This is yet another Why Blue from over the pond but with a twist. The twist is that I am a born and bred Mancunian; indeed, if there were a Manchester equivalent of a Cockney then I would be he. Without going into too much detail I was born in the old St. Mary’s hospital (now an NCP car park) opposite the Apollo, lived in Longsight (about 2 miles from the Academy), went to school in Victoria Park (about 800 yds from the Academy). As if these details alone were not enough to direct me to Maine Road, I had further help – everybody else in my family supported the other side.
Actually the situation is very simple. Two of my elder brothers are close in age (and much older than me) and they simply didn’t want “Junior” tagging along to the match. Then we won the second division and I bought a magazine with a picture of Johnny Crossan lifting the Second Division trophy and I was hooked.
When I was old enough to go to matches by myself I could walk to Maine Road and I was fortunate to see some of the best teams we ever fielded. My highest moment was the Sunderland FA cup tie when we drew 2-2 and even though we lost the replay it was one of the best matches ever. My low moment was being arrested during the Malcolm Allison return to Maine Road when he had just abandoned us for Crystal Palace (last match of the season in ’72 I think).
I have endured seasons of taunting by multitudes of Red friends. My nephew was part of the Reds’ youth policy until injury forced him to quit. Still, I maintain to them all that there is one true Manchester team.
Since ’72 the live matches I have seen have been few, although I do remember a Brighton game vividly. I forget the season but it was the John Bond era; I can remember seeing the team arrive on the pitch and remember how pale everbody else looked beside the suntanned Trevor Francis. Francis then proceeded to score one of the best goals I have ever seen, only to have it disallowed by some idiot ref.
In 1986 I moved to Oxford, and in 1993 moved to the good old USA but I still keep my passion for the “Blues” and I rely heavily on the information that each of you contribute weekly. During the season I have my brother-in-law tape the Match of the Days and send them over but they come in about every 8 weeks so the MCVITA is my lifeline to all that is true and good about England.
I will leave you with this one thought – Just how much could you hate United if Howard Kendall ever became their Manager?
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #81 on