Wednesday 9 January 2008

My Column (2nd ed, Nov 2007)

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


Where did it all go wrong? After gaining another three points at home against Birmingham the wheels well and truly came off at Stamford Bridge and as my title suggests we were more than punished for our defensive disaster. Our 6-0 drubbing was Sven’s worst managerial defeat- we were truly awful. After preaching about team spirit and unity, the hammering was completely out of character for City. Our midfield just didn’t operate concisely, which resulted in our defence having to put up with a 90-minute onslaught.

Delirious Stretford Reds gloated about how our bubble had finally burst and I struggled to think about how we could bounce back from such a demoralising defeat quickly. Progression in the League Cup is how. Getting through to the quarter-finals was crucial and I think that Spurs at home is a great tie. What a Christmas present that would be, although the outcome of the game at White Hart Lane on 8th December will potentially influence the Cup game enormously.


So I see that Joey Barton has been in the press again slating City to all and sundry. I read his feature article in FourFourTwo with complete disgust- how dare he be portrayed as a reformed character that has been dealt a rough hand. To a certain extent he is right with regards to City not sacking him because they needed the transfer money, but he speaks about his career at City with such disregard and with a complete lack of respect. The full- page photograph of Barton depicts him as a malicious brute and rightly so.

In the past I have been nothing but fair to Barton- I wrote a big article on him last season more or less praising him despite the endless controversy he is always embroiled in. But now it stops. I do consider him to be over-hyped and why the hell does he deserve pity from anybody? He has brought his reputation on himself- blaming alcohol for his demons and his aggression and it is no excuse. Grow up Barton- it is about time that you took responsibility for your actions. It really wasn’t a surprise to see him squaring up to former City player Dickson Etuhu after his high tackle on him in the TyneWear derby recently. Once a thug, always a thug. The judge in his trial should make an example of him and the F.A. should throw the book at him. Footballers are supposed to be role models, what kind of example is he setting to young boys who are easily influenced by players and their antics? I used to believe that he was just misunderstood and that it was wrong for his reputation to precede him- now I think he deserves everything that he gets. Good riddance.


This month saw the belated arrival of the annual City adopt-a-player dinner at the City of Manchester Stadium. It had originally been scheduled in for late August but it had to be cancelled due to international call-ups. To be honest I was glad that it was moved although the date, Tuesday 23rd October, was the same day that I returned from my holiday in Antigua so I was horrifically tired and jet-lagged.

I went there with my mum, Simon, Liz, a couple of my parents’ employees and the wonderful editors of this fanzine, Dave and Sue. Although I have been to quite a few players’ dinners before, I was extremely nervous. We had a bucks fizz reception and engaged in nervy conversation as all thoughts turned to the evening ahead. I hadn’t been sure whether Sven would attend but there he was on the table plan- along with the entire first team (only Stephen Ireland was absent).

We took to our seats and I noticed a new addition to the evening- a camera crew and a huge cinema screen at the front of the room. This wasn’t usual City conduct at all- the blues had upped the standards in more ways than one. The compere for the evening struck up lively on a booming microphone and the room fell into a hushed silence as all the guests awaited the arrival of the team.

Sure enough, one by one, our heroes joined us. The first to enter to a rapturous standing ovation was Sven and his assistant Bakke. Sven looked completely overwhelmed at the endless applause that greeted him as he bashfully waved around at the audience. He was much smaller than I imagined and was quite gaunt.Sven was promptly followed by the players, who were greeted with the same reception- a reception that was completely justified given the start to the season. Vedran Corluka came to our table and sat next to me, while Darius Vassell sat next to Sue. The compere then turned our attention to the screen to watch highlights of the season so far. The lights were dimmed and the goals were greeted with whooping and applause between both the players and the public. Johnson’s goals won high appraise, to which he blushed and modestly bowed his head.

Predictably, Elano’s sensational goals once again wowed the crowd, but what surprised me was watching Sven’s reactions. The Swede sat quietly with Bakke, Wardle and representatives from the Manchester Evening News smiling and admiring his handiwork. He looked like a proud father on sport’s day: basking in the success and the club’s incredible start. Interestingly, one of the only player’s goals to be met with a somewhat mute response was Bianchi.

The feature was then followed by an interview with Sven and Bakke, with Sven shyly talking about the fantastic results and wonderful team spirit, then everybody settled down for the meal. I had obviously never met Vedran before, but after chatting to him about his move from Croatia and how he was settling down in Manchester, we didn’t shut up. He talked about how Elano is the team’s prankster, how he was surprised at just how good Richards really is and how Sven is quite a relaxed but fair manager. I couldn’t possibly write down every topic of conversation because we spoke for so long but he is relishing the chance to mark Rooney out of the crucial Euro 2008 qualifier (not any more now that he is injured!). He is worried about how the English fans will react to him after the game if Croatia win though. I found him utterly charming and a complete gentleman.

I did the usual rounds and met the vast majority of the team. Elano, Geovanni, a very shy Michael Johnson, Micah Richards…I found each and every player to be really friendly and genuine. Sven seemed completely baffled at the amount of attention he was getting- his face was quite a picture!

The one thing I noticed from the evening is how it was completely different from any other meal I had attended. There were fewer people there but more players, making it more intimate. The evening seemed more organised yet more relaxed and the general mood (obviously due to our form) was so very positive and cheerful. All in all, a great evening was had by all and it was truly a pleasure to be in the company of both the staff at City and Dave and Sue!

THEY THINK IT’S ALL OVER…Things to look forward to…Corluka vs. England…the trip to the JJB Stadium (surely we are due to turn over the Latics by now)…overcoming our recent Cup quarter-final curse…the January transfer window edging closer.Plus…We currently have over 100 members in the King of the Kippax Facebook group. Many thanks to everybody who has joined and keep spreading the word!

Keep the blue faith,

Emily Brobyn xx

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