Friday, 15 December 2017


Tis the season to jingle your bells, deck your halls, eat, drink and be merry. Christmas is here and (this goes to print before the Derby game) CITY ARE STILL UNBEATEN! No I’m not hallucinating, I’ve not had too much mulled wine- we really are still unbeaten. With 13 Premier League wins in a row, City will set a record if they beat United at Old Trafford.

I know, I know, that’s a huge if. But it’s safe to say, we’re going into the game in the best form of our lives with everything to play for. There’s never been a better reason to be confident for Derby Day.

But – this being City – we are all waiting for that banana skin. Go the season unbeaten?! Now that’s a funny joke. This is City, masters of our own demise, there’s no possible way fans that are seasoned fans of the club could ever be serious about being invincible all season. That defeat is going to come. The run will end. As long as it doesn’t end at that place, I’ll be rather happy.


Well wasn’t November just a joyful month to watch football? We started with an incredible performance away to Napoli in the Champions League. Bonfire Night brought a comprehensive and confident win against Arsenal, followed by an assured win at Leicester. Then came Huddersfield, Southampton and West Ham: teams who set up to sit almost their entire team behind the ball, with the sole purpose to stop us from playing football. Of course, for some teams that’s the only option they have. They’re scrapping for their lives – a point against us would be huge to them. We’ve been there, we know the score.

We’ve got to expect that. Speaking about banana skins, I went into all of the above games fearing the worst. It’s the Typical City in me, what can I say? It’s not logical: the players we have, the form we are in and the way we play is enough to encouraged every ounce of confidence in you, but there will always be that nagging thought at the back of your mind. What if.

‘It’d be Typical City if we lost this.’

Maybe it would’ve been Typical City if we lost it. But we didn’t. All three games we didn’t. Huddersfield not so much, but Southampton and West Ham were games when we had to come from behind to win. Both teams employed a very similar approach: time waste at any given opportunity, sit every man as far deep as you can and absorb every wave of City attack. Snatch a goal and defend for your lives. It’s not football, I don’t agree with it, and I’m not sure how fans of those teams quite happily pay money to sit and watch that shite every week.

It’s depressing as it is predictable to watch. It’s anti-football at its worst. But in both games, City came from behind – and won. We must learn to expect this kind of approach from certain teams and brace ourselves for it. We’ve got to be able to adapt our game plan and show the strength in character to be able to absorb such tactics without heads dropping or patience running thin.

That’s exactly what the two games demonstrated. City two seasons again would’ve lost both of those games. It’s the belief that Pep has installed in the players. The will to win. The focus and determination to keep going, keep probing, keep asking those questions. To never give up. That’s a lot too for the younger members of the team – it shows how much desire and character we have – and how strong the team spirit is right now. They’re working for each other, helping each other and digging deep (if not leaving it late) for those three points.

The worrying trait about recent games though, is we have looked oh so leggy. The long, congested run of fixtures looks like it is starting to take its toll and certain players look in need of a rest. It’s took us a while to get going – in both cases it’s taken us going a goal behind to actually kick into gear and go on to secure the points. Hopefully it’s a trend that can be bucked, because we’ll have to be there from kick off for the Derby, there’s no doubt about that. But I’m sure Pep will have the players well prepared for Jose and those famous dirty tactics of his.

You could see what it meant to the players, particularly after the Southampton game. Raheem Sterling, scoring that absolute beauty with the final kick of the game, Pep going crazy with his backroom staff and Mendy pulling a Usain Bolt, sprinting/limping down the touchline to join in with the celebrations. The photographs in the dressing room afterwards: we’re all in it together and there’s a different belief this season, the like we’ve never known with City before. In a way it’s akin to that of the Mancini title-winning 2011/12 season – and if it goes the way that did, I think we’ll all be pretty happy come May.


I watched John Stones on Sky Sports before the game against West Ham (we were at the game but we always Sky+ it and watch it back when we get home) and he admitted that he thought quite a few players had improved under the guidance of Guardiola. One of the players he mentioned, of course, was Raheem Sterling, who is in the form of his career right now.

I’ve praised Sterling a lot in the past couple of months and rightly so. He deserves every bit of credit he’s getting. He’s become a more intelligent, determined player. You can tell his attitude has changed: he’s fiercer, he thinks more on the ball, looks around more – and is much more accurate with both his passing and his shooting.

He’s level on Premier League goals with Aguero – with nine goals so far this season – and two assists. He’s scored in four out of five Champions League games so far. Only Ronaldo has scored more in the whole competition. He scored late winners against Bournemouth, Huddersfield and Southampton for us – that’s nine points he has been directly responsible for. Without those late winners – it would’ve been three points instead of nine.

It’s a huge difference to the team and the position we are in right now and it’s all down to self-belief and confidence. Sterling is flying and you can see he’s in his element playing with that ability and energy around him. You get the sense he’s excited to be a part of something special at the club – and he’s grown so much with Pep as manager. He’s fulfilling the potential the price tag suggested – in fact, right now that fee is looking like a snip (much like De Bruyne and Stones).

So we thought we’d have a little laugh. Seeing as Sterling is flying at the moment and we all like to sing about him being ‘top of the League’, we thought we’d make him top of our Christmas tree. That’s right – we bought a star and stuck a photo of Sterling to it, adorning said tree on top of our tree. I took a photo of it and put it on Twitter – much to the general hilarity of everybody.

It was meant as a tongue-in-cheek joke. With Christmas quickly approaching and City dazzling everybody with their football prowess, it was an obvious joke to me. So imagine my astonishment when the man himself – Sterling – put the photos of my ridiculously tiny Christmas tree (trust me, if I had space amongst the toys in my front room, I’d have a much bigger one!) on his Instagram story for all of his 2.9 million followers to see. He said it made him laugh, which I’m definitely happy with!

After a day, a lot of Blues had commented to say it made them laugh too, but as is ever the case when we are eight points ahead in the title race with a lot of red-eyed, envious monsters baying for blood, I started to get grief off a lot of United fans. Grown men offering me out for fights, telling me I was pathetic, even mocking my children. All over two photographs of a Christmas tree. I mean, you pick your battles, but what started as a joke, quickly turned sour. I blocked the idiots and had to delete the photos. It just wasn’t worth the aggro I was on the receiving end of.

At least Raheem liked it. If he keeps that form up, we’ll all be laughing.


It’s a really weird feeling being a City fan at the moment. On the one hand, we are witnessing the best football most of us have ever had the pleasure to witness in a sky blue shirt. Win after win after win: week in, week out, we are being dazzled by beautiful football. It’s football the way football should be played: technically brilliant, creatively spectacular and monumentally superior to anything else on offer in the Premier League this season.

