lace's "Come on and join the conga" at half time. I can just see Liam Gallagher singing along, or maybe not! After all the drama it was wonderful to hear "We are the Champions": yes we are the Champions! Manchester City are the Champions. I promise I won't get bored of saying that.
"Wonderwall" and the Inspiral Carpets' "This is how it feels". It was really weird that we got not one but two Black Lace tracks, as "Agadoo" got an airing: as incongruous as it was amongst Queen, Oasis and The Inspirals, I suppose it was party time!
On the Monday, running on adrenalin, we took the whole family across the Pennines on Monday for the victory parade (the kids may have enjoyed the late night but not the early start on the morning after!). We were stationed on Princess Street just behind the Town Hall. Albert Square had filled up with 10,000 Blues soon after the gates had opened at 4pm - I'd love to read about anyone's accounts of what the experience in Albert Square was like.
Soon after 6:30pm we saw our heroes on the bus. Vincent Kompany was fittingly at the head of it with Samir Nasri, Nigel de Jong and Joleon Lescott. Out came the Premier League trophy, raised aloft with particular gusto by Kolo Touré it has to be said. Then, the Great Man himself, Roberto Mancini, waved to the crowd. Make that Sir Roberto Mancini...
God, we love him!
I am so proud of the way that our club has handled itself throughout. There has been a lot of sniping from many sources in the media, yet the club has kept its dignity throughout. We have won the League with a lot of class.
Vincent Kompany is the perfect captain. A strong leader, great player and a great man too. He speaks so eloquently and I am so proud that he is our captain. We can be equally proud of Roberto Mancini. How he has dealt with difficult questions, media sniping, Fergie sniping, some jealous managers like Moyes griping, his handling of Carlos Tévez, the way he took the pressure off our players after the Arsenal defeat left us 8 points adrift; the way he put the pressure back on United. "No, we have no chance" worked just fine.
Unlike Ferguson, he never went slating United off in the press. We were told that Ferguson was the king of mind games and that United always got stronger as the season goes on. Oh really? There might have been a danger that our season would have petered out after the Arsenal defeat. Not with this manager, nor this bunch of players. Their strength of character is highly admirable. They make me so proud how they fought back to win this title.
As we've found out (well, especially anyone who wasn't around in 1977 or 1968), winning the title is very difficult. Like so many I'm not sure I could handle another finish to a campaign like the last one! As Vinny said, "please not like this again", but if it has to be we'll be ready to go again in August...
I would like to see us win the League comfortably next season and at least get through the Group stages of the Chimps League. It would be great to see City really show who is the best team with a bit to spare. Mike Summerbee is absolutely right when he says we are by far the best team (I love the way he doesn't suffer fools in the media gladly).
The table may show that we have won on goal difference but we beat them home and away, comfortably: the famous 6-1 and the 1-0 at home when United barely managed a shot on target. Unlike United we have had several refereeing decisions go against us. As usual United have had several decisions in their favour: penalties (for diving, and when Rags were offside and penalties when they dived in an offside position), a series of unjustified sendings-off of opposition players, the drip-drip-drip of 50-50 decisions going their way.
In the 1-0 derby win again United got decision after decision and it was like we were playing 12 men. Alex Ferguson has intimidated referees for years in a shameful manner to the extent that they are scared to administer the rules even-handedly. I'd normally compliment the runners up for sticking with us and showing character all season long, but not in this case: United continue to cheat and enjoy help from several officials.
Patrick Vieira highlighting the favourable United treatment was well timed. Referees need to be reminded about even-handedness and this took the focus away from Roberto Mancini.
City have just got on with it. We overcame the highly unjust sending-off of Vincent Kompany and totally unwarranted four match ban, and stayed ahead in the lead in the Winter, until the defeat at Swansea. To have almost thrown it away and then won it back has made this an even more special and emotional time.
I was so happy for us as fans and as a club for a few days. I didn't have time to gloat! Then when you see the footage of United fans celebrating whilst the moustachioed man fretted on his radio/mobile, waiting for updates. The change on those Rags' faces when he tells them that City have scored is a joy to behold. It was great that we could wipe the smiles off those arrogant faces. The footage of Sunderland fans doing the Poznan was hilarious too. Ooh... that must have hurt! I wonder if it has sunk in with the Rags that everyone hates 'em?
This is more about us than them. It is our time and it is really enjoyable, with hopefully much more to look forward to.
I often wondered how Liverpool fans felt about winning back in the 70s and 80s. Did they get bored?
Would we get bored of winning? Not a chance. I want us to win it every year. Let's win as much as we can every year. It's quite addictive...Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)tiscali.co.uk>
ARTICLE: "EMOTION RECOLLECTED IN TRANQUILITY"
Was William Wordworth's definition of poetry. I guess that what follows must therefore be poetry.
