The Squeezed Middle or why I feel sorry for (most) Manchester City fans.

Manchester City fans have my sympathy.

Most of them do anyway.

At the moment, the bulk of supporters of Manchester’s blue club are stuck in the middle of some proper bolloxes.

On the one thigh, they have a heap of Johnny-come-lately douchebags – of the type particularly hated by real football fans – seduced by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s oily dollars.

On the other, they’ve got an oscillating number of bile slingers who define their City support through vengeful chants celebrating a disaster that happened before most of them were born.

I am sure their inhabitants ‘like’ football, but neither of these groups speak for football fans.

The first group, ignorant of the history of the club is ignorant too of the history of the game. They will most likely know, Man Utd. fans make it really hard for them not to, that City haven’t won a major trophy for 35 years. But they probably think that’s reasonable given that ‘The Big Four’s Arsenal have gone SIX YEARS without one! Once we get into ‘The Big Four’, they reason, then it’ll all be ok.

A top four position, and the ticket to Europe’s elite competition that comes with it is becoming the end to the Premiership’s means. It justifies, in the minds of many fans – the group currently being considered in particular – any amount of tactical unadventure. Once we get into ‘The Big Four’, then it’ll all be ok.

This position is fair enough, really, if a bit annoying. It’s not fans’ fault after all that football is presented in these little pieces and that ‘football history’ is now such that for Arsene Wenger to survive six years trophylessness verges on the miraculous. It is good, too, that all types of people and all types of agenda have a place with in the game isn’t it?

Well, no, not really and that segues nicely into the second type of fan currently being given voice at Eastlands: the Idiot.

Paul Wilson wrote in The Guardian last week that it was ok for Manchester City’s fans to call their United counterparts ‘Munichs’ because it defined their own un-United identity (paraphrased in that way it sounds more ridiculous than is fair – you can read the whole article here). I don’t think that’s right for many reasons, most of which are fairly obvious and have to do with respect for the dead and some things being more important than football, one of which is that it conflicts directly with the agenda of the above group of newbies.

The Manchester United team of 1957-58 was the second English team to play in Europe. The first was the Manchester United team of 1956-57, when they reached the European Cup semi-final. This is strange, given that the European Cup was first won, by Real Madrid, in 1956. So there were no English teams? Right. That’s because FA secretary Alan Hardaker (“I don’t like dealing with Europe. Too many wops and dagoes”) had bullied champions Chelsea, whose 1955 title win was incidentally their last until Mourinho arrived, out of competing.

Manchester United manager Matt Busby (as he was then) defied Hardaker and the FA to lead his famous babes into Europe. Having pledged to ensure that no league fixtures be missed, Busby and his team took off from Munich-Riem airport in treacherous conditions in order to ensure they fulfilled their league fixture against Sheffield Wednesday, which they did anyway with a team made up of reserve players and a programme with a blank page below ‘Teamsheet’.

The Manchester United team who crashed at Munich, the players (like Duncan Edwards – capped for England at 17) who died, were trailblazers. They put European football on the table for English clubs, they literally gave their lives for that cause. Chanting about ‘dead bodies on the runway’ is not just crass it is totally bloody stupid. It has no place in any football stadium, especially one which also houses fans for whom European Football is the purpose of domestic football – it makes them seem even more ignorant than they really are.

The squeezed middle at Manchester City, those fans who know their history and respect the Busby Babes for the doors they opened for English clubs in Europe, know what I am talking about. They need, like the ‘squeezed middle’ Camegg are always on about, to speak for themselves; at the moment their voices are drowned out by loud-mouthed idiots.

Don’t forget to follow @calumcm and @gdfeet4abigman on Twitter. And check back tomorrow for some more goodness from the Big Man.

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35 Responses to The Squeezed Middle or why I feel sorry for (most) Manchester City fans.

  1. m beany says:

    The ‘squeezed middle’, as you so call it, also know when we’re being unfairly tarred by a brush whose strokes seem to miss the equally guilty fans of United, Liverpool, Leeds, Chelsea – to name but a few.

    Its a monumental case of double standards by writers like yourselves. Objectivity is part of your job – remember that.

    • Calum says:

      You’re right, I could have written a very similar piece about almost any club. I chose Manchester City because:
      1 – It looks like they may make the Champions League this season
      2 – There were Munich chants again last week

      My point, though, is that every club has some idiots who shout louder than the rest. I think it’s a particularly pertinent situation at City right now though where there are also a lot of new fans on the one side, and a lot of diehard ‘Munich’ haters on the other – that’s why I chose to write about them.

