What can possibly go wrong?
By Prestwich_Blue, Mon 14 May 2012 13:37
Time and time again in soap-operas like Coronation Street, you just know when things seem to be going conspicuously well that something untoward is going to happen. In any self-respecting horror film there's that "don't open the door!" moment. That moment came on Sunday when, driving to the stadium, I heard someone on the radio say "City have the best home record and QPR the worst away record in the Premier League."
My heart sank. As a fan of that well-known football soap opera that is Manchester City, this indisputably meant that something was going to go horribly wrong. Walking up with some friends we discussed a couple of scenarios. "Three goals" I said "One in the first 20 minutes to settle us down, one early in the second half to give us a cushion and a final one in the dying minutes to get the party started properly." We then discussed the ultimate scenario: us drawing and the rags winning with us then scoring a last minute winner to win the title and break their hearts. The general reaction was "If you could guarantee that then it would be great but we'd really prefer to do it the easy way." I also predicted that it would be an unlikely hero who won us the title so was quite happy when Zab scored late in the first half to cancel out the rags' goal at Sunderland and seemingly win us the title. The first had come later than I predicted but surely there would be more goals in the second half now as QPR had to chase the game?
As we know, there were 2 more goals in the early part of the second half but not from City. Here was the "what could possibly go wrong" moment I'd dreaded from earlier. Samantha who sits a few seats away from me sat down and burst into tears. We tried to console her - there was plenty of time, we were well on top, we'd done it before, etc. But as time ticked away those words were starting to ring a little bit hollow. As the shots went high and wide and the crosses either hit the first man or missed everyone altogether, the sinking feeling grew in the pit of my stomach. "Typical City" may have been in a coma with the family agreeing whether to switch the life-support machine off but the body suddenly twitched and sat up in bed demanding something to eat.
Having stuffed their squandered 8 point lead down the faces of those smug rags telling us we hadn't the bottle for the big occasion, we managed to seemingly prove them right after we'd done the hard bit. I silently cursed all those who wore the "Champions" shirts or proclaimed we would surely stuff QPR. I thought about the next day back at work and the media and social media crucifixion we'd get. I thought about the insufferable sight and sound of the Wilmslow Wino beaming all over his alcohol-soddened red face telling us how he knew we would blow up when it mattered. I thought about those jeering, plastic, glory-hunting fans of theirs rubbing our noses in it. I saw the few people who were walking out and thought about joining them. worst of all I thought about my dad, who died just 11 days earlier and what he would have had to say about it all. I just didn't know how I was going to face it all.
And then, thanks to an incredible couple of minutes and those brilliantly taken goals from Edin Dzeko & Sergio Aguero, I didn't have to. To be honest I really don't remember much after Edin's goal. It was all such a blur. But somehow, incredibly, the ball hit the back of the net again with what was pretty well the last kick of the match. The bloke in front of me bear-hugged me off my feet (my ribs are still sore this morning). Complete strangers kissed me. Oh – and Samantha burst into tears again. Bloody City! Premier League Champions 2012 – why couldn't we just do it the easy way for once?