Manchester City Football Club. As a fan where do you start in my lifetime as a Manchester City supporter? The dark days of back to back relegation in the 90’s through to the modern day success of the Aguero goal in 2012, the 6 Premier League titles in the past 11 years, Pep Guardiola’s current dominance, or the new and shiny feats of Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and co. The story is plentiful and continuing to grow.
A bit about myself I started my journey as a Manchester City fan, in the mid 90’s in Perth, Australia. My journey began with a pure hatred of Manchester United (which continues to this day) and all of their bandwagon fans that followed their success in the 90’s especially here in Australia. They would attach themselves to it like they watched every game, when they didn’t, I despised them & that club. I had to find a team for me, a team that wasn’t red, that hates this red hype train that was so adored…..who is this blue side in Manchester I wondered, who are they? That began my love affair of Manchester City that continues to this day.
My journey began in the mid 90’s, a era where Manchester City fell into the old second division. Where the only access to the results were buying the local West Australian newspaper and scanning through the overseas results, all the way to the English second division and tracking the results that way. The internet wasn’t what it is now. The streaming services we have here like Optus Sports which broadcast every Premier League game here in Australia didn’t exist at that stage. Plus pay television wasn’t what it would become in Australia either. Tracking results that way became a hobby for 46 games plus the famous playoffs and final against Gillingham. Then the journey of tracking a season via the newspaper again through the old first division days until promotion to the Premier League. It was a tortuous journey but somewhat fulfilling as a fan, meanwhile the other side in Manchester kept winning trophies, kept attracting band wagon fans, and their evil empire grew & grew.
One day I thought and hoped we’ll win a trophy, a FA Cup, a League Cup and have our time in the sun, time to tear that banner down at Old Trafford, the optimist in me felt it would happen one day. In reality it likely wasn’t possible, we’d always be the smaller club in Manchester, the butt of jokes, typical City as they said but I loved my club & our journey. Loved our heroes like Shaun Goater, Richard Edghill, Nicky Weaver, Paul Dickov, the Whitley brothers, Kevin Horlock and co. One day something of note will happen I’d always tell myself, our loyalty will be rewarded. It never seemed likely as I just touched on. Then all of a sudden something changed it happened in 2008 the club I loved suddenly had infinite hope.
2008 Sheikh Bin Mansour purchased my beloved Manchester City, we became the richest club on the planet, Robinho joined, prior to that Kompany & Zabaleta had signed for bargain fees in hindsight. Especially with what they’d achieve and the legends they’d both become. What the hell is going on with my City I thought, this can’t be real.
The growth of pay television and the growth of football in Australia meant fans like myself could actually see this happen at 10,12 at night or 2 or 5 in the morning with the kick off times in Australia, rather then scanning newspapers like in my youth. We would see De Jong, Bellamy and co added to Robinho and co. the team started to turn. Maybe this dream of a elusive major trophy win may happen & I’ll be able to watch it…..the club and hope continued to grow. Mancini replaced Mark Hughes, a real winner of a manager had arrived. Tevez, Adebayor, club legends like Aguero, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Edin Dzeko & the never forgotten Mario Balotelli and more all joined the ever growing Manchester City and the team started reigning in the enemy, and the hope grew.
We narrowly missed a Champions League spot finishing 5th behind Tottenham (who to this day still give us fits) as the club grew. Then finally in 2011 it happened. We beat United in the FA Cup Semi Final, the freight train Yaya Toure scored the winner, we had gotten past them. A final against Stoke awaited……the wait to see us win a trophy may end. It happened…..Yaya Toure again scored the winner & we had won a trophy, I’d actually seen it, we’re a winning football club finally. What a moment, it couldn’t get any better then this I thought.
We all know it since did, the Aguero goal in 2012 is a moment that will never be beaten as a City fan, or likely in any sport ever. The ecstasy, the relief, the stress of the game, nothing will beat that. Oh and the added bonus of beating that team from the 90’s to the Premier League title that had ruined many a fans child hood was extra sweeter. I won’t cover that Aguero goal or moment much as it’s been done countless times the moment will forever be cherished.
It’s been a hell of a run since that FA Cup win in 2011 that continues to this day under Pep Guardiola with Haaland, De Bruyne, Foden, Gundogan (who will ever forget his two late goals last season, well Liverpool fans will try) and co. The amount of trophies we’ve won the past decade has been special and long may it continue. Eventually it will end but my love affair with Manchester City never will. I wouldn’t trade it, nor not appreciate it having come from the days of scanning newspapers.
As a Australian fan all of these amazing moments are witnessed at ridiculous times of the night or morning, going to work off barely any or broken sleep, for 9/10 months a season but that’s part of the fun of it. It’s part of my experience and journey as a Manchester City supporter. The fans like myself, our experience and point of view isn’t covered anywhere. “Bandwagoners” we are called or “Glory Hunters” by the established or local fans. Fair enough that’s their opinion, but I don’t think many would be awake at ridiculous hours for their love of a team like we do. It’s a passion, a love of mine. I’d not trade it. I’ve been called mad by friends and family for waking up at 1am or 2am for City games then going to work early in the morning, but that’s all part of the ride.
It’s a honour & a privilege to cover Manchester City from Australia , a small dream of mine. Is it possible to do it well at such late hours, who knows, I won’t be the judge of that. I never thought I’d see little Manchester City even win a cup, let alone 6 Premier League titles, 4 consecutive League/Carabao Cups, or 2 FA Cups. Also a Champions League Final appearance, a competition that so far eludes us much to opposition fans delight. But it will come for us one day, just have to keep at it.
Well that’s my journey as a Manchester City fan living in Australia from the mid 90’s until now. It’s a special journey and it’s my own. I Wouldn’t trade it.
Hopefully I get to share the rest of this journey with the avid readers of ManCity Square. Here’s to a great season in 2022/23.