Simon Shed Edwards

Why Blue?

Being a relatively newcomer to MCIVTA, I thought it appropriate, in view of recent requests, that I put forward my experiences in a Why Blue.

I cannot think of the precise moment or why I became a fully-fledged Blue, though it was definitely at the beginning of the 1971/72 season; I have a feeling it was my Uncle Martin’s (another Blue) influence. Whatever, it has been 28 years of mixed fortunes, but sheer bliss throughout, even now I am more proud than ever that I support City.

Anyway, however it started, I was now 100% Blue. My favourite player in those days was Colin Bell, for me no City player since has drawn the same admiration as Colin. Rodney Marsh was a whisker away in 1973, then Dennis Tueart took over his mantle following his injury during my days at secondary school.

I remember being taken to see them for the first time at Wolves, by memory we won 3-1 – bliss. I’m sure it was during that 71/72 season. My next live viewing was Wolves again, with the anticipation of Rodney et al handing out another stuffing; this time Wolves were rampant, we got thrashed 5-1, though Rodney did get the consolation goal. This was followed by a 4-0 defeat at Stoke and further defeats at Molineux. These setbacks only seemed to entrench me further in the Blue cause, and when victory came again it would be even sweeter.

My first trip to the Academy was in the spring of 1974 to see City against Wolves, who had recently beaten us in the League Cup Final. My dad had agreed to take me before the end of the season, probably to make up for the disappointment of losing in the cup final. I had chosen that game as on paper we should beat Wolves avenging the cup defeat, in those days we were a fairly good bet at home, not only to win, but to score a few goals as well. True to form I was to be disappointed by the result, 1-1, but the experience was still out of this world. On the number of occasions I had seen City away, the grounds were bigger and better than Shrewsbury’s, but nothing I had seen so far had prepared me for what I would witness in Manchester that spring day. As soon as I set eyes upon the stadium I marvelled at the sheer magnificence of Maine Road. If the exterior of the ground was something else, then the inside was out of this world. I can still almost feel the excitement I felt that when I walked down the steps of the Kippax and saw the pitch and inside of the stadium live for the very first time. In fact I still feel it now every time I go to home matches. The other great memory of that day was all those new adjectives I learned that were used to describe our Red friends.

I had to wait till 1976 for my first home victory when Dennis Tueart, Peter Barnes and Co demolished Everton 3-0, shortly before the League Cup Final victory against Newcastle. I was lucky enough to get a ticket for the Final, one of the few moments of material success in my almost 30 years supporting City and a truly magical moment it was for a 15-year-old.

Those were the days of watching City. All those early disappointments were forgotten as Tony Book’s team demolished almost everyone in sight for a couple of seasons. Wolves were hammered (4-0, I think) at Molineux to exorcise that 5-1 humiliation, in one of Colin Bell’s last few games for us, he never looked the same after the injury sustained against the Scum.

Leaving school and starting work brought more opportunities to visit the Academy, memorable outings including the impressive début by Alex Williams against West Brom in a 2-1 victory. In 1981 I was again fortunate enough to get a ticket to the Cup Final against Spurs, who wouldn’t have scored without that fluky deflection if the match had gone on all day, but from the moment they equalised I had the feeling the Cup wasn’t going to be ours.

The thing that really pi**es me off though is Steve Mackenzie’s great goal. If a scum player had scored that goal it would be shown and fawned over every time the FA Cup comes around, but because it was scored by a City player it is hardly ever mentioned or shown.

I remember going see us at Everton at the beginning of the fateful 82-83 season, even then in the early part of the season when we were doing relatively well, we looked very much like relegation fodder. A fact reinforced by the home game against Notts County later that season under the stewardship of John Benson. I had gone to the game with my dad, uncle Martin and a friend of my dad’s who happened to be one of the linesman that day. They were rubbish, we were not much better, but they took the points and we both went down at the end of the season. I experienced my first Swales out demo after the game. There were to be many more.

That summer, lying on a beach in Spain I decided that City now needed my support more than ever, that was it, better attendance at games. The first foray that season was to the Blackburn game, a 6-1 victory, the days of Parlane and Tolmie. I felt happy that Billy McNeill would be the saviour for us. I didn’t feel we played too well that day, but if we could do that and win 6-1 then there would be no stopping us.

It took two seasons, but we were restored to the top flight. But I did get to a lot more games during those two seasons. The icing on the cake being the Charlton game winning 5-1, for me even better then the 1976 League Cup win. Promoted in style, the promotion season was capped that summer by my getting married.

I did take my wife to a match in our home town of Shrewsbury, she did not enjoy it and still to this day cannot understand the attraction of the game, nor my love of City. Being snarled at by a police dog on the way out of the ground was the ultimate humiliation for her. We recently watched Fever Pitch, even that did not help overcome this lack of understanding of the great game and City, it only seemed to reinforce both of us into the two lead rôles.

During the Kendall, Reid era and all that followed until Joe Royle’s reign, I had been confined to following our fortunes through the media for various reasons. The fallout from Hillsborough ruined football for me for a while, my view is it is a game to be watched while standing up, not sitting down. I have not yet returned to the Kippax, place of such wonderful memories since it was re-built. I prefer the Junior Blues’ Stand at the moment, good atmosphere and no swearing.

Technology was now helping me to keep in touch. GMR through a decent car radio, and more recently Teletext on matchdays, much to the annoyance of my wife. And now this season the Internet – Mcivta and Blueview – are brilliant for those of us who do not live in the Manchester area and were reliant on the minor snippets in the national press/TV for news between our visits to the Academy.

During last season I discovered another Blue at work, who happened to be a season ticket holder; I decided that enough was enough, I was going to start going to the matches again. Other commitments thwarted me until the QPR game, which just happened to coincide with my birthday, there was definitely no stopping me on this occasion, I was going. Even now twenty four years after my first visit I still get that excitement in the stomach driving up the Princess Parkway or seeing the ground from the bus, and then that rush of adrenaline that follows when seeing the pitch.

My eldest son, 5, said he wanted to come to the QPR game, I had to disappoint him. However, I have started to take him this season and recently enrolled him into the Junior Blues. I will submit our experiences for a Junior Why Blue in the future. He had his first taste of victory against Fulham recently.

‘Fever Pitch’ and ‘Manchester United Ruined My Life’ have helped me come to terms with my feelings toward City and football in general. I don’t feel despair at our current situation, I’m sure the good times will return. Like all Blues I hate it when we don’t win, but for me the real joy is being a City fan and now being able to go to see them on a more regular basis. My youngest lad (2) keeps saying “me go football match”, we will probably end up taking him in the spring.

It would be nice if the lads stick with the Blues. Alex is starting to make friends with other young Blues he meets on his travels to the matches (and via the net); maybe these can be the basis of friendships when he grows up. Similarly, for his younger brother who already loves anything to do with City, but is too young to fully understand and realise what this means as much as he yearns to start his lifelong association.

First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #476 on


Simon Shed Edwards