Newsletter #616

Not unexpectedly, the domestic football scene is very quiet at the moment, with most sports hacks and even war correspondents despatched to the low countries. Speculation continues to link us with several strikers, including Gudjohnsen, but a deal in the next two weeks seems somewhat unlikely.

This issue at last has more definitive news on Chorlton and the Wheelies (?); the ‘Boys in Blue’ B-side; opinion and another good Why Blue (more needed please).

This one goes out to 3,310.

Next game: Saturday 22nd July 2000, Linfield away


If you’re after all the gossip, news and views from Euro2000 as well your chance to have your say on the discussion board, then Eurofinals365 is definitely the place to be. Not quite as good as being there, but a pretty close second!

Eurofinals365 –


Mixed Signals Over Gudjohnsen

One report is claiming that City could be about to miss out on priority striker target Eidur Gudjohnsen, with the Bolton front man supposedly set for talks at Stamford Bridge after the Trotters accepted Chelsea’s £4 million bid for him. But stories appearing elsewhere maintain that the Blues may still have a chance of signing the player. Joe Royle was said to have made a bid earlier in the summer of an initial £2 million to be supplemented with incentive payments, and it appears that the City boss will now have to decide whether to increase his offer or see the player move to London. An increased offer could see City get their man, with some sources still asserting that the Icelandic striker would prefer a move to the Blues as he’d be guaranteed first-team football at Maine Road. Meanwhile, Chelsea’s Chris Sutton, linked with City in recent weeks, looks likely to make a £6 million move to either Celtic or Middlesbrough. The ex-Blackburn player’s rumoured demand for a £30,000 weekly salary tends to indicate that a move back to the north west with City was never really on the cards.

New Striker Name Linked

With the outcome of City’s pursuit of Gudjohnsen still unclear, a Sunday tabloid has suggested an alternative target as Joe Royle bids to increase City’s attacking threat. And the man in question would cost more than the fee Chelsea have allegedly agreed for the Icelander. It’s claimed that the Blues are prepared to spend £6 million on Wimbledon’s Carl Cort, who has asked for a transfer after the Dons’ relegation. Leeds are said to be close to signing Celtic’s Mark Viduka and will therefore drop their interest in the England under-21 man, but new Leicester manager Peter Taylor could also make a bid for a player he’s coached at international level. With the Foxes also able to offer UEFA Cup football, Filbert Street would appear to be Cort’s most likely destination even if it’s true that Royle would like to bring him to Maine Road.

More Midfielders in the Frame

More transfer rumours this week have centred on potential midfield recruits for Joe Royle. And City have found themselves linked with three experienced players who are likely to be on the move this summer. Steve Stone has become the latest of several Aston Villa players said to be interesting the Blues, with the 28-year-old looking to rebuild his career after a disappointing two years at Villa Park and possibly available for £3 million. Meanwhile, despite Joe Royle’s earlier denials of interest in Craig Hignett, some reports claim that the City boss could be ready with bid for the Barnsley star. However, Monday’s Manchester Evening News claims that the Blues’ interest is cooling as the club regards Barnsley’s reported asking price of around £2.5 million as excessive for a 30-year-old. Finally, Newcastle chairman Freddie Shepherd and manager Bobby Robson have both denied reports that Gary Speed could be leaving St. James’s Park this summer. A Sunday tabloid had claimed City were poised to bid £3 million for the Welsh midfielder.

City Still Watching Bragstad?

When Bjorn Otto Bragstad was first linked with the Blues, the defender was said to be a potential alternative target if the proposed deal for Alf-Inge Haaland broke down. But the Rosenborg player continues to be linked with City in some quarters even though his compatriot has signed for the Blues. Any move for a central defender by City presupposes that this is not the rôle earmarked for Haaland next season, and Willie Donachie’s reported presence at the Spain vs. Norway Euro 2000 game last week was interpreted by some as a sign that the Blues are still considering a move for Bragstad. Derby, Southampton and Ajax are also said to be interested, and the Rams have had a bid of £1.1 million turned down. Fulham defender Chris Coleman also continues to be mentioned in connection with City, although it’s claimed that Joe Royle would not be prepared to meet the Londoners’ £3 million valuation. Monday’s Manchester Evening News also claims that Royle is keeping an eye on developments concerning Bolton’s Mark Fish, who had been expected to join Charlton, while the same paper also names Huddersfield’s former Bury defender Chris Lucketti as a possible target.

