Well my story is not very exciting, but I thought seeing as you were running low, I would step into the breach.
While I was a wee nipper at school, I never really followed any kind of sport, and this included football, so hence I never had any leaning to a particular team or colour.
This ethos stayed with me until I was well into my late teens and early twenties.
I had a friend (Neil) who was well into City, and I mean big time; he had the circular badge wallpaper when we were kids, the matching lamp and bed covers. And pride of place on his wall was a framed, signed picture of the then current City squad. He would often tell me about how his uncle would take him down to Maine Road and sit him on the railings of the Kippax stand. But still I had no interest, and I went back to playing on my 48K Spectrum.
Anyway, the years passed, and I continued on my misguided City-less youth.
Years later, Neil called at my house, and he was steaming, he was well miffed. City had drawn against Liverpool and were relegated from the top flight. Interestingly enough the equaliser for Liverpool was scored by no other than our very own Mark Kennedy. Another season passed and City finished mid-table in the First Division.
Neil’s regular ‘City Buddy’ moved to Blackpool and Neil had no one to go to Maine Road with, not that going on his own ever stopped him. But the thought of going down with me in my nice, warm car was too tempting for him, and he asked me to take him down. He even suggested I should buy a ticket and come with him into the Kippax. I expressed concern that I thought it would be very boring, and my interest in football at that time was nil. But I thought, what the hell and I went to watch City play Norwich.
We arrived in Rusholme, home of the splendid Tandoori Kitchen, and got a take-away. We then walked towards the stadium… as we rounded the corner the first thing that struck me was the Kippax Stand. It looked fantastic, the sun (hello stranger…) shining on the pale blue metal work. We mingled into the sea of blue and headed for the turnstiles. Once in the ground, I could already hear the milling of the crowd in the stadium, the PA system playing Oasis and the smell of fresh (!) pies! We were in the middle of the upper tier and proceeded up the stairs. Flight after flight, and still not there… Christ how high is this thing? We went through the swing doors at the top and bought some programmes.
I was slowly taking it all in, the smells, the absolute sea of blue and the atmosphere… it was only 2:45 but the chanting had already started. We then walked up the stairs and out onto the Kippax stand. Now, I don’t want to get all melodramatic, but as I stepped out on the stand and looked around, it really did take my breath away. I found my seat and sat down, looking around at the crowd, a 32,000 strong sea of blue!
2:57 and the PA starts playing “Roll with it” as the teams stream onto the pitch. They take their places accompanied with a deafening chant of “Ci-ty, Ci-ty, Ci-ty”, “Come on City.” Then that strange, eerie silence for about two seconds as the ref blows the whistle, then the real noise begins! I can’t recall much of the on-pitch events; I was too busy watching the crowd and their reactions to every kick and nod of the ball. By the final whistle, I had a sore throat and could hardly speak, but cannot recall shouting anything? Within 90 minutes I had discovered my new ‘home’ and from that moment on, I knew, no matter what happened on the pitch at Maine Road, City had taken its hold and I would never look back. Needless to say, over the next few games I purchased a season ticket for the remaining half a season and even managed to get to a few away games, most notably Tranmere and Bradford, after Joe Royle had taken the reigns.
That’s the strange thing about City, I had never been into football until that afternoon, but ever since then I have done nothing with my life that has not revolved around City.
Now some of you might be saying that if I had gone to another stadium first, I would not be a Blue? Well I can answer this with a resounding “not on your life matey.” You see, I had been to a few football matches before, as my old boss was a Derby fan, and he used to take us Y.T.S. lads down to the Baseball Ground to watch them play (in they days when Maxwell would land outside the ground in his chopper!). At no point over those matches did I get the slightest twinge of feeling ‘at home’.
And that is my point about City. City could be in the Conference but they would still be getting crowds of 30,000. Once you are hooked, that is it… it’s City this and City that.
Being a City supporter is like having a “Get out of Jail” card. I have no doubt in my mind that if ever I was without a home, money or clothing, I could bump into a City fan who would clothe me, feed me, and take me to a few matches to boot! I am only a beginner when it comes to the ups and downs of being a City fan, but after watching the decline and then the rise back from the brink of self destruction, my passion for the club and everything ‘City’ has only grown stronger. There is certainly a tribal spirit about being a City supporter, and I for one would not swap or change any part about my beloved City for all the silverware in Old Trafford!
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #608 on