  2. John says:

    As a red since 1960 i love the mickey being taken out of City, it’s all part of the banter. But this isnt the way to do it. I’ve felt trapped in the middle of day trippers and mindless idiots for years. The real City fans observed the 50th Annivesary of the disaster perfectly and should be given credit for that. Let’s take the Mick for as long as we can but this is hypocracy at it’s best. When we stop abusing the scousers about Sheffield we can hold our heads up high but sadly that time hasnt come yet.

  3. CiTyBlUe says:

    I am a 35 year loyal fan City fan from a family of City and United fans and wish to stress how much of a complete toffee nosed stuck up high above their status slaphead pot calling kettle two faced hypocrite this author of this article is.

    Thats right half my family are United fans, the other City fans diehard and actually born in Manchester, thats not Greater Manchester but more Manchester proper.

    I do not condone Munich chants but I believe in freedom of speech, United fans do and have chanted Hillsborough songs against Liverpool for decades. Liverpool fans are also guilty of abusive chanting as are Millwall fans and Leeds fans and so on, are you getting the drift.

    I don’t want your pity because no matter what I support any and all City fans because they are my people, so take your sorry pitying opinion and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

    Definition of this Article: Pot calling Kettle hypocritisism of the highest order.

  4. Neil Crosby says:

    I’m a City fan of 55 years and you imply the so called ‘squeezed middle’ are in the minority. The first and middle group are really one. All very aware of the club’s history with even though some have not lived through a period on success. We are aware of true City legends Lee, Bell and Summerbee but those who are not old enough to have lived through City’s greatest period of success suggest Richard Dunne was a City legend. There goes the difference but that’s all it is.

    The third group you mention are an absolute tiny minority of idiots which all clubs suffer.

    There would be nothing better for me to see the excitement of a very large proportion of City fans, those are under fourty, to witness their team to glory for thr first time by lifting the FA Cup and qualification to the Champions.

    The sheer joy and emotion on the faces of those fans will be something rarely witnessed in football.

    • Calum says:

      Fair enough, if I do imply that fans like yourself are a minority then I’m sorry – that wasn’t my intention. You agree though that a loud mouthed minority are giving fans like you a bad name?

  5. CiTyBlUe says:

    If I was amungst the author group of this blog I would have you ousted for this very piss poor and down right hypocritical article.

    Your kind are what is wrong with society, people who love to judge others but never themselves, people that think they were above everyone else. the insane thing is you were probably born on a council estate as common as muck and you act like the kind of people that make me sick.

    You pathetic excuse for a human being.

    • Calum says:

      I would suggest that if you were made part of the author group then the standard of writing would drop significantly.

      Seriously though, why am I hypocritical? This is an article condemning those City supporters who chant about Munich and revel in it as if it were a good thing. It would be hypocritical of me if I wrote while agreeing with them, spending my time singing about runways etc. – which I don’t.

      I don’t act as if I am above everyone else, just above scumbags who sing about a disaster in which 20 people died. Whether I was born on a council estate (which I wasn’t) or a country estate (which I wasn’t either) I am entitled to do that.

      Freedom of speech innit.

      • CiTyBlUe says:

        I don’t see you attacking United fans chanting Hillsborough songs, you would probably deny that they do. Just your sheer childish little dig about if, I were part of this rubbish blog that it would be a drop in standard clearly shows you for what you really are.

        The fact is your just another City hater in a long line of City haters giving it the biggun because this blog allows you too, how about this for standards.

        I run a City blog ranked by google with a regular reader count of 80’000+, when you can achieve that on your own, then you will have solid grounds to judge my standards.

        Your worse than those scumbags you ever so drastically highlight, truth be told you probably were not even born back then so you think it gives you the right to get all high and mighty about it just because you chose to support United afterwards.

        To me your just as much a punk as the people you attack.

      • Calum says:

        What is your blog called?
        I hope you use the spell checker before you post… Your apostrophe usage in particular needs work.

        Of course United fans (of which I am not one) sing Hillsborough songs. That is repugnant too, but it doesn’t legitimize City fans’ Munich chants.

        If I had written the exact same article except with ‘City’ swapped for ‘Utd’ and the context of ‘Munich’ swapped with that of ‘Hillsborough’ would you have been happy? Most likely, and that is because you, my friend, are a HYPOCRITE.

