Growing up in Manchester in the 70s, my first memories of supporting a football club relate to following, ummmmmm, Manchester United, for a year or two until they were relegated to the (then) Second Division. Now, there was no way I was going to support a crappy 2nd Division side, so I promptly switched allegiance to a proper 1st Division local club, Manchester City…
I am pleased to say that age has given me a more mature outlook on the ups and downs of life, and football in particular, and I now endure City’s seemingly regular detours down a division with the patience we all now have to exhibit.
My hero back in those days was Dennis Tueart, who scored that magnificent overhead-kick goal to win the League Cup against the Geordies in 1976. But my personal link with him was that he lived down my road in Sale. So there am I, aged about 8 I guess, with my latest soccer book with a photo of my hero in it, tentatively walking up an endless gravel drive to knock on his door and ask for an autograph. Nice chap that he was, he obliged, but requested, “Don’t tell all your mates I live here will you?” Sadly the book has disappeared in one of many moves since.
My first visit to Maine Road was to see us beat Ipswich 2-1 on my birthday. I have no idea when this was, but I remember the acute disappointment at the announcement that Tueart was injured and so wouldn’t play. The other memory of that day is how green the pitch looked having approached through the endless streets of grey around the ground – it was like the world had suddenly switched from black and white into colour.
Another meeting with one of City’s gods was when Joe Corrigan (and Alex Stepney) came to our school to goalkeep in a charity penalty shooting event. I didn’t get to test the great man (or Stepney for that matter), but I remember it as an exciting afternoon for the school. The autograph is again, sadly, lost. Stepney’s son was in my woodwork class at that school, for what it’s worth.
I then followed, rather than supported, City for many years, until they were drawn at home against Chester in a Cup match a couple of years ago. A mate at work was a big Chester fan (proof that therapy has no effect) so we went up to watch. He insisted we stood right in the middle of the away (Chester) end, so despite the excitement at being back at Maine Road after so many years, I couldn’t cheer each time we scored. The final score eludes me, but we won!
Now I’m in Christchurch in New Zealand, and keeping in touch with City better than I ever did in the UK thanks to the Internet. All I need now is for the club shop’s internet site to open so I can get a City woolly hat, as it’s bloody freezing here just now.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #316 on
Carl Hogan Christchurch New Zealand