Jonathan Haggart

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Why Blue?

Following on from Ashley’s numerous appeals, I guessed it was time for me to put down my personal experiences.

I was born in Cheetham Hill in 1966 and, strangely for a “Why Blue”, I can’t think of any reason why, as I don’t have any recollection of feeling that I was anything but City. I guess it could have been a reaction to my dad, who had a preference for the Rags (being 18 in 1958 I guess) but, in fairness, he was always more passionate about Lancashire CCC than any football team. One of my earliest football-related memories was discussing a match with a bunch of school friends when I was 6 or 7 where City beat Utd 4-3, and having a big ruck about it in the playground.

It wasn’t until 1976/77 that I managed to badger my dad to taking me to The Academy (we beat West Ham 4-2), and a couple of years later that I was allowed (and could afford) to go by myself. I guess the period between 1981 and 1985 was when I really went on a regular basis, being a season ticket holder, firstly in the Platt Lane before graduating to the Kippax. Some random memories about that period were:

  • Alex Williams’ début vs. WBA – it hadn’t occurred to me that anybody but Joe Corrigan could play in goal for City, but he played a blinder.
  • The whole “Nicky Reid / Daddy’s Boy” thing – hilarious at the time.
  • A Trevor Francis wonder goal vs. Wolves (probably the last time we beat them!)
  • Taking a midfield of Aage Hareide, John Ryan and Gary Jackson to The Swamp, and still going 2 up before being pegged back.
  • Peter Bodak putting us out of the Cup and celebrating at the wrong end, and us eventually signing the useless tw*t!
  • Gordon Smith failing to score for Brighton vs. The Rags from inches, and us eventually signing the useless tw*t!
  • My mate breaking his leg when Derek Parlane scored the last minute winner at Elland Road and, for some unfathomable reason, the crowd jumped backwards instead of forward. Then getting chased through Leeds having to virtually carry this guy twice my size, only to disembark at Piccadilly to be met by a Rag welcoming committee who’d been having run-ins with Liverpool. The last game I saw as a season ticket holder was the “other” 5-1 (vs. Charlton), which started as a really tense afternoon (memories of Luton were too fresh), but ended up as a Carnival.

In the summer of 1985, I went to study in Nottingham, officially because Trent Poly offered the most appropriate course, but more honestly because of the female/male ratio alluded to in a recent MCIVTA. I guess the twin temptations of girls and subsidised beer meant that City took a back seat, to the extent that I wasn’t even aware of the Huddersfield result until the next morning, and had to check all the Sunday papers to make sure it wasn’t a misprint.

After college, I “did a Tebbitt” and moved down to The Smoke where I got to see regular away games, including Stamford Bridge away end (the most desolate place on earth), accidentally booing City on at Highbury (they were wearing yellow for some reason), seeing Gazza rip through us first game of the 90/91 season (last time I saw Lakey play), a stunning Niall Quinn volley at Luton and taking a Blow Up Doll to Watford (I got accused of being a pervert on the tube, and had to deflate her).

By 1993, I’d moved to Banbury in Oxfordshire. It’s a nice place, but there’s bugger all football-related happens there, except for being the home town of one Mr Dermot “MUFC Tattoo” Gallagher (oh, and Gary Glitter, but I’m sure that’s been removed from the tourist books by now). I got up to Maine Road on an irregular basis, and also several Midlands games, including the “thrown” game vs. Villa, where a City fan virtually ran through Nigel Kennedy to shake Robert Plant’s hand at H/T.

Three years ago, I moved out to Hong Kong via Singapore. In that time, I’ve only managed 4 games: Home vs. Swindon (I honestly thought we’d turned a corner that day – how wrong was that?), home vs. Stoke last season (the day that we did finally turn that corner), Wembley (and everyone knows about that game – suffice to say that we must never again be staring down that particular abyss) and Tranmere away this season (nothing game livened up by the antics of “MUFC Tattoo” himself).

I’ve recently moved back to Singapore, where I’m living with the new-found love of my life – an American who, on learning that I was a “soccer” fan from Manchester, jumped to that wrong conclusion. Still, I’m sure it will be fun setting her right on a few things, and I’ll look forward to taking her to Maine Road as soon (and as often) as I can.

So, there you go, less a “Why Blue” more a “Rambling Monologue”. Thanks to all the McVittees / BVers who keep me in the loop, and see you all soon.

Why Blue?

It’s all Clive Wilson’s fault. I had happily chosen a winning side in my really early throes of youth, when I supported Liverpool after their numerous title wins in the seventies. Yes, I was a glory hunter, but aren’t all 6-year-olds? Anyway, this continued until my 13th birthday, when I decided to go to a match with my mate Lee and his dad, who attended every game. I never thought I’d get hooked, I just fancied a bit of footy. So Man City vs. West Ham, Milk Cup, November 1983. It was a nil nil draw so what was it that particularly attracted me to the Blues? Clive Wilson. He was rolled the ball by (presumably) Alex Williams just outside his own area. Immediately he was pressurised by Bobby Barnes. Cool as you like he turned him and set off upfield. Bobby came back for more. Clive turned him again, threatening the pass back. Barnes tried again. Yet again Clive turned him and sped upfield. Bobby fell on his a*se. One sublime bit of skill and a comedy fall was enough. It didn’t take long to get caught up in the fervour of what turned out to be a promotion season. And never mind the scouse humour, there is nothing better than a dry Blue wit. I’d wager nobody else remembers what Clive did that night. I will never forget.

First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #580 on

2000/02/17

Jonathan Haggart


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