Why did it happen? Why do I suffer more misery than happiness? Why are those tiny moments of happiness so sweet (City 1 Bradford 0 – get in there!)? Why did Tommy Hutchinson break my heart at the tender age of 10?
The answer to all of these questions, and many more, can be found at Maine Road. And also in Didsbury. And various other places around the world.
It began in 1977-ish. Season ticket in the North Stand with my dad, big brother Jon, and mate Dom. My dad and Dom’s dad took it in turns to take us to the games. Unfortunately, Dom’s dad was (and still is) a Manchester (yeah right) United sympathiser and often frequented the quagmire. My dad, to his credit, is still a season ticket holder (block H) and goes every home game, work permitting.
Earliest memory of the Temple was us beating Derby(?). I think it was 3-0 but I’m not sure of the year/fixture/result. What I do remember is that my little brother Jules came as well. He spent the afternoon counting the rafters in the Main Stand. Fascinated by cantilever roofs or something. Bloody nutter if you ask me.
Anyway, after one game, I was hooked.
The season tickets were purchased and for the next eight years the four of us would attend every other Saturday.
When we played Ipswich in the Semi-Final of the F.A. Cup in 1981, we listened on the radio. Dad said that if we won he’d take us to Wembley. As an adult he obviously realised that this concept of winning was not City and that his cash would be safe. And then Villa Park went mad.
Wembley was a great experience. Tommy scored twice, and ruined my life. Or so I thought. Didn’t know it was going to get worse. Ricky Villa. What a con. Not a good goal. Just crap defence. OK, I am biased. Compare it to Kinkladze vs. Southampton!
The North Stand season tickets were ditched and the Kippax became home.
The eighties were a rollercoaster of emotion. Beating Charlton 5-1. Relegation. Pitch invasions (on the Pitch, on the Pitch), 3-0 up at half time and then drawing 3-3, away games, the bell (cheers Helen), the Simod Cup, the Clarence, the Kippax, Pies, Pints, getting to the ground late and missing two goals (was it vs. Notts County?), and then that famous day in September 1989.
Got back to Didsbury at about 5.30pm and all the pubs were closed. Fortunately the landlord of the Dog and Partridge let me and my mate Ollie in the side door. It all went very quiet when we entered. On production of my City membership card the volume increased somewhat. Full of Blues, all still in shock.
The nineties: beating Spurs 5-2, Klinsmann the incredible diving man, seeing my beloved Kippax knocked down and rebuilt, relegation, Kinkladze, relegation, losing, relegation, Peter Reid, Niall Quinn, Alan Ball, Torquay, Blackpool, Reading, “If you hate jellied eels clap your hands” (Southend), Reading (aaarrrggghhhh!), Portsmouth, Oxford (twice), Kappa, Blue View, MCIVTA, etc.
The list is endless. I support them because they are my local team. They drive me mad, and at the same time can make me deliriously happy. Case in point being last Saturday. I went out at about 4pm. Didn’t get a chance to look at any results until I got home at 11pm. And then I was (and still am) in a good mood. We had managed to secure our fourth win of the season. Come on City, come on City.
The final point I shall make in my Why Blue is this:
In 1978 I was in Miss Garstang’s class at St. Cuthbert’s Junior School on Heyscroft Road in Withington. The BBC came to make a film about the F.A. Cup Final of that year: United vs. Arsenal. They wanted people to sing some song about United, what it meant to live in Manchester, and how many goals the team were going to win by. It was shown on BBC2 (I think), and if anybody remembers it or me, then let me know.
I refused to be in it.
Der Der Der Der Der Der Der Der CITY (clap clap clap), Manchester City.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #349 on