Thought I’d quietly write my blog while the football is going on. I feel like I should be typing quietly and writing in muted colours. The country, or at least Manchester, sounds like it is indeed hushed and still.
Though I grew up in Leigh, Rugby League land, football was still the main sport religion, with Man Utd and City fans. Stories from The Stretford End and Maine Road were part of the diet on Monday mornings at school.
There is definitely a Man City supporter typical profile. Cheerful underdog, you might say, with an undying faith in the greatness of the club, coupled with an expectation that something always will stop them living up to their destiny. I think it makes Man City fans very endearing and approachable.
Man Utd fans, in my own humble experience, expect to be the best, and are a little lost when they are not. They only believe in their greatness while they are achieving it, and seem afraid to lose it. Ironically, though they support a mightily victorious club, the fans seem to invoke sympathy!
The clubs really have so little that separates them, and yet there has to be that sporting chasm of rivalry.
I was taken by a brief flashback to 1968 on the news, showing footage of the gracious way that the managers of the two clubs accepted defeat and triumph in that year. Mancini does seem to be engagingly under-stated, and Ferguson does seem mellow these days. I hope, in 45 mins from now, there is a result that the whole city can delight in.
It is good to share in the joys of others. It is good to share the burden of others. It is good to have the necessary permission to do both. By this will everyone know that you are my disciples, said Jesus.