Rewind to Sunday May 30th, 1999. Tickets provided by MCIVTA stalwart, Paul Howarth, my wife, myself and two of the kids set off for Wembley. 90 minutes of despair and disappointment, and at 90 minutes, unable to contemplate the players' anguish at the end, I hauled us all out. I've only ever left a football match early twice, and both times to avoid being dismembered.
I don't need to go into the details of that extraordinary day, but we heard Horlock score - oh well, a consolation, we thought - and then the most almighty roar as Sir Paul Dickov lashed the ball into the net. Heading back with 5,000 other despairing City fans, we caught all of extra time, and the rest is history.
So, the final Sunday of the season found me pretty confident, but with a case of Cityitis bubbling under. We don't have a TV, so I settled down to watch an Internet feed and catch the pre-match build-up.
Poof. No Internet. We're with Blueyonder and, whilst their tech "support" is beyond awful, the service itself is really pretty reliable. Call 150, get a very pleasant Indian lass on the line, who tells me the cable modem has blown. Not convinced myself, as the network status keeps flipping, but I gave up and headed for the pub (when I got back, the Net was just fine, and the engineer "booked" for us never appeared; par for the course for all Branson enterprises, w.r.t. "customer services").
The local was showing the United game in one bar and us in the other. The United bar had about 20+ local supporters and the City bar, 3 of us and a couple of neutrals. One in his 70s, who was watching on behalf of a City supporting friend away on his holidays. He'd been at the famous Yeovil FA Cup game in 1948, when they beat Len Shackleton's Sunderland in the Cup. We had a good chat all through the game.
Come 90 minutes this time, whilst I felt numb, I also thought - "Come on lads, we can do this". Bloke above and the other neutral both told me we'd blown it. I said - we'll see. And once Edin scored, something told me we'd do it. Couldn't see how, but we would. Magic Mario and Sergio the Sprite repaid both their transfer fees in 2 seconds of magic!
The United game having already finished, they had piled into our bar to mock us. Whoops. All 6'6" of me did a wild victory dervish dance, to be told I was a "****ing w*nker". "Thank you so much", said I, being a well brought up feller, and headed for home with a ginormous grin, singing Blue Moon at the top of my voice.
Meanwhile, back home, my wife, an associate City supporter as it were, had turned the radio off when we went 2-1 down, and set about some housework like a demon possessed, in order to drive the game out of her head and the thought of me returning home in misery. However, as I strode up the steps to the house, she found out we had won.
Usually when I open the front door, the dogs are pleased to see me and skip around a bit. This time they sensed something was up, proceeding to bark their heads off and to jump up and down - with joy I guess!
Onwards and upwards. I cannot lavish enough praise on the team, on Roberto, Brian and David (I know many didn't want him at City, but he and Roberto go way back, and that's good enough for me), and on everyone at the club. We are a different proposition now, we are in some ways a different club - but we are still absolutely the same club I started supporting way back in the 1950s. Having Tony Book and Buzzer bring the trophy out was wonderful, right and proper.
Happy days. Let's have many more. And let's make a horrible mess of Ferguson's retirement. His achievements we cannot deny; his lack of grace however, is another matter altogether.
This clip from the BBC shows just how poor the man's manners are:
ARTICLE: CHAMPIONS... SOOOO LAST WEEK!
So we are the champions of England, yawn! That was so two weeks ago. Now we start to build for world dominance.
One thing that bothers me is that we are already being linked with a whole slew of new signings before we've sorted out the current roster. We already have a star-studded team. By my count we already have 17 major names in our line-up, so someone has to do some fancy chopping before we can add any new blood.
If you consider Hart/Pantilimon in goal, Zabaleta, Richards, Clichy, Kompany, Lescott and de Jong in defence, Barry, Milner, Yaya Touré, Silva, Nasri in midfield and Agüero, Tévez, Balotelli and Dzeko as forwards that is a pretty stacked roster.
Of the regulars, I can see only Kolarov, Savic, Kolo Touré and Adam Johnson as being immediately dispensable and, even then, with the new rules coming in (I believe we have to field six domestic players), can we afford to unload Johnson without another domestic replacement? Also do we have to keep Kolo Touré to secure brother Yaya's continued involvement?
I see there is speculation about de Jong but how can we unload him after his supportive role in the run-in for the title? I definitely feel Nigel is a key player and should be offered a major contract immediately. If Mancini brings in Hazard, van Persie and Cavani, who goes? Tévez, Dzeko, Balotelli? That being the case, you know their transfer value will be diminished. Roberto can't continue to stack up the bodies. It's one thing to have tons of talent, but somehow you have to play them on a regular basis. Look what happened to Dzeko, Balotelli, Adam Johnson, Richards and Milner. I thought Dzeko and Balotelli saved us against QPR but a lack of playing time had to affect their confidence. Richards was victimised by Zabelata's sparking form and, like Johnson, a lack of playing time cost him his England spot. True you can't play everyone... but there's no point signing new players when you have no room for them.
