The City, united, will never be defeated… (repeat to fade)

It’s kinda cute and highly amusing watching City fans suddenly pretend to be all radicalised about the prices Arsenal are charging for this Sundays match. Us reds and fans of other bona-fide big clubs like Tottenham and Liverpool are watching City fans in the same manner that a bloke in his thirties would look at a suddenly politicised sixteen year old who’s begining to realise that the world isn’t a very fair place. The followers of Manchester City making a stand on a moral or principle of conscience does not correspond or sit easily with any of their behaviour historically. Are these are the same City fans who were gleefully manipulated by the Daily Mirror for the ill fated Forward With Franny campaign in 1993? In 2008, they enthusiatically welcomed the fugitive and deposed Thai prime minister and at the time, alleged human rights abuser and now convicted crminal, Doctor Thaksin Shinawatra. If City fans had a history of millitancy in the way of, for example, West Ham fans whom succesfully fought the imposition of a bond in the 1990s or the way Liverpool fought to destroy the blatantly obvious cover up over Hillsborough and the way United fans revolted in 1998 against the BSkyB bid (succesfully) and the Glazers in 2005 (not so), I’d have more respect. The fact is that the club and its fans have willingly dropped their drawers when owners came along throwing money around like confetti without any thought of principle, particularly during the Thaksin Shinawatra regime that makes the boycott/protest risible.

Thaksin Shinawatra and Sir Alex Ferguson in the pre season of 2001

In March 2011, there were nearly 7,000 empty seats for City’s home FA Cup quarter final match against Reading. Then, King of the Kippax editor and the blue the press go to, Dave Wallace said on that occasion that church services affected the attendance. This week, we had Kevin Parker, the general secretary of the Manchester City Supporters club no less, on Radio 5 saying that the game was too close to post christmas. Silly me here was thinking it was a protest gallantly organised by disgruntled City fans but no. The inference was that the pagan celebrations that the Anglo Saxon Chrsitian world has just indulged in has rendered the travelling platoon of City fans potless. It wasn’t then a protest about the £62.00 Arsenal are charging. I suppose that now explains why City had nearly 11,000 empty seats for the home leg of the League Cup semi final in January 2012 against Liverpool. The fact is that City failed to sell out their allocation for Premier League matches at Anfield and Ewood Park in April 2011 and this was when they were in contention, ultimately succesful, for a place in the following seasons Champions League. Were they organised boycotts too? What about Arsenal fans who were charged £51.00 for the game at the Abu Dhabi stadium in September just passed? Did they boycott? City sold all their allocation for the match at Stamford Bridge in November and the price of those tickets was £59.00, does the extra £3.00 that Arsenal are charging really make all the difference? It can’t be distance or travel expense as Ashburton Grove is an easier place get to from Manchester than Chelsea. The trade unionist in me would like to brush rivalry aside in this case, no matter how nasty it is, if it wasn’t for the fact that City are trying to masquerade the failure to sell out an away allocation at Arsenal as some kind of principled boycott. What has been conveniently forgotten in this well publicised protest/boycott is that there has been the 2,000 (approx) tickets that have been sold to travelling blues. Have the City fans who’ve bought them tickets now going to be viewed as pariahs by their fellow millitant take no shit blues. This reminds me a little bit of that great show of unity City players showed Wayne Bridge after the John Terry affair came into the public domain in February 2010. Then, City just happened to have a match at Stamford Bridge immediately in the aftermath of the revelations. City players in a show of solidarity that would’ve made Derek Robinson weep and looking like a secretive card school clique had the legend, team Bridge emblazoned on their undershirts. Not all of them mind, about half the team had it which made me wonder where the other half stood on this.

14 thoughts on “The City, united, will never be defeated… (repeat to fade)”

  1. United fans call us obsessed bitter blues and here’s you writing a blog over something that has nothing to do with you. You’re just gutted that you and your rag mates can’t organise a decent protest. Love Glazer, Hate United, get used to being in our shadow bitter red

    1. I rarely mention City in my blogs unless United are playing them or near then. I write a comment about the bullshit regarding City returning 912 tickets for the game at Arsenal and I’m suddenly obsessed. We call you bitter blues because most of the things that you say about United are not as much as inaccurate as intelligence unsulting lies, that you don’t have the wisdom or inclination to question. In short, the bitterness is based on delusion and fallacy. We also call you bitter blues through alliteration, bitter blue rolls off the tongue quite easily. You don’t have even the imagination to retort with anything other than bitter red.
      If you can prove anything I’ve said above to be untrue, I’ll apologise and promise to check my facts better next time. Go on, have a good luck.

