City Blogger: New, improved City washes whiter
- 12 December 2013 09:44
- Posted by @bifana_bifana
Simon Curtis charts the rise of City from Cup for Cock-ups to victory over the European champions...
In January 1975 on a cold afternoon in the brand new Olympiastadion Munchen, Offenbacher Fussball-Club Kickers 1901 eV, otherwise known as Kickers Offenbach, were trailing limply to the host team, Bayern Munich.
This was the Bayern Munich of Gerd Muller, Franz Beckenbauer, Uli Hoeness, Georg Schwarzenbeck and Sepp Maier with his pizza sized goalkeeper’s gloves.
That afternoon a strange thing happened. The downtrodden visitors rallied and ended up winning the game 3-2. Kickers Offenbach today play in the Regionalliga Sudwest, Germany’s regionalised fourth tier. This is just north of not existing at all.
Before I risk losing you all to the Christmas bargains on the club shop page (20% off until four o’clock), I had better explain myself.
You see that meaningless game, lost deep in the annals of Teutonic time and space, was the very last occasion that Bayern Munich lost a two goal home lead and forfeited a match.
"Put another way, that’s nearly 40 years since any team has clawed their way back from two goals down to beat Bayern Munich on their own patch."
Now, if you write for the Daily Mail, that kind of statistic will not be allowed to get in the way of assembling a headline about City failing to get their maths right, but if, like me, you happen to bleed sky blue blood all over the formica every time you make a slip with the kitchen knife, you will probably be busy reliving every second of what was a truly heroic night on Tuesday in deepest Bavaria, when City made their own heroic version of the Kickers Offenbach Comeback.
Despite a mixed reaction from media on both sides of the water, it is occasions like this that serve to make the history of a club.
Romantic, glamorous, unpredictable, unlikely and ultimately making the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. Putting aside for a moment that fact that most of us are occasionally *slightly* too partisan to see the grass from the trees on such occasions, it is worth dwelling for a short while on just how far this club has come to make results like the one in Bavaria possible.
When the ownership of the Blues changed hands, a clear vision was communicated to the rank and file. In a bewilderingly rapid succession of developments, we have been carried off on the kind of trip usually only considered possible after a raid on a German Bierkeller or in the minds of heavy fantacists.
The new Milennium has brought a succession of events that most of us thought we would never live to see happen.
Those of us with children will never have doubted that to allow our kids to inherit supporterdom of this great club of ours was akin to letting them loose in a pleasure park of dubious character which would at least teach them all about life’s up and downs, but might also be sentencing them to a life of varied mental health problems.
“Dad, why are you crying? They won didn’t they...?.”
It is safe to say that the Manchester City that I and many others grew up with, the consecutive winners of that much maligned Cup for Cock-ups (we got to keep the trophy in the end just like Di Stefano’s Real kept the far less important European Cup), have shed this cloak of darkness and grown into something quite significantly different.
But where does that leave us? Are we also to try and blow away those thick clouds of self-deprecating humour that have acted as a blanket of protection all this time against the brickbats and catcalls of others? Do we now come out from under that horsehair blanket marked Typical City and accept that maybe it is time to hand in that framed picture of Jason van Blerk?
City’s recent history is pocked with landmark events that, when viewed together, look like a dream sequence from a romantic novel: The drizzle at Wembley for those excrutiating penalties in 1999; a New Year’s win in the lashing rain at Wrexham and a second half comeback against 3rd division leaders Stoke City when the Kippax surged as one in a wave of support; double Derby wins under Sven, one even at Old Trafford after decades of wait; Knocking our neighbours out of the FA Cup at Wembley and poking six past them under Roberto Mancini.
"An FA Cup win and the emotional detritus of an afternoon in extremis with Queens Park Rangers, City have gradually dragged us all kicking and screaming into a world of fairy lights and prancing elves, of giant Ivorians and little dancing Spaniards."
To this growing list of landmark matches which are helping to persuade even the most sceptical amongst us to accept a gleaming new version of our dear old Manchester City, we must now add a comeback victory on the turf of the reigning Champions League holders.
The next stride perhaps waits for us in the pots for the Champions League knock-out round draw on Monday morning. Real, Barcelona, Atletico, PSG or Dortmund bar the way.
Not long now before City attempt the next daring step up in this world of towering giants.