Most Kiwis (I live in New Zealand) I know think I support Man City due to my support of the local Blues (the Auckland Blues Rugby team). Although not false the real reason is actually older than the Blues rugby team.
I was brought up in the small Lancashire town of Lytham. As a youngster my father took me and my siblings to see Lytham Corinthians (my father used to be a player) or Blackpool (in the semi-glory days in the 1970s of Alan Suddick). As a treat we were driven down to Liverpool to see Everton games (my father’s boss was Chairman of Everton) in the flash seats. This was heaven compared to the scratching sheds at Bloomfield Road.
A friend, called Anthony Thornton, was a keen City fan and, after years of trying to convert me, made a major advance in 1981 when he asked me to go to the Cup Final replay with him (he had got tickets from his girlfriend who worked at the Football League). In the next 2 seasons I went to about 10 games.
My “Blueness” was sealed in October 1983 when I went down to Manchester University – and yes there I met Paul Howarth. Whilst at Uni I contiuned to support City and Blackpool. One famous incident was in 1985 when a group of BFC fans (in case any police read this I will not admit to being one) visited Maine Road at 3am and painted Blackpool FC on several walls. My loyalties were split during many of the City vs. Blackpool Cup games in that period – does anyone remember the League Cup game when 3,000 Blackpool fans sang their hearts out during a 4-2 defeat at Maine Road? To my credit I was in the City end at Bloomfield Road when BFC beat City in the FA Cup (City fans invaded the pitch) in around 1986.
After Uni I stayed in Manchester sharing a house in Withington with a major City fan (Paul Howarth) and two Leeds fans (twin brothers from Doncaster). I continued to be a regular at Maine Road. In 1989 I moved back to Lytham and whilst there attended many City games. My most memorable game during this period was a few weeks after the 10-1 when we beat Hudderfield in the away FA Cup replay.
In February 1992 I moved to NZ (my Lytham employer sent me to work in their NZ office for 2 years). I soon met a local lady and signed up to stay. I was married in 1994. Paul came out to NZ for my wedding – this led to him missing matches for the first time in 4 years.
In NZ I continue to support the Blues. My daughter wears Blue gear as do I. Unfortunately MCFC get little coverage. Often I am walking down the street wearing a Man City top and someone comes up to me. They say braindead things like – “you must be happy that Manchester won the double”! After being sick I explain that the Rags do not even come from Manchester.
I have converted several lads to the Blues. My 5-a-side soccer team (I am the only Pom in it) is called the Citizens. For any NZ readers we play at the YMCA in Northcote.
Yes I have gone on. Getting back to brass tacks the real reason I am a Blue goes back to the famous overhead goal by Dennis Tueart in the League Cup final. My favourite City player has been Paul Power. My favourite game – the 1989 derby.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #286 on