I suppose that there are some people who come to support City after watching the games and developing an interest and affection for the club, and those who do so because of friends who support City getting them involved. Then there are a large group of people (including me!) who were simply indoctrinated into the club.
Like a parent trying to indoctrinate a child into some wierd religion, my mum had me saying ‘City’ along with ‘Mama’ and ‘Dada’ as a baby. In fact she is still at it – all of my nephews and nieces were enrolled as Junior Blues almost before they were born!
Having said all that, my first memory of a game was not a particularly happy one. I was still very young, and didn’t really understand what this football game was all about. Later when my mum and I returned to Maine Road on a more regular basis I was to understand all too well! We first went into the Platt Lane stand in the late 70’s and later had season tickets for a few years. Since then I have moved away and ceased to go to the matches, and even for a while lost interest altogether, but now I suppose that the things that matter are coming to the fore, and I’m happy for that. One of those is brass bands, another is City. Alas I am in Sussex so can’t get a season ticket – were I closer to Manchester I most certainly would.
Yes those heady days in the late 70’s. I remember very clearly some of those great Junior Blues meetings I went to, where we would meet the players and cheer heartily along to a video show of some old game. Since then I suppose that being loyal to City has been a little more of a challenge, but for me, there has never been a question about that!
During a few years mum and I went to all the home games and quite a few away too. We almost joined the merry band of hardy souls who were with City wherever they went, and Helen with her bell. Those were good times, even through the worst of the Malcolm Allison reign. Often though we would speculate that Maine Road should have a Government Health Warning slapped on the Main Stand, and I learnt what it was to adopt a philosophical attitude to things…
Some moments for me:-
Well of course, Denis Tueart’s overhead kick which won us the League Cup against Newcastle.
Other contenders are the extra time goal by Paul Power that took us to Wembley where we lost against Spurs, the 4-0 win over Middlesbrough that took us to that League Cup final. Also getting a birthday card which had been signed by all the City team (Joe Corrigan, Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee etc.) on my birthday!
A certain 1-0 defeat by Luton Town comes high on the list.
Another was connected with a Derby match. I had recently befriended a Dutch au pair girl who was working and living in Prestwich, and she wanted to see a football game but was convinced that English football was rife with hooliganism, so we persuaded her that we should go to one to show that this was not true. All was well (the match ended 1-1) until the train home, which was attacked by a bunch of thugs wearing red scarves at Oxford Road station. Thankfully Agnes and I got away safely, but I think her views were somewhat hardened, and I felt truly ashamed of what these idiots had done.
The humiliation of being led through the streets of Leicester on the way to an away match, just like a herd of cattle. I still believe that if you treat a man like an animal, then don’t be too surpised if he acts like one!
I realise that at times like this, it is often tempting to say that heads must roll, particularly the manager’s. Now I think is the time for Frannie Lee to keep cool and to unreservedly back Alan Ball for next season’s campaign. Also I think the next few months will show what stuff the players are made of. If our two Georgians decide that there are better places to be then I could hardly blame them, but if they decide to stay with City then I think that it is imperative that the supporters remain just as loyal. Once we have licked our wounds we need to get behind the club unreservedly, and with 100% commitment!
First off, I think we need to be ready for a hard season ahead. The Endsleigh League teams will be no pushover, and we will probably need to get used to much harder physical football. Secondly, we have to hit the ground running. No repeats of the 95-96 season – we must be winning from the first game of the season. Thirdly, we have to try not to be distracted by early season hype about what a glorious season the Rags will have and how they will win everything in sight. What happens down the road doesn’t really matter, and probably only serves to make life that much more difficult.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #194 on