I miss looking up the league table with false hope or down it with trepidation. I miss reading about fights on the training ground. I miss sitting in a stand without a roof.I miss press reports about rifts in the dressing rooms and a lack of team morale. I miss the paparazzi sitting in trees at our training ground.
I miss my club spunking £3-£5m on a lower-league journeyman because he once scored against us. I miss the dead bird hanging from the Kippax roof to scare away the pigeons. I miss the abandoned games because of a waterlogged pitch.
I miss the outside toilets behind the Kippax stand. I miss the Football Pink at 6pm sharp. I miss the club paying four managers at the same time. I miss caretaker managers. I miss managers with moustaches and flat caps. I miss not seeing a goal for three months. I miss Joey Barton being our great hope. I miss the pride of a City player representing England, if only briefly and disastrously.
I miss a certain chairman’s toupee. I miss queuing at the ground for five hours for a Wembley ticket. I miss play-offs. I miss terraces. I miss us playing in laser blue. I miss Buster Phillips, Ged Brannan and Kare Ingebrigsten. I miss relegation fights. I miss not winning away for a whole season. I miss our massive floodlights. I miss David Pleat skipping across the pitch. I miss paying on the gate. I miss guessing which match number the home fixture was that week.
I miss our nearest rivals hoovering up trophy after trophy. I miss us being everyone’s 2nd team. I miss the surge of excitement at the possibility of a City player being nominated for (but never winning) the goal of the month competition. I miss enviously watching other fans travel to Wembley. I miss the rumours about debt and administration. I miss having to sell our one decent player to balance the books.
I miss terrorizing Europe. I miss our owner being on the run. I miss being relegated as champions. I miss playing at the Theatre of Base Comedy. I miss Eddie Large sitting on the bench. I miss him giving half-time team talks. I miss Curly Watts. I miss misshaped stands, I miss obstructed views. I miss slagging off our right-back. I miss City’s season ending in January.I miss the false hope of thinking that this might be “our year”.
I miss being last on Match of the Day. Or not being on at all. I miss barely appearing in Sky’s Premier League Years, except when losing. I miss teams beating us without having a shot on target. I miss that banner at Old Trafford. I miss round two of the League Cup and I miss the Auto Windscreen Trophy. Boy do I miss our manager resigning after just one month.
But the truth is that apart from the Football Pink and terraces, I miss none of it. Smiley face.