Friday, 18 May 2012

My kid blues and me!

Some of you may well know me I'm the writer of this blog Robert Allen I'm 34 years old and am a Manchester City fan always have been always will be.  That love for the club despite me now living in Chester has passed on to my two sons Connor aged 11 and Lucas aged 6 we proudly sit together in Block 134 of the Family Stand.  We enjoy going to games and cheering on City.

Bar the fact both boys do look a lot like me that's where the similarities end.  You may ask why so I'll explain.  Aged 8 I started attending games at Maine Road on a regular basis, I loved being stood on the Kippax about 15 yards past half way towards the North Stand End peering through the railings was my spot and most games it would be the same faces stood round me cheering on the likes of Kenny Clements and Paul Power etc... I even went away a fair few times back in them days going away was an experience the abuse hurled from the home team fans and the "modest facilities" most away ends had were a sight to behold.  I've endured 4 relegation's I've celebrated one 3rd tier playoff win and one 2nd tier title.  I've seen many managers come and go some did well some well lets just not got there! 

I've even seen 2 club saviours come and go in the board room.  Through it all my love for City didn't diminish any excuse to go to a game and I'd take it even if amazingly in the 3rd tier getting tickets to Maine Road wasn't that easy.   I saw us roll over 4-2 at Sheffield United as Brian Gayle did what a lot of ex blues always seemed to do and score against us. I saw Christian Negouai punch the ball into the net V Rotherham.  Following City played a part in making me the man I am truly believing try your best and if it doesn't work out just keep trying no matter how low you go.

My boys well they are well use to the facilities modern stadia give them.  True there is still the banter with opposition fans when you go away but the chances of a fight are a heck of a lot less, true we see a  lot of the same faces sat next to us week on week. They've seen 3 managers and 2 chairmen.  Connor started coming to watch with me on a regular basis during Svens season in charge City were still City 2 steps forward 3 back then 1 forward again but then things began to change.  It began with Thaksin and although City finished 10th there were definite signs things were improving till the last weeks when it was clear Sven was a goner . Little did we realise our saviour was infact broke there had been rumours but they were always flatly denied in the media by Thaksin.  To be fair knowing he was in trouble who he sold to the Club to was the key.  HH Shiekh Mansour and his chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak did get behind then manager Mark Hughes and despite improvements it wasn't happening fast enough,  Hughes got the push and in came Roberto Mancini.  I don't think anyone could have foreseen what was coming.

 Narrowly missing out on the Champions League in his first half a season Mancini in his first full season clinched Champions League Football and won the FA Cup the first major trophy I'd seen us win.  In his 2nd full season despite getting the "magic" 10 points City dropped out of the Champions League in the group stages City had dominated in the league.  Then a huge drop off and suddenly United were clear....then amazingly City not only pulled it back but clinched the title in the last minute of the season.  So to the boys their outlook being shaped by the club is keep striving to be the best and with effort and commitment you will get rewarded so different to my own above.

They've only known a club on the up, its doubtful they will suffer so many relegation's in the same time as I did and seeing a City captain lifting a trophy could well become a sight we and the rest of the world have to get used to!  I am a tad envious cheering on the likes of Aguero and Kompany, but am enjoying the journey with them that's why they were delighted to go and see the Premier League trophy as much as me it meant every bit as much to them.  It's a great time to be a kid blue but you know I wouldn't swap it as I do see this current period as reward for my love of the club and I'm glad I have my boys with me.  What an amazing time to be a kid blue though!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

All hail Roberto Mancini

Roberto Mancini proudly holding the Premier League trophy is a sight many City fans at 4:45pm that Sunday didn't think was possible.  We all know the rest as City fought back from 2-1 down to QPR to win 3-2 and the euphoria that followed was richly lapped up by Mancini and his team.

They say the best team always wins the league and based on the generous reaction I've had from friends who are Utd fans they have been saying exactly that.  It didn't seem possible just a month ago as Utd pulled away the press were saying Fergie had won the mind games and Mancini had bottled it.  Mancini stood there and didn't make any excuses as he conceded the title to them.  Then the results turned City kept winning as Utd began dropping points, even going into the derby at the Etihad Mancini said because they were 3 points clear it was still Utd's title to lose...City won and Mancini even went toe to toe with Fergie which went down well with the fans.   Even post match Mancini wouldn't admit City were now favourites as he knew Newcastle away was far from an easy game. In the end City were comfortable 2-0 winners.

During that game as at the derby Mancini was brave with his tactics pushing Yaya forward and that paid off big time. That said he hasn't been afraid ti make changes when they've been needed domestically. There have been mistakes and Mancini was quick to always blame himself not his players.  He is always evolving and learning and that makes City a dangerous side for the Premier League and Europe.
Could it just be Mancini out mind gamed the master?? It sure looks that way over the course of the season Mancini has taken the blame for poor results like Everton saying "he got it wrong" so in conceding the title was Mancini once again taking the pressure off his players? Given the interview chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak gave to City TV this would indeed appear to be the case.  The players could have felt sorry for themselves but instead they rose to the challenge and in the end got the rewards they deserved.  And that is credit to Mancini though I think even he would have preferred a more comfortable win than the drama that unfolded at the Etihad.   

