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Manchester City F.C. supporters

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Manchester City F.C. supporters

Since their inception in 1880 by Rev. Arthur Connell and William Beastow as St. Mark's (West Gorton), Manchester City F.C. have developed a loyal, passionate and dedicated following.[1][2][3] Evolving from a cricket team which aimed to unite the community in industrial east Manchester, St. Mark's changed to Ardwick F.C. before settling on Manchester City F.C. on 16 April 1894.

Despite finishing fifth in English football's top division, the club were the third best supported team in English football by average league attendance in the 2009–10 season[4] and have the second longest-supporting fans in the Premier League.[5] In the 2010–11 season, they were one of only five Premier League clubs to sell out their 36,000 season ticket allocation, the maximum allocation permitted in proportion to Eastlands' capacity.[6]

Manchester City supporters are distinguishable by their sky blue, a colour which is only used by a handful of professional football clubs in England. The City supporters' song of choice is a rendition "Blue Moon" and are famous for their inflatables, normally yellow bananas[7] which are still occasionally seen today at various games, often when City are on a cup run. The inflatables were initially started as a humorous laugh by numerous City fans after a City player Imre Varadi was nicknamed banana hence the inflatable bananas. Other inflatables soon followed aimed at putting goodwill back into football during the dark days of English football hooliganism and stadium riots and the craze soon caught on with other clubs following suit and even dressing up the inflatable bananas.[8][7]

The club have been previously branded as "everyone's second favourite club"[2][9] due to their reputation as being one of the most tumultuous and unpredictable teams in English football with an innate ability 'to do things the hard way'.[10][2][11] Supporters refer to inconsistent results and unexpected events as "Typical City", or "City-itis" and media often refer to City as a "soap opera" club.[12][13][14] Historical events and results labelled as "Typical City" include being the only team to score and concede 100 league goals in one season (1957-58) and the only reigning champions in English football to be relegated. However, despite anguish, many City fans regard success and failure as part of being a loyal and real football supporter and specifically what it means to be a Manchester City supporter.[15][16]

Manchester City still retain the highest home attendance of any club in English football history, as 84,569 fans packed Maine Road for a sixth round FA Cup tie against Stoke City in 1934 (City went on to win the FA Cup that season). The ground was packed two and a half hours before kick-off, as supporters sat down on the touchline only yards from goalkeeper Frank Swift and the magnitude of the crowd caused a crush barrier to collapse causing a few injuries.[17] Since then, the club has moved to the Eastlands (also known as the Etihad Stadium) near to where the club was formed in 1880. It has gradually gained a reputation as a modern atmospheric stadium[18][19] despite fans initial reservations about moving from the famous Maine Road which although atmospheric was considered to be in a dilapidated state.

Demographics

In a 2007 Premier League survey, Manchester City fans along with Everton fans had the greatest proportion of longest-serving supporters with 55% of those questioned having attended games at City for 25 years or more, above the Premier League average of 44%.[5] Despite the club's wealth, Manchester City have very strong working class roots which still remains today.[20][21]

A 2002 report by a researcher at Manchester Metropolitan University found that while it was true that a higher proportion of City season ticket holders came from Manchester postcode areas (40% compared to United's 29%), there were more United season ticket holders, the lower percentage being due to United's higher overall number of season ticket holders (27,667 compared to City's 16,481). However, the report warned that since the compiling of data in 2001, the number of both City and United season ticket holders had risen hugely; expansion of United's ground and City's move to the City of Manchester Stadium have caused season ticket sales to increase further.[22] The 2002 report has lost most of its validity as both clubs season tickets sales have fluctuated further as of 2010, with United selling 52,000 season tickets and City selling out all of its allocated 36,000 season tickets.

A 2012 survey by local newspaper the Manchester Evening News aimed to establish the spread of Manchester City and Manchester United in Greater Manchester, which consists of ten metropolitan boroughs with a combined population of 2.6 million. The survey found that Bolton, Bury, Rochdale, Salford and Trafford had a majority of United fans while Stockport, Tameside, Oldham and Wigan were found to have a small majority of City fans. The survey demonstrated that there is a general east-south support for Manchester City and north-west support for Manchester United which correlates with the location of both clubs respective stadiums.[23]

Manchester City supporter traits


Manchester City has a large fanbase in relation to its comparative lack of success in recent years on the pitch. Since moving to the City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester City's average attendances have been in the top six in England,[24] usually in excess of 40,000. Even in the late 1990s, when the club were relegated twice in three seasons and playing in the third tier of English football (then Division Two, now Football League One), home attendances were in the region of 30,000, compared to an average for the division of fewer than 8,000.[25] Research carried out by Manchester City in 2005 estimates a fanbase of 886,000 in the United Kingdom and a total in excess of 4 million worldwide.[26]

In the most recent season, 2009–2010, Manchester City had the fourth highest average attendance in English football and the third highest in the Premier League, with only Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle United drawing greater crowds.

