First of all, I would like to congratulate the team on securing promotion to the First Division and bringing untold joy to the masses at Wembley stadium – a truly capital performance. Sadly, I could not be there with you, for I had a calling in another part of the world – Majorca. Whilst out there my son (a future City centre forward) and I were joined at prayer, along with fellow City supporters also Burnley, Bolton, and Everton fans whose eyes were fixed towards the Sky, hoping for a City win. They were in admiration of the support this club has generated, and asked me how they can command such loyalty after so many years of failure, and what is it that makes them so special to me. I began to explain (this was before the match started you understand) that I was born in Clayton, Manchester in 1959 and I was dressed in blue, like every boy should be, from the word go. Though my mam and dad supported them, I had no real understanding of Manchester City until I was 6 years old; this was when dad decided to take me on my first trip to see City.
We set off, me wearing my new hat and scarf (knitted of course) to Mayne’s Bus Depot, Ashton New Road, along with other City fans and boarded the bus for Maine Road (God’s club). Although I wasn’t aware of it at the time, City were in the Second Division and struggling (honest) but the moment I arrived at the top of the Kippax I felt I was in heaven. After all, I was always being told that good boys go to heaven if they behaved, so this must be the place where God lives. City continued to struggle in the league, also in the cups, whilst U****d were now dominant in the City. You may ask why I don’t refer to them as the Rags, well my dad always told me not to mock the afflicted.
Anyway it was around this time I was feeling depressed, it was not a good time to follow City and I was getting tired of my team being laughed at. Even though I had no intention of changing my loyalties to the dark side, my mam sensing my unhappiness began to explain that it was her fault I had been burdened with this weight on my young shoulders. And just like the lord Jesus, I would have to bear it. She explained that shortly before my birth she was visited by an angel who told her she had to make a choice on which team I would follow once born and that the angel proclaimed whichever team she decided on, I would be blessed with a gift, but I would be deprived of a gift also. On hearing this I asked what gift I was blessed with (a sense of humour) and what if I followed U****d (watching them win the treble) and what have I been deprived of (years of silverware) and what if I followed U****d (Oxygen). Suddenly life didn’t seem so bad. God then delivered his servant the legendary Joe Mercer who called upon his congregation to come forth and multiply. And they duly did in their thousands to the gates of heaven. Joe was carrying his own burdens before he arrived at Heaven’s door and so he would need an ally who would help him take the weight. His name was Malcolm Allison; together they brought City from the ashes and delivered them into the promised land. Maine Road was brimming with silverware and yet I was foretold that I would be deprived of such wealth. How could this be? We had an excellent manager, an excellent coach, the club was getting stronger, what could possibly go wrong?
It turned out that Sir Joe had said he only wanted to remain in charge for two seasons and control would be handed over to his younger ally but success changed his way of thinking and when he decided to carry on he was stabbed in the back, and in the summer of 1972, he was disgracefully sent to Coventry. God was furious, he punished all traitors condemning them to failure, the congregation were up in arms in defence of their great leader. Though they too have been punished for the deeds of others, God could not give his blessing for success while guilty perpetrators remained in power. The congregation have paid an heavy price over many years, and have remained loyal to this day, and while I have no malice towards Malcolm, for he was young and foolish to think he could manage. He was an excellent coach who was given licence by older (dare I say wiser) men to bring a truly great man to his knees, in turn bringing the club failure. We had it all brothers, and if we keep the faith we may have it again, so back to Wembley with seconds remaining and City 2-1 down, I looked to the heavens for a miracle and you know I could have sworn I saw Joe smiling, the rest as they say is history. AMEN (The Reverend Blue Boy).
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #525 on