I am a southerner, and I’m proud to be one. The nearest I have ever lived to Manchester is Watford, and I now live in Winchester, yet I am Blue through and through.
My father was born a cockney, but during the war as a three-year old he was evacuated to Manchester and stayed with a family who he came to regard as his real family. So much so that even after the war finished and because of bomb damage it was a further ten years before he returned to London. He spent all his school days in Moss side and was brought up to support City.
During my early years he used to take me to watch them play when they were down this way. My first match was as an 8-year old at Wembley in 1969 and I was totally hooked. The following season he took me to Maine Road for the first time and back to Wembley again. From then on there was no stopping me. My keenness became the excuse he needed to take me all over the country to watch them play. When I was a little bit older and allowed to go on my own, I would spend all my pocket money travelling to watch them play, I spent many hours sat on trains going all over the country to see them. I cried at Wembley in 1974 (the memory of seeing a dejected Rodney Marsh walking off the pitch after that defeat, and before collecting his loser’s medal is one that will stick with me all my life). I cried again in 1976, but for a totally different reason. I didn’t miss a weekend game for four seasons and it was heaven. The whole place was alive, Colin was King. the atmosphere was buzzing and it was in my blood.
Then as with all good things it had to come to an end. On leaving school I joined the Royal Navy and spent the following 9 years only managing to see them on the rare occasions when I was back in this country and circumstances allowed. By the time I left the Navy I was married with two children, and living and working in Hampshire, spending some of my time working abroad. I can barely manage half the games a season now and I have to be content with that.
I am still as fanatical as I ever was, I still will not have a red car and last year I won a colour telly in a raffle and then refused to take it because it was made by Sharp (my wife thinks I’m nuts, but then she doesn’t like football).
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #377 on
Andy Stevenson Winchester