        Did you actually read the article? In it I say that most City fans don’t chant that bile – as the above poster commented the vast, vast majority were very respectful of the anniversary. It does those fans, and you, a huge disservice to launch yourself into a rabid defence of the chanting neanderthals.

    • Graham says:

      And as someone who is part of the author group (and glad that you are not) please keep your comments constructive please. This article may be controversial amongst City fans but is one that is applicable to many clubs if looked at rationally – as the author has pointed out.

      Freedom of speech has nothing to do with this. The author is not suggesting that the fans should not be allowed to sing Munich or Hillsborough songs (although this has been done rightly or wrongly in Glasgow) but that they should not want to and that it takes a certain type of person to take delight in that pain felt by the families and clubs involved.

      To be honest I’m not even sure you know what the word hypocritical means, please come back when you have calmed down from your morning vitriol and developed some decent arguments.

      • CiTyBlUe says:

        ‘decent arguments’ your having a barf chap, and I can not believe I am even on here talking to you inbreds so with that said.

        Carry on hating City because were thriving of your hate, actually they should bring the Carry On series back and base it on you lot.

        Title: Carry On Hating

        Your just all pathetic and need to wake up, theres more important things to seriously talk about.

        Your just crying and whining because your lives are obviously very dull and uninteresting.

  6. leeyiankun says:

    Munich is a united marketing scheme nowadays. THAT is the real tragedy.

  7. CiTyBlUe says:

    Bang on Leeiankun

    United have profited from and commercialised the Air Disaster, that is absolutely the real trajedy.

    They also promoted their club recently in Chile by using the Chilean mining disaster, thats right even their so called legend Bobby was there having his photo taken with Chilean miners who were trapped.

    Absolutely pathetic club United are.

  8. CiTyBlUe says:

    Dont make me laugh Callam, if you right now swapped the word City for United and targetted United fans right now I probably would never of even visited your poor excuse of an article.

    You show your level of childishness by pathetically picking at others mispelling and mis-punctuation, that is the act of a typically stuck up and self righteous human being.

    See anything about United I tend to evoid like the plague, for me despite the fact half my family are United fans. To even think of clicking on anything to do with United is a sin in my book, lets be honest here that you would not slander any other club or fanbase right now other than City because your a City hater full stop.

    You have took advantage of the situation just to vent your anger and hatred for City, you hide behind the subject of abusing chanting just to get your kick which makes you no better than the abusive chanters.

    • CiTyBlUe says:

      p.s. I thought i’d make your life a litle hapier, giv you something more to pick on.

      • Calum says:

        Probably would have been best for everybody if you hadn’t clicked on it.

        Anyway, it’s been fun but that’s enough from you now. Good luck next season.

      • Kate says:

        Don’t really want to start this all again but can’t help myself. I feel you have become very defensive over something that has not been said. If indeed Calum had been a city hater who was out to pick on and single out Man City, you may (although not in the way you have chosen to display your emotions, have been allowed to be annoyed.

        However take Man City out of the equation and put any other team in who have got hateful chants and you can address what the article is actually saying. The fact that these chants are permitted and deemed acceptable within a football stadium is wrong. They wouldn’t be accepted outside of the stadium so shouldn’t be inside. They are disrespectful and disgusting and need to be stamped down on. This is the case for all teams including Manchester United and Manchester City.

    • Eddie says:

      “Manchester City fans have my sympathy.”

      First line of the article, doesn’t sound like a City hater from that really.

      • Calum says:

        Cheers Eddie.

      • Editor says:

        CiTyBlUe posted again here. His reply has been deleted, as will his future responses.
        There is a limit to the amount of abuse our authors will take, and we are not prepared to accept mindless abuse directed at our posters.
        The Big Man.

    • Kate says:

      Don’t really want to start this all again but can’t help myself. I feel you have become very defensive over something that has not been said. If indeed Calum had been a city hater who was out to pick on and single out Man City, you may (although not in the way you have chosen to display your emotions, have been allowed to be annoyed.

      However take Man City out of the equation and put any other team in who have got hateful chants and you can address what the article is actually saying. The fact that these chants are permitted and deemed acceptable within a football stadium is wrong. They wouldn’t be accepted outside of the stadium so shouldn’t be inside. They are disrespectful and disgusting and need to be stamped down on. This is the case for all teams including Manchester United and Manchester City.

