City Blogger: Family affair
- 10 October 2013 10:17
- Posted by @BerryFLW
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 Lorraine Berry - a stateside Blue born into a family of City fans...
I come from a mixed-faith family: My granddad bled United red. He raised three sons who wanted nought to do with United, and upped the Blues. When I was a kid, Granddad would send me down to the paper shop on Saturday night to buy him a copy of the Pink, the paper devoted solely to City and United, which came out on Saturday evenings. He always included a bit of chocolate money to reward me for going and getting the paper for him, and I still remember being in the crowded shop, waiting my turn to pay for the paper, clutching a Flake or some Maltesers.
When I would get back, Dad and Granddad would each be sat, pints in front of them, talking about how the games had gone. A good weekend would be when both teams had won their respective games; if one or the other had lost while the other had won, bragging rights for the winner at the expense of the loser would add a bit of tension to Saturday night tea.
The rivalry between father and son was nothing new. My granddad raised three sons and a daughter. The house on Avon Road was divided: Grandma, Granddad and my Aunt Lilian supported United, while Ken, my dad and two uncles, Steve and Geoff, were Blue. Grandma grew worried about the tension, especially since Geoff was still only in primary school. Steve says that she was really a peacemaker in a red scarf. She thought she had hit on an ingenious solution to the problem. One day she came home with two figurines: one was painted in City's colours, the other in United's, which she placed in equal positions on the mantel, the centre of the living room.
The first Saturday of the dolls, City won its game and United lost. Ken, "with his finely tuned sense of justice," according to Steve, didn't think that United deserved equal recognition in the house that weekend, so he turned the red guy to face the wall. This became the standard for as long as the dolls were in the house. The dolls could face out toward the room if the team it represented had won that weekend; if not, it had to face the wall in shame. This went on for years.
Steve remembers: "In 1956, United won the league title and were sitting at the top of the table when they drew lowly Bristol Rovers in their opening round of the FA Cup. To just about everyone in football's amazement, United lost 0-4 and exited the competition. To show how we felt their pain, us boys did a little tailoring of an old black sock and fashioned a shroud for the red guy, thinking that Dad and Lilian would want to pay their respects. Surprisingly, they simply didn't appreciate our thoughtfulness. In fact, Dad was quite p****d about the whole idea."
But Ken wasn't finished. My dad never could resist winding my Granddad up, and 1956 gave him plenty with which to work with. City went on to win the FA Cup that year. Steve says, "Ken's sensitivity to injustice was stirred at the thought that someone might conclude that a league championship was equal in merit to the glory of the FA Cup. His solution was to build a platform to elevate the City symbol to a higher plane. As an afterthought, he decided that standing the blue guy on the red guy's head would send a clearer message."
Unfortunately for my dad, the laws of physics didn't uphold City's pride of place on the mantel. It's a fact that the mighty have a habit of falling from their pedestals, and City doll followed suit. He shattered, and nothing could put him together again.
The dolls are gone, as is the Pink. Dad went to join his late dad this past summer. It isn't hard to imagine that this past Derby day, Dad wasn't winding up my granddad over a pint.