Fans are united on great day out in Manchester
15:59 09 December 2011
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Regardless of their apparently bottomless coffers Manchester City have a great deal in common with us.
Long before the appearance of Sheikh Mansour and his billions they, like us, embarked on a downward spiral which saw them in all sorts of financial difficulties and playing in the third tier of English football in 1998. Like us they battled back, and like us they were supported every step of the way by a loyal and passionate fan base.
One of the things that has left me cold about our Premier League experience so far this season has been the lack of atmosphere at away grounds, but that certainly wasn’t the case on Saturday as both sets of supporters sang their hearts out and provided a reminder of what this great game was all about before the bureaucrats and prawn sandwich brigade started to steal its soul.
Meanwhile, on the field we were taking a pasting from, without doubt, the best English side I have watched this season.
Manchester City’s passing and movement were relentless and it’s a huge credit to our team that they held out as long as they did before a piece of individual brilliance by Sergio Aguero found the tiniest chink in our armour. By the time the third went in with a third of the game still to go many teams would have crumbled, but City kept battling and even had the temerity to bloody the giant’s nose, only for two late goals to underline the class of the hosts.
Still, we did better than United….
It is no disgrace whatsoever to go down to a side of that calibre and I think that most of us in the South Stand fully appreciated the quality that was on display, as well as the commitment shown by our own players.
I noticed that quite a number of the home fans stayed on to applaud our lads at the end, and I think that summed up the atmosphere in the stands, with both sets of supporters showing a healthy respect for each other and engaging in some tremendous banter.
I don’t know who originated the idea of mimicking the hosts’ Poznan goal celebration when we scored, but it was one of many highlights of the afternoon, and the warm applause for it from the home ranks illustrated the fantastic spirit between the fans.
I have to say that every Blues fan that I spoke to both before and after the game (even the ones in the pub with two Rottweilers on the roof) had nothing but good things to say about our club. They are proper football fans who know their stuff and appreciate how lucky they are to have a rich owner, but they don’t think the world owes them a living like the plastic fans at Chelsea and United.
A quick post-game check on their Blue Moon fan website identified the following message to Norwich fans: “You were a credit to your club, top support, by far the best in the Premier League at our ground this season. Loved it when you did the Poz. That is why the home supporters were clapping you, great support all day. Hope you do well this season, always great to see away support like that.”
It’s not often that I walk away from a heavy defeat with a smile on my face, but Saturday was an exception.
Yes, we were outclassed and outgunned, but the lads kept battling and the fans kept singing. We’re in mid-table and there’s another game next week. What is there to be miserable about?