When you rang me just after six, Mallorca time, last night, we, too, were celebrating Manchester City’s success, though perhaps a few decibels below the level of ecstacy, exuberance and relief that understandably blew you away.
That the Blues won the Premiership on a day of such see-sawing, electrifying intensity and drama is the mark of true champions and, what’s more in the 93rd minute – Fergie time!
And, though the Red half of Manchester will be crying in their beer, when sobriety returns they’ll be relieved the pennant didn’t go to those London upstarts, Chelsea, Arsenal or Spurs – or, heaven forbid, Liverpool.
Though you accuse me of being a closet Red – I’ve always contended I’m just a fan of good football – I’m delighted one of my home-town teams, if not the other, is again the reigning monarch of English soccer, an on-going achievement all us Mancs should be proud of.
But let’s clear up one of your misapprehensions: I wasn’t the one responsible for your conversion to the City faith, as you claim. I don’t remember the fateful day you talk about when, as a small, impressionable boy, I supposedly took you to Maine Road and you were totally hypnotised by the colour blue. I would never have been so cruel.
If I did – count you’re lucky it wasn’t Bury, Stockport County or Rochdale – the visit must have contained a strong caveat, based on City’s past crimes of against football and loyal fans. I would surely have warned, if you follow this lot, prepare yourself for a grim, frustrating ride with a club whose turnstiles should have carried the health warning, ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here.’
Happily, now the oil sheiks have injected nearly a billion and Roberto Mancini has invested the moolah (mostly) wisely, the City manager’s office can dispense with its revolving door (incidentally, can you name all 20 team bosses the club had in the 44 years between Joe Mercer and Mancini delivering title honours? No, neither can I).
So, if only in spirit, I join you and your mates in the aptly-titled Blue Anchor pub, wherever it is in London’s East End, in hailing City’s success. And, so long as they play a brand of football that’s as entertaining as it is enthralling, long may the Blue half of Manchester crow.
PS: You should have taken my advice of a couple of months ago, when I told you to bet a few quid on City winning the title on goal difference. At least it would have paid for your champagne.