Royle Denies Peruvian Story

Joe Royle is due to head for South America next week on a fact-finding mission. But the City manager has laughed off reports that he’ll be using his trip to pursue interest in Peruvian midfielder Roberto Palacios. Royle says he’s hoping to watch four games during his visit but has denied that he has any targets in mind. “This will be a fact finding mission to see the standards and to gauge the kind of players and what I think of their suitability for coming here,” the City boss told the official club website at “As for that rumour with Palacios, I had never heard of him before!”

City Pair Head for Tahiti

Danny Tiatto and Chris Killen will be in international action this week. Both players are due to play in the Oceania Cup competition which starts on Tuesday in Tahiti. Killen has been called up for the full New Zealand squad for the tournament after impressing for the Kiwi under-23 side against South Africa this month. Tiatto recently represented Australia in two games of the three-match series against Paraguay and is gradually establishing himself as a key man for his country.

Busy Duo Set for A Break

Danny Tiatto and Mark Kennedy will be given permission to report back late for pre-season training. The pair have been busy on international duty while their team-mates have been resting after the Blues’ promotion season, and will resume training on Monday, 17 July – a week after the rest of Joe Royle’s squad. And the City boss is hoping that their summer workloads won’t have taken too heavy a toll on the two key players. “Mark had a niggling Achilles problem at the end of last season and I hope it hasn’t flared up again,” Royle told the official City website at “They both need the rest mentally as much as anything.”

Next Term’s Fixtures Out On Thursday

Next season’s Premiership fixtures are due to be announced on Thursday. And the publication of the schedule for the Blues’ return to the big time will no doubt be keenly awaited by most fans. The clubs have already been given an opportunity to comment on the provisional fixture list, and BSkyB will also have been allowed a sneak preview, with the early live televised games also expected to be announced soon. The full fixture list will hopefully appear in MCIVTA 617.

Peter Brophy (


Oh my God, what a disaster. Somewhere out there is crowd footage of me standing at Old Trafford by the corner flag, wearing a red scarf and this could be shown in a BBC Drama, The King and I. I feel the need to explain how this happened.

As a 15-year-old I went to Old Trafford on 27th April 1974 as a loyal City fan, standing on the Scoreboard Terrace. About half an hour before the kick-off the Stretford End invaded the pitch and came running towards us. The City fans were massacred. This was our Alamo. By half time there was only a small enclave of about a thousand of us left. Then the fighting broke out again, I was hit by a meat and potato pie! At this point I noticed a Rag, in the Paddock, who I went to school with. I leapt over the railing and ran up to him and grabbed a scarf (this was the era of the Bay City Rollers when everyone wore 5 scarves). Is this acceptable? What would you have done? I was too young to die.

After half-time there were no City fans to be seen and you may well wonder what happen to the thousands who were there at the beginning. I think many left but every now and again you could spot groups of people with no colours. One of them was behind me and when Denis Law back-heeled that immortal goal they leapt in the air. Law’s goal set off another pitch invasion. Predictably, Matt Busby’s request over the PA to clear the pitch was met with derision and abuse, the match was abandoned.

Result: Manchester United 0 Manchester City 1
Manchester United relegated to Division 2.

Pete Husband (


Chorlton and the Wheelies? Classic stop-motion animation from Cosgrove Hall Productions featuring Chorlton-cum-Hardy the Happiness Dragon pitched against the kettle witch Fenella trying to bring drabness to Wheelie World, populated by little wheeled people led by King Otto and Queen Doris. Best joke of the whole run:

Chorlton sat in a deckchair and saying “It’s just like Southport” and King Otto (or was Zoomer) says “What’s Southport?” Chorlton: “It’s a place near the sea”. “But there’s no sea here.” “I know, that’s why it’s just like Southport”.


And I suppose we must explain that Southport has a very shallow beach where the tide goes about 5 miles out.

Steve Parish (


Just to give you the background. Championship Manager 1999-2000. I have won the First Division Championship plus three League Cups, two Premier Championships, one Uefa Cup and finalists in the Champions League, one match from the treble during a period of managing City for seven years.

As a matter of interest of the original squad I inherited from Sir Joe, Richard Edghill (5 England caps), Mark Kennedy (26 Irish caps, 3 goals), Nick Fenton (3 England caps), Kevin Horlock (21 Irish caps, 2 goals), Wright-Phillips (5 England U21 caps), Terry Cooke.

Major outs: Nicky Weaver; Arsenal £2.5 million (I couldn’t keep him), Dickov £5 million (Arsenal), David Johnson (Salford Untitled, £6 million – traitor), Danny Granville (Derby £6 million), Gary Mason (Leeds £4 million).

