Richard Neal

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Why Blue?

Why’s anyone Blue? It’s easy isn’t it, that special day when we won 5-1. The atmosphere was amazing, flags flying in the Kippax, and the whole ground was electrified in celebration. I was 10 at the time and already a City fan. I had been all my life, but that day was something special. I can’t imagine anyone there that day would ever turn their back on the club. The year was 1985, and we had just clinched promotion. It was supposed to be the start of a new era, but instead two years later we were back in the Second Division.

A bad start to the first season down followed by a good run (10 wins in a row?) being ended by an Eric Nixon punch (to Ian Wright’s head) saw us finish in mid-table. There was hope though, the youth system was producing, and the next season saw the likes of Lake, Hinchcliffe, Redmond, Brightwell, White, and other home-grown talent (along with some brilliant goalkeeping from Nigel Gleghorn), and a couple of close friends (Bish and Trev) fire us into the First Division on the heels of Chelsea.

The season started poorly in the top flight but for a day of light relief at Maine Road in September, and eventually the board decided on a solution. I can’t speak for all City fans but the Kendall era for me was the greatest test of my faith. In saving us from relegation he’d stolen the spirit, and destroyed the youth system. Reidy took over of course, but for me the damage was finally done. Yes, there were good years under Reid, but the end was coming. Only expensive signings were keeping us where we were, and the wages that came with them were crippling the club. Gradually it all fell apart and the rest you all know only too well.

Thankfully the Bernstein revolution has seen the youth system reinvented, and the future looks promising. We’ve now got a manager who likes to play it simple, and accepts the purse isn’t bottomless. The press have jumped on the bandwagon again, the crowds are amazing, and the team is beginning to roll.

First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #544 on

1999/10/14

Richard Neal


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