I am ethnic Chinese brought up in Hong Kong and then migrated with my family when I was twelve to New Zealand, the most beautiful country on earth. It seems surprising that I could get hooked into football in this soccer-phobic country. This was because my best mate was a footie fan and he fed me with all the correct mind set for the sport. I was intrigued by the passion of the English fans, especially the struggling teams. Why on earth would they follow a team so s**t (I remember the 1 point from 11 games under Ball), when next door you can enjoy all the glory you can possibly imagine. I started checking out City on the net, then I bumped into http://www.uit.no/mancity/. After reading some interesting educational materials, and a subscription to this newsletter, a new City fan was born.
In 1995, NZ resource of football was scarce, we only had a re-broadcasted Premiership games on Sunday morning plus a weekly highlight show that I could feed on. The horror of relegation meant Teletext became my friend for updates of Division 1 and 2 scores. In 1996, a friend of my father provides us with accommodation in London, so a family trip to England meant a possible visit to Maine Road. Permission from parents given, the setting was a FA Cup third Round tie against Bradford City; 2-0 was the score, Uwe Rösler and Michael Brown the scorers. I remembered before the game there’s a bit of rain and it’s a freezing cold day, so I had to get some fish and chips from that shop at the corner (all painted in blue). I was also shocked that they have the evening papers printed with the result of the match outside the ground. This was only occasion that I watched a City game with fellow City fans. The feeling of the place was very suburban, very down-to-earth, a dodgy place without the crowd. I love that feeling!
In 1999, everybody’s loyalty was paid back. I was listening through the Capital Gold broadcast at what must have been 5am into the morning. All of a sudden I screamed so hard I woke my whole family up! I was almost into tears that night. Similar fashion a year later only by that time I was back to my home country, and the setting was my university hostel. This was my happiest era as a Blue: when I told people which team I supported, they laughed.
2001, it was around 2am, alone in the hostel TV room, live game from Portman Road. I remembered by that time I wasn’t as hardcore as a few years back, but still I was very proud of Mr. Goater at his effort to put us one up, it still gave me that urge to scream, again alone in the dark. That’s my story with City, always alone in the dark…
Keegan’s football in Division 1 was the greatest showpiece of my City following career, though I could only witness that after the season ended (online ordering of the season highlights). I can’t recall another City moment then on. Although I wasn’t a local, the club has changed from passionate loyal team into a mediocre / under-par corporation. I lost my interest in football for 2002-2006 period, partly due to work commitments and stuff. Of course I am still updated with transfers and results, but was disappointed time and again. I wasn’t playing the pessimistic / p**sed off card here, but I just couldn’t be a fan of those “retiring second-hand Rags”, namely Andrew C*le and Big Red Nose, “overpriced penalty missing Scouse” and Danny “I’m a Cockney psycho thug” Mills. It’s got to a point where I totally understood why are there so many Rags supporting Cockneys, mediocre teams are boring to follow.
I may be City Till I Die, but COMS is still boring, it’s lost that sense rawness in my opinion. It took away a big part of the history of a great team. I just hoped COMS will grow into something more ritual in that sense.
I suddenly picked up watching football this year. I was intrigued by the pessimism through reading this newsletter, it felt like a low point in terms of passion from City fans, which we used to be proud of. So I started watching games again. I felt that we weren’t that s**t, only lacklustre. I get why you local fans are p**sed. I would if I was watching Samaras and Vassell week in, week out.
So after ten years of ‘City supporting’, I am on the brink of abandoning English football. Reasons as follows:
- the league will only be won by four teams
- above average mediocre teams will treat Europe or League Cup as winning the league
- below average mediocre teams that slipped into Championship, will turn into another Leeds
- every other season there will be a foreign invested Championship club joining the Premiership mediocrity (Derby, Portsmouth)
- then there will be those yoyo’s like West Ham, Charlton, Sunderland
Setting aside the potential buy-out, our objective for the next 10 years will be preventing relegation and hoping for another Fair-Play Award. If the potential buy-out goes through, we may be more comfortable as fans, but do we want an Abramovich coming in? Do we want to be Chelsea fans? You just have to hope our buyer is more flash than the Geordies’. Is it just about supporting the shirt or the club or the owner? Pretend to be ecstatic when Cole scored? F**k that for a laugh! I’m not being racist, just carrying out duty supporting my beloved club, not the bl**dy jersey or badge.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #1322 on