I lived the first 4 years of my life in Lower Broughton, Salford, just short enough not to be stained Red. From then until the age of 18 I lived in Atherton, which is a town just down the East Lancs (that’s a road between Manchester and Liverpool for any Rags reading!). The first thing I can remember about supporting City was listening to midweek games on a little green AM radio. I seem to remember listening to a or some (?) European games, but I could be mistaken (probably).
The next memory is being 10/11-years-old and watching the Cup final in 1981 (I was born in ’71). On the Monday my old fella and my neighbour got a ticket each for the replay. My dad said he didn’t get one for me because I had exams at (primary) school. You needed good grades (i.e. not F’s) to get into the school up the road, otherwise you could only do C.S.E.’s and not O’levels! I pointed out to my dad that I’d finished my exams on the Friday so I could have gone. I had a right go at him and hated him for weeks afterwards (well, probably a day, you soon forget when you’re young!). Anyway, my mum let me stay up to watch all the replay, and all I remember is Ricky Villa dribbling round what seemed like all our defence for the winner. I blame the Argentinians for not invading the Falklands a few years earlier, if they had, Ricky and Ossie wouldn’t have been there and we would have won the only trophy in my living memory!
My first actual match at Maine Road was an F.A. Cup tie against Blackpool when I was 16-years-old. I was attending Wigan Tec. at the time and didn’t have any mates who were Blues, mostly Rags and a couple of Bolton fans. So I persuaded my dad to take me. We won the match 2-1, but the best goal was scored by one Paul Stewart, a blinder from 25 yards, who we later signed (just from the evidence of one game probably, as is the City way!).
After that I went to university in Stafford (don’t ask me why, didn’t even look at the place, ip dip dog …) where I met another Blue called Paul Currie. We would come home every home game weekend (we both had cars, poor students!) and go to the game with his dad/uncle’s. We would try to arrive at the Beehive for about 12.30 to give us plenty ‘ale time’ before kick off, and to get a parking spot next to the pub. The locals would swarm round straight away, ‘can I mind your car mate!’ and you’d give ’em 50p to get them off your back. One time Paul’s dad said ‘it’s o.k there’s a Pitbull in the boot’, to which the cheeky b@stard replied ‘why, can it put fires out!’ The best games I remember from these years are the two 4-0 games against Leeds, although we always seemed to be doing the Rags favours!
My first derby game was the year the Rags had just lost to Galatasary, and we were singing:
2 nil up and you *@#ked it up
Which we were still singing with the Blues 2-0 at half time, and the inevitable happened, we lost 3-2!
I’m now a regular season ticket holder, and I was present at the Liverpool game which sent us down, two own goals (Rush’s goal took a big deflection) sums it up. It was an experience seeing grown men crying in the Kippax stand, although I managed to hold back the tears myself, honest!
I’ve been on a round the world trip since July 1996 (it’s a hard life, but I’m researching international beers, sort of!), and have kept my season ticket going, which has been handy to use as ammunition against so-called Rags. I have actually been stopped in the street whilst wearing my City shirt in some places, one bloke even pulling over his car to have a chat! Seeing a Fijian in a remote village wearing a Rag shirt was quite amusing, still, he’s probably been as close to the Swamp as most! I think I’ve chosen the right year to stay away though, the events being so bad it was funny, much to the amusement of the Toon’s, Scousers, Rags, etc. all with nothing to do with their respective teams. I have actually managed to see a few ‘live’ games whilst in Australia, the Wolves game which finished for us after about 2 minutes due to bad satellite reception, the other being the Middlesbrough F.A. Cup game, which due to the five nations was delayed until a 5.00am start. Since we were in the pub at 8.00pm this game was also over after about 5 minutes (and 20 schooners) due to bad reception between the screen and my brain. All I remember is being p****d and p****d off and getting sunburnt on the way home! I was going to come home if we got to the final.
Still, looking on a brighter note, things are looking up after Frank Clark (or is that Blakey off ‘on the buses’?) took over and the fact that Gio’s staying (for now!)
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #317 on
Home soon Lee Grime