Inflatables craze

Manchester City fans have also been characterised by their yellow inflatable bananas since the late 1980s and are often seen at Manchester City cup games. In 1988 when City played against West Brom, during which City fans called for the introduction of City striker "Imre Banana", or Imre Varadi as his real name was. Varadi said after his career, "I remember running out at Manchester City and someone threw a banana and just called me 'Imre Banana!', it didn't even rhyme with my name. The inflatable craze just swept the country and there was a banana craze."[27] Indeed, Varadi was affectionately known as 'Banana' from then on and in the 1988–89 season inflatables soon become commonplace at many English football matches. In 1989, Manchester City travelled to play Hull City with City fans bringing hundreds of inflatable bananas amongst a veritable assortment of inflatables such as a six-foot crocodile, a toucan and a spitfire.[28]

Although the bananas were present at Maine Road matches, the bigger inflatable displays were generally reserved for away matches, most notably against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns. This was an evening match which City lost 1–0. The drab match itself has largely been forgotten apart from Brian Gayle's original excuse for the mistake which cost the goal: "I was blinded by the floodlights". The sheer array of inflatables staggered many, four City fans appeared carrying an inflatable paddling pool, and sharks, penguins, crocodiles were present and there was even an epic battle of the monsters. At one end of the terrace stood Godzilla. Six feet tall, green and mean, this dinosaur was a match for anybody. At the other end of the terrace stood Frankenstein's Monster. Slowly they began to converge towards the centre of the terrace. The crowd roared in anticipation. Eventually they met and the creatures joined in battle.[7] The craze soon died down and come the 1990s the inflatable displays on a large scale were nowhere to be seen.

Currently, inflatable bananas make sporadic appearances of at the City of Manchester Stadium (Etihad Stadium) in recent years.[29] Bananas are often on show during cup runs, most recently in 2009 in the UEFA Cup quarter-final when Manchester City played Hamburg.

'The Poznan'

Another craze that City supporters decided to implement in England is a celebration or dance that has been given the nickname of 'The Poznan'. It first started on 21 October 2010 in a game against Lech Poznań in the Europa League, during the game the whole of the Poznan end turned their back to the pitch, joined arms and jumped up and down in unison. Most City supporters at the time mocked them chanting 'What the f****** hell is that', yet many City supporters were inspired and since this game a large number of City supporters have celebrated every goal scored by doing this or initiated the craze by chanting "Let's all do the Poznan".[30] with the City supporters refusing to claim the celebration as their own, and simply named it 'The Poznan' in honour of the club that awakened the City supporters to the celebration.

Since, other clubs including West Ham United, Leicester City, and many more clubs up and down the country have joined in doing 'The Poznan',[31] albeit not as frequently as the City faithful. 'The Poznan' was frequently seen performed during the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United, and as the United line-up was being announced over the public address just before kick-off the entire City end turned their backs and did 'The Poznan'[32][33] and the Manchester City players and staff did the 'Poznan' at the end of match in front of the City supporters.[34]