Retired or Released (during the 7-year period): Morrison, Whitley brothers, Bishop, Jobson (now full-time coach), Peacock, Tiatto, Allsopp, Goater.

Major Buys: Frank Lampard (WHU, 7 caps, £1 million), Thomas Hoyer (AAB, Denmark, 12 caps, free), Tommy Smith (Watford, 5 caps, £3.5 million), Bo Nielson (AAB, Denmark, 12 Caps, free), Jose Dominguez (Spurs, Portugal, 17 Caps, £2 million), Carl Serrant (Newcastle, £1.5 million), Antony Charles (Sunderland, £1 million), plus Mark Delaney (AV), Curtis Woodhouse and Robert Page (Charlton), and Robert Lee (Millwall).

Okay so it’s only a game but my advice to Sir Joe would be pay special attention to Tommy Smith (Watford) and Frank Lampard (WHU).

CTID, Peter Abbott (


Rich, yes you are right about the “Boys in Blue” record which I got for my 14th birthday! Yep, showing my age again! The B-side was called Funky City and at the time I thought it was great! Not so sure now tho’!

Carol Darvill (


As a member of the ‘non UK-based/frequent global traveller’ Blue fraternity and considering City’s forthcoming re-appearance on telly screens in bars/pubs/hotels around the globe, I was wondering if a benevolent subscriber to MCIVTA would compile a list of footy friendly hostelries, preferably with one or two City regulars, and post it on a supporters’ web site (the one that Svenn maintains?). This would be an excellent web page to visit for Blues travelling anywhere in the world and would remove the need to post request messages on MCIVTA (but include a note and a link to the web page in MCIVTA editions). I am not offering to do the compilation but I will propose a reasonable pub where you can get a decent pint, a feed and watch Premier League games on a big screen if you are in North Queensland – P.J. O’Brien’s, corner of Shields and Lake St., central Cairns.

Do we have a volunteer?

Neil Adshead (


Re: Richard Ellor’s recollection of the “Boys in Blue” record. I don’t know wether to be proud or embarrassed, but I am actually an owner of this record.

Here are the facts about the “priceless” (I hope) EP:

Recorded at Strawberry Studios, Manchester in 1972.
Side A: Boys in Blue
Side B: Funky City (yes Richard you where right)

Both songs written by Godley, Creme & Gouldman.

Does anybody know if the songwriters are City supporters?

CTID, James Jolly a.k.a. Jolly Blue, Sigtuna, Sweden (

The three songwriters were three-quarters of 10cc, and Strawberry Studios was in Stockport, where I believe 10cc hailed from. I don’t know if they were Blues, but it’s a distinct possibility considering their origins.



Re: Richard Ellor’s query on the B-side of ‘Boys in Blue’. Yes it was called ‘Funky City’ and yes it was crap, but no it was not amusing. Like its A-side, it was written by three chancers out of some second-rate 70’s pub band called 10cc. Judging by the quality of the ‘music’, they were and presumably still are Rags.

I really feel that I’ve got to nip in the bud any attempts to bring back ‘Boys in Blue’. I campaigned long and hard towards its demise in the mid-90’s and would hate to see my efforts undone. The powers that be seemed to settle on Republica and Fatboy Slim last season for tunes to welcome us onto the pitch. Both stock items for any old football team, hence things we should avoid. I had no problem with ‘Roll With It’ at the time (or even still for that matter), but Oasis’ subsequent output has been so dire that there’s been nothing to supercede it. Why, even Supra’s cartoon version of Blue Moon has more going for it than Oasis’ last Sgt. Pepper outtake.

This got me thinking of songs with City links like ‘The Ballad of Clive Wilson’ or ‘I Believe in Barney Daniels’, but none really capture the spirit of running out at Maine Road. Then it struck me. Etched into the run-out grooves of Marquis Cha-Cha by The Fall is ‘Our boys are a bunch of tw*ts’ with the B-side ‘Room to Live’ having the plea ‘Give us Room to Live, Sack John Bond’. Great songs, great City links. Wind up the gramophone Mr Bernstein, the problem’s solved. Unless anyone can top them?

Andy Noise (


Another England game, another City banner in prime position! After the “Feed the Goat” banner at the Portugal game (seen by a few subscribers) the one at the Germany match couldn’t be missed – directly behind the goal that England attacked in the first half. The flag of St. George with M C F C in the four quadrants, and “The Blue Buccaneer” written across the middle. Great to see City fans getting such fantastic vantage points – can’t wait to see what turns up at the Romania game.

