Francis Lee is the culprit. In these troubled times he’s the one to blame. I am not talking about the present sorry state of affairs. No, he was the reason behind me supporting Man City. This short, stocky person, who looked like anything but a footballer, thrilled my heart to bits with his way of playing football.
It’s funny how little you remember when you look back at your own childhood. My first memory of Man City stems from the (televised) League Cup final against West Brom in 1970, I was 10 years old then. I joined the Man City Supporters’ Club here in Norway (I was actually one of the first to do so) in 1974 (or was it 75?). Then a year later City played a pre-season game in Fredrikstad. It was the first time I travelled on my own. Like most pre-season games the quality of play was poor. This summer I witnessed City’s warm-up games in Exeter and Plymouth (a feeling of déjà vu).The Supporters’ Club had arranged for us to meet the players after the match. I can remember speaking to Corrigan, Donachie, Hartford, Channon and Palmer. I’m not one for autographs or pictures but I do have one photograph from this meeting. I’m standing next to Willie Donachie, casually smiling.
This disease (supporting Man City) is getting worse. Since the early 80’s I have been over to England at least a dozen times. And the worrying aspect of this disease, it seems like the intervals between my journeys are getting shorter. Mind you, in my own masochistic way I take great pleasure from my pilgrimages to Manchester. You understand what I mean, when I give you my list of the 5 latest matches I’ve been to. Bolton, Man Utd. and Wimbledon at Easter and the Devon trip this summer (I was actually going to spend my holidays travelling Europe, but after a few days in Prague, I somehow ended up in Devon).
What is it that makes me come back time after time? It’s the atmosphere before, during and after the matches. I try to get to as many games as I can when I’m in England. I always watch City but I go to other games as well. I’ve been to around 60 football grounds in England and Scotland. It’s interesting to visit the grounds of the smaller clubs.
I’m coming over to Manchester this Christmas for City’s games against Port Vale, Barnsley, Birmingham and Brentford. Expectations have been higher I must admit.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #258 on
Geir Ove Neset