Only Mancini will know but in the end the record books show Premier League champions 11-12 which now means Mancini has 2 trophies in 2 and a half seasons at City which is a brilliant return to have got success so quickly and man managed the squad to get them to the top.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

This is how it feels to be City

Its took me nearly two days to be able to plan this piece such has been the emotional rollercoaster I and many thousands of City fans went on.  It had started at 6am when I woke up completely awake and excited It was like Christmas morning only my present was hopefully waiting for me at the Etihad Stadium.

Arriving in Manchester at 11am I was amazed to see street traders selling scarves saying "MANCHESTER CITY CHAMPIONS" Lucas even spotted a blow up trophy and wanted one there and then.  I refused telling him I would only get it IF and WHEN we won.  After a spot of lunch I met a few friends for a quick pint whilst Lucas was getting agitated at my refusal I decided it would be best to get to the Stadium.  I had arranged to meet my uncle Keith who was using my eldest sons seasoncard as he couldn't make it, It seemed the right thing to do allowing the man that had took me home and away as a kid to see hopefully the dawning of a new era in City's history.  Summerbee Bar was already full by 1pm and the queue was huge so I stood no chance of meeting some other friends, you could sense something in the air people had got there early to drink it in.  Gates opened it was straight in for us.

When the game kicked off you could see the tension in the players they were dominating but not getting any luck in front of goal.  Tension amongst fans went up when news filtered through Utd were winning at Sunderland.  Then suddenly Pablo Zabaleta let fly Paddy Kenny didn't get the best of touch the ball looped up and dropped behind the line the stadium erupted the Poznan even made a welcome return.

The 2nd half started similar then disaster a rare Joleon Lescott mistake allowed Lord Cisse of Frodsham through and his smart finish was to much for Joe Hart. Keith leapt from his seat and slumped back down he was along with everyone else wearing MCFC colours shocked.  Then out of no where the advantage looked to be back with City when after a bit of handbags with Carlos Tevez, Joey Barton elbowed Tevez and the assistant spotted it.  Ref Mike Dean after checking with his assistant sent Barton off and what followed can only be described as disgraceful as Barton kicked Sergio Aguero then tried to headbutt Vincent Kompany.  Surely against 10 men with over 30 minutes City would get the winner??

As It turned out that was far from the case indeed QPR broke and scored a great headed goal by Mackie as he did what any coach will tell you head down and back to the direction the ball came from leaving Joe Hart helpless.  City piled forward chance after chance came and went as Kenny more than made up for his earlier howler with save after save some from near point blank range.    The news from the Stadium Of Light was unchanged City had to win.  Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko were brought on as Mancini tried to find the answer to the problem that was Paddy Kenny.  I had began to accept typical city was having a swansong then the stoppage time board went up 5 minutes left.  The announcements over the PA about a lap of honour and not going on the pitch were beginning to get really annoying.  Then from a Silva corner Dzeko rose and buried the header past Kenny the goal was celebrated but it seemed it was merely saving our unbeaten home league record.  QPR's bench appeared to have got the result from the Britannia stadium as they seemed excited there was also a cheer from the away fans in the South Stand as indeed it was the case Rangers were safe and Bolton were down.

1 minute left Nigel De Jong ran forward it was last chance saloon he passed to Aguero who linked with Balotelli who fell over but as he did he managed to flick the ball right into Aguero's path a side step past a challenge he unleashed a shot that flew past Kenny as the net bulged the entire stadium went wild City's bench emptied on to the pitch fans were celebrating wildly I hugged Keith, Lucas who had been stood on his seat to see launched himself into my arms and planted the biggest kiss he has ever given me.  Putting him down I realised my chest was sore I was struggling to breath I found my inhaler quickly and within a few seconds was ok enough to soak up the last few seconds.

Now you may note I said the entire stadium well I standby that comment after seeing this youtube video by a QPR fan knowing they were safe they wanted to party with us
  Fair play to them they knew it didn't matter had the news they needed.

Full time whistle and the roof came off the stadium never before had the league finished in such a dramatic fashion.  Forget Michael Thomas and that famous goal at Anfield this was even more incredible and no doubt will be talked about for as long.  Given the drama there was a pitch invasion the raw emotion was understandable.  Appeals were made for fans to return to their seats so the trophy presentation could take place and slowly people heeded and trotted back.  The party then started as bluemoon and various other songs boomed out.

In a great nod to the past Tony Book and Mike Summerbee carried the trophy out for the presentation, As well as a guard of honour formed by Francis Lee Glynn Pardoe etc..  Seeing Vincent Kompany lifting the trophy and the party atmosphere was brilliant.  Indeed watching the trophy go past held proudly by Roberto Mancini and Brian Kidd and seeing the players with their families was joyous.  On the way to Piccadilly I spoke to some QPR fans they were brilliant happy they were still a Premier League side they in turn happy for us that after dropping into the old division 2 we had come good and become Champions of England.  And as a man of my word Lucas did indeed get his blow up trophy and on the train home I had to pretend I was the crowd and he was Vincent Kompany lifting the Premier League Crown.  I loved it as much as he did, If this is how it feels to be City it feels just champion!