What can I say, I cannot believe that our once great team are looking at Division 2 next season. I’ve been a City fan since I was six, twenty-four years of every emotion imaginable, and I’ve never seen anything as dire as this from our boys. My brother and I were playing football together as usual in my gran’s garden in Cornwall and we argued over who was going to be who while we played. He is four years older than me and was already a Liverpool fan. I want to be Liverpool too I said, but he explained that I had to be a different team! Man City, he said, you can be them, they’re really good! Why didn’t he say Arsenal!? Ever since that fateful day I have faithfully and lovingly supported City, meeting my old heroes like Colin Bell, Joe Corrigan, Dave Watson, Dennis Tueart,.. the list goes on and on doesn’t it!
Who have we got today? Gio, and he’s going to leave a sinking ship and who can blame him? Unlike you others, I have not been a regular visitor to watch City play and I envy you all (okay so the QPR result was s***e but would you have missed being there?). I was fortunate enough to see the game at Swindon earlier (now I’m a Wiltshire resident) and one of our rare victories. That said we were the slightly better of two crap teams! Gio was non existent but he still has to play as he is the only player capable of any true class, if only for a matter of minutes! Enough rambling! Stay loyal and sing loud on Sunday, I’m going to hide in the shed for the day and may never come out!
It’s in the family, like religion, or haemophilia. My father was born on Kippax Street and could tell tall tales of the great City players and performances of the forties and fifties, Roy Clark, The Revie Plan and, most of all, the two famous goalies Frank Swift and Bert Trautmann. He first started taking me to the Platt Lane End in about 1967, just at the beginning of the glorious golden age of heroes and trophies. Even if I can’t honestly claim to have been passed over the heads of the crowd to sit on the pitch, I can still remember the excitement and the taste of the Everton mints from a sticky brown paper bag bought at the newsy’s on Lloyd Street before the game, as if it were yesterday.
I grew up and graduated into the Kippax, and I’ve still got my old bar scarf which would be tied around my wrist for home games, and around my waist under a denim jacket for away fixtures. I was a season ticket holder in the seventies, enjoyed and endured the Wembley finals of 76 and 81, and of course it’s been downhill ever since then, though living abroad since 1983 I’ve been thankfully spared the painful duty of regular attendance in recent years. I still make it to Maine Road whenever I’m in Manchester visiting family and friends during the season, and I’ve seen many a defeat snatched from the jaws of victory, and endured hopeless, goalless, pointless hours of futile football, but still just can’t give it up. It could all happen again: great goals, cups, championships, Europe, and I wouldn’t want to miss feeling part of it for the world. The lean years, and all those jokes that make you want to laugh and cry, are all worth putting up with, as the joy will be so much the greater when it all comes around again (some time in the next millennium).
Thankfully, I’ve found that football followers all over the world understand that to support Manchester City, you really must be a serious football fan, unless of course you’re just a few Esso world cup coins short of a free wallchart. I lived for many years in Finland, not bad for ice-hockey, but something of a footballing wilderness – the national team recently managed to contrive an incredible own goal to avoid victory against Hungary, and a place in the runners-up play-offs for the world cup qualifiers, with Finnish players making the last five contacts with the ball before it entered their own net.
I am now, however, a resident of a much prouder footballing city, Sao Paulo in Brazil, where I support the local Corinthians as well as keep in virtual touch with those distant, dismal Blues. I am however becoming increasingly dubious about the benefits of my recently-required Internet connection: Now I can so rapidly be put out of the agony of not knowing City’s results into the subtly different agony of knowing them, my Saturday evenings have been ruined.
P.S. Might anyone be interested in something on football in Brazil/Sao Paulo?
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #394 on