Wednesday 9 January 2008

My Column (1st ed, Oct 2007)

Emz And The City
‘Without a Dream in My Heart, Without a Love of My Own’


Well, well, well...what a start to the 2007/08 season for City. Under the new guidance of Sven, nobody knew what to expect and nobody could have dreamed who turned out to be the early pace setters in the Premier League. An unexpected away day win at Upton Park had the critics raving over the new-look City side, and the derby-day victory over our raggy neighbours sent all of us Blues into dreamland- and City to the top of the league.

The defeats that followed at the Emirates and Ewood Park have merely been a blip and our performances against West Ham, Newcastle and Middlesbrough were outstanding. It’s been a real joy to see City playing such fluid, attractive and intelligent football as a pose to the sloppy ‘hoof’ tactics seen in past seasons. Last season I became completely fed up with supposed professional footballers taking 15-20 yards to control a ball. This season there has been a huge improvement and the result is quicker attacks and exciting football.


It has been much discussed that the arrival of Sven was met with a very mixed reception. I will be the first to hold my hands up and admit that I wasn’t overly keen n his appointment. Nobody can argue with his domestic success rate, and I really don’t think that he did that badly with the national job.

For me it is the fact that with Sven comes an enormous media circus. I really don’t care if he loves Italian food or leaves outrageous tips at the Lowry hotel. It doesn’t interest me if he’s romancing Nancy or some random Mancunian lookalike. I want to know about his tactics, his signings and his formations. I want him to be making back page headlines and for all the right reasons.

Of course, the media are looking to create headlines and cause scandal and are as intrusive as ever- the media circus has most definitely been in force at Eastlands. So far the press have been sceptical but mainly positive about Sven, but how long will this last for? And if the wheels do start to come off the Sven wagon, you can guarantee the media vultures will be sharpening their claws for a feeding frenzy.

So far so good though from the Swede: he has been a complete breath of fresh air. His signings (who I will speak about later) have proved to be a phenomenon. I’m pleased that the new arrivals have been slotted in nicely with our old faces (Dunne, Hamann) and that Sven’s playing our youth (Richards, Schmeichel, Johnson, Ireland) with such confidence and flair. The defence looks reliable and sturdy and the midfield creative and competent. The only area of concern (mainly due to injuries to Bojinov and Bianchi) is the strike force. Perhaps the rumoured £140 million January transfer kitty will help with this...


Where do I start? I previously described Sven’s signings as a ‘phenomenon’, and rightly so. Not many City fans knew what to expect from Sven’s foreign legion but their performances at Upton Park justified their contracts. For me Elano has been unbelievable and the best signing in the Premier League. He is astutely skilful and can create something out of nothing. His free kick against Newcastle was sublime, and more of the same against Boro has whet most football fans appetite for more. Many have compared him to a better Benarbia or Kinkladze- with Blumer Elano it is literally just like watching Brazil!

Elano is definitely my pick of the new signings but for me a relatively old face have impressed me a lot too- Micah Richards. If that w****r Neville manages to get back in the England squad I will single-handedly spearhead a campaign to oust Steve McLaren. Richards has been consistency personified for every game he has featured in; he has pace, he is a good tackler, has great vision and maturity. He can play anywhere in defence and has great positioning. A superb prospect for now and for years to come- any Premier League team would be lucky to have him and don’t we know it. Rumours are rife about Fergie sniffing around- say no more.

Michael Johnson has been somewhat of a revelation too. I watched him in training in February and wasn’t quite sure who he was to be honest! But he has emerged to be just the type of player that we needed; very reminiscent of a young Steven Gerrard, and that back heel against Boro to set up Elano was genius. He has scored two superb goals so far, surely he will prove to be a future England star.


For once in my very Blue life, City are the early birds setting the pace in the Premier League. Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer on Match of the Day described us as ‘the surprise package’. Previously it has been the likes of Bolton, Wigan, Reading and Ipswich and I have always looked at those teams with envy, wondering if City will ever be the surprise package. The team to shock the Premier League’s ‘Core Four’. Well that moment has finally arrived.

Yes I did get ‘Pride of Manchester’ on the back of my shirt after the derby day victory and yes I am gloating at fans of teams who are on the losing end of us, but this doesn’t mean that I am getting carried away. Being Blue we know that success tends to be short-lived so we have to enjoy it while we can. The best start to a top-flight season for 37 years is definitely worth shouting about, but I’m certainly not getting my passport out just yet- there is a long way to go. This time 10 years ago City ended the season being relegated to the then Second Division and no fan will ever forget how bad an experience that was. Lets just enjoy it while we can eh?


The 1-0 derby victory left every City fan jumping for joy and celebrating being top of the league, and most Stretford Reds licking their over-hyped wounds. I posted a good little anecdote on social networking site Facebook that I had read on a friend’s page about City fans being from Manchester. It was posted in jest and for a bit of a laugh straight after the derby success, but one individual didn’t take it that way at all. Evidently, with his red ego still bruised, and having touched a raw nerve, a certain individual I used to go to school with called Martin embarked on a headless rant with me. I have decided to include the exact transcript so you can so for yourself just how enraged he was:

"To all you rags... Ever wondered why, even with all the trophies, glory, showbiz weddings, superstar "glamour" players and planet-sized, graceless ego's that surround the "entity" that is Manchester United, you still can't kill off local support for a former skint club that has won nothing for 31 years, shoots itself in the foot at every opportunity, sells it's best players and yet is somehow still one of the best-supported teams in England? I'd say that says more about your club than ours. supporting City is typically Mancunian, backing the underdog in the face of adversity, knowing that one day soon, "our time will come again..." supporting United is heroism in a can, the refuge of the characterless, the humorless, the bland - the Footballing epitome of "blending in"...though I guess you'll just never understand that's what separates us from you, and long may it remain so... city fans never have to justify why they are Blue. Unlike our Red Brothers. Thanks for reminding me why I am and always will be Manchester City...

