I was born in Crumpsall Hospital in December 1966; our family uprooted and moved to a brand new council estate a couple of years later. The name of that beautiful estate was Langley. Home to Tommy Booth, Kenny Clements & Daft Donald. Where I lived, Crummock Drive, every kid was a City fan and that was good enough for me, so City it was. Every day at the top of our drive we, all the kids, would take part in a serious kick about ranging from two-a-side and up to 10-a-side. I would usually be Dennis Tueart or Asa Hartford and we’d play furiously for hours until the game was won or somebody hit a door or window with the ball. The highlight of our week was Tommy Booth’s weekly visit to his in-laws. They lived at the top of Burnside Crescent and would have to drive past Crummock to get there. If anyone spotted his bright orange Ford escort driving up the road they would shout ‘Tommy Booth, Tommy Booth’ and the other kids would leg it down the drive in order to wave at him as he drove by.
Once I started watching City at Maine Road my love turned into an obsession; it went from just home games to all the home games and almost all the away games, as part as the infamous Yelloways Beermonsters, a decent following of Middleton & Langley lads who followed City mainly as an excuse to drink in pubs all over England. The Yelloways mob never were hooligans; of course we got into a few scrapes here and there, but on the whole it was good beer-fuelled fun. The highlight of me following City was the entire season when we were promoted under Billy McNeill and the 10-1 game against Huddersfield at Maine Road. Of course typical me, I emigrated the day after Liverpool beat us 4-0 in the cup at Maine Road in 1988 so I’ve missed some really good stuff. That 5-1 game, the banana craze and of course the play-off against Gillingham. On the bright side though I’ve also been lucky enough to miss some of the worst City teams ever. Now I’m married with a kid, the wife was converted almost as soon as I met her and has been to Maine Road a few times. She is even proud of the fact that she was spat at by Reading fans in the North Stand one year in the FA Cup. My son Liam of course wasn’t converted, he was born a Blue (brainwashed, as my mum calls it), he has had umpteen City kits and pictures of Nicky Weaver, Andy Morrison & Shaun Goater adorn his wall instead of the LA Dodgers or Lakers. Apart from missing watching City play on a regular basis, my main regret about living in the States is that I won’t be able to take my son to the match. But he will be five in time for next season and hopefully our return to the Premier League. So if this time next year you find yourself in the North Stand sitting next to a big bald lad with a little blonde kid with an American accent, say hello ’cause it will probably be Liam & me.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #589 on