The Last Word: Why City no longer belong to me

The Tevez affair has cast a shadow over Blues season and, title or not, has left many fans yearning for purer times

I was at Newcastle in May 1968 when Manchester City won their last championship with a thrilling 4-3 win. But I'm in Toronto today so I won't be at the ground to witness City's moment of glory around five o'clock this afternoon. Apparently, the latest information suggests that City's owner, Sheikh Mansour, isn't going to the match either.

He isn't looking after grandchildren, as I am, and one would assume that neither has he been ringing the box office hoping for a last-minute return ticket for a game that has long since sold out, so we have to assume he isn't that interested.

He did go to a match last year, when City beat Liverpool 3-0. It seems odd after such a convincing victory if he went back to Abu Dhabi and banged on the front door of the palace shouting, "I'm never going to watch that miserable lot again", evoking from his wife a plaintive, "Did they lose again, petal? Never mind. Tea's nearly ready".

I have some sympathy with the man. After all, what can you get for a lousy billion pounds these days? Out of the Champions' League at the group stage, out of the FA Cup in the third round, out of the Carling Cup in the semi-final, out of the Europa League after the second tie; all he can point to for the money he lavished on his blue toy is the Premier League title (we devoutly wish). No wonder he's staying home and watching the QPR match on TV.

Are you detecting a muted enthusiasm here from this City supporter of over half a century? Is it possible that the man who can recite match scores, goalscorers and team line- ups from the 1955 FA Cup final onwards isn't as ecstatic as you might suppose at the prospect of the second League title of his lifetime and only the third in the history of his club? Sadly, yes. For all the hosannas and the hoopla that will echo round the blue half of Manchester today, for all the fact that the red half will be clouded in despair and shrinking with fear of a future that will almost certainly contain more of the same, my eyes will remain undimmed by tears.

When Carlos Tevez refused to play against Bayern Munich, for whatever trivial reason, something died for me. The juggernaut of a team that was being assembled at huge cost finally slipped its moorings from my increasingly desperate attempts to reconcile it to the club whose fortunes have dominated my waking hours for so long. It wasn't just Tevez or Adebayor or Robinho. It wasn't the hypocritical way in which the club betrayed their own initially principled stand in a slavish, humiliating volte face because Manchester United looked like they were going to sneak past us.

It wasn't even the embarrassing departure of the unlamented co-executive chairman whose leaked email made fun of one of the players' mothers who was suffering from cancer.

It was the recognition that somehow this team doesn't belong to me. For years, the City players had embodied my hopes and fears. They were the personification of my dreams. Not just Lee, Bell and Summerbee or Tueart, Owen and Barnes but a lot of poor players whose names would sully the pages of a decent newspaper. Their ineptness frustrated me but they played for my club so what could I do? Now the team stand proudly at the summit of the Premier League and fully deserve to be there. Yaya Touré, Aguero, Silva, Kompany have all had a wonderful season and I admire them enormously. I admire them but I don't love them. Not the way I loved Glyn Pardoe, Alan Oakes and Neil Young. That's my problem.

Last September, when Tevez behaved worse than my three-year-old grandson before bedtime, I resolved to do something about it. I began work on an updated version of my childhood memoir Manchester United Ruined My Life in a desperate attempt to see if I could understand this shift in lifelong behaviour patterns. Manchester City Ruined My Life deals with matters other than football. It deals with the death of my wife and my best friend, both from multiple myeloma. It deals with the processes of bereavement, ageing and dating again in the 21st century as a widower in his late fifties. Above all, it catalogues the gradual change from the ecstasy of the dramatic League Two play-off final victory over Gillingham in 1998 to today's unemotional acceptance of the fact that City are now one of the best teams in Europe and the richest club on the planet.

Maybe Sheikh Mansour can't deal with it either and that's why he's watching it on the telly. Give us a ring after the match, Sheikh lad, and I'll tell you all about 1968 and how I hitch-hiked from Cambridge to Newcastle and back and how I shouted to Mike Doyle when he came across to where I was standing to take a throw-in that Manchester United were losing 2-1 to Sunderland...

Colin Shindler is an Affiliated Lecturer in History at Cambridge University. The second part of his autobiography, 'Manchester City Ruined My Life', will be published by Headline on 24 May, £16.99

Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits