After the title win, I was caught in a whirlwind of emotion. There was nothing else I could do but write a book about it.
I’m a journalist in Australia with the Newcastle Herald, so you get the picture. Words, and City, are in my blood.
I grew up as a Junior Blue and have been City-mad from an early age. I was kicking a ball in a City shirt when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, as we might say Down Under.
We may have blue skies and sunshine over here in Oz, but you guys have City.
My dad was born in Manchester, but moved to Australia aged 19. His entire family still lives in Manchester, most of them Blues. My grandad and great grandad were Blues.
In April this year, I returned to Manchester for the first time in a long while. I had wanted to visit for a long time to see family and City, but for years I’d put it off.
After the death of my grandad 18 months ago, the ancestral pull to return to the Old Dart became stronger. It was a gift of a City scarf that sealed my return. After Grandad Jack died, my cousin Paul Keogh sent me the City scarf that he received at the derby at Old Trafford that marked the 50th anniversary of the Munich disaster.
I stayed in Manchester for 10 days in April. We had a family reunion at an old pub in Middleton called the Boar’s Head, where we watched the Arsenal away match on the box. When Arsenal scored a late winner, it put us eight points behind United. City fans were no strangers to disappointment, so we partied on. But as we sank the last of our pints, it seemed like the title race was over.
A few days later, I watched City beat West Brom. It was the day of Tevez’s return to the starting line-up. What more could I have hoped for than a 4-0 victory, with cracking goals from Aguero, Silva and Tevez. After the match, we were walking out of the stadium along the spiral staircase when a massive roar went up. United had lost to Wigan. The title race was back on.
In writing the book, I interviewed other Blues’ fans to help understand my own religious-like devotion to City. They told me some great stories about City, stretching from the 1930s to modern times.
All this and more is documented in the book, along with stories from my travels in Manchester. What I’ve learned is that Mancunians can drink me under the table and that quite a few of them refer to Aussies as “Bruce”. Something to do with an old Monty Python sketch, I think. Serves us convicts right for calling you lot poms.
I have great affection for Manchester and its people. The weather may be cold in Manchester, but the people have great warmth. Mancunians are the friendliest, funniest and liveliest people I’ve ever come across. Good luck to all for the season ahead.
Damon Cronshaw’s book, Manchester City Mania, is available to download in the Amazon Kindle store here.