On the other hand, we are experiencing the downside that can only come with being eight points clear at the top of the Premier League. Opposition fans, pundits and critics alike are almost chomping at the bit for our winning run to come to an end. Martin Tyler could hardly hide his devastation when David Silva scored the winner against West Ham.

‘City’s run continues,’ he snarled, through gritted teeth. West Ham fans going into the stadium telling us to keep it respectable and ‘only score six past us please’.

So this is what it feels like. I remember when City were everybody’s second team – mainly because people felt sorry for us. We used to be the butt of all football jokes; a team looked at both in pity and with mild affection. Now all the jokes focus on money. How rich our owners are. How disgusting it is that City are buying their way to success – why you’d almost think we invented the notion of purchasing players that enhance the way your team plays in order to put you in the best possible position to win trophies!

It’s hypocritical, short-sighted and resent in its purest form. Why you’d not want to give out praise and credit where it’s so rightfully due because the team in question have lucrative owners makes no sense at all. The media fawned over United and Barcelona during their best years. Same with Arsenal during the Henry-Bergkamp era.

It’s simple. Every team who wants to be successful needs to spend money to get there. You need to speculate to accumulate. We’ve just spent very wisely: we’ve identified the weak spots in the team, waved goodbye to players that aren’t good enough and brought in the best available players in the sought-after positions to get the job done. Perhaps it’s hard for me to understand why anybody who enjoys and is a fan of football as a sport wouldn’t be giving a standing ovation to the football being played by City right now.

Examples of this behaviour come in many different forms. A Burnley fan on Twitter giving us fans grief, asking if we miss the ‘emotion’ of football. She’s obviously never experienced an Aguero 93:20 moment in her life – it doesn’t come much more emotional than that! The focus before the Huddersfield game being on the comparison of squad costs – I’m pretty sure they didn’t do that before the United game. Then the amount of Huddersfield fans who took to social media to berate City, throwing out insults typically like ‘oil money’, ‘Arab so and sos’ and the timeless classic ‘you’d be shit without money’.

Of course we won the lottery with the takeover. There’s not a day goes by when the City collective aren’t grateful for that. But it could happen to any team. Opposition fans are just bitter that it didn’t happen to theirs, and that’s something we as fans have to face up to and contend with on a daily basis. We’ll just keep doing what we do, enjoying this stupendous ride we’re on and learning to grow an even thicker skin.

It is bloody great though, isn’t it?! #pinchyourself


A lot of City fans had an understandably disgusted reaction when those quotes emerged recently from Paul Pogba about us. In an interview with the BBC’S Football Focus, Pogba said that he hoped that City’s season would be disrupted with injuries to important players, as to help United’s cause.

I hope - and it's bad to say things like this - but I hope they will get some very important players injured like what happened with us.

People don't see this, don't speak about this, but every time we have important players that get injured when there is important games.
So if that starts happening with them as well maybe we'll get a little difference. A little touch that makes them weaker.’
There’s so much wrong with even thinking this, let alone coming about to the press and being officially quoted with it. It beggars belief. A professional footballer wishing injuries upon his fiercest rivals in order to gain an advantage – surely if you’re a professional, you’d want your opponents to be full strength, so you’d have no excuses?! But no, not Pogba. He’d be quite happy if City incurred injuries if it meant disruption to our title charge.
A note to the not-so-wise Pogba, but that’s already happened to City this season. Mendy has been ruled out for the majority with a ruptured ACL. Kompany has had spells out. Aguero was involved in a car crash and was out. Stones is currently out for six weeks after pulling his hamstring. The injuries have happened – are happening. Stones has been a crucial player for us this season. But we adapt; the show must go on. We don’t sit around moaning about it, we squad rotate. The Frenchman should do his homework or better yet – show a little bit more respect.
But karma worked a treat for Pogba after he was sent off for what can only be described as a hideous tackle on Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin. The red card means that Pogba sits out the Derby – couldn’t happen to a nicer man. Maybe next time he’ll think before he speaks – I won’t hold my breath.

I don’t know about you, but I am getting a little bit fed up of other City fans telling others how to support the club. I see and hear it all the time and it is such a huge bugbear of mine. I even saw it in this fanzine last month – the cheek! Back in the day when I was young and naïve, I would’ve been banging that drum of ‘how dare you leave the ground early’ and ‘you surely can’t miss a game, what are you playing at? Call yourself a blue?!’

Let’s get one thing straight: if people pay their money, they have the right to do whatever they want. If they want to go at 82 minutes past, that is entirely their prerogative and who are we to judge. Likewise, if they can’t make a game, they shouldn’t be chastised and cast off as a part timer. It’s absolutely ludicrous, tedious and childish.

Yes City are the best thing since sliced bread; they are the love of our lives and we remain devoted to them, planning our lives round the fixture list every season whether we have owners who own a country they’re that rich or whether we play a goalkeeper upfront because we don’t have strikers good enough (it was done for the height, but you get my drift).

But people have commitments outside of football that often dictate how they follow the club. Finances are a huge thing for most people. Work commitments too. Family life: I have had a season ticket for years, but had to give it up when I became pregnant with Vincent, because at the time I was a single Mum. Now I’m with my partner and we have baby number two, we share a season ticket and take it in turns between games. It often works out very well and fair – that’s just how we have to do it for now, because we have two small children. On the odd occasion when we have a sitter, we can go together. Night games are near-on impossible. But those are my circumstances and if you think I’m any less of a fan than Joe from Stockport, who is 18 with a disposable income and no commitments that allows him to go to every game home and away, you’re completely in the wrong.

Circumstances determine how many games we can attend. Similarly, they dictate when people have to leave games. Some people leave early because they have to rely on public transport: buses and trains commonly. I’ve seen people moaning recently at the amount of people who leave before full time – shut up, focus on your own support for the team and have the decency to respect the fact that every fan is an individual with their own reason behind their actions. Who are you to judge, seriously? I don’t leave early, but I can understand people who do because getting away from the ground through the traffic is an absolute nightmare at full time. Fair play if you want to leave to skip that and get away sharpish – you may risk missing a last-gasp curler from Raheem, but that’s the risk you take. More often than not because they have to.

I have no idea why people choose to be obsessed by other people’s behaviour. Likewise, I’ve no idea why people obsess over attendances and empty seats. But if it’s not affecting your life directly, then leave it. If you choose to stay and clap every player off until the team disappear down the tunnel, that’s up to you. If you’re lucky enough to afford every game home and away, fantastic, but don’t look down your nose at other fans that can’t.

It doesn’t make people any less of a blue – we’re all in this together, remember?


I do love this time of year though and I’m super excited for Christmas with my boys. Vincent is three now, so he’s much more aware of Father Christmas and the naughty/nice list. He’s especially aware of presents – funny that, isn’t it? Noel is one on 13th December, so he’s still a bit small and will be more interested in playing with the wrapping paper than the presents he’ll receive! But I’m making it adorably festive for them both and we plan on spending the day itself with my partner’s family in Bury.

