Bailey's Blog: Title tears
- Mon 21 May 2012, 4:40PM
- Posted by Chris Bailey
A week, so the saying goes, is a long time in politics but in football it flies by!
Whilst Prime Ministers, Presidents and Chancellors have been busy trying to get to grips with the on-going Eurozone crisis, City fans all over the world have been – with due deference to the Aborigines - getting used to footballing dreamtime!
It is a state of mind that those of us old enough to remember have experienced only once or twice before in the past half century.
Let me try to explain as best I can. My name is Chris Bailey and I am a City fan. So far so good!
For the past three years I have been City’s Head of Content, effectively the editor of this site. I was also at St James’ Park in 1968 when we were last crowned champions of England and I want to share some of the emotion of the past week so please indulge me.
My City watching days began on a cold and windy October day in 1966 under a foreboding sky in Blackpool. Two-years later, at the age of eight, I watched wide-eyed and transfixed as Mike Summerbee (whose programme column I now write) scored and the plain old Citizens became footballing royalty to all that followed them – that leaden Fylde Coast sky has been Blue ever since.
Back then it was all blur. Just travelling to Newcastle on a charabanc (a coach for those too young to know) was an Indiana Jones type adventure for a kid only half way through primary school.
I don’t know how my granddad secured tickets back in those days and couldn’t tell a W-formation from WD-40 but I knew it was exciting, I knew I was part of something special and I knew it was out of the ordinary when I saw him cry for the first time that late afternoon on Tyneside.
Time has yellowed the memory of the day itself, I remember the crush and the thrill and not being able to see anything.
I remember the pandemonium around me but hardly anything of the game itself. I remember not being able to get to a loo for hours
And that is the point really. Last week’s Premier League win will, in future, not be about Sergio Aguero’s last second goal, Roberto Mancini’s best Basil Fawlty act on the touchline or even the realisation of the club's recent aspirations.
It will be all about our amazing supporters and their memories and sentiments and feelings, that utopian release of pent up passion and emotion stored over years of under-achievement and no achievement.
It will be all about the accounts we can pass on to our children and grandchildren, the shared sense of belonging to something intangible but clearly wonderful.
It will all be about finally being able to call our team champions.
May 13 around 4.50pm was a moment – a passing one I hasten to add - when you loved the people around you more than you loved your family or anything else.
It was a moment when 45,000 Blue clad fans were at one; a moment when words were superfluous, when primal screams and rivers of tears spoke eloquent and powerful volumes. Of all sports in the world only football can do this to people en masse.
On May 13 I was writing the QPR match report – some of you will have hopefully read it – it was written through a veil of tears the like of which I hadn’t experienced since watching my son being born.
I cried again when the trophy was presented as I thought of my granddad – sadly long gone to the MCFC Supporters Club (Heaven Branch) – and the tear ducts were flung wide open again when my own son, watching from the Colin Bell Stand level three, finally got a text to me.
A man in his fifties bawling his eyes out over the achievements of a football team; it sounds ridiculous in the cold light of day but nothing could be further from the truth.
City fans from all over the world, some I know well, some I hardly know at all and some I have only met through touring with City in this job or my previous incarnation as the Manchester Evening News City correspondent have contacted me to say they have experienced the same inflamed sensations following the title win.
The victory parade through Manchester brought yet more emotion and the sharing of more rare moments of affectionate togetherness with the wider Manchester public – my voice has only just returned!
At intermittent and unpredictable times every day since the trophy was secured there have been occasions when I have stopped dead in my tracks, opened my arms as if demonstrating the capture of a large fish and just nodded my head; at others I have simply burst into song.
Those around me think I have gone mad but this is how it feels to be part of the City story right now. It is irrational, it is emotional, it transcends simple tribalism or rivalry - it is fantastic and something for which I thank my granddad from the bottom of my heart.
And if you don’t believe me – a vested interest if ever there was one – then read this too from my friend Marc Stein who follows City from the USA where he is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.
It is the same all over the world.