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Season 2013/14

City Blogger: These are the Reds I know, I know.

  • 13 March 2014 11:13
  • Posted by @darrylwebster

Canadian Blue Darryl Webster discusses the age-old topic of rivalry in his latest blog piece...

Allow me to broach this subject gently.

We are all familiar with the adage, “Every great hero requires a villain.”  Batman wouldn’t be nearly the superhero we’ve come to know without the Joker, a Balti pie may well taste ordinary if our palates were unfamiliar with the horrors of cabbage. And following City, in recent times especially, wouldn’t be nearly as fun without you-know-who.

It is easy to draw the conclusion that our boys in blue are heroes and the neighbours to the West the obvious villains. But let’s take a step back for a moment and consider this — and here is where I tread gently — should their supporters really be considered villains? I mean after all, do we not all know at least a few poor misguided football souls we call co-workers, mates, even family?

In my life there are no fewer than four Reds I keep close company with, none more shocking than my own cousin Matthew, wait for it; Blue! Not a common surname and one most of us Citizens would kill to have. His father, my uncle Jimmy Blue is a Gooner, with a strange soft spot for Wolves and an intense dislike for City. Perhaps this explains why Matthew Blue, has inexplicably become a Red. Matty lives just outside of Toronto with his fiancé Sarah and (this just keeps getting worse) their cat named Giggs. A few years back when ‘They’ beat ‘Us’, 4-3, two hours into injury time, I received a simple and knowing one-word text from my dear cousin,  “Hi!”

Naturally, the following Christmas I made sure my gift to him was wrapped in numerous layers of Manchester City programmes. Matty didn’t get angry, he simply tore sky-blue pages from gift, removed gift from paper and promptly threw the wrapping into one of Uncle Jim’s roaring Christmas day fires. Then we had beer. And Turkey. And banter.

A few months ago, Matty asked me to be in his wedding party; hate my club though he may, he knows our blood, and respect, and friendship will always come first. And Matty can be certain of which colour tie I’ll be wearing on his big day and should he become so nervous he can’t remember where he left his cuff-links; let’s just say I’ll have a special pair at the ready.

There are others I could tell you of; Jason Carvey in Los Angeles whom I know must wait until after work to watch pre-recorded Champions League matches, causing my hands to shake as I struggle to resist texting him the final score ahead of time. But we have friendship, we have mutual respect and so I wait, and most times I stay silent. Perhaps next season his work will begin giving him Thursdays off?

Or the man they call “Gorgeous” Gordon Buckley, a born-and-raised Stretford Red who though he may talk trash with the best of them, would climb the Pennines to help a mate in need, regardless of their football allegiance.

Davey Engle, with whom I toured half the world, packed into small vans and smaller hotel rooms. Things could have boiled over many times in such a situation but we always maintained a respectful, if not tense rivalry.

I am far from alone when it comes to being a Blue enduring a life with Reds. Just ask fellow blogger Victoria Gregory about Derby day this year, or Man City super-fan Gaynor “Blue Moon” Norris who her partner Mike supports. They are inescapable, these men and women who, save for a terribly misguided choice in football club, are the same people we call, Cousin, or best man, or Gorgeous.

In the end, the answer is obvious, of course they are the villains and we the heroes, but we are all better for it. Life needs rivalries, life needs conflict, and life needs mates who sometimes push our buttons. So with another derby day fast approaching, let’s keep the banter going and let’s keep it friendly. Who are your best Red mates? Call them out nicely, respectfully, and given the year they’re having … gently. 

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