Published on September 23rd, 2015 | by Ian Cheeseman0
“Rising Stars” | Ian Cheeseman
The League Cup, as I prefer to call it, is such an undervalued competition; but not by me!
Back in 1976 I wore my Mum’s hand knitted scarf, adorned by individual player badges as I travelled to Wembley with my Dad. I watched, with watery eyes, as one of my many heroes, Peter Barnes put City ahead and then in wonderment as Dennis Tueart’s inspirational overhead kick ultimately secured a 2-1 win against Newcastle.
I sang at the top of my voice, “We won the Cup, we won the Cup, ee-aye-addio we won the Cup” and could hardly hold myself together. The following day I was in Albert Square watching the team wave on the Town Hall balcony and I couldn’t have been happier.
The semi-final that year, against Middlesbrough (the second leg) was just as inspiring, the atmosphere at Maine Road was the best I can ever remember, real hairs on the back of the neck stuff. It was a 4-0 win.
Earlier that same season my heart had been broken when Colin Bell suffered that (effectively) career ending injury. The Blues won the game against United but the emotions certainly ran high, in fact the highs and lows of being a City fan were certainly summed up that day.
That was just one season in the League Cup. Never let anyone tell you that the “fourth” competition doesn’t matter. I’ve got plenty of other great memories from the City games I’ve seen in the Littlewoods/Milk/Rumbelows/Carling/Capital One/Coca-Cola/Worthington League Cup.
At Sunderland this year I’ll have more golden moments to remember. 4-0 up within 40 minutes, and it could have been ten (as the song goes 😉). Kevin De Bruyne’s man-of-the-match performance really impressed, he’s showing great touch and vision in his performances so far.
Just as exciting for me was the introduction of three youngsters from the bench. Patrick Roberts was signed from Fulham in the summer, he admits that Messi is his hero, and I can see why. I really hope he makes it. Manu Garcia is a player I’ve been watching regularly in the EDS and Youth team, and I rate him very highly, but the introduction of George Evans was the one that almost brought a tear to my eye. He’s a blue through and through, a Manchester born blue who is living the dream.
His appearance against Sunderland may have been brief, just like another youngster to come right through the youth ranks, Chris Chantler, five years ago, who made his one brief substitute appearance at Juventus. Not all the youngsters can make it, but what would any City fan give to have the chance to pull on a City shirt, however briefly.
I had the pleasure of chatting to George after the game and he was understandably glowing with joy. I remember chatting to an equally excited Michael Johnson after his first team debut.
What makes George’s moment all the more special is that his family tree has plenty of City influence. His Dad Ronnie was at City as a physio, his Grandad was also involved with the Blues and George’s boyhood friend George Glendon is the captain of the EDS team, and his father Kevin is also a former City player and a big Blue.
Warms your heart doesn’t it, and don’t go telling George Evans or Chris Chantler before him, that the much maligned League Cup or Europa League don’t matter.
Up the Blues,