"HIM: The mere fact that you needed to post that suggests that you are more concerned with our club than your own as is the case with the majority of City fans. You feel the need to put us all down as glory hunting Southerners who call ourselves 'Man U'. This is not the case as I'm sure you already know more ST's at OT are from Manchester than is the case at COM. You have a ST at City as I do at Utd. You watch City home and away as I do United. Some of us are real fans too. We have a tradition and history that you can only dream off we've faced adversity when one of our greatest teams was killed (which you bastards like to sing about) and we bounced right back to the top. We are still and always will be the greatest football club in Manchester, England and the world.
ME: Hmmm.....bitter, perhaps? I think so. Fair enough, I take your point but the VAST, and I mean VAST amount of glory rags that I know alone misrepresent your club in a big way. And also, the atmosphere at old trafford is sickening. Your fans just EXPECT success, and when you couldn't manage a goal against Reading your fans reacted with utter shock and horror. Reading played well that day, they had a plan and stuck to it. But for your fans it just wasn't good enough. Even when you win the league you always just want more. City fans are pinching themselves at the moment and I fully expect to still finish in the bottom half this year, that’s the difference. We don’t expect fuck all. And you really are not the greatest club in Manchester, as yesterday proved. Get over it.
HIM: We are the pride of this City and for a long time you have been the embarrassment. Point A - The atmosphere at COM apart from derby day is shite and that comes from your own fans not my point of view. Agree OT apart from European nights is garbage atmosphere.Point B - Bitter about what? I never mentioned injuries, suspensions etc I have chosen to say you won, fair play but let's not get carried away.Point C - Drawing at home to Reading isn't good enough if you want to win the league and neither is losing to City. The team was still clapped off not booed in anyway.Point D - Yesterday proved you won 1-0 with I think 2 shots on target it hardly proves you are Manchester's greatest club does it? I think 9 Premierships might do though.
ME: Right, I posted this on here as a JOKE. Not to be taken seriously by anybody, as a hearty little laugh because I am in a very good mood. NOT because we beat you lot, but because city are playing very well, have a good manager and have made some astute signings. 3 wins in 3 is a blinding start, so what is wrong with any blue (not only me) having a laugh and making the most of enjoying the situation that we are finding ourselves in. Only a rag fan could attempt to take the above in any serious manner because you lot have had the worst start to a campaign in 15 years. Take it as a joke mate, I don’t need bullet points thrown back at me. Being a city fan I need a sense of humour- seems like you could do with one too.
HIM: You should enjoy your success then rather than our apparent demise. You never mentioned your own team in the original post just had a cheap shot at us. Maybe if you celebrated this like a normal victory we wouldn't look on at you as our poor relatives. Everyone knows our big games are Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool you lot now come a distant 4th. Anyway you enjoy it you never know when that bubble will burst. By the way what did you think of Eriksson when he arrived I seem to recall it wasn't full support?
ME: I didn’t mention us cos it wasn’t me who wrote the above, it was one of my cousin's mate who sent it to me and I found it quite apt so I posted it. I will find out his name and credit him on the above. I thought Eriksson might not be the right choice at city because I was sure the whole media circus would overshadow the club and to an extent it has, but I’ve never once faulted his domestic record, because you can’t. That speaks for itself and I knew with the Shinawatra takeover the money would be there for him to spend. If you 'recall' that, then you should recall that I am a true fan and take great pride in supporting my team no matter what division we are in. Yes I like to take a pop at you guys, but it’s the same no matter what team we play, and god knows I’ve had to take some stick over the years too. So what’s wrong in enjoying it while I can? I remember when our rivals were Macclesfield- and I was there singing the blues then, I am an eternal optimist!
HIM: Fair play to you I remember those days back at school where you took some almighty stick. I always thought Sven was a decent boss who was treated disgracefully as England coach. That was the only plus point yesterday and as much as I like Sir Alex he made some stupid arrogant comments on Friday that you shouldn't do before a derby. All I'm saying is don't get carried away enjoy it while it lasts. As I was yesterday I'll be there Sunday and will be whoever we play no matter how bad. For evidence of this i'm a bloody Widnes fan too!
ME: Well that’s fair play to you and I will always admire a true fan, no matter what colour shirt they wear, and everybody who knows me knows that. Yes Fergie came out with some shite comments but that normally backfires when managers do that anyway. I’ve always said on Facebook that I’m expecting City to land on a banana skin when things are too good to be true, and we normally do, I’m not sure if that will happen at the Emirates but we shall see! Oh I don’t follow rugby, it’s the wrong shaped ball lol. I should do though for my sport journalism, but its football, cricket and formula one for me. City will always come first though

He did see the error of his ways afterwards, but I found the entire argument hilarious. FourFourTwo magazine have a fantastic derby feature in their latest issue that really made me think of that argument and it’s definitely worth a read.

THEY THINK IT’S ALL OVER...Things to look forward to...going to the City player’s dinner with Dave and Sue... Chelski away (dare we dream, I was gutted to see Mourinho leave)... trying to get another decent interviewee for another radio assignment... possible progression in the Cup against Bolton...Elano...Plus...Can I just say a big thank you to everybody who has joined the King of the Kippax Facebook group. It is another way of spreading the word about the fanzine and keeping in touch with the contributors and readers.

Keep the Blue faith,
Emily Brobyn xx

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