I first knew of my allegiance to City when I was about 7 or 8. My mum fantasised about this fellow called Bell who I had heard about but never seen.
Coming from Salford I was surrounded by Reds. The first encounters in the playground were always about `are you a Red or a Blue?’ Out of forty kids three of us were Blues. There were also about four or five Liverpool fans because this was about 1976-77 when Liverpool were digging their claws into everything.
In 1979 I went to my first match. This was on Wednesday 10th October – my birthday. This was a special treat not only as a birthday present but also to cheer me up as my mother had just died. I can still remember being taken to Maine Road by my sister’s first boyfriend (thanks Graham Young). That memory of seeing the floodlights for the first time will never leave my memory. I was privileged enough to see Kaziu Denya score a goal and then swing on the crossbar at the game against Middlesbrough. At the time I didn’t know that they had a team!
That season I went to 3 matches, seeing the Polish international score another goal on the Saturday.
The season after, my dad gave me the best surprise that I have ever had – a season ticket. My dad is a traditional Rugby League fan and I knew he would be bored stupid going to watch football but I was determined to enjoy myself.
I was lucky. That season was probably the best season we have had since we last had any glory. The games against Palace (and Big Mal) and JB’s ex-club Norwich were a treat to watch. I wasn’t at Villa Park for the semi or Wembley for the finals because that was a bit adventurous for a rugby fan. I was steadily becoming a True Blue – I still went to see Salford Rugby club (the proper game by the way – league) but City were becoming the most important factor in my life.
The next season my dad had had enough and so I only went when my sister would take me – 9/10 times. I then started going on my own and since then I have had a season ticket for most of that period.
Games that stand out include the world beating 5-1 against Stretford, 10-1 against Huddersfield and beating Liverpool first home game of the season. Not to forget the Charlton game which clinched promotion. Bradford away also was good, with Paul Stewart playing very well.
Low points include Luton (the start of the real problems) and defeats by Spurs in the Cup and times when City seem to have it won then bottle it (especially against Stretford).
I have to say that City have given me more heartbreak than pleasure but they always seem to make me come again to the Academy although I often say `that’s it – never again.’
Hopefully Franny, Asa, Bally and co will give me something to cheer about.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #110 on