As a kid dragged up in Stretford, my dad took me to Old Trafford every home match. I would stand in the old Scoreboard End with a lot of old men, unable to see or enjoy the match. In 1968 a mate of mine took me to Maine Road to see City. As a kid of 14, the differance was to change my life. No more boring old men going on about the pre-1958 team (which as a little one I had watched) but a whole new lifestyle of fans who live by the team I now love only second to my kids (all are true Blues). As for my dad, he has disowned me a few times and is now an armchair Red, but I will be at Maine road this Saturday with my kids to see the boys.
Growing up during the late sixties/early seventies in Sutton, Surrey hardly lent itself to supporting any particular team. Wimbledon, who, geographically, were my closest team, apart from Sutton United, were still knocking around in the nether regions of non-league football, and Crystal Palace were just too far away.
For a while from 5-6, I supported Chelsea but only because everyone else at my school did too. Then, I bought my first pack of football cards (you know the pecursors of Panini which came with bubble gum). The first card in the pack was Francis Lee, and the rest is history. Hooked on misery. The only City triumphs I actually remember were the 70 League Cup triumph (and that is very hazy) and the 76 League Cup win. Since then, has been one long never-ending nightmare. Only the side that Malcolm Allison prematurely dismantled has given me any real pleasure on all my travels.
Having said that, I approach this season with more optimism than in many a year. We really do seem to be building a fine team and judging by pre-season results, a team that seems to be establishing some kind of consistency… it’s still only Division One though.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #319 on