City Blogger: Simon Curtis - Manchester City FC

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Season 2013/14

City Blogger: Simon Curtis

  • 22 August 2013 13:28
  • Posted by @bifana_bifana

Following the recent announcement of the team of eight City Bloggers from around the world who will be writing for us this season, it's time for the next piece courtesy of Simon Curtis, author of the fantastic Down The Kippax Steps blog...

As City’s gallant and victorious players trooped off the pitch after showing Newcastle a clean pair of heels for 90 minutes on Monday, those sweat stained shirts looked magnificent in their simplicity. As well as the sweat advertising a thoroughly well executed start to the season, the shirts shouted another message: Etihad. Think back to the last time you saw a City shirt unadorned by the message from our sponsors and you will find yourself almost as far back as the goalkeeping great who was remembered before kick-off.

When, way back in the early 80s, our beloved Blues decided it was time to splash into the world of coordinated marketing, the word Saab suddenly appeared across the panelled sky blue shirts that would carry us (or weigh us down as it turned out) through the 1982-83 season. It was a bit of a shock to the system to see those sacred shirts besmirched in such a way. Some of us had seen that clear, untouched blue space as a piece of sacrosanct cloth that should never carry anything more complicated than the old club badge and white cuffs. The Blues reacted in typically forthright fashion, playing the first couple of games with the afore-mentioned four letters in black and then switching to white when literally hundreds of people phoned in to ask exactly what it was the club wanted us to buy. Soap? Serbs? Sorbet?

The audience for Saab, already less than massive in the UK owing to the car’s main features of elk skin glove compartments and Ikea-easy oil change manuals, grew smaller still at the end of that season, as City descended into the 2nd division. The Swedish car giant obviously felt one season appearing alongside the Datsun Clevelands and Barry Stobarts of the second tier was enough of a good thing and they handed over the baton to Eindhoven’s finest light bulb manufacturers, Phillips. 

The lights went on immediately and City were promoted the following season. When Brother took over the reins, City could proudly claim to be the first top flight club to be sponsored by a company making irons. West Ham must have been livid with jealousy. Quite how many irons the over-optimistic Japanese thought they might sell to the Kippax faithful I’m not sure. I for one lived extremely happily in any number of heavily creased shirts, a tradition a succession of bemused partners have attempted to coax me out of with little tangible success over the years. Far from ironing out the creases in City’s dogged 4-4-2, Brother was the name on our shirts as we folded altogether, steaming head first into the laundry basket of Division Three.

Our rise to current Champions League-regulars status has been mirrored by the kind of enterprise interested in partnering a high visibility football team packed with globally recognized stars in their weekly toils on the verdant green. We have elevated ourselves from the labyrinthine world of a finance company that ran out of cash, a tour company that almost ran out of holiday makers and an electronics company that made things nobody had heard of, to a five star Middle Eastern airline. We even have a giant blue plane in City livery, which is something of a far cry from those unprepossessing little white irons that Brother generously used to offer as first prize in the matchday programme to anyone, who could create a famous City player’s name from the slogan “You’ll never iron alone”.

Those of us who still wear crumpled shirts to this day must be grateful for these small mercies.

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