City Blogger: Victoria Gregory
- 20 August 2013 13:47
- Posted by @Vic_Bird
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 first read courtesy of Victoria Gregory, Chair of the Chicago Blues.
I flew back to the UK to attend the FA Cup final this year, accompanied by Lance from Nashville and my parents: Big Dave and Ickle Mrs G. We arrived in high spirits and as soon as we alighted at Wembley Central station I was spotted by two ladies who saw my Chicago MCFC flag and whom I recognised as Twitter regulars: Elaine and Julie.
L-R: Big Dave, Elaine, Julie, Victoria, Lance.
Upon our arrival I decided that Lance needed to have the full Wembley experience, so we took him to The Green Man where we were also able to meet up with my cousin Lee who had travelled from Wythenshawe.
After a couple of pints and some energetic singing we headed into Wembley Stadium where I bumped into Mick from the Jersey supporters branch - who has visited us at The Globe pub in Chicago; Eric from the Brisbane branch and also Zoe whose brother now lives in Chicago.
There were over 86,000 people there that day, and I was seeing familiar faces at each turn - the feeling of being home and of belonging was euphoric. Surely for a day this special we'd finish it by lifting the trophy? Alas, as we all know, that did not happen.
The drive back up the motorway that night was very sombre, but as we reminded ourselves: we've been through darker days and survived. It was to get a little darker a mere two days later when, exactly a year to the day that we won the Premier League title, the official announcement that Mancini was leaving felt like a follow up punch to the gut. I have made a concerted effort to ignore the speculation and gossip about the reasons for his departure. I choose to remember Mancini for the success he brought us and for the bear hug with David Platt and Brian Kidd on 13th May 2012.
After returning to the US, preparations were finalised for our trip to St. Louis where we would play Chelsea in an exhibition game.
We made arrangements to meet branch members from Dallas, Washington DC, New Orleans and Denver. I had also made arrangements with the club to have Mike Summerbee join us for a drink before the game. Mark Mulv, who heads up the Dallas branch, was waiting in the bar with his wife and two children and I will never forget the look of pure joy on his face when Buzzer walked into the bar and shook his hand. It was a day to remember for the Mulv Family when, along with two children who attend the City Soccer in the Community after-school program at Haas Park, Mark's kids were invited to be player escorts (apparently I fell a little outside the age bracket to be allowed to hold Javi Garcia's hand onto the pitch - gosh darn it!).
Buzzer regaled us all with his legendary story-telling and banter, and gave a great speech about the importance of welcoming new fans into the City fold. More and more City fans arrived at the bar to join in with several choruses of Blue Moon and share stories of our beloved City.
Once again I was struck with how strong the bond is between City fans - regardless of where you're from or how long you've been a supporter, once you're a Blue: you belong. We finished with an electric 4-3 win at Busch Stadium that day and many new friendships were formed.
The anticipation to the start of the new season has been palpable and by the time these words are posted we will have the first game under our belts. Expectations are incredibly high and there's a long road ahead, but we have a great team and in Pellegrini we have a great manager to lead them to success. We also have great fans to get behind both and to help in welcoming new fans to our fold I'd like to ask each of you to take some time to record your memories on the newly launched City Stories site at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/Fans/citystories.
Until next time, you can follow my musings on Twitter: @Vic_Bird and always remember: we're not bitter, we're just better.