Mike Cosgrove (


Does anyone know why MCFC share prices have not moved since we returned to the top flight? I would have thought with the sky money kicking in and all they would have risen. Also in the Blackburn game has anyone noticed the referee’s face when when Jansen hits the post in the second half?

Derrick Bradshaw (


Does anybody out there know what has happened to reserve defender Steve Rimmer? Is he still at the club or has he moved on? The only first team game he played was in Auto Windscreens in 1998.

Tony Arundale (


Greetings all – just returned from holiday in Sorrento, Italy where I got a curious sense of déjà vu. When I arrived I found local team Napoli needed one point from their last game, away, to get back in Serie A. They clinched it with a one-nil victory. Big motorcade round Piazza Tasso on Saturday night, giant flags, horns blowing, knew just how they felt! Next day a huge banner is strung across the Marina Grande beach, rough translation: “Watch out, the big whirlwind’s back”. Good for the lads who hosted the Goat banner. Mind you there were a lot of City fans in the crowd at the Portugal match. I distinctly heard loud chants of “Ing-Harland, Ing-Harland!” Sorry about that one… see you at Drogheda – is it all ticket?

Ernie Whalley (


It was great to see “FEED THE GOAT” flag at the recent England/Portugal match. Hopefully it’s the start of Europe seeing much more of all things City in the coming years. Also, if anyone read Danny Baker’s article in saturday’s Times with a pic of 2 Portugese fans sitting in front of a banner, was it a Blue banner? It read…

“Born in England. Live in England. Die in England. M**C.”

Are many Blues considering making the trip to our pre-season games in Belfast and Drogheda? City play Linfield on Saturday 22nd July and Drogheda on Monday 24th. It will be great to see a decent travelling support – as usual!

God Bless Joe Royle.

Michael Jenkins (


There is a big difference between Munich chants and Beckham chants, Munich was a tragic disaster.

Beckham is very good player who does so many things on and off the field he attracts chants to be made about him. Yes I am guilty of a chant about Beckham, but that does not mean I dislike the player (he just happens to be with the wrong club).

My Beckham chant (to the tune of – “Jesus Christ Superstar”)

David Beckham superstar
Wears Spice knickers – and a playtex bra!

Let’s have a great and fun season!

Ernie Barrow (


Munich songs – are we all getting a little too carried away with this and talking about Un***d, when we should be concentrating on City?; no doubt the close season has something to do with this. Without wishing to necessarily prolong this debate, I thought I would chip in with my view, for what it is worth, but also add a slightly different slant to a number of issues it has raised – and the issue of Munich songs is not the main point of this article.

I too grew up on the Kippax in the mid-to-late ’70s and early ’80s when the runway song was sung at virtually every game at Maine Road and always got a good airing at derby matches – both at Maine Road and the Swamp. So as not to give the wrong impression of what I am saying, let me make it clear that I have never sung this song at Maine Road, the Swamp or any other ground – even throughout my adolescent years during the period mentioned above, when it was “fashionable” throughout football in general to sing such songs (along with racist chants – which I also never joined in) – I always thought this song was tasteless and sick, to say the least.

However, I can understand why people did sing that song, particularly in that era – not that I am condoning it, but if you ask yourself would Un***d fans, in that era or the few that sing today, sing such a song about City if the rôles were reversed, then I am sure the answer would be yes – I know this is not the point in terms of whether City fans should sing it and whether the club should do anything to stop it – but let’s not beat up on those City fans who did sing it and those who do sing Munich songs today. I have deliberately used the past tense in this paragraph, as I feel that the runway song gets little, if any, airing at Maine Road today; certainly I have not heard it at Maine Road for a long time.

I think a comparison needs to be drawn between the runway song and other so-called Munich songs, such as “Oh Terry Cooke…” and “Town Full of Munichs”, – I do not consider these songs the same as the runway song; these songs, while using the word Munich, do not seek to glorify or make light of the tragedy that happened in Munich; these songs are about a City player who used to play for the Rags and a taunt to other clubs’ fans, and they simply use a term – “Munich” – that, whether anyone likes it or not, has become synonymous with describing a Un***d fan/Un***d.

