Manchester City away? Piece of piss, man.

Well, that statement wouldn’t have been too much out of kilter up until about a decade or so ago. Up until that point, the scariest thing about playing Manchester’s vastly inferior second side was negotiating your way through Moss Side.

I recall being on a supporters bus after that mental 3-3 game when Tino hilariously butted Keith Curle. With exceptional planning, the away coaches were parked at the far side of the Kippax, meaning you first had to walk head first through a human tide of Liam Gallaghers.

To be fair, I didn’t actually get punched or owt. I think ‘aggressively buffeted’ would be nearer the mark. Probably three quarters of their lot called us ‘Jaw-deh C words’ and the rest just enthusiastically implored us to stop their hated neighbours from winning the league. Like we could do anything about it! Dodging elbows, then occasionally high five-ing successfully is no mean feat, I can tell you. It was like an aggressive Mancunian version of the Krypton Factor. Ask your dad. (Or in some cases, Grandad.)

Then in the bumper-to-bumper, snail-like post match traffic we sat for an eternity outside a particularly shabby Frank Gallagher looking bookies, in the salubrious environs of the aforementioned Blade Runner-esque Moss Side. A rather tall, well built looking Rasta gentleman in a particularly striking long black leather coat exited the establishment. He stood stock still and basically stared out our bus. As you’d expect, most were quiet but a few excitable types piped up with a bit grief back. Without moving a facial muscle, he made a great show of pulling open his coat and rather theatrically going for something large in his inside pocket.

“Hee’s gorra fookin shootah!” a chap in front of me helpfully speculated in an ejaculatory manner. Cue, most of the bus diving for cover.
About 5 seconds later M14’s version of Bob Marley strode off into the night, chortling to himself with his formerly rolled up copy of the Sporting Life now open at page 7.

Those were the days. City were often a bit shit so you’d usually go there and get something. You could have a pre match pint in the away end at the wonderfully named ‘Bert Sproston’ bar for 2 groats and it has to be said, a full swaying Kippax was a sight to behold.

Fast forward to 2018.

The shiny City of Manchester Stadium is literally a world away from the grime of Maine Road and the playing staff have a similar record to the Harlem Globetrotters. Apart from a wonderful drubbing by two whole goals to nil in the League Cup a few years back we haven’t put a mark on them since they became Thai, then Saudi owned.

Here’s a question. Would you want to be like them? Going from ‘has been’ non entity to the richest club on the planet with Pep as your manager and Sergio breaking records for fun. Or are you a purist in old school football and political / human rights terms, the very thought an anathema to you? Well, whatever your view, here’s the thing. We could / should’ve been them. Sheikh Mansour had us in his crosshairs well before he got enticed by derelict mills, flat bitter, Barm cakes and erm I dunno, Britpop.

Our glorious benefactor headed to the Middle East with evil cohort and all round hateful arse,  Derek Llambias. He went out and got mortal, turned up late reeking of ale, tabs & kebabs then demanded “400 fackin Mill” at a time when that amount was even more fantastical than it is today. The immensely affluent and influential Muslim fellow who presumably abhors poor time keeping, excruciating rudeness and the stench of yesterday’s hedonism strangely declined our man’s offer.

I digress. I’m clearly trying to avoid talking about this Saturday’s ‘match’ and I apologise. Discussing it is rather integral to the plot of a preview. So, here goes…. I don’t believe we’ve got a chance in Hell of winning and I’m not too hopeful of nicking a point either. The Premiership is a sick joke, mismatching teams each week. Massive Citeh vs the Mighty (£21M in profit) Mags quintessentially underlines this.

What I do reckon is that we won’t get absolutely battered. Our Manager used to be trying to get somewhere with his hands tied behind his back. This Summer, our strangely self harming owner basically decided to tie his feet too.  Despite all of this, Rafa knows how to put out a stringently organised team. We’ve just witnessed a world class Chelsea with 80% possession rely on a joke decision and an OG to despatch us. City are better than Chelsea so as our right back’s mam would probably say, “you do the math.”

Sun fawning failed ex managers, dwarfish, wonky eyed flat track bullies, non entity ‘shock’ jocks and hairy handed gym slip predators (with discredited dickhead Glaswegian sidekick in tow) will no doubt have a Satanic style beIN Sports sponsored party following this one. Me and you? We’ve just got to keep the faith in our boy.

On this occasion, I’m going for the same scoreline deficit as last season. 2-0.

Yours, praying for a miracle.

Nick Clark.