Christmas is a hugely important time of the season, so the fixtures of curse dictate our plans for the festive period, but we plan on getting copiously merry and *hopefully* we can all enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. Generally, on paper, the fixtures have been kind to us, but if we’re all still expecting that banana skin, you just never know.

Let’s keep our glasses of alcohol half full for now – and let’s just enjoy it! For this is the best season of football we’ve watched in a while and Pep’s present of choice to all of us would be to bring the New Year in with City in pole position for the Premier League trophy come May.

At the time of writing this – pre-Derby Day – it’s looking really good.

Keep that glass half full – and raise it to an amazing season so far.

Merry Christmas, Blues!

Emily Brobyn


Monday, 4 December 2017


For once, I’m not really sure where to begin. As a writer, you become used to using superlatives and adjectives to add to your story, as a fan I can’t quite believe I’m using them to describe my football team.

For last month, I took great pleasure in writing about City’s unbeaten run. How I couldn’t believe that we’d made it to the end of September with our impeccable record intact. I now can’t believe it’s been another full month and the run has continued. October has been and gone and City are not only still unbeaten, but have already qualified for the next round of the Champions League.

No, you’re not dreaming. This is how the beautiful game is supposed to be played. This is Manchester City, circa 2017. This is City, under Pep Guardiola.


I think the penny finally dropped after we beat Napoli 4-2. To go there in the middle of a gruelling run of games, in an intimidating atmosphere against a strong side and dominate the best part of the match, sent out the strongest of messages. If you hadn’t been taking us seriously so far, it’s time you did.

For the best part, pundits and journalists have been starting to give us the praise that’s so rightly due. So they should: City are playing the kind of football most teams can only dream of. Pep Guardiola’s brand of football has arrived: it’s his squad and he now has the players capable of delivering the football we’ve seen previously from Pep at Barcelona and Bayern.

In my first article from this season, I said that the time was now for Pep to prove himself. A lot of people knew just how capable he was of delivering his style of football given the right tools for the job – the tools are in place and the master craftsman is at work, much to the bewilderment and delight of City fans.

It’s a privilege to watch and it’s hard to believe that this is our football team. The team spirit is there for all to see: the players want to work for each other, the work ethic is commendable and the football is mesmerising. There’s no weak link – and players who may have had question marks lingering over their heads are now thriving in the form of their lives.

John Stones for example. Many thought the £47.5 million price tag we paid for him was excessive, but the price takes into account potential, and it’s that potential that he’s now fulfilling. That price is now beginning to look like value for money. If he carries on in this form, we could be looking at our captain for this season.

It’s a similar situation with Raheem Sterling. The 22 year old has been slaughtered in the press and amongst opposition fans, who criticised his £49 million price tag and were adamant he’d never fulfil the potential he has shown.

‘All pace, no end product,’ they mocked.

At the time of going to press (before the Arsenal game), Sterling has scored seven goals so far this season. Level with Aguero and one behind Harry Kane, he’s also racked up two assists. It’s about time people recognised that Sterling is a key member of the City squad – he acknowledges rightfully that Pep plays squad rotation and he has to be part of that, but his hard work is paying off – that’s always the best way to prove people wrong and he’s doing it so well.

It’s interesting too that the goals are being more spread out across the team. Take the defence for example. Conceded 10, but scored seven and assisted with eight goals. It’s further proof if needed that Pep’s total football is coming to fruition and proving great dividends across the field. It’s a collective effort, where attack is the best form of defence and Ederson aims for as high a pass completion rate as Silva or Stones. Sane and De Bruyne have both been nothing short of sensational. Picking a Player of the Month is almost impossible, it’s that much of a collective effort.

Quite a lot of opposition fans have told me how lucky I am this past couple of weeks. Things can change in the blink of an eye, and we know as Blues never to count our chickens or take anything for granted. But this time it feels different. It feels like we are watching and witnessing something really special at the moment. This is a new defining golden era at the club.

The players we have are young, exciting and are just as excited to be a part of the history they are making. It’s passion, pace, tenacity, hard work and bloody good football all rolled into one. It’s intelligent: the kind of football you can’t take your eyes off for a second or you’ll miss a superb goal, an inch-perfect pass or a blistering counter attack. It’s a special time and long may it continue.

On a side note, we’ve been linked with Alexis Sanchez and – perhaps more unbelievably – Lionel Messi. But (and I can’t quite believe I’m saying this), where would they fit in? Who would you drop at the moment to make room for them? Messi is Messi, and he comes along, somebody will certainly have to make way, but the strength in depth is that good right now, that every player is just as important.

A big shout too goes to Fabian Delph. As I mentioned last month, he could’ve gone in the Summer, but he didn’t. He stayed and fought for his place: Mendy’s injury meant we needed an adequate replacement and left back and Delph has proved adaptable enough to fill in better than anybody could’ve possibly hoped for. He has put in some stellar performances of late and looked more than comfortable in the Champions League, earning him the nickname, Delphino. The praise is more than due and another middle finger to his haters and doubters.

Don’t you just love it when City keep proving people wrong. Long may it continue.


I think one of my favourite moments from October is when the score from the Huddersfield-United game echoed around the South Stand during the Burnley game.

‘No wayyyyyyy, Huddersfield are winning 2-0? You’ve got to be joking right? As if!’

It was true. We ended up beating Burnley in a comfortable 3-0 win and they got beat by Huddersfield 2-1. Now, I’m usually not that fan who watches everything United does to compare and contrast, but I do like having a moment in the sun when it comes round.

Why? Because my high school days were riddled with the torment of supporting City in the constant shadow of United. I was constantly ribbed, bullied and teased by Peter Reid’s/Brian Horton’s/Alan Ball’s/Asa Hartford’s/Frank Clark’s/Steve Coppell’s/Joe Royle’s failure at City. When I walked into the form room after they beat us 5-0 (that Kanchelskis hat trick), the lads were baying for blood. None of them had gone to a game at Old Trafford of course, but as I walked in with my City coat on, the chant went up. GGMU. It lasted all day, but the ridicule lasted until I left high school in June 1998.

It was depressing. But it’s something that will live with me forever. The image of that banner in the Stretford End and the sheer arrogance that their fans possessed during that time and still on the whole do. Most of them think they have a God given right to win trophies based on their past. Heaven forbid little City become actual contenders in the long run. How dare City play better football than us – go on, admit that it’s happening.

Just imagine paying to watch the football they play. Can we call it football? Mind numbing and monotonous. Unimaginative and uninspiring. We all know that Jose loves to play up to the anti-football card, but it’s become even more apparent when he’s playing it in the same league as Pep’s magnificent football. Boring, boring Jose.

