I’m from a totally football-allergic family in West London and have no distant memories of football-related activities at all except that my best friend when little, Ben Wood, supported Liverpool and had a poster signed by all of the 1983 (?) team including Ian Rush. His mum was from the Wirral so perhaps it wasn’t total glory-hunting. Anyway, I was completely unaware of football until the night when Norwich laid into Bayern about four years ago – I was babysitting for someone and there wasn’t anything else on the telly so I watched it and got a bit into it. Then I watched a few more Euro matches but still didn’t quite understand what it was all about. Anyway, I came to Manchester University three years ago and in my flat were a Norwich fan and a City fan; MOTD and all televised footie were compulsory viewing and I got into it a bit more and thought I’d best go and see a match. In my naïvete I thought that United sounded fun but (thank ***k) I couldn’t get a ticket – anyway, after a while (quite a long while) I roused myself out of an apathetic hole and saw City playing Southampton.
A recurring theme in Why Blues seems to be “the moment when I first came out of the tunnel and saw the stadium all around and a luminous green pitch in the middle and I haven’t been the same since.” I was like that – although from my seat near the front of the Umbro Stand I couldn’t really tell what was going on, I loved it. It was Dashing Cavalier Horton’s high point – Beagrie and Walsh playing hell around Soton’s defence. I think we were 6th in the table at the time, and the crowd was pretty upbeat – I don’t know exactly who scored but Beagrie did I think and then somersaulted – it was 3-3 and I was fully sold on City. The atmosphere, the people, the stadium…
I’ve managed to get to quite a few since then – also, the rest of my house are converts – although personally I think this is less to do with me than with Kinkladze. High points are mostly associated with him – his running the game against Leicester – the goal against Southampton – Newcastle. Low points – relegation, obviously – although it was so dreaded for so long that it almost wasn’t too bad when it happened. I think it was the Middlesbrough home game which was the most depressing of the lot; most of the crowd were fully convinced by then that relegation was certain.
Anyway – the point about following City is that you do it because you can’t cope with the pressures inherent in success.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #205 on