Stranded In Manchester But Loved It
Ireland based Manchester City fan, mcfcirish sent us the following.
Tuesday 19th January - the day was finally here, the League Cup semi final. A game that had been called off a few weeks before due to bad weather was now to be played on a Tuesday night. No amount of snow, rain, sleet or indeed hail...or Fergie letters to the FA would stop the match from going ahead.
It was then first City SF of my lifetime and by Christ I wasn't going to miss it. I headed up to Cork airport with my friend Trevor Slattery, who is a lifelong City fan - he works with his father in a family run travel agency - the old man is also a City fan, so on the ride up to the airport I was in good company.
I was due to meet up with three members (dare I say it, old codgers) of the Cork OSC at the airport, John Forde, John Budden and Mick Murphy, me being the youngest of the group by at least 10 - 15 years, blimey, who knows how many years. We were all set, ready to go, the flight couldn't come soon enough, however, as we were about to board, a rumour started to spread that the air traffic lads were due to strike the next day.'**ck em' we thought, as long as we get to the game who cares, so off we went.
We arrived in England at around 3 o'clock and we headed to our respective accommodation, me and the two Johns to the Britannia, Mick to the Thistle hotel and Trev to his cousins place.
We decided to meet at half 4 for dinner in the bar at Sacha's (also run by the Britannia chain). I was wearing the City 06/07 shirt, bloody hell, the letters on the thing are half eaten by time at this stage, but what harm - we arrived at the door only to be met with a sign saying 'no sportswear allowed'. The lads had City gear on too, however I decided to go and change...well not so much change just take off the top and leave the hoody on underneath. I did that, came back down to the bar and what would you think was there waiting me???? a bunch of lads wearing City jerseys!!!**ck em away ways!
Food and beer was ordered and chat re the game began (what would you expect?). The main topic being that Thomas Kuxzkidjs...what ever the sub keeper for the Rags name is, would be in goal. No doubt we wanted an easy keeper to beat. Our friendly pre game debate was being tuned out by one Rag singing at the bar, the fair-tale rag songs belting out of him, Of course the 8 City lads at the bar (not us) weren't too happy and decided to sing back, as did the group of us at the table. The brains at the bar thought turning up the music would shut us up...bad move girl, bad move as that only made us louder. That carried on for about a half an hour anyways until 3 cops decided to appear in the door - they made a beeline for the bar and grabbed the one Rag lad and threw the fecker out on his broke arse, fecking brilliant! Anyways, it was back up to the room to change and get ready for the game - we left the hotel at 6:15pm.
So we hoped on the bus - was full as is the norm on match day. We were blessed to meet god's most sacred creatures on the seats, the friendly drunks who gave us cans of Carlsberg, not too shabby! We arrived at the ground at around 6:40, Mary D's would be jointed we said so we decided to head into the ground and have a few at the bar inside. Funnily enough a lot of the Rag fans around the place had Dublin accents - it later turned out that they had booked flights for the Swamp game that was due to take place on the 19th and decided in their wisdom to try and gain entry using tickets that weren't valid.
Anyways, myself and the two Johns were in the East Stand 3rd tier and Mick was in the second tier. So we had a few jars there and the crowd started to build, excitement grew as did the anticipation. A quick trip to the jacks was required before we took our seats and in there, wow wasn't there a fierce old sing song going on? Old classics such as 'if you hate Man Utd clap your hands' no mean feat when trying to take a piss. And of course everyone's favourite 'we're having a party when Fergie dies'.
We had enough of singing and pissing so we decided to take our seats at 8 o'clock on the dot.
We got to our seats and Christ what a view - only a stones throw (or as to later be revealed in the Rags case) a darts throw away from the United fans. Fierce singing and god knows a bad word or two may have been spoken as Blue Moon was belted out over the PA. Some prats in the Rags end tried to ruin it with red flares, fat **cking chance, we were right beside them and we couldn't hear the fools singing.
Anyway, the first goal came for that lot and here we go again we thought, we were doing nothing. City looked out of ideas. A chance was needed at half time but 5 minutes before that, one of the teenage mutant hero turtle twins fowled Bellamy by tugging his shirt in the box. The unreal had happened, United had a penalty given against them and no one, not even Wayne Rooney, who ran 60 yards to berate the ref could change the decision.
