I was born and bred in Oldham (not exactly a hotbed of City support when I was a kid). In fact my grandfather made me a member of Oldham RLFC supporters’ club when I was 2 hours old!
When I was 11 I decided that I wanted to go to a football match and my grandfather dutifully offered to take me (father was a Derby fan). The first game I went to was Rags vs. Chelsea, a 1-1 draw (I think) and the second (Oldham vs. Torquay) Oldham lost but managed to win when the results came on the radio. The next game was City against someone else – I could only see those blue shirts – City won – Bell, Lee, Summerbee, Oakes, Doyle, Heslop, Mulhearn, Pardoe, Young, Book – all dream names – I was utterly and totally besotted – City for me for ever.
In those days I went to every home game – when the first team played away I went to the reserves. This was the Championship season and being a little thick I didn’t even look how high up the table we were. It didn’t matter – I just wanted to see City. I didn’t go to Newcastle for the last game and to be honest it only hit me afterwards that we were Champions. From then until now I’ve neen Blue – I had quite a few seasons when I couldn’t see City – service in the Royal Air Force in Germany and Northern Scotland – but I still had to see those results on a Saturday.
I never missed a Cup Final, even managed to get to the Spurs final(s) from Germany with a fellow Blue (from Folkstone). Postings to the Midlands, Cheshire and East Anglia provided me with seasons when I never missed a game home or away (the RAF wouldn’t let me go to Poland for some reason so I did miss one game).
In those days City were respected and feared; we had a good team who always played with style and were capable of winning. We had some great players – those already mentioned plus the likes of Tueart, Hartford, Watson, Corrigan, Barnes, et al. I now live in the deep south in Crawley with a mortgage to pay and getting to home games is out of my price range (travel too expensive). I do get to all the local games, Selhurst Park being only 20 miles away (Wimbledon and Palace games are ones I want to forget), Portsmouth is 90 minutes away, Reading, London and Oxford an easy drive. My kids are Blue (junior blues and London Branch) – my wife is dutch but I have her trained to turn round all the Rag Mags in Smiths and the local newsagents! She also wants to see a match at Maine Road – roll on Christmas when we travel North.
Being Blue has provided me with joy and heartbreak – something all soccer fans can relate to. I have found that City are often 2nd team of lots of other fans (mainly because we are not the Rags) they all want City to do well. I work for a French company and have taught some of my French collegues that most important of all phrases – Come on you Blues.
Keep the faith – good times are just around the corner.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #234 on