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Season 2013/14

City Blogger: Darryl Webster

  • 27 August 2013 09:45
  • Posted by @darrylwebster

Following the recent announcement of the team of eight City Bloggers from around the world who will be writing for us this season, it's time for the next piece courtesy of Darryl Webster - resident of Toronto and Mancunian adoptee...

As I gaze out my parent’s back window over what my father insists is a large field of canola, 3400 miles southeast of Manchester, I overhear something quite remarkable. My mother enters their kitchen and before even saying good morning asks, “Is it true Man City’s manager said he wants to leave?”

From the next room my father, (think Jim Royle with a Canadian accent) puts down his crossword puzzle long enough to shout from his favourite brown chair, “You’re thinking of Mancini. They’ve replaced him with Pellegrini!”

I have to give my head a quick shake. Who are these people and what have they done with Bill and Cherry Webster? Less than a decade ago my Western-Canadian born parents couldn’t have spelled soccer if it were the last down in their crossword puzzle, had four letters already filled in and the clue read North America’s name for the world’s most popular sport. So how did a family of foreign-born ice hockey nuts become obsessed with football and a sky-blue club from England’s Northern Capital?

Manchester, I’m afraid you’re contagious!

In late 2009 I decided to move in with my sister and her boyfriend for a few months, just off Cheetham Hill road, across from Strangeways prison.  By this point I had been a City supporter since 2004 when my sister mailed me a curious red and black-striped jersey with First Advice scrawled across its front. But it was living there amongst your Citizen’s that transformed me from a casual Blue to one who bleeds it.

Football aside, I have fallen in love with Manchester as a whole.  I love the way it always welcomes me back with open arms, a tall pint, and a tuna crunch.  I love the way it looks out for my little sister when her big bro can’t be there. I love the record shops for still knowing who The Charlatans are and stocking The Stone Roses on vinyl.  I love The Brook on a Sunday and curry take-away from The Mahbub. I love simply flying into Manchester. Bursting through its thick stratus clouds into a world of lush-greens surrounded by Victorian brick and the impressive turbine-dotted Pennines. For me heaven doesn’t exist above these clouds; it lies perfectly below the soft grey duvet of East Manchester.

And so it would appear that my parents now too have caught a serious case of Blue fever. When City play on Canadian television - which is weekly versus almost never just a few short years ago - my dad can’t see a shot of the manager’s chair without proudly reminding everyone in the room, “I’ve sat in that chair, that’s my chair!” My dad sure loves a good chair?

Visit my folks on a matchday - which can sometimes start as early as 7am here in North America - and you’ll likely find my dear mother wearing her Yaya Toure jersey, it too with the red and black bars.

It is a tremendous honour to be asked to write for City this season and I will do everything in my ability to represent the club and its hometown with the pride and respect they deserve.

To the Blues who, like me, were born and raised outside of Britain, please allow me to lend an international voice to our rapidly expanding demographic of first-generation Blues.

I’m glad I made the short 45-minute drive from Toronto to visit my parents last night and even more pleased to have shared our story with you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to do a Google image search.

This can’t be canola? 

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