Of course, they are our main threat in the title race this season. Rumours continue to swirl about Conte’s relationship with Roman Abramovich at Chelsea, Wenger and Arsenal are typically destined for 4th spot, Liverpool have disappointed under Klopp but The Harry Kane Team™ do continue to impress under Poch. But it’s Jose and United who look to be our main competition for the trophy: it’s an interesting battle given the huge gulf in class both on and off the pitch.

It may seem petty, it may seem small time. But we really shouldn’t forget about The Banner™. I know I won’t.


It was only a matter of time before Sergio Aguero broke Eric Brook’s goal-scoring record. He reached 178 goals for City in style during that 4-2 thriller against Napoli. It’s the most incredible achievement and we’ll hopefully see plenty more where that came from him in the months and seasons to come.
It’s a huge cliché, but when it comes to goals from Aguero, there’s one that stands up head and shoulders above the rest. That will go down in history forever, the one goal that we still can’t watch back without tearing up. 93:20. The goal that won us the League.

Around me in the East Stand, everybody had pretty much given up hope. It was a mixture of anger and, well, just people crying. Sobbing. It was Typical City™ to be in the driving seat and mess it up at home to a team battling for survival. But I had hope and was screaming like an absolute idiot.

‘Come on City!’ I cried. ‘We can still do this. Come on, let’s have some faith!’

Edin Dzeko’s goal put a bit of fire back into people’s bellies, but the majority still feared the worst. Too little, too late. No chance. This was still going to happen. We were still going to win the League.

Looking back, it was all a bit of a blur. I remember Balotelli receiving the ball in the midfield and passing it to Aguero. I think I had two thoughts at that point. A) he’s blasting it over or wide or B) this is it. The moment. Time stood still. It seemed like an age between him receiving the ball and hitting it goal bound. But the net bulged. That roar. That moment was adrenaline, ecstasy, relief, joy and what the hell had just happened?! What had we just witnessed?

We witnessed history in the best possible way. It’s still so hard to put into words and it will always stir emotions I didn’t know were possible. It’s feelings I doubt I will ever experience again. It’s so hard to explain – of course, the 47,000 who were there that day will be only too familiar with that sentiment. But that goal from Aguero was the goal. Some might say it was his career-defining goal.

That moment is the moment that everybody thinks about when you hear his name (some part of that is obviously down to Martin Tyler), but it’s impossible to put a price on just how important that goal was, how much it meant to everybody at the club and how much financially it was worth. There’s been 177 other goals, but none can ever compare to that.

Some have mentioned the possibility of a statue of a stand being named after the Argentine, and I think it’d be a fantastic gesture and only too deserved. Colin Bell played his part in the successes of the club, and many others have since, but none so much as Aguero. He’s a huge part of City’s history and that should be recognised.

The Sergio Aguero Stand, has a good ring to it, doesn’t it?


For the first time ever, I’m beginning to see a future for City without Vincent Kompany.

It pains me so much to say it because I’m the biggest Komps fan – I even named my first born after him – but with Stones and Otamendi playing so well at the back, it’s the first time I’ve sat back and realised we don’t actually have to rely on Kompany anymore. The injuries have taken their toll and he doesn’t seem to be as active as he once was on social media about City. A lot of fans have been disappointed about his club vs. country stance and there have been hints that Pep hasn’t been too happy about it either.

I would love for him to get back to full fitness and fight for his place in the starting line-up, healthy competition is good. He’s even on the back of my home shirt this season. I’ve never had a bad word to say about the Belgian and this is no way criticism, we all know how unlucky he’s been throughout the past few years.
No matter what happens, he will always be such a monumental part of the story. He deserves our respect – I just hope if he does make a decision, he decides to stay at the club in some capacity. Like Zabs, it’d be wrong seeing him go elsewhere.


When I first started watching City, Brian Horton was our manager. Tony Coton was in goal, Peter Beagrie was on the wing and Uwe Rosler was upfront. Horton played open, attacking football, with varying degrees of success. But he gave it a shot and the results produced some thrillers – namely the 5-2 win over Spurs at Maine Road. He was attack-heavy but the football was lively, but success was stunted by injuries to key players.

I’ve always had great respect for Horton. He had a good football philosophy. I interviewed him at his house and he spoke so highly of City. He loved the club, still does. He tried to play football and sign creative players with severely limited resources, when a bitter power struggle was going on between Peter Swales and Francis Lee. He played with width, with an aggressive and powerful striker upfront, and creativity in midfield. He’s respected by the Blues who know their football – and who agree his exit was absolutely premature.

So what does that have to do with City circa 2017? I’m not comparing Horton to Pep, that would be silly. But maybe, just maybe, way back then, we had a taste of how things could be when we play football right. With the right resources, the right tactics, the right players, we can play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. Open, attacking and inventive football. The beautiful game.
Roy Keane recently said in an interview that he fully expects City to mess it up because ‘it’s in our DNA’.

Can we really go the whole season unbeaten?

Do you need me to answer that?

(I hate agreeing with Keane. I’m off to wash the disgust off me!).

Emily Brobyn


Monday, 30 October 2017


It’s hard to believe that this time last month I was sitting down in front of my laptop preparing to write about the indifferent start to the season that City had made. I used the terms/clichés, ‘new signings bedding in’ and ‘no excuses for Pep this season’.

People were questioning our defence. People wondered if, despite our Summer spending spree, Pep’s squad was big enough. People even wondered whether Sergio would break Eric Brook’s top goal scorer record this season.

There were plenty of questions, but it was too early for many answers.

Then came September.


I love October. The crisp Autumn air signalling the end of Summer. Hallowe’en fun and frolics with my children, with pumpkin picking and trick or treating aplenty. But I especially love October this year because City entered it on the back of an entirely unbeaten month. September was a 100% win record for Pep: 7/7, sitting top of the class on goal difference at the time of going to press. The first time we’ve won our opening two Champions League games. What a time to be alive.

I felt reasonably confident going into the Liverpool game, but I don’t think anybody could’ve predicted what followed. The Scousers will moan that the Mane high boot/decapitation attempt on Ederson (in which intent is irrelevant) changed the game and it did to the extent that it eliminated the threat from their star player, but the capitulation that followed from Klopp’s side was nothing short of astounding. No red card should see your side fold the way they did: what more, Klopp had no response to it. He didn’t react or change his side to cope effectively – a manager held in such as high regard as Klopp shouldn’t be as embarrassed as he rightly was with such a score-line.

