For those of you who don’t know my personal football back story I will paint a thumbnail sketch for you. Don’t worry, this shouldn’t take long and I do so to illustrate a point.
Born 1970, St Mary’s Manchester.
Dad gave up good job to a become postman as the round he would get had Maine Road on it.
Dad moved the family home to Thornton Road as it was next to Maine Road and the game could be watched through the back bedroom (about three quarters of the pitch if truth be told).
Both sides of the family were Blue, but the old fella was a mental Blue of the old style.
As a kid I listened to stories about him playing with Neil Young at school, playing for Maine Road and only giving it up when we kids came along. How he was at Wembley for this final or that final, how he travelled with 4 mates to Newcastle for the Championship decider and only got in the Social Club because he knew Joe Mercer (“the place was full of people who had never been to a game and when Joe heard we couldn’t get in as we arrived back so late he sorted it out for us”).
I love all of that history and I enjoy it even now when Dad talks to my eldest (Michael, 15) in the same way.
But as I said I was born in 1970 and it’s not quite been the same since then. So I am jealous of my dad for having that link to our club, the family’s club.
But I’m also jealous of my kids (there are 5 of them: 15, 9, 6, 4 and 2) and they won’t ever know the pain and heartache that I have known.
Even Michael’s first footballing memory is of the play-off final, that was at least at Wembley and a win.
My 9 year old lad Ryan, who happens to be autistic and hugely practical because of it, made me grin when I tried to explain the enormity of the take over and the Ribena signing.
“So we are now the richest club in the world?”
“That’s what they are saying, yeah.”
“And we can buy all the players we need?”
“I reckon so.”
“But can I still boo United?”
“Of course you can.” “Well that’s good ’cause I wouldn’t like it if I couldn’t boo United!”
So I’m jealous of my dad, I’m envious of my kids as they probably won’t ever know the dire footballing world I inhabited for the 30+ years.
But I know in my heart of hearts that they won’t ever know what it’s like to be City in the same way as me.
And I’m glad because it’s not the taking part that counts, it’s the winning, and my kids will know all about that in the next few years, fingers crossed.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #1463 on