I have sung these two songs in the past, and will continue to do so, as in my mind the distinction is clear; if this causes offence to anyone then I apologise for it but I do not think City fans or the club should seek to do anything to stop these two songs. I also know a number of Un***d fans that, while they do not particularly appreciate the use of the word “Munich”, accept that these songs do not glorify what happened. Have a look/listen at/to the Wembley dressing room celebration scenes last year – all the players are singing the “Oh Terry Cooke…” song in the background while he is being interviewed! While I was somewhat surprised by that, I think it exemplifies the distinction I am trying to make. Does this mean that all these players should be rounded-up and ejected from Maine Road? – I think not.

Anyway, I would like to now get on to my main point (thank goodness I hear some whisper!) – in Mike Nolan’s article last week he said he hates the Rags even more with every passing year – fair point and one which I would agree with (although I don’t know whether I could hate them any more than I always have, so I’m not sure if my hatred can increase each year!). What this leads me on to is how City fans generally now perceive Un***d.

In the past it is probably fair to say that we have perhaps been obsessed by Un***d, by wanting to be better in every way and always comparing us with them – certainly to some people we seemed to be more obsessed with what Un**ed were doing than what City were doing – in a book I bought on English football grounds a few years ago, the author said the one overriding impression that you come away from Maine Road with was our hatred of Un***d which was to the point of obsession and he went on to make the point that he felt we needed to get over that and concentrate purely on City before we would get back to the top (we were heading on our way into Division 2 at the time). Last year’s version of the book simply said we still hated Un***d but were more concerned with City and what we were doing – the absence of the reference to being obsessed was certainly noticeable.

During our time on loan to Division 1 and Division 2, (which, given our rise over the past two seasons, I can now only assume was part of the Football League’s masterplan to increase attendances and excitement in the Nationwide League before we returned to our rightful place at the top!), I thought we were clearly in a different league and on a different plane than Un***d – while they were doing an unprecedented treble, we were in Division 2.

What these past few years have done with me personally is to instil in me a sense of who cares what Un***d are doing – sure I would like them to have lost every game, to get relegated and go into the Conference etc. – but did it really matter to City? – No it didn’t, it made no difference to what we were working towards; similarly, it won’t make any difference to City what Un***d may win next year, the main thing is that we have a good season and are still in the Premier League at the end of it.

We are simply not in a position at present to compete with them and so why should we let it bother us what they do; I certainly do not subscribe to the view that we will never be able to compete with them or the other 3 or 4 clubs in the top echelon of the Premier League at the moment, but it will take time – at least 5 or 6 seasons in the Premier League in my view before we could be realistically challenging – not just challenging Un***d (as that’s not what it’s about) but challenging for the title/Champions’ League place/UEFA place, as we used to.

Despite this seemingly being contradictory to my point at the beginning of my article about talking about City and not Un***d, I don’t think it is – don’t get me wrong I still hate Un***d but these past few seasons have made me, and I think other City fans, realise that getting City back where we should be was what mattered. Let’s not fall back into bad habits.

We have got much more than Un***d fans ever will have and a lot of that is down to the last few seasons – in my view, to most Un***d fans the treble simply cannot compare with Wembley ’99 (or probably even Blackburn 2000) as they will never be able to appreciate or experience what that moment meant to City fans – to true football fans – you have to have been through all the lows before you can really encounter and savour something like that; even if we win the treble (and my mate has a bet on it that we will win it before 2009!) I really do doubt whether that could compare with Wembley. It’s not just about 1 game either or a few trophies, it’s about more than that, it’s about being part of something because it’s in your blood, in your heart, in your family, your life – something you just can’t get rid of even if you wanted to or even if you tried. So as the song goes… “Who the f**k are Man Un***d?” and who cares!

So am I alone or have other Blues similarly changed in their views?

Tom Farrington (


Are Man city having a new shirt/sponsor this season. If so what is the design? Why hasn’t the red and black shirt gone on sale (third kit)?

Also I am doing a project on Manchester City at my school. I would be grateful if you could tell me lots of information on the new Eastlands stadium, and also any news on City’s season 99/00. Do you have any autographs that I could have to put in? I would be very grateful.

Daniel Thigpen (


Forever Blue… or City ‘Til I Sigh

I don’t remember all that much about that time now. I was six weeks short of my seventh birthday but even then I knew something momentous was happening. I was sat in the dark as we always did at grandma’s, watching Match of the Day on her old black and white TV. Black and white didn’t matter all that much, except that you couldn’t tell that the grey strip of the celebrating team was really sky blue. Looking back in the records now I know that the score was 4-3 and that Manchester City had just beaten the mighty Newcastle United at St James’ Park but back then I didn’t really care. All I saw was Francis Lee, arms raised, saluting the army of fans that had made the trip to Newcastle to watch Joe Mercer’s Manchester City take the old Division One championship and pip the local opposition against all the odds. At that moment I became a Blue!

