Football: Symons falls victim to the City curse

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The Independent Online
Suffering Manchester City fans have been exploring the theory that their club is cursed for longer than most care to remember. It is a sign of desperation that Leeds United supporters with memories of the Revie era will recall only too well.

One should, of course, dismiss such things as nonsense. As the sages of the game always say, you make your own luck; it certainly has nothing to do with any past visitations by malevolent gypsies or the like.

However, the more perilously City teeter over the abyss of the Nationwide League Second Division, the more one is tempted to suspect the influence of forces beyond Frank Clark's control.

Take, for example, poor Kit Symons. Barracked mercilessly by City fans who do not rate him as club captain, the former Portsmouth man is relieved of the armband by compassionate Frank - only to mark his return to Maine Road on Saturday with the own goal that gave Wolves a 1-0 win.

"You have to feel sorry for the lad. He played very well," Clark lamented, confirming that Kevin Horlock, who took over the captaincy at West Bromwich Albion last week only to be injured in the first minute, will be out of action for up to six weeks.

If things do not improve, Symons may feel the only option is to leave - but even that, it seems, is no guarantee of leaving the curse behind. He has only to examine what happened on Saturday to his former team-mate, Michel Vonk, for confirmation of that.

After a year out through injury, the Sheffield United defender made his comeback at Norwich, conceded the own goal that put the home side level and was then sent off for a second bookable offence nine minutes from the end - leaving just enough time for Norwich to steal an 84th-minute winner.

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