- 16 September 2009 10:05
- Posted byChris Nield
Here at mcfc.co.uk we are used to hearing some pretty extraordinary stories about the dedication of City fans to their team but few top the tale of Matt Coleman.
We stand to be corrected but we believe Matt to be our furthest flung Seasoncard holder.Our Down Under super fan is founder member of the Sydney Blues, a hardy bunch of cobbers who never miss their beloved Blues play a match and even make it to live games now and again. Naturally, we wanted to track down this far-away fan and find out how, where, when and why!
“As a moderator on the now-famous Bluemoon Forum, I had access to a fair range of contacts who were able to secure tickets for me,” revealed Matt.
“I owe a lot of gratitude to Ian Arnfield from the Bredbury Blues who sorted me with a ticket for Schalke, and they were nigh on impossible to come by. I was also fortunate enough to secure a seat in block 111 for the Derby. I always looked at it that if I was travelling all that way to see matches, I wanted to be in the best area possible, rather than in the third tier.
"But I knew with the level of expectation for the upcoming season, tickets in the more sought-after spots would be impossible to get. So, as soon as seasoncards were released, I got my act together and snapped one up in 111.
Sure, it is a little bit of money to spend on something that I might use a couple of times a year (if I'm lucky), but it guarantees me a seat in a season in which many, if not all, of our home games will sell out.
The idea is not as crazy as it sounds because Matt has made the seat available for any of the Sydney Blues to use if they fancy the 45 hour round-trip to Manchester!
“I know first-hand just how difficult it was to get tickets ahead of time... so it takes out the stress of trying to buy tickets from overseas and they can watch it in the best area of the ground,” he explained.
Matt decided to set up a website for Sydney Blues this summer to raise awareness and increase numbers in the group. Following a great response, an application for OSC status is in the pipeline.
“Towards the end of the 2006-07 season Brendan Smith and I started to meet up and watch games at a pub called "Cheers" in downtown Sydney. And for months, it was only us. But then, two became three, became five, became twenty... and now we get a significant following at Cheers almost every match day,” he revealed.
“It is by far the best football-watching venue in Sydney... we can be found there almost every weekend with shirts, scarves, and who can forget, Blue Roo (Sydney Blues’ official mascot). It's as close to the terrace as we can muster... we drink, we sing, we shout at the big screen... it's not quite a packed Eastlands, but it's the closest thing we have.”
With this weekend’s clash with United upon us, Matt is expecting a record turnout at Cheers.All supporters have their matchday routines, but you probably haven’t seen one like this before. Here is Matt’s typical matchday schedule when he’s not watching City in the flesh:
It's time to start getting ready. Out of superstition, the same City kit that was worn in last week's win has to be worn again this week. Make sure we're all packed... my responsibilty is the camera, and "Blue Roo". Others will have their flags, scarves, and banners to bring.
Take the train into town from the Western suburbs of Sydney. It's a Saturday night and I'm inappropriately dressed, surrounded by people going out clubbing. Text messages are sent to all the regulars to remind them that it is their duty to be there.
Arrive in town for pre-match Hungry Jacks (that's Burger King to you) to calm the nerves, and make the short trek down George Street to our home ground: "Cheers".
Arrive at Cheers, and at this stage there are only three or four City fans there. The pub is starting to fill up for the early kickoff. But we must set up for the night. We stake out the best viewing spot, and make that area our own. The MCFC banner (made from an old bedsheet) is tied to the balestrade. It's not quite as professional looking as Bluemoon’s Sheikh Mansour banner, but it'll do.
Beers and snooker balls are sunk as the team gets a couple of games of pool in before the big clash. One of the group spends $3 for five songs on the jukebox, and inevitably the entire Oasis back-catalogue plays over the sound system. The odd City song will get a run at this point too.
A couple of beers later, the pre-game show starts on Fox Sports, and we all head downstairs. We're up to around 20 at this point for the start of the match. The coverage is anchored by massive blue Simon Hill and occasionally features ex-City player Spencer Prior. So at least we have some representation down here.
3pm kickoffs in England start at midnight down here, and the lads are in fine voice already, outnumbering and outsinging fans from other clubs gathered to watch their match on one of six screens.
The next 45 minutes consist of yelling at a television, drinking beer, and hopefully hugging in celebration.
Half time, and an opportunity to get some happy snaps for the facebook group and the blog, as many people won't remember this point in the night.
Game over, and hopefully a City victory! Some fans head out into the warm spring night, while other brave souls hang around to watch the late kick-off. Not that it matters whether you leave or not — just like your voice, the last train left an hour ago.
The original four finally leave Cheers, but only get as far as Hungry Jacks to analyse the match, and get a late dinner. This is where the recollection of the night becomes a little well, hazy.
Sometime between 4-5am
Catch the first train home on a Sunday morning back out West, feeling a little worse for wear. I think I lost my voice sometime in the second half during the third rendition of "Lesson in Pride". Finally get some rest and prepare to do it all again next week.
Are you a far-away fan? Do you travel for miles to see your beloved Blues? If so, we’d love to hear from you - email@example.com.