But the 5-0 result was nothing more that City deserved. Sane’s incredible last minute effort capped off a stunning team performance that set the tone for what was to follow in a truly spellbinding month for the Blues. A 4-0 win at Feyenoord and a 6-0 win at previously unbeaten Watford. A 2-1 victory at West Brom in the Carabao Cup was followed by a 5-0 demolition of Crystal Palace at the Etihad.  A 2-0 triumph over Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League with the cherry on the cake, a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge, home of the current Premier League Champions, Chelsea.

25 goals scored and just one conceded. That should put to bed any doubts anybody had over our defence. Let’s really take the time to give credit where it’s due and heap praise – on everybody. From the back to the front, it’s been a colossally enthralling month of truly bedazzling football. It’s been the kind of football we expect from a Pep side, but don’t ever dream for a second we’d be lucky to watch week in, week out. It’s what we thought could happen, with a squad so gifted. A squad littered with pace, youth, energy, experience and efficiency. The perfect blend with the potential for a seismic impact – September was the month City arrived. For when questions have been asked, players have delivered in abundance.

Ederson – stretchered off so dramatically in the Liverpool game – has been a dream in goal. We don’t have to worry when the balls goes near him, we trust in him, we know he can handle the situation. He brings an almost eerie calm behind the defence: his decision making has been almost flawless, his bravery is to be commended and his distribution – well, it ranks up there with the best outfield players. He’s the goalkeeper you need to reassure you: sensible, respected and mature. He gets on with his job with gusto and is proving to be quite the acquisition.

Kyle Walker and Danilo – equally as impressive, adaptable, pacy and solid as each other. ,Mendy was looking an unyielding character in that left back position before his injury, with his first time crosses a particular favourite of time. John Stones – what a month it’s been for him. He started September with many still doubting his capabilities, but I think all doubt can be laid to rest now. He’s developed into a figurehead at the back, forging a formidable and unforgiving partnership with Otamendi. They’ve been good for each other – and due to Kompany’s injury absence, have grown both together and as individually solid defenders. Otamendi still worries me with those sliding, lunging tackles, but thankfully he’s come out of most of them well recently so I can forgive him! Stones? Well, he is potentially looking a little reminiscent of a certain former Chelsea captain. Potential City captain in the not-so-distant future? Maybe.

Fernandinho is always an unsung hero, bridging the gap between defence and midfield. When a player goes about his business almost unrecognised and without much fuss, it usually means that he’s doing a pretty good job, and that is exactly what Fernandinho is about. He’s just doing a really, really good job. Head down, focused and consistent. Not as combustible as Nigel De Jong, not as studious as Gareth Barry, but just as good as his job. Every team needs a Fernandinho – we’re just lucky he chose us.

The midfielders. The creative types: the ones who really weave their wands and work their magic to produce such trickery and flair. Raheem Sterling: the one with the hefty price tag at such a young age. An England youngster with the weight of expectation on his shoulders, he’s flying at the heart of a confident team with encouragement all around him. Sterling is working hard to prove those doubters wrong and knows he has to be part of a winning squad to succeed. Leroy Sane – such remarkable energy and footwork. Scoring magnificent goals and thriving amongst a team so excitable and remarkable. David Silva being David Silva. His namesake Bernardo just as mesmerising. Wonderful to see Gundogan back from injury and looking just as electrifying as before. He holds a soft spot for me because he has so many shades of Kinkladze. The dinks and vision take me back to the brightest light in the 1990s during the darkest time – we’ve only just begun to see what he’s capable of.

Kevin De Bruyne – I’m running out of adjectives. It’s been that kind of a month. I don’t think I’ve ever said that. Incredulous to believe a Chelsea reject could go back to Stamford Bridge and absolutely run the show – just for the visiting team this time. He’s the kind of player you should rightly weep about when you let him slip through your fingers – the conductor at the heart of a City orchestra that has been playing the most enchanting of symphonies. His vision is exemplary; he’s knitted together the attacks with stupendous wonder. Out of everybody, at a push he’d been my pick for player of the month.

Aguero and Jesus? Of course they can play together. They compliment each other and the team spirit has even made Sergio pretty generous when it comes to assisting instead of shooting – worth noting, particularly with that record in his reach.

Have to also give a mention to Fabian Delph. He was mocked in the Summer for not wanting a move to Stoke and for wanting to stay and fight for his place at City.

‘Fight for his place? More like to earn a tidy wage by being happy to be a benchwarmer,’ they mocked.

Well, he stayed and he has worked hard to fight for a place in the team. Never mind *that* goal against Crystal Palace, but his performance against Chelsea even left Mendy nervous in his hospital bed. Delph should be commended for having the right attitude and for being willing to adapt to suit the team’s needs. A consummate professional whose endeavours have been rewarded – I love it when players prove people wrong.

I’ve mentioned team spirit there a couple of times, but the last time I saw such a team spirit was probably the early days of the Mancini era. The players are working for each other and it just works. It’s an utter delight to watch and it’s hard to keep our feet on the ground – but we have to, because this is City and we never know what’s around the corner. But the energy, the movement, the vision, the attitude and persistence is what sets this team apart. They’ve got each other’s backs. They know they’re all in it together. They are willing to fight for each other and together. They support each other on social media and include the fans, which also does make a big difference. We’re allowed an insight into their interaction with each other and we see bonding and giving a shit. That Trafford lot may be over our shoulders, but they’ve yet to play any of the big sides and we’ve overcome our biggest test yet.

Chelsea was the complete performance – completed with the most fitting of goal scorers.

Onto October: Stoke, Napoli, Burnley and Wolves at the Etihad with West Brom away.

Note to self: it’s normally when you count your chickens, that they don’t hatch.


It’s safe to stay there was a lot of reaction to the news that came out of the Netherlands following Sergio Aguero’s car crash. Waking up to read the news breaking on Twitter about our star striker, who was poised to break the record set by Eric Brooks going into the Chelsea game in a rich vein of form, was not an ideal start to my Friday.

I knew that Aguero was in Amsterdam at a concert because I follow him on Instagram, so I’d seen the ‘stories’ that he’d been posting on there. But as soon as I found the photos of the smashed-up taxi he’d been in, I realised surely he’d done more damage than initially suggested. It looked really bad. So imagine my surprise that City fans and ‘pundits’ alike was reacting in anger to the situation.

‘What the hell was he thinking?’ ‘Why the hell is he in Amsterdam when we’re 48 hours away from the biggest game of the season so far?’ ‘What is he playing at?’

Are these people actual rational human beings?! Do they realise that he could’ve been involved in a similar incident coming out of the CFA in Manchester? Or driving out of his home back in the UK? Do these imbeciles actually stop for a minute to consider that players are allowed to do whatever they want, within reason, in their spare time? I work part time and my boss would never for a second tell me what to do in my spare time. He wouldn’t be remotely interested. Granted I’m not playing for a high profile Premier League side and have sponsorship deals coming out of my ears, but let’s cut the guy some slack please.