The kick seems to take an age to be taken - I couldn't watch, I could, I couldn't. Facing the Rag end, Tevez steeped up and bang, at first I thought it was going over the bar but no, it sailed into the top of the net, PANDAMONIOUM!! We went fecking nuts - it was great chants of 'FERGIE SIGN HIM UP' followed, as did a mouthy gesture from Tevez towards the rat faced boy Neville, who had said the previous day that the Rags were right to get rid of Tevez. Thanks Gary, we thought, now suck on that you sour Fergie arse kissing p***k.
Half time came and it was 1-1. We had a few more drinks at HT and discussed City's play. We all generally agreed that we were poor, as were the Rags and not just in money terms. So time for the second half.
The game re-started and we were off again, no subs at HT, City were now a bit more confident - the crowd was growing more positive by the minute, Bellamy now had the Rags defender in his pocket, Tevez was making a nuisance of himself and Zab, Komp and de Jong were keeping it tight at the back. Several City corners followed, with one of course leading to a City goal, scored by a certain Mr.Carlos Tevez himself. We went **cking mental I'll tell you. Kisses and hugs were flying everywhere! Tevez topped it off by running towards the touchline to hear a chorus of 'Fergie sign him up', no doubt the fat old Scottish fool wanted the ground to open up but I'm sure that the last place we wanted Fergie was in hell, with the rest of the Red D***s.
The goal sent the Rags nuts, but not in a good way - cups of tea/coffee were sent flying, in fighting in the away end broke out and police from outside had to be brought in to keep the peace. It calmed down finally, but not before some tough clever Rag decided it would be funny to rip up a seat and throw it, well done, dickhead.
Anyways, the game carried on, a certain Utd goal was cleared off the line, the post was hit and Utd pressure increased. Tevez was taken off to a chorus of cheers - no doubt the classless Rag fans were booing, un-grateful tossers! Anyway, Tevez being taken off seemed to spur the Rags on and pressure grew on the City back four.
The 90 minute mark came and low and behold, 5 mins of added time. Typical the fat old fool has done it again, but thankfully after what seemed like forever, the game was over. City had won. The place went nuts - the Rag end had thinned before extra time was called, funny I thought, these lads were loyal. No doubt they were off to snuggle up next to their 'kiss and tickle me Taggart blow up dolls'.
We headed for the bus stop, a 45 minute wait ensued as we had to wait for the Rags to be escorted in their sheep lorries back to their pens, several finger gestures followed and I gave them a 'blue'moon. Ha ha dirty Utd **ckers man.
Anyways, we got back to the hotel around half 11 - we said we were too tired to have a pint so we fecked off to bed.
Next morning we were greeted with a barrage of texts, the rumours of the air traffic strike were true, we were stuck there, was no way of getting home. Me and the two Johns decided to go walkies in search of cheaper rooms as the Britannia had charged us £140 for a triple bed room, with no brekkie. We finally found refuge in the Sachas, 75 quid including brekkie...well feck the Britannia anyways, they robbed us.
We moved into our new temporary home and decided to head to an internet cafe to change our flights. With that done we headed for a bite to eat and went for a walk around the art gallery. After that we headed back to the room for a lie down before dinner.
We decided to meet up with Mick for a bite to eat at the bank...it's the name of a restaurant, look it up. We filled up on food and a pint and headed back to the bar in Sachas to watch the Liverpool and Villa games. The night was spent consuming copious amounts of Kronnenberg 1664, and discussing among other things, Mick McCarthy's decision to field a weakened team vs. the Rags. The City game and talk of football teams in Cork, Cork hymns, Celtic and Athletic, all of course who disappeared into oblivion. Anyway 12 came and we said our good nights to Mick and headed up to the room.
We got up this morning with sore heads, but **ck it we were happy. We headed for brekkie and after that we headed back up to the room for a nap. We were rudely disturbed at 11:30 by a phone call from reception saying '11 was check out, off ye go', well we were fiercely upset but we ended up leaving straight away. At 10 past 12!!
We walked around the Arndale shopping centre for a bit, but eventually headed to the airport shortly after 1pm, where we had a few pints and a bite to eat - talk again returned to the City game, laughing at the Irish Rags, who it turned out had gotten soundly beaten up by some City lads and the police for acting the maggot. The flight home was un-eventful and we arrived safe and sound.
So there you have it, quite a trip by any stretch of the imagination. We got the win and not even a strike by some pissed off....and, might I add, already very well paid Air Traffic lads could spoil it.
Bring on the trip to Wembley I say, where the Rags will have home advantage - wait, they wont be there you say? But its London isn't it? Oh well, feck em, we hope to see you around the place.