We all need a little PEP TALK sometimes, don’t we?

Recently, there’s been much talk about Pep Guardiola’s pre-match comments regarding Manchester City’s chances of winning the champions league and how he felt the club’s home fans needed to push his players more. Was he right to dampen down expectations? Was he right to ask the fans to raise their game too?

In my opinion, he was 100% right to do both.

It’s no secret that I am blue through and through. Born in Manchester brought up on the notorious Hattersley council estate and went to my first game when I was 6, where I sat on the white wall of the Kippax watching City reserves v Bury reserves.

I was actually knocked clean off that wall that day by a wayward clearance from club captain Tony Book (who in later years became a good friend). As l got back to my feet and my big brother put me back on the wall I realised that my club was like no other I was ever going to come into contact with.

Tony book asked a police officer to escort me and my brother to the player’s tunnel at full-time. He did and I was invited to watch Colin Bell and Mike Doyle play head tennis. My passion was ignited that day and it has burned bright for the last 50 years.

My history with Manchester City is well documented Fan, Media Relations Officer, Chairman’s assistant, Chief Operating Officer and Board Director. Yes, all my boyhood dreams came true. I was never good enough to wear the shirt but David Bernstein, John Wardle and Dennis Tueart thought I was good enough to head the team behind the team.

When Pep asked the fans to push the team harder I totally get where he is coming from. The spirit of Maine Road, The Kippax and The North Stand has never really found its unified voice at the Etihad. And there are lots of reasons why.

The core of the Maine Road support are no longer seated all together, the core support is older and the younger and new supporter base has yet to connect with what has made supporting Manchester City a badge of honour to be proud to wear.

There were many times fans would say they have supported City through ‘thin and thinner’. Too many managers, poor football, relegation after relegation, debts, ageing stadium this list goes on. But even when City plunged to the depths of division 2 they still attracted 32,0000 to Home games, the largest away support ever recorded the largest junior supporters club in the land and award-winning community programme, and with Sky Sports pioneered the first ever pay per view football on TV because the sadly missed genius Vic Wakeling knew then that our supporters who could not get tickets to the Oxford away game would pay to view the team they loved. And we did in our 1000’s.

The Pep factor has given City fans something to truly shout about, the badge of honour is no longer worn because of our ‘Cups for Cock-ups’ reputation. Manchester City are winners but the Spirit of Maine Road, the Kippax and The North Stand must be re-energised and it’s for the younger and newer fans, our ‘Next Generation Blues’ to step up and take on the baton from our class of 98/99.

I urge any fans who were not around at Wembley on the day that changed our club forever to download the game and take in the passion, the tears and the relief that was felt on the terraces that day. Join one of the Clubs magnificent supporters’ clubs, sign up your son, daughter, brother or sister to the junior blues, read past copies of the king of the Kippax and Bert Trautmans helmet fanzines and then empty your lungs every time the mighty blues take to the pitch.

Finally, we have a manager and owners who have given us a team we can be proud of but for me, we must as fans take on the motto that was on our badge in the dark days but stayed with us until we returned to the top. Blues, we are no longer invisible men!

Superbia in Proelio – Pride in Battle.

City Til I Die
Chris Bird