City humour

Manchester City supporters are also well known for their humour, notably gallows humor fuelled by years of unpredictability which is commonly associated with City. Gláuber Berti – After sitting on the bench 20 times in the 2008–09 season, the City fans were starting to joke that Gláuber Berti wasn't real and nicknamed him the invisible man. Finally though in the last game of the season against Bolton Wanderers he made an appearance in the 85th minute. This was the most popular substitution of the season and City fans greeted his every touch with applause and sang songs for him for the rest of the game.[35] In a game against Red Bull Salzburg, the City fans found another new Brazilian they took to called Alan. When he came on as a second half substitute, the announcer on the public address simply called him "Alan" and City fans were amused to see a Brazilian footballer with such an English name as Alan. City fans then started singing songs for him such as "Alan is Superman!".[36] After the match, Alan thanked the City supporters for their support.[37] Grandma – In a game against West Bromwich Albion in February 2011, the big screen at the City of Manchester Stadium zoomed in on an elderly looking woman. City fans cheered, so the camera zoomed in on her a few more times throughout the match. As the game went on City fans nicknamed her 'Grandma' and started singing songs such as '75 years and she's still here' and 'Grandma do the Poznan' (which she did).[38] She was later revealed to be Mavis Goddard from nearby Hulme.[39] Unfortunately she suffered a stroke and was unable to attend the 2011 FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United,[40] a match City won 1–0 to book their place in the 2011 FA Cup Final, and she died in December 2011.[41] In 2012, Porto considered complaining to UEFA over an "unsporting" chant which was aimed at their player Hulk.[42] With Manchester City leading the UEFA Europa League tie 4-0 at home, unimpressed City supporters proceeded to sing "You're not incredible, you're not incredible!" (to the tune of "La donna è mobile") to the £80 million-rated Porto striker, who had a mediocre performance. The threat of Porto's complaint was met with a humorous response in the English media.[43]

Rivalries


Manchester United

Main article: Manchester derby

Most City fans are united in their view that Manchester United is their main rivalry, a bitter rivalry which has reignited in last few years due to the resurgence of Manchester City as one of the top teams in England following their absence from the top flight at the end of the 20th century.[44][45] Manchester City fans like to believe there is only one team in Manchester due to United being based in Trafford, where they have been based for over a century. Trafford, although located in the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester is situated outside the City of Manchester boundaries across the River Irwell.

Other rivalries

In a research study on football rivalries conducted in 2003, a sample of Manchester City fans also saw Liverpool and Bolton Wanderers as rivals after Manchester United. It also found fans of Oldham Athletic, Stockport County, Bolton Wanderers and Manchester United saw Manchester City in their top three of main rivals.[46] The club has always maintained a healthy rivalry with Tottenham, a club of similar stature, especially in recent years as both teams have been battling to secure lucrative Champions League places.[47] The rivalry has featured many memorable matches in the past including the Manchester 3–4 FA Cup comeback of 2004,[48] the 1981 FA Cup Final and the "Ballet on Ice", which Manchester City fans remember as one of the greatest City performances.[49][50]

Supporters' groups and affiliations

Manchester City has various supporters' clubs such as MCFC Official Supporters' Club. In July 2010, it unified with the Centenary Supporters' Association and has over 10,000 members in over 130 branches.[51]

Furthermore, the club runs its "Heart of the City" programme which finds where City fans congregate to watch City games around the world, normally in pubs and each winner receives a plaque advertising their place as an affiliated Manchester City bar for City fans[52] As of May 2013, the club has affiliations with bars in Abu Dhabi, Baltimore, Brisbane, Chicago, Donegal, Frisco, Galway, Gothenburg, Hong Kong, New York, Oslo, Paris,[52] Portland, Sydney,[53] and Toronto.

Online supporter presence

The club actively partakes in using the internet for social media to communicate with fans and Manchester City's online overall blog, forum and social media presence is believed to be one of the strongest by a football club online.[54][55][56] A new, streamlined club website was launched in July 2009[57] and expanded to America and Arabic language soon after. The new site supports fan sites and forum, by posting links to fan sites which are listed on Manchester City's official website[58] On the popular FIFA video game series, Manchester City were third-most-played team by online players in the 2011–12 season.[59]

Furthermore the club has run its own social media websites since 2009. Official sites run by the club include Twitter,[60] Facebook[61] and Flickr[62] pages which fans can join. As of August 2012, the Manchester City FC – Official fanpage on Facebook has over 5,000,000 followers. Also as of recently, City fans can also join an official fan map on the club website and now City fans can watch official club videos on the mcfcofficial channel on YouTube.[63]

Songs and chants

Blue Moon,
You saw me standing alone,
Without a dream in my heart,
Without a love of my own

—"Blue Moon" lyrics, Manchester City

We are not
We're not really here,
We are not
We're not really here,
Just like the fans of the invisible man,
We're not really here

—Invisible Man lyrics, Manchester City

Anthems

Manchester City fans song of choice and the most commonly sung is a rendition of "Blue Moon". Boys in Blue is unofficially the club's anthem, which is often played at the end of games at Eastlands. The club also play the popular "Live for City" song, which is a remixed version of "words" by Doves before most games at Eastlands as well as playing a number of songs by Oasis, due to the both bands' support of the team.