The initial reaction of a sane person would be one of concern and shock. Thankfully, that seemed to be the response from the majority of the fans I came across. The minority let the side down. Then there was Richard Keys, who incredulously had the guile to compare it to the Rooney ‘way over the drink drive limit and over for a booty call behind his pregnant wife’s back’ incident. It beggars belief. We are very lucky that Sergio escaped with nothing more than a broken rib. Just be grateful for that. Be grateful that his time out is minimal – and that he’s still with us to tell the tale.


More injury woes came in the form of our brand spanking new left back, Ben Mendy. With what initially looked nothing more than a slight knock, everybody’s worst fears were confirmed when a scan revealed a ruptured ACL. He’s since had an operation, but the recovery time means we may not see him on the pitch again this season, but if we do, he should be back in time for the main title push in April.

It was a big blow to a player who’s proved to be a firm fans’ favourite so far since joining from Monaco. His antics on social media have left everybody entertained and waiting for what’s next to come. He’s the founder of the #sharkteam hashtag, the name he’s bestowed on this new-look Pep side, with fans taking to website in droves to buy inflatable sharks to take to the Stoke game. There are even rumours that the club may have jumped onto the bandwagon and ordered a mass shipment of inflatable Jaws-lookalikes to capitalise on Mendy Mania.

Whether he’s filming Bernardo Silva in the canteen and mocking him, or bringing down Duncan Castles a peg or two on Twitter, one thing you can rely on Mendy for is dedication and optimism. He filmed himself going down to theatre for his op with a big smile on his face and he posted several videos from his hospital bed of him and his friends watching the Chelsea game and cheering us on. ‘Come on City’ was the cry, with his Gucci hat with the painted-on worker bee to represent Manchester. He sent his teammates a video before that game with words of encouragement and it was touching to see Delph post-match dedicating the win to the ‘big man in the hospital bed.’

Mendy is the man of the moment – and long may that continue.



It may seem a bit harsh to take a pop at the club after such a fantastic month, but City being City, they do make it very easy for us. I’m not sure whose bright idea it was to think of conducting a behind-the-scenes tour at the City Academy with Chappy as the host and actually contemplate for a second that they could get away with charging £200 a pop for it. Is that how much Chappy is charging these days? I know plenty that’d do it for free – and be more popular.

Similarly, who in their right mind thought they could introduce a ‘Women At The Game’ event for the Champions League tie against Shakhtar Donetsk?

‘Meet together. Watch together. Cheer together,’ An inspiring tagline if ever I heard one.

35% of the average football crowd in 2017 is female. That number has been steadily rising for a good couple of decades. You can’t patronise a core element of your support with what can only be described as belittling bullshit. We have been meeting together, watching together and cheering together for a number of years if you haven’t already noticed. We don’t need an entirely ill-advised manufactured event to socialise at football.

The days of us being confined to the kitchen are long gone – we are actually allowed out to attend the match in this wonderfully modern era of equal rights. I mean, Emmeline Pankhurst didn’t waste her life campaigning for women’s rights only for City to come along and entirely alienate the female City population in one fell swoop. Is there any kind of quality control that goes on at City in the marketing and events department before these ideas are promoted? It’s just baffling and utter tripe.

A big issue at the moment that the club are also struggling with is the queues that are gathering at the turnstiles before the game. I touched on this last month and on why the security measures are necessary in light of the heightened tensions and constant barbaric terrorist acts that seem to be happening almost daily now across the globe. The huge queues that form pre-match are a serious concern now and it’s time for the club to address them.

One way this has been attempted to be dealt with is by offering fans ‘chip for a quid’ if they enter the ground early. Another promotion was selling soft drinks for £1. Hang on a minute, somebody hold my pint so I can rush down and benefit from such an alluring offer! No City no. Half price beer maybe, but nobody is going to look upon those deals as an incentive to leave the pub early.

Also, the club spend time promoting the events going on in City Square before the match, so which one is it to be City? Do you want us in the ground early eating our chips for a quid supping our coke, or do you want us outside watching two fans interviewing former players? It’s contradictory – you need to be clear on where you want the fans to be and when. If you want us all inside the ground by a certain time, then take the entertainment inside.

It’s not going to work. People stay in the boozer sometimes right until the last minute. It definitely won’t work for night matches: people picking their kids up, getting home from work, rushing around. There is no way that everybody can be at the ground 45-60 minutes before a night game because people have lives. They have other commitments outside of football – football fits in around all that, so you have to make it slightly easier for everybody in that regard. Why not employ more security staff to do the checks outside the ground? Or let people use more entrances instead of restricting people to just one turnstile? There are ways around it, because it’s never been as bad as it is right now to enter the ground before the game. Not only are fans queuing for ages, it poses a huge security risk in itself, with people almost sitting ducks.

It’d only take a bit of common sense to rectify the situation – but then again that’d be too easy, wouldn’t it? #typicalcity

So what a month September was. My eldest, Vincent, turned three so we took him to the Palace game as a treat/test to see how he’d get on. Decked out in his new shirt, he was so excited on the journey there and I’ve never felt more proud walking up to the Etihad than I did with my boy holding my hand tightly, shouting ‘Come on City!’

He loved all the excitement outside and the atmosphere when the team bus turned up. We thankfully arrived early enough not to queue, so he had a hot dog inside and skipped to his seat in the South Stand. When the teams came out onto the pitch, he looked around in bewildered awe. He’s been to a couple of games before, but he’s at an age now where he’s older and more aware, he could really take it in and join in with the songs.

We managed to get 10 minutes out of him before he was asking for his Kindle to watch YouTube and I totally expected that. But he joined in with all five goal celebrations and exited the Etihad pumping his fist shouting Leroy. That’s more than enough for me. It was a very proud day for this City Mama.

You’d think City being impeccable off the pitch would mean the media would be fawning over us, of course that’s not to be. I had an interesting engagement on Twitter with Ian Ladyman, Daily Mail’s Football Editor, over an entirely unnecessarily negative Aguero tweet for which he demonstrated no morals, remorse or integrity. Trying to constantly find the negatives in positive situations is lazy and unsubstantiated journalism, with non-existent sources cited to accompanied make-believe stories that excite our opponents as much as that offend City fans.

The constant City bashing from most media outlets is proving to be sadly predictable: price tags relentlessly brought up as valid arguments for justification for current form and attempting to fantasize rifts with Pep and players is lazy click bait at its best. It’s monotonous, boringly churlish at a time where credit is rightly due regardless of any other factors.

But we’ll just let actions speak louder than any words – and take great pride in that.

As always.

Emily Brobyn


Monday, 25 September 2017

Pep, referees, security and the new signings...

