Although only recently subscribed to “McVittee” I can’t help but notice a striking (surely a mistake in a Blue article) similarity between most of the Why Blues? i.e. Surrounded by Rags and scousers at school, by chance first trip to the Academy are awestruck by the surroundings (even though we probably lost), immediately become lifelong Blue (lifelong masochist?) entailing dreaded Saturday afternoons and midweek 3rd and 4th division killing fields, incessant nailbiting (surely true Blues must have the shortest fingernails in Britain?). And then what do we do when we start families? – You guessed it, we enroll our kids in this tradition i.e. not only are we masochists but we turn into sadists.
My particular Why Blue, roughly follows the above pattern. At the age of 4 (1971) I move to Rochdale and start school where the majority of the kids are Rags and Liverpool fans. My dad is a ravid Derby fan (he is from Derby so he doesn’t know any better) and he worked at the time as a journalist in Manchester. The early seventies were a good time for Derby under Cloughie and therefore inevitably the first game I go and see is against Derby in Derby with my dad and grandad, where we happen to get stuffed 3-1 I think, and Derby go on to win the title that season. As you can see typically auspicious beginnings for a Blue!
At about this time a next door neighbour shows me his collection of City Match magazines and I manage to persuade my mum to buy me a City away top. I am now hooked! My first visit to the Academy was tinged with irony as I had to meet all the Liverpool players before the game (due to my dad’s commitments). I remember wearing my City kit, asking Phil Neal for his signature and proudly stating we were going to win. Of course we proceeded to lose 4-1 or 4-0, and Liverpool go on to win the title. My second and third visit to the Academy also ended in resounding home losses (once definitely to Liverpool – is it me or was there a series of 4-0/4-1 losses aginst Liverpool in the late Seventies early Eighties?), and I’m beginning to think already if I’m bad luck for the team i.e. four live matches, four resounding losses, and three titles for the opposition). This bad luck scenario is confirmed in my next visit when we are relegated in the Luton fiasco. I am now resolved never to go and watch City play again as I have this burdgeoning guilt complex, that City’s downfall is solely due to my presence at games. I even go to the extent of not watching MOTD highlights to ensure a win for the Blues. This now means of course that all my mates believe that I am an absolute whacko caused by dedication to one football club. How Blue can you get?
After several years abstention (and ridding of my complex), and now old enough to go from Rochdale to Manchester without parental attention, I start going back to City and lo and behold I see a City win; I can’t remember who the hell it was against but boy did it feel good.
Anyway since 1985, I have moved from Rochdale and lived in Edinburgh, London, Paris and now Jakarta, and hence have not seen a game since, apart from rare Sky appearances two seasons ago.
I will be back in the UK from Tuesday the 16th on a business trip, when I will buy my new Kappa kit and two for my kids (their first), and will try and be at the Norwich game on Saturday (if I can get a ticket – when will the International Supporters’ Club be able to arrange this) – I apologise in advance if we lose and I’m there.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #330 on