Fan songs and chants

Another song frequently sung is "Invisible Man" or "We're Not Really Here". There have been numerous explanations as to how the song originated and different interpretations to it, but it is mainly believed to have become commonplace while City were in the old third division for the first time in their history in the 1990s and as a result of fans gaining access to a game at Millwall's New Den from which they were banned following crowd disturbances at a previous game between the clubs.[64] The song had a major resurgence after the takeover in 2008, which made Manchester City one of the richest clubs in the world and able to buy top players such as Carlos Tévez, David Silva, Sergio Agüero, Yaya Touré and Emmanuel Adebayor. A banner at Eastlands pays homage to the song with the phrase "We're not really here".

Other popular City fan songs and chants include "Singing the Blues", "The Only Football Team to Come From Manchester" and "You Are My City".

In popular culture

Manchester City F.C. and its fans have been portrayed in numerous music, art and TV programmes. L.S. Lowry was a Manchester City supporter who gained inspiration for his people, often known as 'matchstick men' at matches. Music band Oasis used an animated video of Lowry's Going to the match for the their single, "The Masterplan".

In film, There's Only One Jimmy Grimble was also a fictional film which focused on a young boy whose dream it was to play for Manchester City. TV programmes have had various fictional Manchester City fans who have been portrayed with differing mannerisms and personalities. DCI Gene Hunt from Life on Mars is a no nonsense police officer whilst comical characters include Young Kenny in Phoenix Nights and Dave from The Royle Family who both occasionally wear Manchester City shirts.

A feature film documenting Manchester City's 2009–10 season called Blue Moon Rising[65] was released nationwide in 2010. The film mainly follows a group of Manchester City fans in their Renault Espace throughout the season detailing the highs and lows whilst the film will also feature exclusive footage and interviews with fans, players and staff. The season documented City narrowly losing out on fourth place and Champions League to Tottenham Hotspur and City being knocked out of the League Cup by Manchester United in the semi-finals. Coincidentally, the following season saw a reversal of fortunes, with City beating Tottenham 1-0 to seal Champions League football, and beating United in the FA Cup semi-final before going on to the lift the FA Cup for the first time in 42 years.

Quotations

  • "Then there are the City supporters, many of whom have developed ulcers and who have grown prematurely grey for the cause. I have seen them at Plymouth and Newcastle, Portsmouth and Middlesbrough year after year, 'like Patience on a monument smiling at grief'. They have cursed, applauded, demanded, cajoled, laughed and wept. They have sworn never again to take out season tickets, never again to support their team. And always they have come back, generation after generation. As Mr Mercer put it on Saturday: 'I'm as pleased for our supporters as I am for anyone. Like the players they deserve to have their perseverance rewarded.'"
Journalist Eric Todd in a match report for The Guardian following Manchester City's victory against Newcastle United to win the league title in 1968.[66]
  • "The thing about City is they possess the most loyal fans in the world. They laugh and sing and joke and carry inflatable bananas when things are going badly and they do exactly the same when things are going well."
Stuart Hall, journalist and broadcaster[67]
  • "Sometimes we're good and sometimes we're bad but when we're good, at least we're much better than we used to be and when we are bad we're just as bad as we always used to be, so that's got to be good hasn't it?".
Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 1 presenter (November 2001)[67]
  • "My husband's time as manager of City, from 1965 through to the early 1970s, was one of the most enjoyable periods of his life. He loved the club, the supporters, the players, the hope and the atmosphere of that period".
Norah Mercer, Joe Mercer's wife, who continued to regularly attend City matches until her death in 2013.
  • "To support United is too easy. It's convenience supporting. It makes life too easy. There is no challenge. It is a cowardly form of escapism, a sell-out to the forces of evil. United fans have no soul and will spend their eternity neck deep in boiling vomit. City fans retain their soul and will spend their eternity forever reliving the moment their team beat Newcastle 4–3 away from home to win the League Championship in 1968, beating United into second place."
Paul Morley, journalist (1998)[68]

Famous fans

Famous supporters with verifiable citations confirming their support or allegiance for Manchester City are listed with references next to their name. Famous supporters without citations are questionable as they have not publicly expressed or confirmed their support

Famous fans (footballers)

References

Notes
Bibliography

External links

  • Manchester City Official Website
  • MCFC Official Supporters Club

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