As a kid I had always enjoyed playing football but up until the age of 8 years I had only ever had one football-claim-to-fame kit. I was the only wearer of a Wolverhampton Wanderers orange football shirt with black shorts and black and orange socks in Hertfordshire. Why Wolves you ask? My mum liked Derek Dougan!
In the winter/spring of 1969 aged 8 years old I recall listening to the radio as reporters talked about the coming Cup final and how Manchester City were expected to win it. I had shown no interest in City up to this point but sitting down to watch the FA Cup final I was interested enough to see what all the talk had been about. Maybe it was the sight of the chubby blond haired Franny Lee or the delicate yet deadly skills of Summerbee and Young. Perhaps the industrious work rate of Bell or the solid rock like tackling of Doyle? Who knows but by the end of the match I was a convert and City were my team.
It was never going to be an easy badge to wear, especially as City have never been the hip and trendy team to support. City fans tend to stick with the team through thick and thin and boy there have been some thin times of late! For someone of my age I can just recall the glory years but for the current youngsters on the stands it has been a time of trophy drought with those 1970’s years drifting into ancient history days of European successes, League Cup wins and world class players, we were the team everyone else had to match up to. We had it all but in true City style we let it slip away. From football powerhouse to Second Division outhouse!
Despite the disappointments there was always the camaraderie of meeting other City fans around the country. The level of hope and expectation never diminishes from one year to the next and the support has never waivered despite sometimes plumbing the depths of despair. I can remember being mid Atlantic on the fateful day City played Luton requiring only a draw for First Division survival. I had asked the hostess if there was any way I could be told the result and she agreed to ask the Captain. The announcement he made later in the flight was one that left me shattered. City had lost and we were relegated! My holiday was ruined. How could I face my Rag supporting friends on my return? But I did, I took the mickey taking and the ribbing and laughed it off but inside I was shattered. Since then it’s been a similar story as the club yo-yo’d up and down between Divisions, producing silly embarrassing defeats and some glorious victories. This season we are back where we belong and already providing more cringing defeats and gut busting victories. Why can’t we be consistent? That wouldn’t be City would it!
The move back into the Premiership for City coincided with a job move for me from the UK to Houston Texas, a barren soccer wasteland where American Football and Baseball is king. I still religiously wear my City shirts with pride, looking at myself as a messenger or missionary from a far off sea of Blue and White, sent to guide the sadly misled American public that there is more to soccer in England than the Rags and their Red shirts! It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it!
I’ll be thinking of you all each Saturday at the House of Pain, hoping upon hope that we are dishing it out rather than receiving it!
Good luck for the rest of the season boys. Good luck to MCIVTA readers and all City supporters worldwide. Remember to keep the faith!
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #660 on