I AM a City fan and we are the future

By shevtheblue, Tue 10 January 2012 12:03

I AM a City fan and we are the future

My father, as many young men from South Asia have, came to England in the mid to late 70s looking for a better future for his soon-to-be family. He moved between London, Birmingham and even Glasgow before finally settling in Manchester.

When I was born in the early 80s my dad had no time for football, in fact I probably did not watch a game with him until the late 90s when his health deteriated somewhat. I always liked to play football more than watch it so had no allegences eitherway until I joined a local public school in South Manchester, and being the only Pakistani lad in the whole school there were only a select few that would even be friends with me.

Of those select few, I became good friends with a small, odd looking boy (probably why he was also an outcast) called Chris whose dad was a mad Manchester City fan, and the fever had obviously passed down to his son.

Although I knew very little about City, in fact football itself, I took this team as my own to the annoyance of all my extended family. You see, when it came to choosing which football team to support it seemed to be an easy pick and every Asian would almost always go for United or Liverpool due to the success they had at the time, and this meaning it would be easier for you to fit in.

Being a City fan caused me a lot of grief in school. Already being on the fringes of the acceptability me and Chris were constantly jabbed at for supporting "Man Shitty", as the kids liked to call them, and after every derby game - most of which I did not even get to watch due to being the only City fan in the whole community, we would try and hide the next day so as not to bring attention to ourselves.

Thankfully as I moved on to secondary school there was a much bigger focus on culture integration and I found that City had a huge following. As my confidence increased, I began making friends with other kids only because they were City fans and learnt much more from them about the team.

I would now watch the likes of big Niall Quinn, the mighty Uwe Rosler and everyone's favourite Gio Kinkladze on terrestrial television on my own in secret and then discuss the highs and lows the following day with my new blue family. When coverage moved to Sky, I would listen on the radio closing my eyes and pretending I was there.

When we had been relegated all the way down to Division 2 and I got pelters from everyone to change my allegiance, I clearly remember one cold dark night sitting in my mum's banged up Mitsubishi outside the local mosque in Moss Side, only half a mile from Maine Road listening to us losing to Oldham Athletic on the radio and thinking will I ever experience that feeling of winning something?!

My first few experiences of City games were strange, and although I enjoyed the experiences I couldn't help but feel like I was not part it, as if people looked at me and thought "what's he doing here?".

Fast foward to 2011 and I was sat in Wembley at the semi final of the FA Cup against none other than the love of my family, Manchester United, and we were winning 1-0. As I did a 360, hugging anyone and everyone anywhere near me, I noticed that in contrast to my earlier years supporting this great club, the support as well as the team had evolved and there were people from all cultures, all ages, all sexes, proudly wearing their blue and jumping in unison.

I can now walk the streets with my City shirt and feel comfortable and confident, go to family gatherings and shout "I AM a City fan and we are the future". Thank you Chris, and thank you City - may 2012 give us that Premiership title and we all move forward in arms, together.