Geoff Clarke

Why Blue?

This is a question that I have often been asked, usually soon after I have revealed to people that I am a City supporter and that I am born and bred in Manchester. It is also a question that I struggle to give a convincing answer to, usually saying, “I don’t know”, or, “I just am”. There isn’t a history of football fans in my family, as my parents came over from Jamaica in the 1960’s, and hence being more interested in cricket, so that isn’t it. My only explanation is that when I was a baby, my family lived in Moss Side, on a street opposite the ground (now occupied by playing fields for Claremount Road Primary School), and my dad did look out for the City results on a Saturday afternoon on Grandstand. My family moved to Levenshulme when I was two, and my best friend for many years, mainly during primary school and early secondary school, was also a City fan. One of my most vivid memories of my younger days was the 1979 Cup final, I didn’t half cheer when Alan Sunderland scored the last minute winner against the Rags!! I also couldn’t believe what happenend to my beloved City in the ’81 final, after seeing Paul Power’s semi-final winner on Grandstand / Match of the Day.

With my parents not being mad football followers, together with the ascendance of the hooligan element throughout the country, it was not until 1985 at twelve years old when I first got to see the Blues at the Academy. It was near the end of the season and we were playing Oldham Athletic. The people I went with arrived late to pick me up, me being dead disappointed and we missed the first twenty or so minutes of the match. The game was 0-0 and the thing I most remember is Andy May getting sent off.

At that time, I was not allowed to go to league games, so I went to a few reserve games in the next couple of seasons, a good, cheap way to become a supporter – kids can get autographs etc. – the only first team action I saw were the League Cup matches against Bury at Maine Road and Old Trafford in autumn 1985. It wasn’t until 1987 that I got to see my next league game. City vs. Palace 1-3 – City, and Eric Nixon in particular, hitting the self-destruct button. That was my only match of the season when City reached the FA Cup Quarter final against Liverpool. To qualify for a ticket to the cup match, you had to go to a game vs. Hull City, so I duly went, got my cup ticket, and went to see my team take on the then unbeaten Liverpool. I still think the first goal was handball, and the second was never a penalty.

The following season (promotion year) saw me become a fully-fledged Blue, only missing one home match (which happened to be our first win of the season against Brighton), and even getting to a couple of away matches, at Stoke and Blackburn. I got my first season ticket after promotion to Division One, and during the 1989-90 season I was lucky (mad) enough to see every game at Maine Road including reserve and youth team games (I sometimes miss those freezing winter evening games(!)) and have been a season ticket holder ever since, even though I spent three years at Leeds University (1990-1993), and have moved down south to Beckenham, Kent this January.

Favourite memories of games include the 5-1, 4-0 vs. Leeds twice, 2-1 at Leeds, 2-1 at Villa on TV, 3-2 at Blackburn on TV, the 1986 FA Youth Cup final vs. the young Rags, and a 4-3 reserve team victory over the Rags’ reserves at O.T. in 1989 which got news coverage on Granada Reports. I just hope that this season improves and quickly!!

First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #123 on


Geoff Clarke