It was in Tian’anmen Square or on the Great Wall that the seeds of the latest contribution to Who Are You? were sown. The Thomas Cook top sort of gave it away that Dan Wild* was a Manchester City fan. He may be the first classics and ancient history graduate to visit China with a tour group and leave without seeing the terracotta warriors (it was an additional part of the itinerary, not included in the holiday he and his wife, Lesley-Ann, had won). Dan offers a bowdlerised version of Niall Quinn’s Disco Pants, thinks it’ll be 2-1 to City or 4-0 to us on Sunday and welcomes the Eastlands revolution and all those dirhams …
So, are Citeh the truly Manchester club or does everyone overdo the idea that most United fans couldn’t even place it on a map?
I don’t think people overdo the idea. There are, obviously, a heck of a lot of United fans in Manchester, but (owing, alas, to their success) the vast majority of fans come from far and wide and most of whom without a doubt will never have seen a live game, many of whom probably won’t even have been to England! City lack the global fan base, hence us regarding ourselves as the ‘local club’ where most fans will have been to games live close to the city.
What were your immediate thoughts when the Abu Dhabi takeover materialised, and what do think about it 19 months on?
My immediate thought was “GET IN!” and 19 months on, into our most successful season in my lifetime, my thoughts remain the same. I see a Blue Moon rising!
You were always considered, certainly by a lot of Sunderland supporters, a proper club with proper fans. Does all that money just make you another brand?
Not yet, and hopefully it won’t ever. However if the money does bring massive success then I fear we may end up being everything we hate about United – a globally supported brand based on success and glory hunters. Whilst those who have always supported the club will remain the backbone of the loyal fan base there is now, I suppose, a danger that we could become a club supported by many who simply see the riches and potential for success. Huge success and retaining the ‘true’ fans is potentially something that may prove impossible. But for now, like Sunderland, we remain a proper club with proper fans in my opinion.
Do you have any anecdotes, handed down or first hand, concerning the players and staff associated with both our clubs? Tony Coton, Niall Quinn, Dennis Tueart, Tony Towers, Dave Watson and Peter Reid spring to mind but I’ll have overlooked some.
Tueart, Towers and Watson were before my time (though my dad often refers to the wing wizardry of Tueart!), but the others I know well. Peter Reid represented for me the most stable and successful manager City had since the early 70s and I will always wonder why he got the boot after a poor start to a season when he had done so well previously. As for Coton – safe hands but now coaching outside Manchester in Stretford for those dirty reds… Niall Quinn is a legend! I always wish Sunderland well (apart from against us of course!) owing to the Niall Quinn connection. We used to sing about his disco pants from the old Kippax stand: “Niall Quinn’s disco pants are the best, they go up from his feet to his vest, they are better than Adam and the Ants, Niall Quinn’s disco pants!” (I believe he was spotted sporting some funky disco pants at some point). You’re in safe hands with him at the helm – a true footballing gent no doubt…. (it’s arse to chest, not feet to vest, Dan – ed)
Memories, good or bad, of past games between us?
Our last game was a bit of a thriller, Hughes’s last, 4-3 and end to end all game, neither team could defend which always makes for a thriller. We have tended to do fairly well against you in recent seasons (sorry…) so most memories are fairly positive for me!
Did you laugh when Newcastle went down?
What were your expectations at the start of the season and where did you think we’d finish? Have you been surprised at our poor form?
I desperately hoped for top four, but expected top six. We’ve done better in the cups than usual too so that was a bonus. As for the Black Cats, I expected a lot more after a positive start to the campaign and with Bent banging them in. You should be a top 8-10 team with that squad so yes, very surprised by the poor form!
Would anything less than top four this season seem like failure, and what are your expectations for next season?
Yes, to be frank. If we don’t finish 4th I can’t see Mancini being retained. Next season I would expect top 4 again but would love to see us win something – anything! It’s been so long!
And did you feel Mark Hughes had done all he was going to do for the club or should he have had more time?
To be honest I felt he should have gone in the previous season when we were flirting with the bottom of the table at Christmas. Having stuck with him through that I was shocked when he was sacked mid way through a successful campaign. We were in our first semi-final in my lifetime and on track for a top 4-6 finish. Plus we played some awesome football which has been sadly lacking under Mancini. Really we should have stuck with him to the summer and seen where we ended up.
Greatest City figures you’ve ever seen, great signings you want to make and any players you wish you’d never seen?
Andy Morrisson – centre back supreme in our Division Two days. Gio Kinkladze – legend. Ali Benarbia and Eyal Berkovic were playmakers of the top drawer too, wonderful to watch. Shaun Goater – complete lack of co-ordination but everything he touched hit the back of the net. And more recently of course Carlos Tevez looks like becoming a City great if he sticks around. Signings I’d love to see – Gerrard and Torres pinched from the Scousers, Messi of course but I doubt that will ever happen no matter how good we get, maybe Anton Ferdinand… 😉
Club vs country: rooting for England in S Africa or too concerned about your club?
Club first every time for me, but of course when the World Cup comes around I’ll be cheering on England and hoping for that bit of luck you need to go all the way!
Was Wayne Bridge right to exclude himself from international selection and to refuse to shake John Terry’s hand?
No and yes. I can understand his reasons but it’s the World Cup Wayne, get on the damn plane! ?
The Eduardo question: a blatant dive, unseen by the referee, wins you the penalty and the winner in the last second of the last game of the season and you’ve clinched a top four place. You take it gladly, you take it guiltily or you feel so ashamed you almost wish you hadn’t won?
You take it gladly. Everyone else goes mental at you but what do you care – it’s forgotten about after a while and it’s you in the Champions League. Only person to really blame is the ref for not spotting it! I do believe a blatant dive should be a straight red though, but to enforce it properly you would need the 4th official to be able to look at the replay I think.
Will you be at our match and if not, how will you keep tabs?
Alas no, too far to travel and too much money. I’m a seasoncard holder here and am yet to see us lose at home this season but away games are few and far between. It will take me a while to get over the last time I went away… Was at Old Trafford when we were knocked out of the cup. Nightmare.
What will be the score?
2-1 City, Tevez double, Bent to grab one for you. Tense finish… but we often fluff our lines away so it could be 4-0 Sunderland just as easily!
* Dan Wild, pictured on a slowish boat in China (Shanghai to be precise), on Dan Wild:
I’m 25, live in the city centre in Manchester. City seasoncard holder and have been (though in the past thanks to my dad!) since 1996 – strangely I started going regularly after we got relegated from the Premiership! Been a blue all my life and don’t regret it one bit, we’ll get one over our neighbours one of these days. I’m a primary schoolteacher by day, and a married soap watching couch potato by night. Best City fans’ site for me is www.bluemoon-mcfc.co.uk
Good luck for the rest of the season (after our game of course!).