I’m not sure how I came about being a Blue, especially living as a child in Little Hulton in the late 1960s. I was born May 1965 in Townley’s Hospital Farnworth, now known as Bolton General Hospital. I’m at a loss why I was born there, all the beds at Hope Hospital Salford must have been full! For the record my birth was the only time in my life I have lived outside the M postcode area!
My father was born at Ancoats Hospital in the early 30s he was raised in Benchill and yes you guessed it – he was a Blue – what would you expect coming from Benchill! My mother was a Salford lass from Higher Broughton and all mum’s brothers, cousins and friends were all Man U, and even though she never admitted it to me I think she may have once been a Red. My parents married and moved to Little Hulton around 1956.
I guess I followed my father’s footsteps and started supporting City. Even though I got load of stick from my uncles and other relations, I stood firm and was proud to be a Blue. My mother even changed her allegience and today lets everyone she knows at the bingo she is a staunch Blue.
The first taste I got for a football crowd was in May 1974. It was my 9th birthday and City were playing the rags at OT. Myself, mum and dad were on Salford Precinct shopping for a birthday present at the Green Shield Stamp shop (anybody remember that?) and I vaguely remember a large group of City supporters making their way, very noisily, to the ground. I stood there and watched them until they went out of sight, I was thinking I would love to be part of that. Later that day I remember walking past a television shop on the precinct and the full time scores were being shown by Grandstand. There it was:-
Manchester United 0 Manchester City 1 A
I said to my dad what does the ‘A’ stand for? His reply was something along the lines of “The A stands for Ace performance by City”. If there was anything to strengthen my ties to City even more, then there it was “Man City Aces”. It was a few days later I found out the ‘A’ stood for Abandoned, but I preferred dad’s version more.
Now for those of you who do not know where Little Hulton is, Little Hulton is mainly a Rag area, but does have its fair share of Blues, it is situated about 11 miles West of Manchester City Centre. It falls under the umbrella of Salford City Council and up to a few years ago shared the same postcode as Worsley, which was M28. Little Hulton now owns its own postcode which is M48. Something to do with the insurance companies wanting to ‘up’ the insurance premiums in Little Hulton, because car radios and videos are sold in bulk in the local pubs!
My older sister started courting a Red from Gatley in the summer of 74 and every opportunity I had, I let him know what division Man U were going to be playing football for season 74-75 – Division 2. I remember him saying something to my mum, why did you let him be a Blue in a Red area? Did you drop him on his head when he was born? Mum immediately took an instant dislike to my sister’s new boyfriend and did she let him know it. This worked to my advantage, because to get back into mum’s good books he asked if he could take me to Maine Road to watch City.
God was I excited, a promise to visit the Academy, but there was a massive downside, he said “If I take you to City one week you have to come to OT with me the other week”. I said to him “I’ll let you know”. That week I agonised over his proposal and thought it’s the only way I’m going to get into Maine Road so why not go with his proposal? In season 74-75 I only missed one City home match, I think that was versus West Ham because the sister’s boyfriend wanted to go to Burnden Park to watch Bolton vs. Man U. That season was the only time and last time I went to OT to watch the Rags versus another.
In 1975 we moved to Astley, where I am still living, and I discovered there was a match bus that went through Astley and onwards direct to Maine Road from Leigh, the number 26. I pestered the parents to let me go alone to the match on this bus, they were reluctant at first until I said “If you don’t let me go alone to City then I have to go and watch Man U”. My argument was a winner and my parents gave me permission to travel to the match alone and I didn’t have to watch Man U ever again. Bliss!
My sister eventually married her boyfriend and they now have 2 children, a boy and girl. Christopher is 22 now, and guess what? When he was 6 I started taking him to Maine Road and also to away matches against his father’s wishes, but I explained it all to the brother-in-law saying this is payback from when you made me watch Man U. Christopher is now a staunch Blue like myself. My brother-in-law has just became a grandad and his daughter had a little boy a couple of months ago. Guess what I say to baby Jack every time I see him when his grandad is around, “When you are 4 I’m taking you to Maine Road to watch the only football team to come from Manchester.”
A recent incident that brought a ‘wee’ tear to my eye was when we were at Wembley for the play-offs. I decided to splash out for the day and treat me the wife and my 12-year-old son to the corporate hospitality. At the end of the penalty shoot out, I phoned mum and dad to see if they had been watching the match. Dad answered the phone and was over the moon, I said put mum on and he said she’s disappeared into the kitchen crying, she eventually came on and said “Before the match I put the City team poster in the window to let everyone know we are Blues and I also dangled a City scarf out of the window, when they went 2-0 down I took the poster down and brought the scarf in, and I am so ashamed of myself and upset for doing it, I immediately put them back when they equalised”. This is from a woman who has never visited Maine Road. I now know my mum is a loyal Blue even though she originated from an hotbed of Reds.
I realise when other people describe ‘Why Blue’ they go on about matches they went to and talk about favourite players, I have tried to tell a very brief story about the struggle of being a Blue while being brought up in the Red part of Manchester with family and relations on both sides of the divide.
My first recollection of Man City was in buying their kit in the late seventies. I loved that sky blue top with the diamonds down the side of the sleeve and the V-neck with the badge in the middle. Also everybody up here was into United or Liverpool, not me. Coming from Glasgow most people expect you to be a Hun (Rangers) or a Tim (Celtic), both are scumbags supported by braindeads (just like United supporters), but I follow Thistle. In the mid-eighties I was sent on a contract to Manchester, it was to last for two years. That’s when I bought my first season ticket for Maine Road. I loved every minute of those two years, the best was being present at the 5-1 hammering of the forces of darkness. I met my wife there as well, her family were all City fans, so whenever an important match is coming up, you can gaurentee I will suggest a visit to see the outlaws. But like following Thistle it is not easy being a Blue, but again like the Thistle support, we’re still there week in and week out, not like the fair weather supports of the Red scumbags or the blue and green scumbags up here. I’ll be City till I die.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #556 on