City Blogger: "We'll never witness anything like that again!"
- 19 November 2013 09:11
- Posted by @darrylwebster
It's time for the next piece from our team of eight official City Bloggers for 2013/14 courtesy of Canadian Blue Darryl Webster...
Last night something wonderful happened. The power went out. I’m not someone who falls asleep easily and often I rely on television, music or a good book to get myself down.
With TV and music not an option — and reading by candlelight, an edge I no longer live on since the burning pillow incident of 2011 — I decided to try something I imagine many of us do when we require distraction. I closed my eyes and returned to one of my fondest memories.
It’s 13th May 2012 and my brother-in-law Robbie and I arrive early to the Etihad. So early in fact that when the concessionaire rolls up his clunky steel gate to reveal a tapestry of pints and pies, it is our smiling faces who are there to greet him. The concourse televisions play highlights from Gillingham ‘99 and I remark to Robbie, “We’ll never witness anything like that again!”
With ages to go before kick-off, we wander over to the betting window believing a small wager might help kill some of our nervous energy. Robbie — not much of a gambling man and more Formula 1 savvy than football — points out something interesting on the betting form, “A fiver on City to win 3-2, would pay 300 pounds!” he exclaims.
I quickly jump in to prevent my sister’s naïve fiancé from parting with five pounds of his hard-earned Sterling.
“Robbie, QPR might score one but they will, never, listen to me now, never score two against City at home. It’s an impossible bet.” I explain to him.
By halftime Zabaleta has spoiled our Yaya-to-score-first ticket, but we don’t care. We’re eyeballs deep in a pint and a pie and the party on the concourse is well underway.
By the 66th minute however, the unthinkable has happened; a ten-man QPR squad is up 2-1 and a day that started off unusually hot for East Manchester has become in an instant, grey and frigid. The elderly woman beside me uses a handkerchief to gracefully dab a single tear that has gathered in the corner of her eye, while her husband remains too crestfallen to offer any form of comfort. I desperately want to give her a hug and tell her, “It’ll be alight love, City will win in dramatic fashion, just like Gillingham in ’99!” But I know this isn’t true. I know too well the cruel realities of football and I can’t bring myself to lie to this woman, who would never believe me anyhow, she having supported City for at least five decades longer than I.
Edin Dzeko’s thunderous injury-time header seems to split the crowd in two. Robbie is on the side of the believers, my usually calm and measured brother-in-law now screaming “C’mon City” with ferociousness I’ve never heard before or since. I represent the other half; those convinced that City have only served to make this loss even closer and more painful than we could have ever imagined. Losing is one thing, but this seems cruel and unusual punishment even by sky-blue standards.
When Mario Balotelli, lying on his side somehow wills the ball onto the foot of Aguero and Sergio completes the greatest finish in Championship history, I’m certain the goal will be called back for offside. When I finally realize the winner will stand and that this is happening, I joyfully lose all control, tearing my sweater and T–shirt off in one fluid motion. Bare chested I grab the silver-haired belle beside me, pull her into my arms and we marvel together as two tiers below us, the pitch is invaded by what looks like an army of rabid blue ants devouring a giant green sugar-cube.
On the morning of 18th November 2013, power restored, I awake feeling fully rested and a little bit greedy. With twenty good minutes of snooze time left before work I close my eyes and disappear once more, this time into Sunday 23rd October 2011. Why not eh?