City Blogger: So, why sky blue and not red?
- 03 December 2013 10:52
- Posted by @djwskyblu
It's time for the next City Blogger piece courtesy of David Walker - the man behind the excellent Read But Never Red blog.
OK – so the answer to the question is at best rhetorical to any true blue or, at worst, treasonable for even countenancing that anybody of sound mind would choose the other colour from across the way.
But what are the origins of allegiance to our beloved Manchester City? The answers are manifold, some obvious some slightly more obscure.
The big ticket answer for many who have suffered through decades of under achievement will be that they’re Manchester born and bred, blessed with parents who bestowed a blue blood birthright upon them flowing from generation to generation.
Whether they’ve worn it as a badge of honour or bore it as a cross to bear is immaterial – they’re City ‘till they die.
Having been ‘created’ in Cleethorpes on the East Coast, I cannot claim Mancunian origins. I have nonetheless supported City for more than four decades and it’s all because of Francis Lee… and my best mate Stephen Scott’s mum – Margaret.
Mrs Scott (she’ll always be Mrs Scott to me) is now 80-something and still living in the seaside resort that makes Blackpool seem glamorous – but I digress.
She had a crush on Franny and, when it came to playing street football my mates would either be George Best, Bobby Charlton or in Stephen’s case as a QPR fan, Rodney Marsh – popular icons of my childhood.
As a six-year old, having never seen Franny play or even known what he looked like, I assumed his identity much to Mrs Scott’s amusement. I always had an it in my mind that he had dark hair, cut short back & sides with a square jaw and chiseled features – hell, what did I know?
But that was it – no going back – it mattered not a jot that Francis Henry Lee was the polar opposite of my mental image. He played for Manchester City and that was my team.
As a kid in my day you were really fortunate to catch a glimpse of your favourites if they featured in one of the two games highlighted on Saturday night’s Match of The Day – all on a black & white TV screen.
Of course, City under Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison were very successful at the time but as the wilderness years set in by the late 1970s, City won the sympathy vote as most fans’ ‘2nd team’ i.e. people had a soft spot for them based mainly on City’s ineptitude or ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Until the onset of Sheikh Mansour’s millions and Roberto Mancini’s triple trophy haul (yes, we’re counting the Community Shield) a good proportion of City supporters couldn’t even point to times of thick and thin, good and bad, happy and sad.
Their rock solid support was based on thin, thinner and anorexic times – making it all the more laudable.
You wouldn’t find any ‘gloryhunters’, not unless they were useless at map reading and couldn’t find their way to Trafford Borough.
For decades the Trafford Troglodytes reveled in their self proclaimed ‘Theatre of Dreams’ delusions, dismissing Maine Road as the ‘Theatre of Base Comedy’.
The sands have gradually been shifting in recent times thanks to money pouring in from Arabic lands, but more recently commercial streams designed to make City self-sustaining in the long run.
So, as things stand, has there ever been a better time to be a Manchester City fan?
With plans to expand the Etihad Stadium capacity beyond the 60,000 mark, 1.3 million+ Twitter followers and 7 million ‘likes’ on Facebook, City’s popularity stretches way beyond the boundaries of Manchester…even further than Cleethorpes.
It’s a measure of the club’s standing in European football that they are now generically referred to as ‘City’ without the need for any further embellishment.
And with wall-to-wall, around the clock football coverage in glorious panoramic technicolour, the kids of today even get to know what their idols look like…take that Sergio Aguero fellow - 6ft 2” tall, long blonde flowing hair…