I started watching the Blues in about 1952, but sadly cannot remember the game. My father was a policeman and was often on match duty, so he passed me in free to the Main Stand, where I caught the fever. In those days I remember the visitors included players such as Finney (Tom not Steve), Matthews and Shackleton. On the City side I particularly remember Ivor Broadis for great skills. At my Wythenshawe primary school I recall a City full-back visiting us with his loser’s medal from the ’55 Cup Final (Roy Little was it? – I wish I’d retained my programmes to aid memory, I might have written ‘Fever Pitch’!). If I had to pick my real hero from those days, it would have to be Bert Trautmann. I also remember when McDowell started experimenting with the Revie Plan and I think we lost 2 games 9-2 (at West Brom?) and 5-1.
In time I progressed to standing on the Kippax, although sometimes I would walk through at half-time to the scoreboard end (you could do that then), depending on which way the Blues were playing.
The crowds in those times could be huge and scary; some I was in were of the 70,000-80,000 kind, particularly for derbies, although the biggest were when U****d ‘borrowed’ Maine Road for their big European games when Old Trafford was being renovated – it was inferior in those days!
I continued watching regularly until 1969 when I left Manchester for Luton and a job, so I guess I saw the best times really. Since then I’ve been rationed to occasional visits to Maine Road – the Newcastle game this year and some aways such as Barnet (not a lot of fun). I also have to admit to watching Luton very occasionally – they gave some pleasure the year they won the Littlewoods Cup and at least I had a team to watch at Wembley again. But… all my loyalties and emotions are in Moss Side!
With the present trends in the Premier I am beginning to have doubts about City’s capability to survive as a big club. I really hope I’m wrong but without a multi-millionaire behind you I can see the ‘Cities’ falling away and a European league developing for a handful of teams. As I say I hope I’m wrong – maybe the bubble will burst for some of these big spenders this year…
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #103 on