For 35 years Manchester City have waited to win a trophy. All through that time they have listened to the bragging of their rivals, United, as they won titles year after year. To top that, their arch enemy secured the Premier League championship, with a 1-1 draw at Blackburn, less than an hour before yesterday's FA Cup Final kicked off. So no pressure then.
But City fans could not have been more jubilant as their team notched a 1-0 victory over Stoke City to lift the oldest trophy in football. You have to go back to 1976 to their League Cup victory at Wembley and back further for their last FA Cup win in 1969. Unsurprisingly, the Sky Blues' triumph yesterday had supporters dancing out of Wembley Stadium.
Rachael Hyde, 30, said: "We've waited 35 years for this. I've got goosebumps. There were grown men crying in there and I cried my eyes out." Her twin sister Clare said they had travelled from Glossop at 6am, wearing wigs and carrying inflatable bananas and flamingos.
There were deafening sounds outside the stadium as fans sang their signature chants of "Blue Moon" and "We're not really here" – the latter a reference to grim seasons in the club's recent past when they descended into the lower reaches of the league.
"Lincoln City away was the worst," said Robert Tootell, 44, a die-hard Sky Blues fan from Urmston. "This is absolutely fantastic. It's been worth all the years of suffering."
Luke Butterworth, 25, a soldier from Oldham in a lucky Spiderman outfit bought for the semi-final, said: "I've kept everything the same, even my boxers. I can't believe we've done it. If we'd lost, I couldn't have gone back to Manchester to all the United fans. But this is a stepping stone for us."
For others, there was no consolation to be had. Celebrity Stoke fan Nick Hancock was seen scuttling from the ground minutes before the end.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said victory for Manchester's two top teams was a moment to savour: "City winning the FA Cup is a joyous occasion for many in Manchester, myself included. Manchester Utd winning their 19th top-flight title is a historic achievement. "
United fans had been hoping to steal the Sky Blues' thunder on a day that began in controversy over a fixtures clash which raised the prospect of the Reds securing their record 19th title (surpassing Liverpool) before the Cup Final kicked off. In the end, Manchester, both blue and red, was able to celebrate in style.Reuse content