I realised there is no write up on the internet on all the classy things Manchester City do / have done, that make them more aristocratic than the rest. While the Premier League media always debate around the money spent by Manchester City, over the last decade plus, the Abu Dhabi Group owners of the sky blues have always aimed to touch humanity more. Manchester City are doing some really touching stuff on and off the field.
Here I am not talking of just charity – like their £500K donation to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital or the same amount given to an upper Manhattan school in New York to build an all weather pitch or the Manchester City FC Sierra Leone project (initiated by Craig Bellamy) encouraging people with kits, bus and ground to play football and form a team. Neither am I talking of reaction to tragedies. Like after the Munich disaster, Manchester United got support in various forms from clubs like Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester City, amongst others. Nor of players visits to hospitals and speciality centres.
What am talking here is of pure grace, executed without the need to do it, but done only to touch lives.Things which their rival clubs are unable to match or execute. However a brief glance at Manchester City’s history will say the club has often risen above petty matters to do something that sticks to the mind forever.
Tony Petrie and I list eight of ManCity’s classiest unforgettable acts.
1. Top of the list has to feature the best and the most consistent Premier League player this decade, David Silva. El Mago missed chunks of City’s ‘Centurions’ season to visit his prematurely born son Mateo, and partner, in Valencia. Mateo spent five months in hospital after being born in December 2017, two and half months ahead of schedule. Once he got cured, on Aug 2018, Silva took to the Etihad Stadium turf holding son Mateo. Manchester City’s chosen mascot for the day got lump in throats along with a great reception by fans prior to their clash with Huddersfield Town.
2. On the same match day, the ManCity management arranged to get all the players of the 1987-88 season ManCity team, who had played and beaten Huddersfield Town 10-1 at Maine Road. The scoreline is historical and inviting all the XI gentlemen to the stands, very classy.
3. Mid September 2018, Manchester City informally set a record for having the oldest mascots in Premier League. Vera Cohen, 102, led out the teams as City faced Fulham at Etihad Stadium, along with her 97 year old sister Olga Halon. Vera has been a regular at matches for more than 85 years and still goes to every home game with Olga, son Danny and son-in-law Roger. Vera embraced Pep Guardiola in the dugout before kick-off and the pair spoke with him after the game.
4. Back in 1941, Manchester City willingly shared their then home ground, Maine Road, for eight years with Manchester United after Stretford was bombed during the Second World War in 1941. Their ground was unfit to play in and Manchester City charged United only £5000 pounds a season plus a share of the gate receipts. This was considerably less than the amount United had demanded to allow City to ground share after the Hyde road fire in the 1920’s. Later in late 1950s, City allowed United to use Maine Road for European games as United had no floodlights.
5. Back in the mid 70s, Manchester City stepped in twice to play in the FA Charity Shield in 1972/73 and 1973/74 when the then FA Cup holders and English League winners, for whatever reasons, refused to take part. City won the shield in 1972/73 beating Aston Villa 1-0, but lost out the following year to Burnley by the same score.
6. Manchester City’s registered charity CITC (City in the Community) is in the forefront of the Annual Premier League and BT Disability Football festival. Started just two years ago, the festival welcomes participants from 25 Premier League and English Football League clubs to the City Football Academy. Youngsters from across England and Wales who regularly participate in disability sessions supported by the Premier League and BT, have the unique opportunity to play football and learn new skills at the home of the Centurions.
7. The fourth round 1954/55 FA Cup saw the blues play arch rivals Manchester United in front of a 74000+ crowd at Maine Road. Funnily this match is remembered for Man City players appealing to the referee not to send off Allenby Chilton. The referee issued the United centre back his marching orders, but the City players sportingly tried to change the referee’s mind. City won that game 2-0.
8. While on the CITC, formed in 1986 to forge links between the club and the people of Manchester, some 200,000 people of all ages have been benefiting from CITC schemes in one way or another, ranging from disabled to the needy. Recently the CITC expanded its vision with announcement to support nominated charities with practical help and grants of up to £25,000.
Co-writing: Tony Petrie
Sources: TheNational.ae, BBC, EuroSport, CitytillIDie, PremierLeague