“How long is it until the result stands?” I asked my Twitter followers (yeah, I know; I just shamelessly plugged my own Twitter feed (look, I did it again! Shameless!) in an attempt to get more followers), moments before a Vincent Kompany header powered City into a 0-6 lead at Turf Moor. You may laugh, but City once had a cup game with Luton abandoned due to the weather when they were leading 1-6 and went on to subsequently lose the replay.
Though that was back in the 1960s.
The most recent example I can think of, having done no research into this whatsoever, of a City game being lost to the weather was a Worthington Cup tie with Ipswich. I remember getting very wet on my journey to Maine Road that evening, thanks, partly, to the length of my walk from the car to the North Stand, but, mainly, to the fact that my mother decided an umbrella wasn’t necessary because the rain “would pass”.
We should have twigged that weather predicting wasn’t her forte, given that, in June of that year, she took three jumpers on a holiday to Spain. And I didn’t make that up.
Anyway, the match wasn’t called off and City got three more precious points – on a weekend when Liverpool and Tottenham both dropped points, I hasten to add – and an extra +5 to the Goal Difference column. Oddly, my regret about that match was that the goal difference wasn’t better, given how dreadfully Burnley were defending. And I feel that “dreadful” is being very generous to their first half performance.
At the final whistle, I dared to wonder something, too. And I’m going to dare to type it now, risking the wrath of fellow blues should I happen to jinx the season and/or the club. But that game on Saturday evening wasn’t ‘typical City’. ‘Typical City’ would have had that game called off for the weather. ‘Typical City’ would have conceded two or three to make the goal difference gain less. ‘Typical City’ might even have drawn from 0-4 after 20 minutes.
But none of that happened.
In a stunning move, City did something totally out of character, normal and wholly unexpected: They won from a very comfortable position. If there’s anything City fans didn’t expect it was that Saturday afternoon would run smoothly. In fact, it’s probably been one of the best weeks to be a City fan in three decades.
That actually says more about the last three decades than you’d think.
The odd thing is, being a 22-year-old City fan, the only true success I’ve seen at the club was a single season under Kevin Keegan; the football was the best I’ve seen from a City team, until this season came along, and it ended in a championship. This current season, therefore, is, by definition, the most successful I’ve seen – City are sat in fourth and there’s six games to go.
Speaking of which, it’s fitting that, since I said Tottenham have taken the initiative and gone to become favourites to get the coveted fourth spot, I note that I go away on holiday and return to find City in the driving seat once again.
And it’s a measure as to how far we’ve come – I’ll actually be disappointed if City don’t finish fourth. Eleven years ago, I was very nearly disappointed that we could have spent another season in the Second Division. And now we’re fourth in the Premier League with six games to go… AND (once again) favourites to finish there.
You’ll have to excuse me while I go and do a little excited dance.
Tottenham’s fixtures aren’t easy… In fact, April will be the making of them, with consecutive home fixtures against Arsenal and Chelsea, followed by a trip to Old Trafford. Liverpool are chasing both City and Tottenham on points, but, admittedly, would appear to have the easiest fixtures – though tough European fixtures too means it’s not going to be a doddle for them to catch up.
And that brings me to City’s games… Arsenal away and Man United at home. Anything less than six points from the Blues will be a disappointment, of course(!). Getting six points will be as easy as reporting on a Premier League match and seeing a red card… Not a given, then, by any stretch of the imagination.
I’ve a funny feeling City vs. Tottenham on Wednesday 5 May is going to be the fixture where it’s all decided. I’m so, so nervous about this run in; mainly because I’ve never seen the like of it from City since ever. Well, since the time they won the European Cup on my local park in front of a disappointing crowd of six people and a dog… Though I may be confusing that with a dream I had mid-last year.
But, with this season, has ‘typical City’ died a death that it should have done many (blue) moons ago? We’ve got six games to find out. Unless City do finish fourth, then we have the summer to find out too – ‘typical City’ would finish fourth, qualify for the Champions’ League and then find out English teams were banned, or have an asteroid wipe out humankind. Or both.
Either way, I’d strap yourselves in, put down any valuable possessions, and hold on to your hats because this is going to be one hell of a bumpy ride.
And that goes for you, Tottenham and Liverpool fans, too. The race for fourth has been tough on everyone involved and I can honestly say that, whichever team does finish there, will truly have earned it… Because the rest of the teams fighting for it won’t have given them a moment’s peace.
May the best team win.
As long as it’s City.
Written By David Mooney