City’s triumphs and traumas can fund cancer care

If you’re a Manchester City fan you’ll be well versed with the song that contrasts City’s signing of Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero and United capturing the signature of Phil Jones.

‘This is how it feels to be City…’ They signed Phil Jones, we signed Kun Aguero.

Obviously it’s the one that starts out with: ‘This is how it feels to be City…’

It’s not only a very popular terrace chant at the Etihad and on City away days, it’s also the title of a book which compares the devastating lows with the ecstatic highs of being a City fan.

Every Sky Blue knows where they were on that wonderfully unforgettable afternoon of Sunday 13th May 2012, but how many know where they were on 19th December 1998?

AGUUERRROOO – The most exciting climax to a Premier League season ever!

In a nutshell these were the dates that act as ‘bookends’ in a seismic shift of fortunes for every man, woman and child who’s supported Manchester City over the past two decades.

They encapsulate the incredible, nigh on unbelievable, ecstasy of City winning their first ever Premier League title in hitherto unimaginable circumstances, juxtaposed with City slumping to 12th place in the 3rd  tier of English football following a harrowing 2-1 loss at York City.

‘This Is How It Feels To Be City’ is a gloriously comprehensive tome written by lifelong City supporter, Will Linsdell, and is recommended for every City fan.

A ‘must read’ for City fans – This Is How It Feels To Be City – please download the book and make a donation to Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Not only does the reader ride the City rollercoaster of the past 20 years, they also get the opportunity to make a contribution in the fight against a foe bigger than Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal combined – CANCER!

You can download the e-book for free by clicking on ‘It’s only 6-1’ and, if you like it, you are kindly asked to donate an appropriate sum to Marie Curie Cancer Care by texting CTID61 £ to 70070. You just need to enter a number after the £ to signify how much you would like to donate. 100% of all donations will go directly to the charity.

Foundations for a glorious future – without the 1999 play off win at Wembley it’s unlikely City would’ve won the 2012 Premier League title.

It’s an easy read – a must read – not only for those who travelled that path of City’s peaks and troughs, but also for the new generation of fans, those who think finishing 4th in the Premier League and losing a Champions League semi final represents ‘failure’.

Will speaks from bitter personal experience when he recounts City’s all-time low in English football, the day they dropped to mid-table in the Second Division.

Wembley shoot-out drama 1999 – Messrs Vaughan, Whitley, Edghill, Bishop, Taylor, Cooke, Horlock, Wiekens and Goater watch on as Dickov takes City’s penalty.

He was one of those road weary, battle hardened Blues, who was actually at York’s Bootham Crescent ground as City slumped to defeat against the relegation-haunted ‘Minster Men’.

 “I travelled to York against my better judgement as I had already purchased match and train tickets for my nephew, Martyn’s, Christmas present. I can still remember the sheer disbelief and palpable anger among the travelling support when York scored the winner four minutes from time.”

Tears of anguish and pain as City lost the 1981 FA Cup Final replay 3-2 against Spurs.

Nearly 20 years on, Will isn’t ashamed to say he shed tears on that bleak December day – tears of anger. He’s also quick to confess crying tears of frustration and joy along his Manchester City odyssey and, contrary to the lyrics of City’s Blue Moon anthem, he was far from standing alone, when doing so.

Various City players have been the cause of many a tear shed by, diehard, long-suffering Blues. Will recalls two of the lows and one outstanding sky high:

  • Tommy Hutchison scored for City… and then inadvertently for Spurs in the 1981 FA Cup Final 1-1 draw. City subsequently lost the replay 3-2.
  • Steve Lomas – under orders from the hapless Alan Ball, infamously wasted time by the corner flag against Liverpool in the 1996 Premier League finale, mistakenly believing the 2-2 draw would keep City up. It wouldn’t and it didn’t.

That goal, that celebration…The Aguero Moment!

  • You then dash to the opposite end of the spectrum, when all seemed lost at 2-2 against QPR, time ticking down and City about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as only ‘Typical City’ are capable…and the Aguerrroooo Moment!

Will and Martyn couldn’t get tickets for the match which saw City crowned Champions of England for the first time in 44 years, but they watched it on TV together and shared tears of joy as the Etihad erupted into utter bedlam.

Iconic image – Paul Dickov’s late late show saved the day at Wembley in 1999.

Good and bad, happy and sad, these are all iconic memories for City fans, many of who wore the 35 trophy-less years as a badge of honour during a period of thin, thin and positively anorexic times.

Three-and-a-half decades when City’s ever self-effacing supporters maintained an amazing sense of resilience and humour, characteristics the Swamp-dwellers at the Theatre of Screams will never understand in a million years.

Captain Kompany rises high to score the winning goal which secured a 1-0 win over United and a Premier League double in 2011/12.

Yes, the Reds have suffered the likes of David ‘Football Genius’ Moyes and LVG, but that’s nothing compared to managers of the calibre of Alan Ball, Phil Neal and Frank Clark at Maine Road.

‘This Is How It Feels To Be City’ covers Will’s formative years as a starry-eyed youngster in the mid ’70s right up to the ‘pinch me and I’ll wake up in a minute’ present day.

Final Day Farce – Alan Ball was City’s manager when they played out a 2-2 draw against Liverpool, not realising they needed a win to avoid relegation.

