Paul Howarth

Why Blue?

My first memory is the ’81 Cup Final. I was six at the time and found it
hard to understand why my Dad was getting so worked up! Not really
understanding what all the fuss was about. I was taken to the league
rematch early the following season. It was one of Trevor Francis’ first
games for us and I think Spurs won 1-0.

Over the next 2 or 3 seasons, I would be taken to 3 or 4 games a season and
invariably see City lose! However, I was starting to understand and get
involved, despite never seeing them win for about 4 years. Then I saw

The infamous last game against Luton is usually remembered for the Pleat
celebrations. My memory is of a game we should have won easily (is this
true?) and then Rady Bloody Antic scored with little time left. The
relegation put me off going the next season unless I thought it would be a
good game that we might win.

The only game I went to that season was against Newcastle. This was by far
the best side in the division. They had Keegan, Beardsley and Waddle. We had
… erm … well … can’t remember! Shows what state the club was in.

We won promotion the next season, then were back 2 years later. Of this
period, my memories are few. One is of missing a last minute equaliser
against Birmingham after leaving a dire performance early. Oh, and the Full
Members’ Cup Final at Wembley.

What a comeback that almost was. I was due to have my tonsils removed a few
days before the game but my parents cancelled the op so I could go. Anyway
the game is in my memory for two reasons, the comeback and the trouble.
The trouble at this game was my first experience of any sort of football
violance. It started when some Chelsea ‘fans’ were found in our end (just
to the left of where I was sat). There was some minor fighting and then the
police moved in and moved them to the other end. Then on the way home, a
brick was thrown through a window of the coach in front of us. How bad, in
reality, this was, I don’t know. I just remember it as the first (and so
far only, thankfully) time I have been afraid for my safety at a City game.

Anyway, on to the game. 1-0 up (Steve Kinsey), 5-1 down. Then the last ten
minutes. We somehow managed to get it back to 5-4. I think there was an own
goal and a penalty in there, but whatever, it was almost a brilliant
comeback but not quite.

During our first season back in the second division, I remember wanting to
go to the Huddersfield game, but wasn’t allowed (a legacy of Wembley; my
dad wouldn’t let me go without an adult). Listening to the game on the
radio that afternoon, I was amazed when we were 4-0 up at half time. It
won’t last said my dad – we won 10-1. I still remind him of that when he
doesn’t want to go to a game I’m going to!

After getting back into the First Division we struggled for a while (and still
do!!). My next memory is perhaps my favourite. The Niall Quinn vs. Derby County
game. It was a game Derby had to win to have a chance of staying up. We took an early lead through Quinn.
Then Saunders broke through at the Platt Lane end. Coton brought him down;
penalty and Coton sent off. The North Stand (where I was) was up in
arms, after all, what could we see from the other end? Anyway, Quinn goes
in goal and saves the penalty. What joy! I can’t remember such a swing in
atmosphere. One minute calm, then very hostile, then celebratory. We went
on to win 2-1. Quinn was a hero.

Recently, I have been exiled in Birmingham for much of the year. As a
student, I don’t get to see many games but try to stay in touch. Hopefully,
I’ll get to
see the Liverpool game and perhaps Villa away (if a date is finally set in
term time).

Why Blue?

Re Kevin Duckworth’s piece in MCIVTA 68:

> …
> The game began
> and within 10 minutes, the tension was too much to bear and, when Ian
> Brightwell (?) passed the ball into the path of Marshall who scored for
> Ipswich, she was hooked as a City fan- she has always felt sorry for the
> underdog. By the final whistle I was battered and bruised as she showed her
> enthusiasm. Her lasting impressions on the game were Rocastle has a nice
> bum. Phelan is as fast as F***, and Lomas is a sweetheart.

The back pass was by Garry Flitcroft; you must have had a nice view of
Rocastle’s “Brazilian” skills that set up Griffiths’ equaliser?

First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #69 on


Paul Howarth