Thursday 17 January 2008

**EXCLUSIVE** 'One Moment In Time'- The Boys Are Back In Town (Jan 2008)


‘One Moment In Time’ is a nostalgic look back at events and occasions in City’s past that will no doubt resurrect many impassioned memories for most City fans. Written from my personal point of view, I am hoping that reliving these moments, whether they were good or bad, will prove to be an enjoyable read for all. This month…Keegan’s back in business at Newcastle so what better way to acknowledge his return by looking back at his time at City, namely our record-breaking promotion to the Premier League with him.


After the Sheffield United game, City really did play fantasy football. Keegan’s style of attacking flair and charismatic football was finally on show, and the points were flying in. With Berkovic and Benarbia at the heart of midfield, and Huckerby and new signing Jon Macken upfront, City were notching up cricket scores all over the country. Victories against Norwich, Millwall, Preston, Coventry, Birmingham, Bradford and Nottingham left City in the top spot and the majority of Division One in awe of Keegan’s blues’ constantly mesmerising displays every Saturday.

Every single City fan was captivated by the cavalier style of play at Maine Road, and I personally loved watching us tear the opposition’s defence apart. It was the best I had ever seen City play in my living memory. I constantly wore my City shirt with pride. We were a dead cert not only to be promoted, but to be champions. At last, it was the blue half that was the pride of Manchester.
To clinch promotion back to the Premiership, City needed to beat Barnsley at Maine Road. It was a bright, warm Spring day and a packed Maine Road gathered to watch City annihilate the Tykes 5-1. A Huckerby hat-trick and a brace from Macken sent us up a division and back to where we belonged. All we needed now was to beat Portsmouth at home and we would be confirmed as champions.
This was something new to me. Yes we had won the play-offs and had been promoted twice through Joe Royle, but this was potentially winning the league. City were fully capable of performing in the Premiership if this season’s displays were anything to go by, and at last I was supporting a winning team, a team I could be proud of.

The promotion party was well underway at the Portsmouth game. Simon, Spenny and I went in Simon’s car, with flags and scarves galore, boasting and bragging to anybody who would listen and any passer-by that we supported the best. The best. It’s funny that, Manchester City and the best in the same sentence.

Yet again we sat in the Gods, but there was an ecstatic atmosphere in every seat in every stand. Each and every blue waving their flags and chanting Keegan’s name- Keegan the messiah who so famously made public his five-year plan for the club, and phase one was complete.

The game kicked off and every pass by every player was met by huge applause from the home crowd. Each player had done City proud, in particular Shaun Goater, who had been knocking the goals in for fun, and the midfield trio of Berkovic, Benarbia and Wright-Phillips. Our team was brimming with confidence and creativity, and by five o’clock, a 3-1 score-line had put the icing on the cake. It had been yet another sensational performance, with the goals coming from Goater, Macken and Howey. Stuart Pearce missed a penalty in his last league appearance before retirement, and Schmeichel also bowed out of the game to retire.

We all stayed to watch every player come onto the pitch to receive their Championship-winning medals, and to lift the trophy aloft with the roar of the overjoyed crowd meeting the silverware. Balloons were released into the sky, and I stood back with tears welling in my eyes. We were the champions, and it felt so good.

The journey home was chaotic. Simon had a huge City flag out of the sunroof with Queen’s ‘We Are the Champions’ on repeat. Spenny and I lent out of the windows shouting and screaming at pedestrians and motorists, waving yet more flags and chanting ‘City! City!’ The sun was beaming down, and at one point Spenny clambered up to the sunroof and stuck his head and body through it to continue our celebrations.

Unfortunately there wasn’t room for both him and the flag, and the flagpole which supported the huge flag that was adorned with Keegan’s face promptly snapped. It was like being in a slapstick comedy sequence, with passers-by bemused at the sight of Keegan’s triumphant head stuck on this huge flag flying past them, with Spenny’s human head manically yelling alongside it.

Our celebrations carried on way into the night, and it was a time for reflection on a season filled with success and progress. All early doubts had been firmly dispelled and Keegan had more than delivered. City’s football towards the end was bragging, almost cocky- but full of ingenuity. It was exciting to watch and somewhat unpredictable- who would have thought the sublime Hillsborough 6-2 victory would be followed by defeat at home to Wimbledon? But phase two was yet to come- could Keegan cut it and repeat this success on the biggest stage in English league football- the Premier League?

Emily Brobyn xx

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