So much is made of the time honoured words ‘Typical City’ – the self deprecating tag that long suffering Manchester City fans have attached to their team over the decades. It’s a reference to their club’s innate ability to seemingly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Former playing legend and later City Chairman, Francis Lee once said: “If there was a cup for cock ups, City would be perennial winners.”
Such an unfortunate talent for inexplicably losing and shooting themselves in the foot has largely been banished since Sheikh Mansour’s 2008 takeover, but not completely eradicated.
It came crashing back into the City psyche when Pep Guardiola’s team suffered a devastating 90 seconds against Real Madrid – conceding two goals in added time – before eventually losing the Champions League semi final 6-5 on aggregate.
The spectre of ‘Typical City’ loomed large on May 13th, 2012 with Roberto Mancini cussing and cursing on the Etihad touchline, his team losing 2-1 to QPR as the match went into ‘Fergie’ time.
A star studded City comprising Aguero, Silva, Kompany, Yaya Toure, Dzeko, Tevez, Balotelli, Zabaleta, De Jong et al, were blowing City’s 44-year quest to be Champions of England. It had seemed inconceivable that City could lose to a struggling QPR when the match kicked off, but 92 minutes later it was the mother of all ‘Typical City’s’ – one that would haunt the club for eternity like no other.
Of course as we all know goals from Edin and Sergio transformed almost certain catastrophe into delirious, unbridled ecstasy for the blue side of Manchester, with THE most extraordinary climax to any Premier League season, either before or since.
Typical City is a term synonymous with failure, be it woeful performances, comically ‘criminal’ boardroom decisions or just being generally and fundamentally inadequate. Those two words are owned by the City supporters, reserved exclusively for a club which couldn’t help but keep getting things wrong.
However, one look at City’s history – yes, that thing which others would have you believe City don’t possess – and it reveals a very different interpretation of ‘Typical City’.
When top flight titles are on the line and City are in pole position on the last day of the season there’s a Typical City to which every man, woman and child who bears a sky blue hue can attest – their team doesn’t screw up when destiny rests in their own hands.
It began 54 years ago when Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison’s team edged a 4-3 away win at Newcastle, to win the old First Division by two points from Manchester United.
Blue Blood City legend, Mike Doyle, reflecting on that day May 11th 1968, said: “For sheer drama, excitement and honest-to-goodness endeavour that match will take a lot of beating. What a way to win the title. We faced two consecutive away matches, won them both and scored seven goals in the process.
“What team would have the courage to go out and play in that manner today?”
Tragically, Mike was no longer with us when the Aguerooo Moment came along and answered his question, with City once again beating United to the title, only this time on goal difference.
Two years later under Manuel Pellegrini, City sealed the Premier League with a comparatively comfortable 2-0 win over West Ham, courtesy of goals from Vincent Kompany and Sami Nasri in 2014. Pellegrini’s men had hauled themselves back into the title race after trailing Liverpool on the run-in, taking the crown by two points on the last Sunday of the season.
The most recent example of City retaining their composure and staying cool in the blistering heat of the final day fixtures came at Brighton, with a come from behind 4-1 win to crown their coronation in 2019.
City go into Sunday’s match with Aston Villa with a one point and six goal advantage over Liverpool. It will be the fifth time City have been top of the table on a final day and if Pep has his team firing on all cylinders, it’ll be his and City’s fourth Premier League title in five years.
Yes, of course there’ll be some nervous tension, even in some quarters a degree of trepidation amongst those of the old school ‘Typical City’ teachings, but we’ve been here before and not been found wanting. We haven’t buckled under the pressure before and we won’t this time.
Together, Pep, his team and we as diehard Blues supporters, will once again taste victory and be proclaimed ‘Champions of England’. That’s who we are and that’s what we’ll remain come Sunday evening.
That, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls is your modern day ‘Typical City’!
Dedicated to a true Mancunian City Blue, a man I am privileged to call my friend for the past 17 years, on this the day of his birth 70-years ago. Happy Birthday ‘Guvnor’ David Kelly – your best birthday present should be delivered early tomorrow evening.
By David Walker