The last time I wrote for King of the Kippax was October 2015. My son, Vincent, was a year old and I had no idea that the next time I contributed, I’d be a mother to two boys. My second, Noel Sergio, is now eight months old, born into a world where Manchester City are regularly fighting for the Premier League trophy, have Pep Guardiola as our manager and some of the finest players football has to offer on the pitch at the Etihad.

You can say that my children will never know they’re born when it comes to City. They’ll never know those dark days of Division Two, the managerial merry-go-round of the mid-90s and the superstar signings of Martin ‘Buster’ Phillips and Lee Bradbury. But I think they’ll at least know Typical City™. Somehow I don’t think that’s going anywhere anytime soon. We’ll always have that element somewhere – I mean, whose bright idea was it to have the fireworks before the Everton game? I couldn’t see the first 15 minutes of the game! I watched it back on Sky when I got home and it looked like a bad foggy night. Typical City™.


I always find that some of the most interesting content for articles comes from overheard conversations between fans. Case in point: coming back on the train from Wembley in April after getting beat in the FA Cup Semi Final by Arsenal. We’d ended up in First Class because the train was that full (Mr Branson had kindly declassified it for us mere mortals), so we were inevitably surrounded by Blues lamenting the performance. Expectations had been sky high when Pep joined – I think some fans expected him to waltz through the door and sweep the opposition aside, without really giving much thought to the squad that he had inherited. So the conversation revolved entirely around Pep and whether he was the man for the job. Yes, for the entire two hour journey home.

At the time, it was almost like Pep was immune to criticism because of his reputation. His excuse for the season had been that it wasn’t his squad – he’d inherited the vast majority from Mancini – and if he’d inherited it from Mancini, that doesn’t speak volumes for Pellegrini. Had any of Pellegrini’s signings actually been made by him or were they Txiki and Ferran specials? There was a conclusion that City had just been treading water under Pellegrini – he’d just been manning the fort until Pep was available.

So for the inherited squad reason alone, Pep couldn’t be judged for his debut season. The dead wood needed to be shifted – and wasn’t it just. He needed to bring in the players he wanted – and didn’t he just. Every player on the ‘hit list’ has left and been replaced with upgrades. Full backs Ben Mendy, Danilo and Kyle Walker, winger Bernardo Silva and goalkeeper Ederson have arrived and, with the deadline looming as we go to print, there could potentially be Alexis Sanchez on the way to us too. Here’s hoping.

With the dead wood now shifted and players brought in that Pep has requested, this season there can be no excuses. There’s nowhere to hide – it’s either do it this season or go for it in the final season of his contract. He’s already a third of his way into the contract, he’s made the right signings so the time is now. With Mourinho and United making strong improvements during the Summer too, it looks like it will be an all-out two-way assault for the title. Great, just when you hate the rivalry enough and it really heats up.

Pep has already admitted that he won’t change the way he plays to adjust to the rigours of the Premier League. Sometimes it has felt like there isn’t much of a Plan B: certain teams who park the bus are difficult to break down, and if they counter and grab the goal, they sit on the lead and our style makes it hard to play through that. It’s fine when a team plays open, attacking football that offers us space to play and create, but against the Stokes and the West Broms it often results in frustration.

Take this season so far for example. Everton played superbly at the Etihad; they put in an excellent defensive display and, once they’d grabbed the goal, were extremely difficult to break down. The equaliser did eventually come, but it took patience. Same as the opener at Brighton away – patience until Aguero broke the dead-lock with 70 minutes gone. Bournemouth: came at us, took the lead with that exquisite goal by Daniels but proved to be a little more lacklustre and allowed us back into the game. The 97th minute winner from Sterling – although incredible – was our get out of jail card used up. We’ve seen a lot of possession, the tippy-tappy so familiar with Pep, the trickery and skills from individual talents, but not a convincing team display so far. Of course, we’re only three games in with new players bedding in, but the past couple of seasons we’ve got off to a flyer and lost our way a bit. Where to go from here?

I like Pep – I’m a big fan. I’m not one of the Twitter minority already calling for his head. But I’m also not blinded by his past successes. He’s not immune from criticism and shouldn’t be. I know what his teams are capable of achieving – but I also know that sometimes successes can’t be replicated, especially in a league as difficult as the Premier League, where there’s no such thing as an easy fixture. Every team views us as City – a scalp, a Cup final, it’s an achievement if they beat us. That’s not being arrogant – that’s just the stature of the club now. But we should be capable of overcoming and dealing with that.

There are great expectations that come with City now: the money spent should equate to trophies come May, so the heat is on. That pressure and expectation means Pep has to deliver or risk failure. I won’t judge him – until May. That’s the way football is now; people expect instant results, particularly with his track record. He’s now got the squad capable of it, there’s nowhere to hide for him this season.


Is it me or is the standard of refereeing in the Premier League getting worse with every season? I didn’t think I’d see a performance as incompetent as Robert Madley this season, but of course, his highness Mike Dean topped it at the Vitality Stadium. Madley sent off Kyle Walker for a second bookable offence – a raised elbow – that didn’t even make contact with the player. That was the tip of the iceberg on a night of inconsistencies that left us battling for a point with 10 men against a tricky Everton side.

But Mike Dean, honestly, I’m struggling to find the words. I was waiting for the obligatory Kompany red card to come, but the Sterling red card was nothing short of an utter disgrace. Where is the common sense in that instance? Where the away team have just scored a winner, adrenaline goes through the roof with both players and fans, and you forget where you are for a few seconds. Euphoria rushes through your body and the celebrations where a reflection of that. The fans encroached on the pitch – the players didn’t jump into the away end so technically there was no rule-breaking going on.

If he’s following the letter of the law, he has to book every player that joined in because it wasn’t just the goalscorer that took part. Similarly, if he’s following the letter of the law, he has to send Ake off for being the last man when he tackled Jesus. He has to book Daniels for his goal-scoring celebration when his kung-fu kicked the corner flag and booted the advertising board. He at least has to book Cook for his potentially career-ending lunge on Jesus. But he didn’t. He opted against common sense in the closing stages of the game and decided to rewrite the headlines. He wanted to be the star of the show, like he always does. Interestingly, a host of pundits and footballers spoke out on Twitter post-match slating Dean’s decision. Bobby Zamora, now retired, said that Dean was ‘one of the worst #arrogant’.

A last-minute winner is one of the best moments as a player and a supporter to enjoy – take 93:20 for a cracking example – but the enjoyment and fun is being zapped out of the game by the officials. This is football – our life revolves around it. Some fans had stayed overnight for the game, some had set off at 4:30am to be there for the rearranged kick-off, and the thanks they got for celebrating the winner was being grabbed by over-zealous stewards and being put into a head lock. Fair play and kudos to Aguero for trying to help the young lad out: not so much over-paid, out of touch, prima donna now eh? The thanks he got? The steward accused Aguero of throwing a punch at him. The mind boggles.

