My City connection goes back to 1984. Still a teenager and along with the other members of a band I was in, I relocated from my home town of Dundee to Manchester. The objective was pretty simple; to make it in the music biz! Manchester was in the infancy of what became something of a golden age of in terms of its contribution to UK popular culture, and was increasingly viewed as the place to be. Three out the four of us were die-hard Dundee FC fans, and without any particular club allegiance beyond Scotland, we naturally looked forward to seeing the big English games at both grounds. Remember, this was in days of turn up at five-to-three and pay-at-the-gate. Then, corporate hospitality meant a welcome greeting from a receptionist in an office block!
Unfortunately, most of the bigger games tended to take place ‘elsewhere’ in the city at that time, and consequently I frequented OT more than MR. However, although the games there tended to be decent I found the OT crowd contributed nothing but dissent and petulance to the atmosphere, seemingly bound by a collective vendetta against their own team! By contrast, the Maine Road experience became increasingly more enjoyable, with the club’s considerable toils paradoxically creating a unity and spirit in the City Faithful which I would speculate is unsurpassed at club level in the UK.
The City clincher came for me at OT, when they had arguably the best club midfield in Europe, featuring Robson, Strachan and Olsen. Everton had the upper hand, and the bile which met the occasional poor piece of control or slightly wayward pass verged on unabashed hatred which I couldn’t reconcile with what I believed supporting your team was all about. “We need a new midfield” was the consensus! I walked out, my neutrality transformed into City allegiance for life. In retrospect, it could only have ever been City for me because, despite the lack of success, managerial flops and unworthy players, it feels right.
Support in the One Blue Faith is only strengthened by what happens across the city, which is something my glory-hunting friends in both Dundee and Edinburgh fail to understand. Perhaps it’s been for the best that City had to end the years of mediocrity by finally levelling out, albeit at a division lower than we could’ve imagined, and re-building (quite literally, if the move to the new stadium proceeds). The price of success will continue to be home sell-outs which unfortunately deny thousands the chance to see City, including far-flung devotees like myself. However, the Blue touch-paper will be lit here at every terrestrial, cable and satellite opportunity.
Now married, with a wee boy and girl (plus no. 3 on the way), I’d be confident that a free-will choice would reveal a genetic pre-disposition to City. But in order to dilute media U-hype-ted, I’ll stack the odds with some subliminal indoctrination to ensure the City enclave in this part of Edinburgh will soon be quadrupled.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #626 on