Well. My father worked abroad a lot while I was a child and we moved from country to country a lot, depending on where his company wanted him. I was sent back to England in the autumn of 1975 to attend boarding school. It was a pretty miserable time. One thing was the winters. I had spent most of my time in Africa & Asia, so cold winter days were a real shock! In February 1976, a friend of my father who had returned to the UK came and visited me and arranged to take me to a football match the following Saturday. I had no idea about the importance of the game, Manchester City vs. Newcastle Utd.
The following Saturday I was picked up and we drove up to Wembley. Bill spoke with great passion about his beloved Manchester City and the players Hartford, Tueart, Barnes, Booth,Corrigan etc. I knew that I was going to see something really special. I can’t remember much of the game, Tueart’s goal a fading memory but I still have the scarf, rosette and programme that Bill brought for me onthat day.
Whenever City played in London, Bill took me to the games and I was converted. It was not until I had left school that I finally got to Maine Road and followed City to Wembley in 1981 and repaid Bill by taking him. I won’t dwell on that day or the replay but since those days I have spent most weekends trying to obtain City’s results, phone calls home to get news info, planning visits home so that I could get a minimum of two games in, relying on parents and friends to send match reports and any news of the City to me. Every time I see or speak to Bill (we still go to the matches together when we can) he will apologise for inflicting his love of City on me, but hey my shoulders are broad. Since my return to this country, I have had the fortune to see City play on a regular basis and I know we will be in Division One next season.
I am a long-suffering Blues’ supporter living in exile in Toronto, Canada. Even though I’ve lived in Canada since 1968, I’ve continued to follow City through thick and thin. I remember being taken to Maine Road by my dad in 1956 when he was supposed to be babysitting, but instead took me to see City beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-1. As a kid I grew up worshipping Bert Trautmann and spent many an afternoon marvelling at his talents from the Platt Lane stands. I was thrilled when they won the league title, FA cup and Cup Winners’ Cup and I have been saddened by their inglorious decline. But still, once a Blues supporter, forever a Blues supporter, even though I get ribbed unmercilessly by my United friends who can’t understand why I stick by them.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #497 on