I can see Savic, Kolo Touré and Kolarov leaving and probably Adam Johnson. Yet Mancini would need to buy a wide man to replace him. I still think Johnson is better than Walcott, Downing, Lennon and Sturridge. Mancini just needs to play him more. Still think Agüero and Tévez could work together as a dynamite pairing if Tévez could get rid of that meddling agent of his but, as evident in the QPR game, they need a big man like Dzeko, who plays well when they give him a run in the line-up and provides an alternative attacking plan.
Yes we need to strengthen the line-up (too bad we didn't get Gary Cahill when we had the chance). Bringing in a sackful of new talent will only upset the team's balance. We forget that 2011-12 was the first season this team played together; give this group two or three more seasons and we will be untouchable! A replacement for Kolarov, a replacement for Savic and maybe a replacement for Johnson is all we really need.
A final word about Richards being left off the England squad. Micah, don't sweat it! If Hodgson is too stunned to realise Micah's value, he won't have the job too long. He's been in the League long enough to know who's out there and to totally bypass Richards is scandalous. He obviously isn't listening to Stuart Pearce and is being influenced by Gary Neville. End result, England will be rubbish and we'll be looking for another England manager soon after the Euros. Maybe Micah will end up at the Olympics instead?
Obviously interesting things ahead... I just hope we don't get too loaded down with players; we've still got to unload Adebayor, Santa Cruz and Bridge! By the way, enjoy your 12-game vacation Joey. Couldn't have happened to a nicer fella, lots of time off to send your Tweets!Keith Sharp - Toronto <keith.sharp(at)hotmail.com>
ARTICLE: NICK POWELL
Having supported City since 1968, it was like the roller-coaster of the last 44 years was compressed into those last 5 minutes against QPR and I couldn't hold back the tears when Sergio Agüero scored the winner. Impossible to put into words though, it hasn't been easy on the heart!
I switched over to Sky News shortly after the game just to check I wasn't dreaming and must say I was rather taken aback by sports reader Nick Powell's spiteful summary - something along the lines of 'Well Man City have proved that the League title CAN be bought ... scenes of jubilant supporters coming in from the Etihad, lots of new supporters but it's easy to follow a team when they are winning, isn't it ... and now what about the UEFA fair play rules'. Does anyone have an idea who he supports?
No surprise though that Eamonn Holmes, who never misses an opportunity to remind viewers of his Rag allegiances, called in sick on Monday morning and they had a replacement in his chair.
Can't fault Sky too much though because their coverage of the parade through Manchester was fantastic.Chris <skybluecd(at)gmail.com>
ARTICLE: FORMER EDITOR STRIKES BACK!
Reference John <shearer4446(at)btinternet.com> and his comment below...
"I do hope you realise you are the first ever editor of MCIVTA to be in charge of a Premier League winning team."
Sorry to have to correct you, but back in the early days of MCIVTA I was pleased to take on the Editor's rôle for some time during one of Ashley's infrequent absences. As a Manchester United fan I guess I have been lucky enough to have experienced the Premier winning status on quite a few occasions.
Notwithstanding this, I would like to congratulate City on the Championship this year, as I did 44 years ago when they last won and Malcolm threatened that City would terrify Europe. Maybe they will be able to do better in this regard than they did then.
Good luck next season when the pressure will really be on as everyone wants to knock the champions off their perch and for sure United will be challenging strongly, as will Chelski after their European triumph.
Although not contributing these days, I still enjoy the regular dose of MCIVTA and am a regular follower of the patter.
Once again good luck for next season and let's hope everything stays in Manchester.Leo Fewtrell, Wythenshawe Exile <leo(at)gulfreps.com>
Open Top Double Decker Bus Celebration ... in Australia!
RESULTS AND TABLE
2011-12 Final League table
P GD Pts 1 Manchester City 38 64 89 *CHAMPIONS* 2 Manchester Utd 38 56 89 3 Arsenal 38 25 70 4 Tottenham H 38 25 69 5 Newcastle Utd 38 5 65 6 Chelsea 38 19 64 7 Everton 38 10 56 8 Liverpool 38 7 52 9 Fulham 38 -3 52 10 West Brom A 38 -7 47 11 Swansea City 38 -7 47 12 Norwich City 38 -14 47 13 Sunderland 38 -1 45 14 Stoke City 38 -17 45 15 Wigan Athletic 38 -20 43 16 Aston Villa 38 -16 38 17 QPR 38 -23 37 ----------------------------- 18 Bolton Wndrs 38 -31 36 19 Blackburn R 38 -30 31 20 Wolves 38 -42 25
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