  2. Came across this blog via twitter, and regarding the fact that almost 1000 seats went unsold. I think it is a combination of factors.
    Two of which you have pointed out:
    Firstly in regards to the price. £62 to watch a football match is, as stated by many simply too much, whilst it is as you point out only £3 more than we paid at Chelsea, which did sell out. I feel the £60 barrier for many has just gone too far. Especially having just been charged £50+ Norwich and despite your derision such an expensive trip just after Christmas is going to have an effect.

    Secondly in regards to this being some sort of protest I think this is partly due to sensationalism by the media and fans. There is a lot more legs in a story about a revolution against capitalist market forces in football (by one of the biggest culprits), then the headline ‘city fans not too keen on expensive game, ticket office sends tickets back early’. City fans probably believed the hype and used the revolutionary semantics to defend their own corner against the inescapable ‘small time’ ‘wouldn’t happen at united ‘ jibes or the other tit for tat responses of City fans.

    As I have just touched on, one point that isn’t getting any coverage is the role the ticket office has played in this as it was them who, probably after a relatively slow uptake because of the previous factors, were reluctant to risk having to pay for any unsold tickets. The tickets were sent back well in advance of the breaking of the main news story and many City fans were asking why it sold out so early etc. Now I am not suggesting we should blame the ticket office, as we may have only sold an extra 100 tickets. But were the tickets made available to those with lower loyalty points etc who don’t often go to away games. A rare opportunity to see a big away game, albeit at an expensive price would have surely attracted a notable amount of people?

    This isn’t a rant or excuse for 912 seats going unsold, and it isn’t an attack on the price of football at Arsenal or is it a claim that we are the first ‘victims’ of it! Actually I’m not sure this ‘essay’ can be called.

    1. Re Blue Al. You make some balanced points. I can’t ever see it happening, but, if supporters of all clubs organised themselves, and showed a togetherness (didn’t use united front), I’m sure we could make a difference. With the determination shown in the ‘Hillsborough’ case, ordinary fans, have exhibited just what can be achieved. Professional abilities must be used. Shouting in the street or at each other would get us nowhere. My sympathies are always with the ordinary fan. But I must say, we have largely brought this on ourselves. Biased as all footy fans are we get too wrapped up with ‘ my club good, your club bad’. I am not suggesting a cross country love in, among all fans. Far from it. But we have let the media, the biggest culprit television, set the agenda. We sit there listening to inane questions, asked by some nomark, then start squabbling over the answer. Maybe it’s time to show big business money makers and the TV companies that we, as whole are not as stupid as they treat us. I am just a United.

  3. PS. Re F Ashton. You clearly do not own a lexicon. If you did, you know the difference between obsession and amusement. Calm down you blithering idiot.

  4. This is impressive one-eyed professional hatred. Do laps

    City fans tried and succeeded to get rid of a hated owner (what, we had a paper support us? no fair!) whereas united tried and failed to stop the takeover or get rid of him since – how much did you want it? whether Swales-out was ill fated is something only hindsight could show us – we achieved our primary objective.

    You talk about football supporter activism, but apparently a third of City fans boycotting Arsenal because the price was too high is not worthy of credit?! We also did it on a larger scale at Bolton six years ago (personally i think only a total boycott will work but the 912 returned tickets have made more noise on overpriced tickets than anything hitherto). When did any United fans do the same? I know it’s very difficult convincing your huge nationwide fanbase but surely all the fan groups/zines/mags could lead the way? Or is it, as I suspect, really all about ‘the red army’ always turning up with the biggest following? Which will always be the case as you are the original club for glory hunter non-fans. You mention, quite accurately, we dont always sell out our allocation and this seems to matter a lot more to bitter gate-watching obsessives (yeah those words again) wearing red shirts than to Blues. To be clear, the fees and wages paid by city and others have helped inflate costs in the game another notch, and we’re at a point where action to prevent working-class fans from being alienated is necessary.

    With its objective still unrealised years on, to non-reds the green and gold stuff looks a lot like one big show to convince reds they were really opposed to the Glazers but the only thing it achieved was creating FCUM, where a few thousand genuinely principled reds now watch their football and another scarf to wear. A regular trophy it seems really is enough for many to relegate their principles. in fact, one of your best ‘campaigning’ successes to date has been by that mob who turned up at Rooney’s house. i say ‘success’ because of course Rooney was always going to re-sign anyway – it’s called ‘bargaining’ but nothing like a good bullying show by the MIBs eh?

