Having been reacquainted with this site by my son, it feels both a nostalgic and elliptical journey that I set out upon.
Where did my love for the Blues come from? Well my childhood local football memories were spent either playing the game or occasionally watching the local non League side, Bath City. Those were magical times for the particularly when a certain Malcolm Allison turned up and there was an expectancy and buzz about the place that has never been felt since. Those strange and distant sixties days brought a wonderful FA Cup run to the 3rd Round which saw a non-league Wimbledon thrashed on the way.
With Tony Book and Ian MacFarlane as full backs, the side had a strong defence with the great Cannonball Charlie Fleming leading the attack. The run ended with a home draw against Bolton, when a certain Francis Lee scored from the penalty spot. Now there’s a surprise then. Followed by a defeat at Bolton with yet another penalty by the same gentlemen in dire need of stabilisers. Wyn Davies was in the same Bolton side. Anyway I digress.
Having moved from the West Country up to Manchester I was very keen to watch a big local team but the thought of United never ever appealed, despite the encouragement of what must have been the only Rags fans in Manchester. Anyway, one particularly late night, or very early morning, ended up the following Saturday at Maine Road with the Blues taking on West Ham. What struck me most of all, ignoring the constant changes of wing play by Denis Tueart and Peter Barnes and the wave upon wave of attacks, was the passion of the crowd. It was fascinating to watch how the emotion and feeling spread and ran through the crowd. It felt like watching a living organism in its own right. From that moment I was hooked.
Like art and music, City are greater than their constituent parts. This is not the mass psychology of the crowd but something you feel for, care for and love. It’s this entity that can bring us together to enjoy something felt and experienced in common, which I hold to be magical.
To me that is the essence of support. To me that is why I believe that the Blues’ fans are special. It’s because they care. Like lovers, they care so much they are prepared to take any abuse from the one that they love. That is the essence of support. True loyalty. One day such loyalty will be rewarded with the success that it deserves but if it was all so easy we wouldn’t be Blues anyway. It’s not so much the destination as the journey.
However proud I am to be a Blue I am even prouder of my son and the fact that he too is a Blue.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #722 on