My father still swears that he took me to watch both City and the Rags, but my only memories are of Maine Road. Being a contrary child (for MCFC were in the old Second Division just starting under the guidance of Joe and Malcolm), I choose MCFC (in hindsight a bit like choosing a betamax video over a VHS). Of course, I was lucky my early years were the glory years. I was well and trly sucked in. I believed we would terrify Europe. All the old fogeys in the crowd slated the team as not being as good as… …, so I guess some things haven’t changed.
I was naïve and obsessed. I hated the Rags with a vengence, the hatred just happened naturally like your first adolescent spot. You were outnumbered in school, everywhere you turned it was Munich this, Munich that, the Busby Babes, George Best, Denis Law and that old baldy Bobby Charlton. Like an angry socialist awaiting Thatcher’s demise you knew City’s turn to be the best would come. How can one forget Mick Doyle’s shake of his fist at the Stretford End as City walloped United again. This ‘inciting’ of the crowd would today result in a fine. We stuck it right up ’em again and again. At this point life as a City fan could not have been any sweeter. You take the rough with the smooth, it is a lifelong commitment, not a fashion statement.
As luck would have it (or did I make that decision unconsciously?) my best mate turned out to be a Blue and now through all the dross we are still dedicated to the cause. It would have been easy for me to switch allegiance having emigrated to Australia in 1989, all I had to do was to say I was from London and buy the current shirt in vogue.
P.S. I have a two year old boy, blond and stocky, knicknamed Lee Two Pen, as he too has been known to through himself to the ground when things aren’t going his way. He has the full City kit, he will carry on the faith and his teddy is called Colin after City’s greatest ever player.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #473 on