Sunday, March 22, 2009

Why being a Manchester City fan can be pure torture...

Good Evening fine Bloggers! Hope you are well.

As the title says, supporting Man City is a torturous experience. After the week that City have had (2 matches, both will be mentioned!) I shall give a few fine examples of this fine observation over several periods of my life.

In my 19 years of living, MCFC have been relegated more times than I can remember, been promoted 3 times (I think, might be wrong on that one!).

Division 2 Play-off Final May 1999

My first example will be 31st May 1999. Me and my sisters stayed at my Gran's house while my parents made the trip to Wembley to watch City vs Gillingham in the Division 2 Play-off Final. City went 2-0 down with only a few minutes to go. I, as a naive 9-year-old turned off the radio.

It wasn't until I switched on the news that I realized that City did in fact manage to equalize in 5 minutes stoppage time with 2 very fine goals from Kevin Horlock and Paul Dickov. So who said it was over?? and then we ended up winning on penalties!

It was even worse for my parents, who were stuck in the away end, surrounded by large numbers of Gillingham fans who were so far up their own arses that they though that bagged the promotion. I think its safe to say that if City never won that game, we wouldn't be where we are now i.e have a great stadium and be one of the world's richest football clubs.

All that I can say is that it was probably one of the greatest days of my life and after rewatching the whole match and watching Nicky Weaver make THAT save, I knew he would always be my hero.

Blackburn vs Manchester City - May 2000

Once again I was absent in the viewing of this match. Rather agonizingly, I was at a rehearsal for Our Town Story which was to be performed at the Millenium Dome that November. Me and my young sister (and many of my mates) were dying to know how it all went. When I got home that evening, my Mum had taped the match s I watched the whole thing. 1-0 at half time. We only need a point for automatic promotion. Then the commentator said that Ipswich were winning, which meant they would steal the automatic promotion and we would have to go through the Play-Offs again.

I was not happy to say the least. But learning from my mistake the previous year I kept up hope. Just before the second half began, you could see Nicky Weaver raying, asking God to not put them through the pain and torture of the play-offs again. Then all dreams and prayers came true: "Shaun Goater has scored his 29th goal of the season and from despair to delight, the City fans celebrate!". Okay, not as dramatic as the previous year, but still hell none-the-less! The City fans practically made Ewood Park their own stadium. You could hear the fans chanting "Are you watching on the hill?" as there was a mound nearby, swarming with away fans who couldn't get a ticket.

So it was 1-1. That was all we needed. Then it got better...and better.

I was already content at the draw. But even I had to admit that a win would make it the forth-coming promotion the perfect occasion. Then there was another goal... from the wrong person! Blackburn scored an own goal making it 2-1. I couldn't believe our luck. Then it got even better: Mark Kennedy thrashes one into the net. He ran half the length of the pitch to celebrate with our then-manager Joe Royle, who is the real hero of City's fortunes of those few years. Nicky Weaver cartwheeling at the other end of the pitch is a sight I will never forget.

3-1. How can we top this off? Paul Dickov, the man who was one of the many heroes of wembley the year before got through the defenders and put the ball in the back of the net. I was beside myself with joy!

I reckon that I was at the perfect age during these years. and 10-year-old who had just witnessed 2 promotion on the trot has to be something that not many Man Utd, Liverpool or Chelsea fans have experienced.

FA Cup 4th Round Replay Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City - February 2004

A lot of you will probably be noticing a pattern here: these are all matches that City have won! When I say supporting City can be "torturous" I mean it on the level where nothing comes easy. City have, for as long as I can remember, done many things the hard way. Now moving on, this is an example of one of City's greatest comebacks. It was an FA Cup 4th Round Replay. The first match ended 0-0 and it was relatively boring and was one of the very few matches on the BBC that I got to watch that season and I was very disappointed indeed.

Me and my City-supporting cronies really wanted City to win because the next round was against Manchester Utd and we were itching to play that derby. Well, what can I say? the first half had ended and City were 3-0 down. Things then went from bad-to-worse when Nicholas Anelka limped off injured and Joey Barton was sent-off at half-time. Things looked bleak. I recall listening to it on the radio, with Sky Sports News on mute at the end of my bed ready to turn it up when news of City came on. Andit was then when I decided to turn off GMR and watch Sky Sports News instead because I figured that whatever else was going on in the world of football that night was infinately better than what was going on at White Hart Lane!

But I was wrong.

Very wrong.

A few minutes into the second half, Sylvain Distin gave us hope. It was enough to lift my spirits about the match, thinking that the highlights will be excellent, but not enough to actually think they were going to win. But then Bosvelt scored and it has to be said, it was all down to luck. The ball took a deflection on the way in and, luckily, went in the right direction. So! 3-2. And I turned the radio back and thought "we might actually have a chance here!". But the last thing I wanted was extra-time and penalties.

