After writing an article in response to City’s ‘worry’ about us singing the racist Adebayor song, I got an e-mail from a fella called Jack who is behind the City blog, The Lonesome Death of Roy Carroll. If my track record for receiving e-mails from City fans was anything to go by, I was fully expecting a hate-filled rant, calling me a Munich bastard and ending with the hope I died in a plane crashed. However, I was pleasantly surprised.
See, Jack is a decent sort. Not that he has softened feelings towards United or United fans, but is one of many blues who isn’t too keen on mocking dead or singing racist songs. Honestly, they do exist, although sadly, rarely on derby day.
He is the son of a Salford blue, who are an even rarer type of City fan, and lives in London. He gets up to Wastelands for a few games a season but his majority of live football experiences are watching City away down south.
I asked him a few questions ahead of derby day to get an insight in to our rivals’ heads.
Scott the Red: Which buy have you been most impressed with so far?
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Gareth Barry. He has a huge weight to carry. We have effectively been playing 4-2-4 with Barry and Ireland in central midfield, and while Ireland has been quiet so far Barry has been immense. His control, his tackling, his passing is all immaculate. We look so much more secure with him there. Having grown up with men like Jamie Pollock and Ousmane Dabo in holding midfield, it’s a huge step up.
STR: City recently forced out club captain Richard Dunne, who was just one season short of his testimonial with the club, after serving years as a loyal servant to City. How do you feel about him not even being given the opportunity to fight for his place, now that the team are experiencing positive changes on the pitch, and sold with the excuse of ‘balancing the books’?
J P-B: I think it leaves a very nasty taste. I have no problem with Mark Hughes’ decision to use the money to buy in new, better centre halves. City and Richard Dunne have been moving in opposite directions for the last year. My problem is with the way it has been handled. If what Dunne has said about Garry Cook is true, then it suggests a lack of respect for a real club icon. Many City fans feel very uneasy about this.
STR: Carlos Tevez traded his red jersey for a blue one this summer but since signing can’t stop talking about Sir Alex Ferguson or his love for United fans, after previously claiming he wanted to stay at Old Trafford forever. What do you make of his transfer?
J P-B: We’ve been the fortunate beneficiaries of Tévez throwing his toys out of the pram. Lots of factors played in our favour: the wages we could offer, the sense of ‘the project’, his being settled in Cheshire. He did seem to have a good rapport with the United fans but I’m not sure that’s a reason not to sign him. And I’m not sure United fans still return the love to Carlos either.
STR: As Carlos Tevez was getting out of the car ahead of signing for City, fans in the background were chanting “Carlos Tevez is a blue, he hates Munichs.” This song has since been heard during every game City have played in. What do you think?
J P-B: I hate it. I hoped that Munich songs were being phased out after the memorial derby last year – and I think there has been a decrease in songs about the disaster itself – but the use of name ‘Munichs’ for United players and fans is as prevalent as it ever has been. It’s an embarrassment and a disgrace. I’m sorry to say that if games this season are anything to go by there will be a lot of it, which is obviously quite disgraceful. I quite like ‘Fergie, sign him up’ though.
STR: Can you remember a time when your fans have chanted for Frank Swift, other than the Munich memorial game?
J P-B: No. I find the Frank Swift stuff bemusing. There are some City fans who say that we shouldn’t sing about Munich because one of our own (Swift) died: the implication being that it is only the death of Swift which demands respect or remembrance, and that had he survived it would be ‘fair game.’ This is obviously an absurd and offensive position. I must say that hearing people disrespect Munich is by far the worst thing about being a City fan.
STR: Spurs started the ‘His dad washes elephants, his mum is a whore’ chant for Adebayor when he was an Arsenal player. City fans have now adapted this to ‘He’s hung like an elephant, his wife’s a bit sore.’ What do you make of these?
J P-B: I hate it too. I can’t make my mind up whether it’s worse than the Tévez song or not. It probably is. It’s certainly racist.
STR: Manchester is lodging a bid for the World Cup 2018, with our stadium recently hosting the Champions League final, and yours hosting the UEFA Cup final. What do you think of our chances?
J P-B: I certainly think both Manchester stadia deserve World Cup 2018 matches. Old Trafford might have a decent shot at a quater-final too, if not a semi.
STR: Which United player do you think will pose you the biggest threat on Sunday?
J P-B: No points for orginality but Wayne Rooney is the player I’m most worried about. He bears a heavy weight on his shoulders this season. I’m also hoping that Rio Ferdinand doesn’t recover from his injury in time – United look a much better team with him alongside Vidic.
STR: Which City played should we be most concerned about?
J P-B: For the first time in my lifetime I think we might really compete in midfield. Gareth Barry and Stephen Ireland are a good combination and we might play Nigel de Jong as well, who is a very tough player. Given that all of United’s midfielders barring Darren Fletcher look out of sorts (has Carrick recovered from getting schooled by Xavi yet?) we might just have a chance.
STR: What are your predictions for the final score?
J P-B: I’m confidently going for 1-1. Even if we concede early I’d back us not to fold. And Carlos will be up for it.
STR: Lots of blues are getting giddy about your prospects, with one even getting a tattoo hailing City as 2011 Champions League winners! Where do you see City finishing this season?
J P-B: On current form I think Spurs are just going to beat us into fifth, leaving us in a satisfactory sixth place, which should just be enough for Sparky to keep his job providing we don’t completely mess up the domestic cups.
STR: And finally, having not won anything since 1976 and watching United claim trophy after trophy, I imagine City fans are really craving some silverware. However, how do you think it will feel if City win something this year in comparison to how it would have felt 5 years ago?
J P-B: Of course, it would have been great to build a team slowly and take them to success. But the dominance of the ‘big four’ is such that it is impossible to break in. Look at Everton – a fantastic manager in Moyes, and real stability – and all they have achieved is one fourth place finish and one FA Cup final defeat. The sad fact is that the only way a mid-table club can win things now is through a major cash injection. I wish there was another way but there simply is not.
STR: Middlesbrough, Leicester, Portsmouth, Blackburn and Spurs have all won silverware in the past ten years, either through the FA Cup or the League Cup, and Spurs are the only ones who have done it on the back of big spending. But certainly, to break in to the top four it is going to take a considerable amount of dosh. Anyway, thanks for answering so honestly!