Published on August 27th, 2014 | by Ian Cheeseman1
City 3-1 Liverpool | Ian Cheeseman
“Entertainment, goals, winning; what more do you want?”
Written by Ian Cheeseman
As well as my tribal allegiances, first and foremost I’m a football fan. There was a time when my mate Charlie and I would go to Anfield, Goodison Park, Elland Road and Bangor City (twice I went there) to watch European football, because the team we watched week in week out didn’t play in European competition.
Whisper it, but I’ve also been to Old Trafford to see Real Madrid, Barcelona (with Maradona) and other top teams, but that was back in the days of City playing Colchester, Bristol Rovers and Wimbledon. Another of my regular pleasures was to sit in front of the TV on a Sunday evening and watch Barcelona turn on the skills. It was a sort of antidote to what I was sometimes seeing. Don’t get me wrong, I would never have lost the passion I have had all my life for watching the Blues, but if you’re a Manchester Giants fan, you sometimes watch the NBA, if you’re a Manchester Phoenix fan, seeing the LA Kings play reminds you how good the game can be, even if it can never replace watching your own team.
I sat next to Shaun Goater at the Etihad Stadium on Monday night (a great guy, a City legend, who helped the Blues back from the dark days in the third tier of English football) thinking, “why would I watch Barcelona or Real Madrid now?” everything I love about football is on show week in week out in East Manchester. There’s no longer that need for the antidote or to swallow a spoon full of sugar to help the medicine go down. The sound of City fans singing and cheering is the perfect backdrop to the flowing creative football Manchester City are playing. If the Champions had beaten Liverpool (their closest rivals last season) by 4-0 it wouldn’t have been an unfair reflection of the game. The passing, movement and skills shown in the build up to Stevan Jovetic’s second goal was as good as anything I’ve seen, though these days those types of interchanges are more the norm than the exception!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying City will win every game, for all I know they might not win any trophies or score as many goals as they did last season. Football is not predictable, but then again, would we enjoy it as much if it was? What I do know, is that every City game I see makes me smile and realise how lucky I am to witness this team, with such diverse skills and personalities in action.
The Champions League is just around the corner and there are big games against Arsenal and Chelsea on the horizon, so there’s lots to look forward to and although it’s nice to see your team win, and gather in the silverware, I see that as the cherry on the cake. Manuel Pellegrini and the other key people at the club have a football philosophy which I’ve dreamed of seeing regularly.
In a couple of weeks Chelsea visit the Etihad Stadium, a team that has played “win however you need to” football – not really my cup of tea, but if winning is all that matters, fine. At this moment in City’s history, I can find no fault with what I watch every week, and I’ll still be saying that if City start dropping points.
I’m just enjoying the ride – and what a ride it is!
If you missed Blue Tuesday this week I’d urge you to download the podcast, by going to bbc.co.uk/radiomanchester.
I was joined in the studio by Peter Barnes and Trevor Sinclair, plus there’s an interview with inspirational City fan Ian Macleod from Hollywood, who tells his story of how being a Blue helped him in his fight with cancer – there’s loads more too – so be sure to check it out!