  9. Neil Sherwin says:

    The author bashing is really pointless. Manchester City is the subject matter of the article so there’s no point in deflecting to other clubs, there’s plenty of stuff out there about them.

    As for the piece itself, the bad apples will always stand out and the nasty work of a few will overshadow the good of the majority. It’s the way of the world and there’s no point crying foul when somebody writes about it. What I will say is that it’s all pretty much been said before.

    City have their fair share of poor fans and thousands upon thousands of great ones. Unfortunately you’re more likely the read about the former than the latter as it’s more news worthy. Again, nothing revolutionary there.

  10. David says:

    As far as I can make out this article attacks City fans who sing hateful and disrespectful songs and also declares a dislike for those New City “fans” who follow the team not out of loyalty but because it is fashionable. Unless the author is a singer of those songs or is one of those fashion conscious fans then he is not a hypocrite. Offence could only be taken if the reader sees this as an attack on City and not on appalling behaviour in general. I think the author has made it clear, in excellent English, that the purpose of the article was to denounce the latter. I wonder whether this thread with lead to an article in sympathy of the objective (as far as one can be) football fan?

  11. Aaron Salter says:

    Totally agree with the article. Like m beany said at the start, all clubs have a hardcore of idiot fans who use football to draw up boundaries and hate other fans to the extent of celebrating a tragedy. You should thank CiTyBlUe (who can barely write let alone make a coherent argument) for illustrating this. His very first post says it all: “I don’t want your pity because no matter what I support any and all City fans because they are my people”. Good job he wasn’t a German in the 1940s…

    Keep up the good work Calum

  12. Neil says:

    I had originally scrolled down to post comments similar to several of the above.

    I would’ve pointed out the obvious – observance of the anniversary silences at Maine Road/COMS, that Frank Swift and Matt Busby both enjoyed success at City, and despite having attendend more matches than I can count, that I have never actually heard anyone sing “who’s that dying on the runway”.

    I’d point out that I could list any number of United chants – “My old man”, or as an Arsenal fan, you’ll be better acquainted with “There’s only one Arsene Wenger…” – that contain horrificly bad language or that some will take offensively. But I’d also point out I believe it to be a non issue; every set of fans I know of has something in the hymn book that is crass and specifically designed to rile the enemy. Players are sometimes be no better – Robbie Fowler celebration, Liverpool Everton anyone? Rightly or wrongly, and like many people I know, I think of that kind of childish behaviour as just part of the game.

    I’d finish by saying that as with whatever demographic slice of society you take, large groups of people will always contain the odd twat. However, “Cityblue’s” pathetic rant demonstrates that point with more conclusively than I can articulate with a key board, and I have been totally distracted from my original intentions.

    As an aside, I can’t imagine anyone to be daft enough to feign loyalty to City for glory hunting purposes. Only saedo masochists

  13. Tom says:

    Good blog Calum. Please don’t let that goon’s bizarre diatribe influence the way you write things in future (perhaps I should say ‘right things in future’), he seems to be one of a tribe who just float around the internet posting on football websites.

    If someone were to write an article just saying ‘Liverpool.’ they’d immediately have 20 comments from people saying ‘what about Arsenal?’ etc. underneath.

  14. Hendo says:

    CiTy BlUe

    Classic Retard.

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  17. Calum says:

    Dear All,

    To see what I meant to write last week take a look at today’s (much better) post:



  18. CFC BLAINE says:

    callum i disagree with your point on man city fans who call the supposedly united fans munich’s idiots as every derby team have a nickname that is usually nasty and very vindictive about a teams past events. arsenal fans and any apposing london club fans to spurs call them yids and sing songs about tottenham fans going to aushwitgz. I can certainly understand where these disrespecting Man city fans come from as they had to endure constant abuse from united fans about history. another chapter in the book many man united fans haven’t realised is the agreement between man united and man city just after the world war when old trafford was bombed that man city signed a agreement with man united to share maine road for a few season until old trafford was re built. (biggest mistake in the history of the man city football club fans opinion) man united fans and man united football club have never thanked man city for this if it wasnt for the ground move agreement there would be no such club as manchester united. so to say Man city fans are bad for calling united fans a little word such as munich ok they are disrespecting a major disaster that had a heavy affect on a lot of people but isnt this just the norm for derby rivals to make nicknames up for each other surely you must understand supporting arsenal being major derby rivals to tottenham. man city are not the only team to disrespect man united about the munich air disaster so i think pushing the boat on man city is a little unfair.

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