Well, I was born in Sale on Cup Final day in 1967 and lived the first 5 years or so in Partington before moving with my parents to Winchester, down on the south coast in Hampshire. Still live here to this day. My dad has always been a Blue as was my grandad who was football mad and ran teams in the Collyhurst and Moston areas.
It wasn’t too long after that I got taken to see what all the fuss was about. My first game was at Maine Road on the opening day of the season in possibly 1975/76. Colin Bell was playing and I’m not 100%, but I think Joe might have made his début for us that day (anyone confirm?). All I can remember is that we hammered Norwich 4-0 and I was hooked. Every Easter and Christmas we would head back to Manchester for the holidays and I would beg to be taken to the City match. For some reason we would always seem to be playing Liverpool, Leeds, Stoke or Wolves over the holiday period.
The first time I went alone to an away game was to visit Notts County in the game before we got promoted in 1985. I was legless a long time before kick-off after meeting some City lads on the train going there and doing a pub crawl around the real ale pubs before heading/crawling for Meadow Lane. Typical City though, needing a win to secure promotion, we were 3-0 down by half time! Billy McNeill was on the pitch appealing for calm as the fences were being torn down in frustration. Eventually lost 3-2 leaving us needing to beat Charlton at home on the last day.
Since then I’ve witnessed highs and plenty of lows. I cannot think of any set of supporters who have gone through the mill like we have. Never a dull moment. I’ve been on on a pre-season tour of Italy with City fans in 1992 which was fantastic and also seen us get beaten by Barnet on freezing cold rain-lashed Tuesday night at Underhill, with the only goal being scored after 13 seconds!
For the last few years I’ve been running a supporters’ club for Blues in the Hampshire area which now has around 50 members (CSA: A34 – Winchester Branch if anyone’s interested in joining!). The branch was represented at every one of City’s games this season, which is pleasing considering it’s a 450 mile round trip to Maine Road. I watch many England away games and you would not believe the respect City fans get from other teams’ supporters for the loyalty we have. Days like last Sunday more than make up for all the crap we’ve had to endure in the past. It means so much more to someone like me to finish second in the First Division than for any of the gloryhunting Ceefax Reds that surround me in the pubs down here to win the European Cup. I can’t imagine the day when I won’t want to watch City play anymore.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #605 on