My mum had recently bought me my first football strip. Because I liked the colour it turned out to be United’s. We were not well off in those days and a suitably righteous mother didn’t care whether I had switched allegiance or not, that kit was too expensive to just throw away and I’d damned well wear it out. I wore that stinking rag as I now think of it for the next two years! Even to this day, as my mum gets older, she still thinks that I’m a Red despite thousands of reminders to the contrary.

I grew up in the Longsight district of Manchester, and with a big Irish immigrant population, nearly all my mates were Reds. During the glory days of the late sixties and early seventies though that didn’t much matter as the two local rivals competed on a more or less even footing. League glory was followed by F.A. then League Cup success (in consecutive seasons) was followed by European silverware. No Rag could call us back then. I suppose I had an easy ride of it as in those formative years it is so easy for a young head to be turned by success. My allegiance was never put to the test during the early growth of those tender shoots of loyalty and so when the leaner times came I was hooked. Too late to go back, not that I ever wanted to.

My grandmother lived about fifteen minutes’ walk from Maine Road and many a Saturday afternoon I would walk up there and listen to the roar of the crowd. I didn’t go to my first game until I was nearly thirteen. My dad always banned me from going as this was the start of the darker days of football violence, so one Saturday afternoon myself and two pals sneaked off to Maine road to watch City take on Coventry. City lost! The score 2-1 to Coventry who, by the cruellest of fate’s tortuous twists, were now managed by none other than Joe Mercer. Oh the irony, oh the grief! On the pitch were demi-gods, Summerbee, Lee, Marsh, whilst in the dugouts and boardroom were rats and vermin in the shape of Messrs Allison and Swales. Players and manager were living it large whilst behind the scenes the lifeblood was already being siphoned off to other clubs. The decline and fall of the Roman Empire was probably no different, bread and circuses, and Swales fiddled as Maine Road burned.

I suppose it wasn’t all darkness and hellfire though. There was the mid-seventies revival, the period of Tony Book in the hot seat and Tueart et al on the field, but with hindsight (a marvellous thing) the moving finger was already writing in big letters on the wall of the main stand. There followed probably the worst period in the club’s history as mega-money was shelled out for sometimes mediocre players, only for them to disappear a season or so later for a fraction of their original price. Accompanying this the slide down the table brought cries of despair from the ever loyal Blue army. The eighties and nineties are probably best forgotten from a football purist’s point of view but as a true Blue I feel that for the fans it was arguably our finest hour. We showed the backbone and courage that was sadly missing in the club’s management. As fans we kept the faith whilst everyone from the press to the lowest swamp-dweller lambasted us for all the fools under the sun for giving our favour to such a ramshackle mob. All that could be said for the club at one time was that they had the best supporters in the country. I’m honoured to be classed amongst those fans.

I recently read a book that said that in general Man City supporters were left of centre liberals with a strong humanitarian touch. I’m not sure about that especially when I hear some of the abuse that is screamed by some of the less tolerant pundits in the North stand, but certainly there is something special about being a Blue that transcends the mere fact that you support a football team. For a start there is the die hard never give in spirit that is personified by the ‘City ’til I Die’ anthem. By rights this club that we all rave about doesn’t deserve the loyalty we so generously bestow upon it. With twenty years of underachievement behind us the blue and white army should have left in droves years ago, me along with it, but we don’t. A season in Division Two and we still were getting 28,000 average gates. I went to a freezing cold Wednesday night game in late October last year, when everywhere there was frost on the ground, to see City and Ipswich, only to find that I was one of 33,000. That level of devotion is in the blood. It says more about the character of the people who turn up week in week out than the football on the field will ever do. Simply stated, we support City because we do! It is in our genes to be fiercely loyal, foolishly proud and contemptuous of those who follow only success (like the supporters of another club we could mention but won’t). There are other clubs elsewhere in the world that command a similar level of fanaticism, I can think of Barcelona as a prime example, but there can’t be many other clubs that with City’s recent record could still call on the same level of support.

I’m proud to be a Blue. I love to go to Maine road and be with other Blues. “Alright mate” takes on a new meaning when it’s the guy or girl next to you in row F on a wet windy Saturday, more like a secret handshake than a greeting. We are a family, all of us, and it is a huge family. It spans the globe. My own personal experience is that I have friends in Germany, who live fairly close to Frankfurt, who regularly follow the Blues. G