Poles apart: how fans of Poznan inspired City's unlikely dance craze
Terrace spectacle sparked by supporters' love of the bizarre and an unforgettable visit by Polish champions
Wednesday 20 April 2011
Wembley was treated to something even stranger than a Manchester City win on Saturday; its first ever staging of "the Poznan". This dance, inspired by the Polish side Lech Poznan, has been the bizarre backdrop to City's season.
"The Poznan" involves the fans turning to face away from the pitch, linking arms, and bouncing up and down. From a distance it looks like a messy waterfall, and on Saturday the first ever Wembley Poznans were performed; first during the announcement of the United line-up, then after Yaya Touré's goal, and extensively at the final whistle. After the brief unpleasantness between Mario Balotelli and Rio Ferdinand, the City players and staff performed the Poznan on the pitch itself, with their backs to the City fans.
It started last autumn. City were drawn in the same Europa League group as Lech Poznan, who came to the City of Manchester Stadium on 21 October. The match was fairly unremarkable; City won 3-1 thanks to a rare Emmanuel Adebayor hat-trick. Much more notable were the Poznan supporters, widely thought to be the best fans ever to come to Eastlands.
Through the game the Poznan fans impressed with their noise, organisation and creativity. They are famous for this: there is footage online of their fervour at an under-12s game against a Tottenham Hotspur side. Flares, singing, bouncing; it is a compelling spectacle and well worth the 1.2m views it has garnered on YouTube. While City fans were initially unimpressed with the backs-turned bounce, politely enquiring of the Polish fans what they were doing, they were won over and soon adopted it as their own. Nothing is quite as appealing to City fans as the irreverent and the absurd, as shown by the inflatable bananas craze.
From the 2-0 win at West Bromwich in early November, it has followed City goals. In January it was performed during the 24th minute of the Cup game at Leicester City, to mark the minute in which Neil Young, then battling the cancer that claimed his life in February, scored against Leicester in the 1969 Cup final. In the expectation of Europa League success, City fans sang "We're taking the Poznan to Lansdowne Road" for months. That venue was swiftly changed to "Wembley" after European elimination, and the promise was kept on Saturday.
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