When I was trying to watch the Cup Final and shouted to the players “Get in the box!”
I don’t go much to the Etihad these days, my match attendances take place much further down the football chain. But I nevertheless can’t help feeling sad today with the reminder that David Silva, after ten sterling years, plays his final Premier League game tomorrow for Manchester City.
Maybe the greatest ever to wear the sky blue shirt, he deserves a better send off than performing in a stadium devoid of fans due to this Coronavirus. But I’m sure he will return at some point to say a proper farewell.
“I would like to be remembered as a good guy, who enjoys football. I hope the people enjoyed my football as well. It’s simple.”
Enjoyed it we did. The Premier League will be a lot poorer for his absence.
With the demise, temporary or otherwise, of my son James’ team, Bury FC, I started taking him to watch a local non-league team by the name of Prestwich Heys.
A world away from the Premier League football that we could stay home and watch on the TV, it’s a real community club that values our support and attendance.
With no pretensions or VAR in sight, it’s proper football with proper fans, giving a warm welcome and an inclination to visit again – for the club quickly got under our skin to the extent that it has now become a family affair with both my wife and daughter also attending games.
We were having a great season, and then that damn Covid-19 virus arrived and everything was brought to a premature close.
In the meanwhile, a friend has started up a blog about all thing Heys to keep everyone still connected in these barren months. It isn’t on WordPress, but if you follow the link below you can enter your email address to subscribe to his posts.
So if you have an interest in non-league football; football in general; want to know what is going on in this part of Northern England, or to gain a glimpse of some of the things that I and my family get up to here in Manchester, UK, please follow the link and subscribe.
It’s a new blog and I’m sure the writer will appreciate the support of you lovely people.
His name is Rick, go say hello.
I’ve written that much, over on Facebook, about the tragedy and travesty that is unfolding at Bury FC, that I don’t feel like adding much more about it here.
But tonight, with tomorrow’s deadline looming, a deadline after which this historic club, after 134 years, will slip from existence, I took my son to Gigg Lane.
This is his club. Not a club he inherited from me, just as I inherited Manchester City from my father, but a club that he gave his heart to of his own accord. It’s a club that I have learned to love because he loves it.
On the journey there we heard a first glimmer of hope over the car radio. A chink of light in long-gathering shadows.
I feel a little more optimistic, but the margins are tight. It will go right down to the wire. It’s not dark yet.
Our new student has arrived.
We were expecting a girl who is of Luxembourg nationality. Turns out it’s a lad who was born in Luxembourg, is actually Belgian, lives in France and flew from Italy.
But he’s a City fan so all’s well.
So the football season is back. I spent a balmy Monday night at the Etihad, trying to peer through the residual smoke as the match began. Think they overdid the fireworks a little, but these days it’s all a show.
Outside queues were long and slow moving, as security was high with full body searches and sniffer dogs. I suppose that this is what we’ve come to in the current climate. Still, football as ever is an escape from what goes on outside of these stadiums. Ninety minutes of distraction; highs and lows; triumph and defeat. (Or a concilliating draw as this night turned out to be.)
Best of luck for the season, whoever you support. And if football’s not your thing, you’ve got fireworks. With a burger.
When you go to the match to be the calm voice of reason for the folks back home.
Throat lozanges, anyone?
The last home game of the season for Manchester City, today, and fittingly the skies were blue.
You guys know I’m a Manchester City fan, right? I think I may have mentioned it once or twice. I’m used to watching a Premier League team, with Premiership players earning Premiership salaries. You can experience the very best in hospitality and food, the very best in entertainment. These days it is a day out for some people, the football is almost an added extra.
Well last night I went to watch another local team: Bury. Recently their match against Southend United was abandoned because of the state of the pitch, due to a sustained downpour. It was rearranged for last night, and they declared that it would be free admittance for all supporters.
It was a fantastic gesture by a club that not so long ago nearly went out of business due to financial reasons. Life really is a struggle for the clubs at this level (they are three divisions below my City team) to exist and compete, every penny that comes through the turnstiles counts.
Locals responded, the ground was full, and the atmosphere was great (in certain respects, I think my own club has sold its soul, but that’s for another day). Unfortunately the Shakers did not get the result they were looking for, despite a host of first half chances. (They are going for promotion-winning their final three matches would guarantee it.) But much kudos to Bury.
I’ve always said that supporters of smaller clubs, such as those who follow local teams like Bury, Rochdale, and Oldham, who go week in week out in all weathers to watch their team, playing at a much lower standard than what is experienced at Premiership level, sometimes, most of the time, struggling, with few expectations of glory, are real football supporters. They refuse to jump onto the bandwagon of headline-hitting larger neighbours, in this case Manchester City and Manchester United, and remain loyal to their team and true to their hearts, finding their spiritual home in small, ramshackle stadiums of limited facilities but great camaraderie.
They still have the romance.
Good luck Bury, I hope you go up.