City Blogger: The Expat Connection II
- 12 November 2013 15:20
- Posted by @vic_bird
In her next City Blogger piece, Victoria concludes her look at the importance of football to British expats.
(Part I of this blog can be found here)
Mark Mulv is the President of City’s Official Supporters’ Branch in Dallas, Texas. I met him in person when City spanked Chelsea in St Louis in May of this year and I asked about the importance of the club to him.
He replied: “My family left England for the USA in 1985 when I was 10 years old. There were four of us and all we had was each other. When you are proud of who you are, you cling on to that identity in a foreign land. Now raising my own children in the States, being a Blue family is my way of keeping us connected to our Manchester roots.”
Vern is a fellow Brit living in Chicago, although he’s not a regular at the pub for watching football – because he supports Portsmouth (sorry Vern!). When he first moved to the States seven years ago, Pompey’s television coverage was plentiful but after “free-falling three divisions, it is almost non-existent now”.
However, as he told me “the one thing about being an expat is that it teaches you how to adapt and be resourceful. You learn pretty quickly about how and where to access your game day info and you think nothing of 7am kick-off times”.
My university housemates all live overseas now too. Mike (Arsenal) is currently in Cairo, Ian (Liverpool) is in Japan and Adam (Ipswich) is in South Korea. Mike doesn’t have the same luxury that I do in having a local pub showing the footy games, but he agreed that his appreciation for Arsenal has grown since being overseas. He says: "places, jobs and people change depending on the situation but Arsenal just resets and starts again every August.”
For someone living amidst the current issues in Cairo, Mike sees football as "a distraction based around what is happening now (unless of course you are a Liverpool fan and therefore living perpetually in the past (zing!)”. You can always count on an Arsenal fan to be the pot calling the kettle black.
In Chicago, I am six hours behind UK time, so most games are early in the morning for me.
Ian in Japan is living on the flip side, being eight hours ahead of the UK. Earlier this season, he stayed up late into the evening to watch Liverpool. In his own words, they “turned over Manchester United at Anfield - an immense satisfaction that Man City supporters will have shared too."
He went on to say: "Although it was a late kick-off on a Sunday night, I would have happily rearranged my sleep patterns and stayed up until dawn to watch Liverpool win, lose or draw that game, or any game as often happens these days. Somehow, being further away from my team has brought me closer and motivated me to make changes to the way I show my support. Foregoing sleep to see live games is a major one.”
As an Ipswich Town fan, Adam’s move to Busan in South Korea now only allows him to watch his team two or three times a season, when he’s back in Blighty for Christmas. Regardless of the miles between him and Ipswich, he’s proud to say that he's "managed to watch at least one game a season since the 1986/87 campaign."
It echoes my dad’s sentiment that 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' and he continues to say: "I tend to romanticise the idea of owning a season ticket - an idea that is shattered at Christmas when I freeze my nuts off, watching a nil-nil draw against Grimsby Town."
Speaking of chilly weather, my parents will be visiting me in Chicago for Christmas this year to experience the subzero temperatures here (it regularly drops to less than -15°c during winter and frozen nostril hairs are a very unique experience, I can tell you!).
I’m obviously very excited to spend the holiday with them (although my dad is point-blank refusing to wear the MCFC onesie on Boxing Day - bah humbug!) but I’m equally as excited to take them to The Globe to watch a couple of City’s games with my adoptive MCFC family.
There is a quote about parenting: “two great things you can give your children: one is roots, the other is wings” and my parents are the embodiment of this. They have supported and guided me through many significant decisions in my life - most of which have put many miles between us - but no matter where I lay my hat, my roots will always be that beautiful shade of Sky Blue and I have my wonderful Mum and Dad to thank for that. See you in just over a month, Ma and Pa!