    We dont judge ourselves by united fans’ standards, which is just as well. the ‘trade unionist’ in you should stop viewing things through the highly subjective eyes of the world’s most commercially lucrative football club. Solidarity goes beyond the stretford end

    1. Gotta say MW that for a comment disagreeing with what I’ve said, this is one of the best ones I’ve ever read.

      If it was an organised boycott by City fans for the match at Arsenal then I would be %100 sympathetic but I’m getting contradictory words from City fans on this blog, with the quote below from the equally eloquent Blue Al

      ‘Secondly in regards to this being some sort of protest I think this is partly due to sensationalism by the media and fans. There is a lot more legs in a story about a revolution against capitalist market forces in football (by one of the biggest culprits), then the headline ‘city fans not too keen on expensive game, ticket office sends tickets back early’. City fans probably believed the hype and used the revolutionary semantics to defend their own corner against the inescapable ‘small time’ ‘wouldn’t happen at united ‘ jibes or the other tit for tat responses of City fans.’ Blue Al (11/01/2013)

      If there’s any City fans whom have boycotted the match on a point of principle then I genuinely respect their stance. My argument is not with them but with a good chunk of City fans of my acquaintance who are using the failure to sell out the allocation at Arsenal as a smokescreen for a boycott. Coupled with the fact that 2,000 people did buy a ticket, the harsh truth is that it wasn’t a very well observed boycott. If for example it was a trade union strike/dispute, it would have been a resounding failure and it gives me no pleasure saying that.

      I’ve despaired for years that United are actually so well supported that an organised revolt like the one mooted by City fans over the Arsenal ticket price couldn’t happen amongst reds (although IMUSA did a pretty brilliant job in resisting the BSkyB bid).

      1. indeed it was not an organised boycott. the phrase most people used is that 912 potential fans ‘balked’ at paying the price. but even on those terms neither is it fair to say this was a run-of-the-mill game where we have not filled our allocation. of course this was ‘some sort of protest’, and some blues who were there also made their point in ways that arsenal stewarding and police did not accept.

        my stance is that an organised and complete boycott – by some group of fans, somewhere, soon – is the best way to campaign for lower awayday ticket prices. but that will be very difficult for any team with a sizeable following to enforce. and those fans for who it is a point of pride to attend every game will struggle to countenance it too.

  5. Dear Frank Ashton,

    Please…just for one second….put down your moustache trimmer and that Kangol catalogue, and watch this video clip (you may even be in it)

    Cheers mate. City are shit!

  6. Why is it a matter of any importance how many fans turn up for a match? Sounds a bit like ‘my Dad’s bigger than your Dad’ to me. I’d be perfectly happy with the 29,000 we (City) averaged in 1999, in the 3rd division in a season where we played some dire football and were lucky to reach the play-offs never mind scrape through them. This also in a season where our main rivals across the city were marching to a triumphant treble. At least you know then that the people around you are true supporters who will/have stuck by their team through thin and thinner. I’d be interested to know what attendances other well supported teams would achieve after 35 years of nothingness and heartache. Those loyal Geordies who apparently are the best fans in England and who now have a lengthy waiting list for season tickets averaged less than 17,000 in 1991. Mind you they had had about 3 pretty lean seasons at the time and only managed to finish 9th in the equivalent of today’s Championship! And, just to conclude, i attempted to buy 4 tickets for the Arsenal game a week and a half before the game and they were sold out.

    1. Agree with the ‘my Dad, your Dad’ analogy but that to me isn’t the point, it is that City fans are forever trying to compare themselves, normally and naturally in a superior light and I felt compellled to point out what is to me, the fallacy of that argument. It wasn’t specifically aimed at people like you, whom I happen to know to be a time served and travelled blue.
      What I find really interesting is what you say about the Geordies, I have for ages been dying to hit Geordies with what you’ve said there as I know it to be true, but I can’t prove it. Can you tell me where you got that info from as I’d love it like Kevin Keegan if I could hit them with it.

        1. Bad link unfortunately but its in the “Keegan years” section and here is the extract…

          Attendances, which had dwindled to an average of 17,267 the previous season, jumped dramatically to almost 30,000.

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