If your grandfather was one of those 84,000 or so crammed into the Kippax for the record-breaking Stoke City game, if your father was one of those who saw the halcyon days of Sir Joseph Mercer, and if you lived at 185 Thornton Road in Fallowfield, under the watchful gaze of the floodlight pylon that stood on the corner of the old Platt Lane end and the Main Stand, I’d defy anybody to be anything but a lighter shade of blue.
I walked into Maine Road life just as Mr. Goodtimes was packing his bags and walking out. It was the 1979-80 season – when Malcolm Allison saw fit to dismantle a top-three side and indulge in a serious bit of shopping – a cold December afternoon and on a mudbath of a pitch, Peter Barnes returned to Maine Road to steer West Brom to a 3-1 victory.
I can’t remember that much about my earlier days – apart from the fact that the programmes used to be 20p, we used to sit on the green benches at the back of the Platt Lane end and you could get Smiths Salt’n’Shake crisps from the food counter – but every time Trevor Francis swept home, Bobby McDonald headed in from a corner or Joe Corrigan pulled off a magnificent save, I was slowly being convinced that the Blue course was the right one to take. And anyway, the United fans in my primary school class were all a bit of a pain in the arse, and that just wasn’t my style.
Teenage indifference and four years at Aberdeen University put paid to any sort of regular attendance during the late 80s and early 90s and meant me missing some key games, but then the obsession bug bit hard. My first season ticket; my hefty financial contributions to the merchandising coffers; my lack of sense of humour if anybody dare pass less than favourable comment about City.
Being married to City has had its fairer share of downs than ups, with a few key memories:
Wembley ’99 – now I know what the sound of 38,000 screaming people sounds like, and what it’s like to see the one thing you care for come back from an uncertain future. My ambition of seeing City at Wembley finally fulfilled.
Wigan Play-off Semi-Final 2nd leg, Birmingham home game 99-00 and Sunderland 4-2, August 2000 – three night games with memorable atmosphere.
Mansfield AWS game 98-99 – realising that my love for the Blues could be classed as “slightly disturbing” as I join 3,000 others for City’s footballing nadir.
QPR home game 97-98 – watching Jamie Pollock’s perfectly placed header sail into his own net and knowing, just knowing that the result at Stoke wouldn’t matter…
So, many thanks to my dad for dragging me out to the football on that December afternoon, and many thanks to mother for asking him to “get Karl out of the house for a couple of hours”. Whatever this season may bring… bring it one!
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #724 on