City Blogger: Love is in the air!
- 11 February 2014 15:49
- Posted by @bifana_bifana
Very soon it will be that special day when we take our annual firm grip of our loved one’s hand and try to persuade her/him to believe that she/he is very nearly as important to us in the grand scheme of things as are David Silva and Yaya Touré.
It’s a tough job, but can be carried off wearing the correct facial expression and a rapidly revolving bow tie to take her attention away from the nervous twitch developing in that lop-sided smile.
Love is very much in the air in our household and what better way to celebrate the fact than by recalling those moments of delirious passion that bring us all closer together, the scoring of a City goal. Not the goal itself. We’ve had enough of those to last us a lifetime, but that moment of holy communion when the scorer is joined by sundry other humans in a touching display of affection to celebrate the feat.
Whilst the keep-quiet-finger (once a shoe-in for any angry young man who had scored) has slowly been displaced by the obligatory knee slide (a favourite of groundsmen all over the planet) as the must-have goal celebration, City’s players and staff have down the years mastered many ways of sharing their joy with us simple but totally enraptured onlookers.
Taken to its minimilist best, the almost embarrassed raised right arm and manly handshake to the nearest team mate of Colin Bell after yet another moment of breath-taking goal scoring mastery, and the desperate shrug of resignation from Denis Law one sunny afternoon at Old Trafford, are perhaps the first examples of what we might call hidden love. Understated, under control and, in United’s case in 1974, under water.
Terry Phelan against Spurs in 1994 was also involved in a moment when the celebrations were at best muted at worse not really happening, when he popped in after a three mile run across the Maine Road pitch only to find most people were busy watching the horse of the year show at the other end of the ground.
Love Colin Bell and his casual acclaim of the balletic as we all surely do, modern times have demanded more exuberant displays of affection. Clive Allen became the first man in modern times to realise that something more outwardly affectionate was needed becoming the first City player to enact the dreaded badge kiss at Notts County one blustery Sunday in 1991 and, since then, the joy and the love have hardly stopped flowing for a minute.
Whilst Clive liked the feel of cheap acrylic on his lips, Robinho preferred to kiss camera lenses, in an effort to get close to those adoring armchair fans. The Brazilian was also prone to doing little soft shoe shuffle dances (it has rubbed off on Daniel Sturridge, poor lad), also taken up to a fashion by Carlos Tevez and his somewhat odd revolving backside routine.
A far more fetching and traditional British dance display came courtesy of staunch traditionalists Mark Lillis and Gordon Davies who enacted a jive-bunny-hokey kokey medley in front of the Kippax after working a sneaky goal against Watford in the cup.
Whilst the afore-mentioned preferred to sway their bodies, big Paulo Wanchope took to the microphone, a giant fluffy one belonging to the tv people, after swinging a majestic one in at St Mary’s. On the same (bum) note, Joey Barton and Bernardo Corradi took to the air guitars during that fabulous never to be forgotten goal strewn 2006-07 season under Stuart Pearce, who himself indulged in a little love by throwing himself in the crowd after one of the goals in the Manchester derby at Eastlands.
Georgi Kinkladze also ended up in the crowd after a fabulous touch and go goal crafted with the delicate canal barge boots of Niall Quinn against Aston Villa at Maine Road in 1995, as did Uwe Rosler on several occasions and Franny Lee at Newcastle when City won the league.
Rosler’s penchant for showing the love was well known, sparking a pitch invasion at Loftus Road and introducing another method of sharing the affection in 1996 when he charged over to Alan Ball after netting as a sub against United, turned his back to the ginger haired football scientist and ran his finger along the name printed between his shoulder blades, the forget-me-not love message.
Lest we forget love is nothing if not fabulously exciting (it says here in a delicately hand crafted note from my wife) and there have been plenty of those moments of sheer release too, from Mike Channon’s merrily windmilling arms, through to Paul Dickov’s harp string neck sinews at Wembley. The same game gave us Nicky Weaver’s coquettish catch-me-if-you-can whilst 40,000 City fans assembled one last gasp of energy to do the electric fandango in honour of the moment. This was copied the year after when Bob Taylor netted on a thundrous night against Birmingham, the appetizer for the love waltz on the hill at Blackburn on the last day of the season.
So, as Valentine’s Day approaches, don’t forget to take your loved one in your arms and whisper in the nearest ear “I love you, Manchester City”.