Then there came the legend that is Shaun Wright-Phillips! I remember going to a match when I was very young and watching him make his first start. I remember think he was going to be one of City's legends on-par with Bert Trautmann and Colin Bell. He made it 3-3. All of a sudden the entire house-hold was screaming for England - trying to get to grips with what had ust happened.

But there were still 10 minutes remaining. And just before the final whistle, Jon Macken, who replaced the injured Anelka when everything seemed so bleak, headed it home with only seconds of normal time remaining.

4-3!! Definately has to be one of the greatest FA Cup matches in history! We ended up losing in the next round but we didnt care! It was this match that counted.

FC Midtjyland vs Manchester City - UEFA Cup 2nd round Qualifier 2008 Second Leg August 2008

Okay, now we drift onto the matches of recent history. While some of these may not be too important to some people I only include the following because IT WAS BLOODY TORTURE!! LOL.

I went to the first leg at Eastlands. This was because within a few weeks of that match I went to University 80 miles away and felt I had to see City on last time. (I can be too sentimental sometimes!). It was the UEFA cup so it was nice and cheap for someone on minimum wage (i.e. me!) and we entered the UEFA Cup this season through fairplay so we had to prove ourselves. I always to to the home qualifying matches because we always win! (MCFC vs TNS won 5-1 and it was the first competitive match at Eastlands… I WAS THERE!) Well… it was terrible. We lost 1-0 and therefore, they had that away goal advantage. I had to have 2 red bulls to keep me awake!! It was dismal!

So, hopes we… kind of high for the second leg in Denmark so I sat down in front of Channel 5 with a nice cup of tea. We only needed to score so that’s nothing to worry about, right? Wrong! It was another terrible match. Still 1-0 on aggregate and 2 minutes to go. Then our prayers were answered! An own goal was scored in the last frakking minute!!

And then we went into extra-time and penalties. Penalties!! Don’t we just love penalties?? Truth is: it’s a lot harder than it looks for both goalie AND spot-kickers!! But we prevailed thanks to the hero that is Joe Hart. Too bad that he isn’t in the first team anymore.

And now, City are in the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup. But has to be asked: Did we really deserve it?? Probably not but all that really matters are the results and which net the ball ends up in.

AaB Aalborg vs Manchester City UEFA Cup last 16 2nd leg March 2009

If there is one thing I’d like to pick out of the many things had have gone wrong for City this season it has to be our away form. And, sorry for my language but the occasion calls for it… it has been shit! Shittier than the Shit from a Shitbeast from the Planet Shitto in the Shitty Way Galaxy!!! The only team we have won away against was Sunderland and that was Shaun Wright-Phillips’ dream comeback! So thank God for 2 legs eh! Because we wouldn’t get anywhere otherwise!!

Well… we went in the second leg with a 2-0 lead. Quite a comfortable. That is until we give away 2 goals in the final minutes of the game leading to yet another agonizingly long and equally pointless extra-time slot!!! Once again they never make it easy for themselves!! This season has seen some fantastic wins against the aforementioned Sunderland (0-3), Portsmouth (6-0), Arsenal (3-0) and Hull City (5-1) and yet we can’t get a pissing away goal!!

I actually gave up. Not because I had no hope but because I was so pissed off and annoyed that I switched off Radio 5-live and listened to Manchester Online Radio instead to hear James Stannage make his usual verbal rants about religion, abortion, chavs and whatnot. He is mutual when t comes to the Manchester Football teams and shows equal enthusiasm for both. So imagine my glee when an equally gleeful Mr Stannage yelled “yaaaaaaaay! Well done Cityyyyyy! Yaaaaaay” (I think he was a bit pissed to be honest!). So the first thing I did was search for the highlights online and thought Shay Given was fantastic!!

And then there was the Robinho debacle today. Do not get me started on that!! At the moment he couldn’t score in a brothel! He needs to either leave City or just get his priorities straight!! I never agreed with the whole money thing concerning because I reckon that it doesn’t matter how much money you spend, its all about whether or not they can defend effectively, put the ball in the back of the net or assist properly!!

At the end of the day, all these matches were fantastic wins for City and fantastic to look back on. Bt experiencing them in the here and now is one of the many reasons why it is torture!! lol But that is what makes football one of the greatest games on Earth!

And that is a rant over and done with ladies and gents!!! Have a lovely evening! I’m going to stick a potato in the oven and wait patiently for match of the day 2 to come on!!!

City till I Die!!!!