TRUE BLUE STORIESWHY BLUE
When I was a shy little 7-year-old, wide-eyed, naïve and trustful; my dad pulled a cruel trick on me. He took me to the Swamp. It was the 1972-73 season and every Utd fan looked like a bad extra from a Bay City Roller movie. Long scruffy hair, ankle high bell bottom trousers, Doc Marten shoes, 57 scarves aroung their arms and those dustbin lid size badges of their favourite Rag. For a little lad it was a harrowing experience. I'm proud to report that I showed no interest whatsoever in the football that was allegedly going on in front of me, much prefering to crawl around on the floor under the seats looking for marbles. I can't even remember who they played that day.
In desperation to get me interested in football, my dad took me to the Academy to see City play the Rags some months later; this was different, much friendlier. We sat in the Main Stand surrounded by little old red-nosed men (Schmeichel's grandads) who seemed to have an endless supply of sarcasm and whisky in their flasks. The action was much closer and everything just fell into place, this was fun, this was exciting.
I remember the City players acting up to the crowd, Summerbee hiding the ball under his shirt before a Rag free kick, Rodney Marsh trying to kiss Martin Buchan. They seemed to be having fun as well as playing nice football. It really felt like a night at the theatre. The game ended 0-0 but that same season with his back to the Swamp End Denis Law back heeled Utd in to the then Division 2.
Poetry that Tennyson, Shakespeare or Byron could not match.
The following year we became North Stand season ticket holders, even got to Wembley but lost to Wolves 2-1, but there was no looking back I was hooked.
The glory days are sadly behind us, only just though, City were on their day a fabulous side to watch. The Tony Book years were full of so much promise, 40,000 plus crowds were the norm at the Stadium of Lights. The League Cup was ours in 76 and in 76-77 we lost the title by one point to Liverpool. We never managed to continue our winning ways and the eighties and now nineties have been a catalogue of horror stories (tales from the crypt - the Moss Side legacy). Part of the blame must go towards our obsession with keeping up with the Jones's (the Rags). They make a signing, then so must we etc.
City are a great club in their own right, we've lost 10,000 fans in 20 trophyless years; they are still out there and they can't all be the red nosed old codgers who've passed on to the other side.
I think we can return to the glory days, we need more patience but it can happen again.