When will the inconsistencies stop? How are referees being allowed to get away with such incompetence week in, week out? I know if I put in that performance at work, I’d be looking for another job. It’s unacceptable, particularly when big decisions mean players go missing while they’re serving bans, potentially costing us crucial points. The FA needs to wake up – I’m not entirely convinced that VAR will solve anything, but something must be done because it’s becoming a depressing reality every week.


Like everybody, I couldn’t believe the despicable events that happened at the Manchester Arena on May 22nd. We were on holiday in Cornwall at the time: my boyfriend Adam had woken to make a bottle for Noel at midnight and I’d checked my phone for the time. There was a news alert on my phone – suspected explosion at Manchester Arena. We both went on Twitter straight away – and were aghast at what we found. Terrorism on our doorstep again. 22 people killed; the youngest of them just eight years old. The target? Young kids enjoying a pop concert. An attack yet again on our freedom but even more shocking, at our children. Our mothers. Our fathers.

A lot of fans have had their say on the increased security outside the Etihad Stadium. After the Paris attacks, fans have to park away from the Citystore when visiting the shop and can no longer park outside. There are also increased bag searches and ‘wanding’ when entering pre-match. I’ve been in a queue many times and heard people moaning about having to queue for this – it beggars belief. Once a guy was moaning because he wouldn’t get his pre-match pint – what cost your life, sir? I understand Dave had an encounter recently where a steward questioned him when trying to bring in fanzines (something he’s been doing for many years, so very bizarre), but generally I obviously support the vigilance and think everybody else should too.

You can’t put a price on safety at the moment – I believe football stadiums are a prime target for terrorism and have been for a few years (see what happened with the Paris attacks with a suicide attacker detonating his vest outside the Stade de France because he’d been denied entry). Any event or place with Westerners enjoying a social activity in groups of people is deemed a target – especially with so many people in a stadium together. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and the club have to be seen to co-operating with security measures whether the fans agree or not.

But I also believe that the queues themselves could be deemed a ‘soft spot’. That amount of people grouped together, with no security on the Etihad Campus before you reach the turnstiles, could potentially be a disaster waiting to happen. All it takes is one or two terrorists – it doesn’t bear thinking about. I’ve become a bit paranoid about attacks and terrorism and it’s brought on a bit of social insecurity I didn’t previously know I had. Now I feel nervous in crowded areas. I’m always
looking for the exits; I’m forever suspicious of people and feel on edge and panicky. Safety in numbers has never been less true. But it’s what they want – to cause psychological distress and anxiety and we can’t live our lives in fear. Keep coming, keep enjoying the games and try to carry on as normal. Just understand the guys on the turnstiles have a job to do and they’re trying to protect us, just respect it.


City sure know how to get people talking. Case in point – The Tunnel Club. The new state-of-the-art corporate hospitality facility at the Etihad, where fans get to pay £15k+ plus for the privilege of watching the teams walk out through a glass tunnel before the game. Come on down, cried City. For here is the place where you get a tactical briefing by Brian Kidd, ignored by Leroy Sane as he enters the stadium wearing his headphones and sit in plush leather seats with Astroturf beneath your feet instead of concrete. The stuff of dreams – if you can afford it.

But at what cost to the core support? Plenty of fans have been forced to relocate out of their usual seats to make way for the new corporate seat section. Fans who have sat there for years have now been moved onto the third tier. While The Tunnel Club was being built, a big wall emerged in the middle of the Colin Bell Stand, which meant fans separated by a couple of blocks could only socialise with each other at half time by cutting through the seats in the stand. Since The Tunnel Club opened for the first game, there is now no access as a thoroughfare through the Colin Bell Stand.

This now means that fans who have had long-standing half time meet-ups can no longer do it. I can no longer walk round to my brother in the East Stand to meet him at half time, because a steward stops me and tells me The Tunnel Club’s security is priority. So the core support, fans for years, are having traditions they’ve kept for years quashed at the expense of City trying to attract new business clients. It’s nothing short of a disgrace. It’s disgusting. I don’t care if I can meet him before the game, I want to be able to continue with traditions. I liked to meet other friends a couple of blocks down at half time, friends from Twitter that I only get to see at half time, but oh no, The Tunnel Club has put paid to that. Thanks, City.

Never mind the fans who stayed loyal during Division Two; they’re disposable, they’re statistics on a spreadsheet. Hospitality is no new concept, but now we need to pander for the business customers, who use football as a way of wining, dining and impressing clients. It doesn’t necessarily matter which team they use to do it – so why not create a unique experience for them to host their guests in? It may inconvenience our long-standing support, but who cares if it makes us a shit load more money. Sorry, it’s just not for me. It’s a human aquarium, a voyeuristic goldfish-bowl but the club will say a way of balancing the financial fair play books. It’s also been noted that any fans in The Tunnel Club qualify automatically for away tickets – again, taking away from us mere mortals, prioritising those with the financial means over those with long-standing loyalty. Somebody at City needs to have a think about how to keep the core support happy as well as making a few quid. Quite a few people have been very pissed off by it.


It’s hard to judge the season so far. Having only played three games, it’s unfair to be too harsh based on the fact we do have the age-old excuse of new signings bedding in. Mendy looks a quality signing – he’s an absolute unit and his first time balls into the box against Bournemouth were a sight to behold. Bernardo Silva looks magical – when he combines with David Silva they remind me of an elite version of Berkovic and Benarbia. They’re going to cause some defenders some grief this season. The ball seems to stick to his feet like glue and he’s fitted in well. Kyle Walker has of course been the subject of a huge injustice with his red card, but looked comfortable, pacy and solid during the Brighton game. I need to see a bit more of Danilo before I judge him and Ederson’s distribution is already an unequivocal improvement on Harts.

But what I have learned is that we’re all going to have to try and be a little bit more patient. Is that even possible? It’s not that I have become a spoilt fan, I know where we’ve come from, but I do think we are right to be expecting a little bit more. We have the players, the talent on the pitch is astronomical, and I do feel like when it clicks it’ll be something really special. It’s just how we approach and deal with the trickier games- those are the games where the real tests will come. The wet and windy nights away at the Britannia. The promoted sides that are playing their cup final. When 10 men sit behind the ball and we’re trying to walk it into the net. We’re in an era that we didn’t ever think could or would possibly exist at our football club, we’ve had twists and turns we didn’t think possible, we’ve just got to keep holding on and enjoying the ride.

I’ll show my sons the videos of some of our performances at Maine Road one day. They won’t believe it. They’ll think we’re making it all up. While all my friends at school chose to support United in their glory era, I picked City.

At least they can be thankful of that.

Emily Brobyn