It captures the essence of what it means to be a City fan, complete with self deprecating humour, and oft misguided optimism even when the forward line ‘boasted’ Barry Conlon & Chris Greenacre, not forgetting the lamentable Lee ‘Badbuy’ – a snip at just £3m from Portsmouth.

The book’s ‘plot’ centres on the momentous 1998-99 play-off winning year and the 2011-12 campaign. The author intertwines the two pivotal seasons, as we follow them in parallel to their respective glorious conclusions.

Weaving out a Wembley win – City keeper Nicky Weaver was a hero back in 1999.

The reader gets to relive the moment we first saw the now familiar imbecilic expression of Phil Jones, only for it to be transcended by the blonde and bespectacled silly cow in the red cardigan – the United fan who stopped clapping as news of City’s win over QPR filtered through to the crowd at Sunderland.

Beaker from the Muppets – oops sorry, an easy mistake to make – it’s Phil Jones celebrating coming 2nd in 2012.

Pure comedy gold, surely never to be surpassed.

The book covers tumultuous times. First, when City so nearly sank without trace at the end of the ’90s, and second, when they fell eight points behind with just six matches to go in 2012, before somehow dragging themselves out of the abyss in a way even a Hollywood movie script would never dare suggest.

Why always him? On a day when Mario was Super and not Mad, City took United to the cleaners 6-1. Another routine win at The Swamp.

The beauty of this book lies in that you just know the author has lived every minute of City’s crazy ride from barren lands to rich pastures, from infamous defeats at Wycombe and Lincoln to almost routine wins at Old Trafford, along with regular Champions League adventures at the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Historic achievement – Kompany and Mancini with the Premier League trophy on that wonderful day in May 2012.

Without the heroics of Wembley 1999, the late late show from Kevin Horlock and Paul Dickov and the penalty shoot-out win, it’s highly likely the 93:20 goal wouldn’t have come to pass.

Now, in the present day, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are light years away from the hapless happenings of December 1998, and arguably well advanced on Roberto Mancini’s 2012 title winners, with new and exciting chapters beckoning.

Pep is aiming high – very high – with his new look City squad in 2017/18.

But, if there wasn’t adversity along the way it wouldn’t feel like City.

Only by reflecting on the trials, traumas and yes, triumphs, of the past, can the prospect of an era of unparalleled success be truly appreciated.


By David Walker

There’s a saying you ‘don’t get owt for nowt’ – something for nothing – but you can actually download ‘This Is How It Feels To Be City’ by Will Linsdell free of charge.

However, if you have a conscience or an ounce of decency (which of course you will because you’re a City fan) please make a donation of whatever you can afford to Marie Curie Cancer Care charity by texting CTID61 £ to 70070. You just need to enter a number after the £ to signify how much you would like to donate.

100% of all donations will go to Marie Curie Cancer Care.

All author’s proceeds from the sale of this e-book will be given to Marie Curie Cancer Care. Registered charity, England and Wales (207994), Scotland (SC038731).

Thank you. @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu


  1. October 12, 2017  5:11 pm by Richard Cooper Reply

    Will find time this weekend to look at this, David.

    • October 12, 2017  5:50 pm by David Walker Reply

      Cheers RC - a genuine take on City's last 20 or so years through the eyes of a true blue. Hopefully it'll help raise a few quid for cancer care at the same time.

  2. October 13, 2017  9:56 am by Wilbur Reply

    Thanks for doing this Dave, it really is a wonderful charity supporting families at their time of greatest need. Writing the book was a real labour of love. Thinking about it now, the clip you see of the guy at the QPR game with his face screwed up in anger whilst he beat his City scarf, epitomised what was going through the minds of all fans that had witnessed the lows of York, Wycombe, the Macclesfield local derby etc. Here was the chance to make up for all the times we loyally followed the Blues fruitlessly and here we were, screwing it up and handing glory to the sheisters down the road again. When it all came good, only the supporters that had known the Pollock own goal, the Lomas time waste and the handful of quarter-final surrenders, could truly feel the ecstasy of the Aguerooooo moment. The fact that this was virtually everybody in the stadium that day, made it all so special. Despite all the riches, City's biggest asset will always remain those hardcore fans who would turn up in their thousands for a home game with Northampton or Southend. This is how it feels to be City!

    • October 13, 2017  10:47 am by David Walker Reply

      It was both a pleasure and a privilege to help put the book on the radar of the Read But Never Red readership. We can only hope it raises awareness and encourages City fans to click and download 'This Is How It Feels To Be City' and make a donation to what is, as you say a superb charity that helps people at the most difficult of times.

  3. October 13, 2017  2:22 pm by HeavyRiffs Reply

    I hope for his own sake that the wind never changes around Phil Jones!
    Top stuff David.

    • October 13, 2017  2:43 pm by David Walker Reply

      Even Hurricane Beaker - he of The Muppets fame - couldn't alter those moronic gormless features :-)

  4. October 16, 2017  5:21 pm by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

    I can't text donations overseas. Is it OK if I donate to Cancer Research here in Israel?

    • October 17, 2017  12:21 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yes, of course, that's incredibly 'decent' of you to even ask and speaks volumes for your integrity. As ever, many many thanks.

      • October 23, 2017  4:36 pm by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

        Done - the equivalent of £10 was donated to Israeli Cancer Research.

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