Saturday, November 01, 2008
Supporting A Team Called City
We often joke that my family have never tolerated mixed marriages. People then point out that I'm a Pape married to a Protestant. That is correct, what my family would never have tolerated would have been one of us marrying a Manchester City fan.
My family, on both sides, have been United fans as far back as anyone knows, probably back to the days when they were known as Newton Heath. So it still feels strange that one of my local teams now is Lancaster City FC, who I am off to support this afternoon. The fact that they too play in blue, as well as being called 'City', doesn't help. You see this tribal thing in us Mancunians runs deep.
But the most important thing is that since 1995, when the Glazers took over Manchester United and we returned our season tickets, we have been watching non-league football, and it has been fantastic. No prima-donnas earning more in a week than I'm likely to earn in a year or more, and not getting ripped off by clubs at every opportunity. Good banter between fans with no segregation or fighting, well very rarely any fighting. The whole thing is honest, down to earth fantastic value and has renewed the faith of many former Premier League supporters in the game itself.
Over the last ten years there has been a steady trickle of supportrs leaving top flight football, disillusioned or just priced way from the game. Non-league is thriving because, like junkies, we really do need a regular fix of football.
So it's off to watch a local derby at the Giant Axe, Lancaster City versus Chorley. Even if it's a bit chilly you just wrap up warm and treat yourself to a cup of Bovril and a hot pie at half time. Heaven!