Phil Bird

Why Blue?

I was born near Urmston, Manchester, in 1963, brought up in Partington the son of an avid Blue. It’s all his fault…

My dad started taking me to Maine Road from around 1966, sitting me on his knee in the Platt lane. Mostly in those days I would spend all game running up and down the steps waiting for half time for a Wagonwheel or a drink of Oox from dad’s flask.

Early memories include falling and splitting my head open in the Platt Lane. Then running up to my dad with blood streaming down my face with him then telling me to go and see the St. John’s Ambulance man at the back of the goals. It wasn’t until the guy picked me up and carried me round to the changing rooms for stitches that my dad came down, most upset that he was missing the match. Another included playing in the scoreboard end and picking an old half eaten orange up and throwing it over my head where it scored a direct hit in a woman’s face. She promptly gave me a clip round the head.

Not really a good start for any young City supporter. But who would have changed it with the events over the next few years? Enough has been said about the glory years by others but I was there at Wembley in 69 & 70 and feel very lucky to have witnessed the greatest period in our club’s history.

We hardly missed a home match and my dad got us to the game any way he could as at that time we had no car. He later bought a Honda 70 moped and we would go on that, parking at my Aunt’s on Yew Tree Road with a short walk to the ground. We even went to Stoke around 1972 on it in the rain, City were getting beat 5-0. Franny scored a pen with about 5 minutes to go. I was the only one in the ground that jumped up with my dad quickly dragging me down again. I was always the optimist, after all there was still 5 minutes left… In later years that optimism paid off at the Full Members’ Cup final where not many of us stayed behind to see the best finish to a City game I can remember even though we didn’t win.

We went to Wembley in ’74 against Wolves. I had chickenpox and the journey home on the coach was horrific, itching and also being inconsolable at the defeat. Other memories include beating the Rags 4-0 in the League Cup only for it to be marred by the tragedy of Colin Bell’s injury. ’76, We now had a Reliant Robin (wow) to travel to Wembley in and having a great morning in London with the Geordies and then winning with that goal. Being a Junior Blue at the time I got my picture taken holding the League Cup. Fighting back the tears when the King made his comeback game against Newcastle. Those European nights vs. Juventus, AC Milan, Borussia M. and all the rest.

When my mum was dying in ’79 dad stopped going so he could look after her. From then on I went on my own as I had just left school and started work with loadsamoney. I followed them all over the country even to poxy grounds like Brighton (don’t forget in the early eighties this team was in the top flight). I didn’t miss a game in the cup run in ’81. The semi at Villa Park was the best but the train journey home after the defeat in the second game of the final was the quietest trip I ever made.

Dad would come with me to the odd game but he would go and sit down in the Platt Lane and I would go and stand with my mates in the Kippax. He nearly died one year when he got to the gate of the Platt Lane and was told it was for the away fans only. It was a case of “I’ve been coming in here for bloody years” etc.

In the mid-eighties the team I played for moved into the Altrincham & District Saturday afternoon league and so I started to play more than watch the Blues. I also married and had moved to Warrington. My kids came along in the late eighties and my dad and I started going together again to see City with my son sitting in the North stand.

In ’92 my wife and I migrated to WA. It was OK at first as we could see City on the TV and I would get the Pink sent out to me.

My dad was very ill in late 93 so I got back England to see him before he died. Whilst there I made time to get to the academy, had a chat with Tony Book (nice bloke), went on the pitch and had my picture taken. The last time my dad and I spoke was on the ‘phone and the conversation was all about City. The Lee takeover was in full swing and he was full of hope (if only he knew).

Now unfortunately we don’t see much of City on TV being in the Nationwide. I get up early on Sundays to phone for the results as I can’t wait till 8.30 when it comes on the radio. I still get the Pink sent out to me but can’t wait to get in work and read MCIVTA on a Tuesday and Friday mornings (thanks to you all for your contributions).

Sorry this has been so long but just a note on an ex-player who has been mentioned in recent weeks. I was at my sister’s house in Partington about 7 years ago when the insurance man came. I was gobsmacked to see that it was Ged Keegan. I have heard he still lives in the Sale area and is a decent golfer.

Let’s hope that by the time you read this that we have managed to stay up. God help us if we don’t.

First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #392 on


Phil Bird