Look, the point is, we are City till we die. My 66-year-old father, my 6-year-old daughter and I went to watch City play Crewe and beat them 4-0 in one of the most entertaining and one-sided games I have ever seen. Frankly, I was delighted, because my daughter is still at an impressionable age, and I need all the help I can get to persuade her that there is only one football team worthy of her support! For me, it was the fulfilment of an ambition I hadn’t realised previously, as I hadn’t appreciated the possibility of the three of us being at Maine Road together, given my father’s poor health and my daughter’s interest in small animals, giving sufficient opportunity for my ambition to be realised. But for anyone in the Main stand (block HR) you may have noticed the collective hug (and flag waving on my daughter’s part) as each goal was scored, albeit you may not have appreciated the collective significance for me.
26 years since City lost to Wolves at Wembley in the League Cup final (me and my dad in tears). 18 years since my father’s first heart attack. 9 years since my wife’s first miscarriage, less than 12 months since City nearly finished us all off against Gillingham. The point is, had we lost last May, we would now be near the top of the 2nd Division, with 30,000+ fans turning up each week. Frankly, because we have no choice – it is our birthright, or our choice through some bizarre set of circumstances or other, to be City fans. And come mid August, whether we are playing Sunderland or Stockport, we’ll still be there, regardless. Let’s hope it’s Sunderland (and let’s hope we beat them) but if it’s not, let’s not forget why we support City, and it’s not because we are glory seekers. Tranmere, Portsmouth, Birmingham and Blackburn stand in our way, and if they stop us, they won’t stop us, because what is important is our support, not our apparent success (our support is our success, if we want it to be). Blue Moon, I saw you standing alone, without a dream in my heart, without a love of my own.
Come on City! Come on City! Come on City! Come on City! but if you lose, we’ll still be there.
Having lived in a one horse town all my life (Boothstown), football was never really that high on my agenda. In the late sixties when I was about 15 I even used to go to the odd game at Burnden Park because all my mates used to go. Just going through the motions I suppose, because my heart was never really in it.
Anyway, in around 1970/71 a new estate had just been built near us (Standfield Estate, I actually live on the estate now) and I got friendly with this lad called Phil Bagnall who moved up there. All the family were big Blues and Phil kept going on at me to go with him and his dad to Maine Road. I kept putting it off saying I had better things to do on a Saturday afternoon (like hanging around on the precinct). So one day I thought o.k. I’ll come with you to the next home game. It was a night game against Chelsea (I think) 1972, and Tommy Booth scored with a header and City won 1-0. It was a long time ago and if this is not quite correct, can someone put me right? I can’t remember if it was a good game or not, but I bloody well enjoyed it. Anyway, that night I began a love affair that has been going on ever since. From then on, me and “Baggy” went to all the home games on the No:26 bus from Boothstown to Greengate arches, then we had to dodge the Utd fans to get to Aytoun Street (next to Picc. Gardens) so we could catch the match bus (No:76x I think) to Maine Road, and the same to get back home again. It was a bit of a drag, but it was worth it. We used to thumb it to some away games if they weren’t too far, Liverpool, Everton and Midlands grounds were our limit.
Although there are quite a few Blues in Boothstown now, I think me and Baggy were the only ones back in the early seventies. I haven’t seen Baggy for a few years now, although I believe he only lives in Eccles. If anybody knows him, put him on to me, I would be very grateful, I owe him one for getting me hooked on this unbreakable habit.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #598 on