Simon Kelner: City's moment of truth. We can't cock it up, can we?

Kelner's view

Share

It started life back in the late summer of 2011. Since then, it has seen so many twists and turns, and endured a number of scandals, sensations and slanging matches. It is principally about money and power, and, for many months, its dramatic narrative has captivated much of Britain. Now, we are about to witness a climactic moment.

I am not talking about the Leveson Inquiry, and today's appearance of Rebekah Brooks, but, of course, the denouement of the 2011-12 football season. On Sunday, the most important of our domestic sporting prizes will be decided, and one of the two Manchester football clubs will receive the Premier League trophy. A seemingly interminable campaign has been distilled to a single, simple equation: if Manchester City defeat Queen's Park Rangers, they will win the title for the first time in 44 years.

Given that City have not lost a single league game at home this season and are 16 places above QPR in the table, you would think that the engravers might as well start work on the trophy now. But none of us who supports City is taking anything for granted.

History reveals that this is a club with a penchant for turning the most promising situation into a disaster, and everyone steeped in that tradition has a corner of his or her mind populated by fearful thoughts about Sunday. I am reminded of a story a club director once told me. It was towards the end of a game in which City were 4-1 ahead. The City supporter next to him was agitated. "Relax, we're 4-1 up," said the director. "I know," came the reply, "but there's 10 minutes to go!"

This fatalism explains why Stuart Hall, the veteran commentator who is a loquacious aficionado when it comes to City, once called our home ground "The Theatre of Base Comedy" – United, in contrast, play at the self-styled "Theatre of Dreams".

Of course, all this refers to old-style City, when we had a toilet roll manufacturer as chairman, and United were, literally, in a different league. For a while, our big local derby was against Stockport County.

But thanks to the ambition of Sheikh Mansour, left, to build a footballing dynasty with enduring links to the community in a deprived area of east Manchester, we don't have to worry about the ghosts of recent history any longer. Football fans are nothing if not sentimental and superstitious – I shall be there on Sunday, wearing exactly what I wore when we won the FA Cup last year, meeting the same friends in the same Manchester bar – but there comes a time when you have to let go of the past.

We have an oil-rich sheikh for an owner, an impossibly cool Italian manager, and a squad of players who would grace any team in Europe. We can't possibly cock it up now, can we? In the street yesterday I saw someone I'd met only once before. "Good luck on Sunday," he said. "Thanks," I replied. "We might need it..."

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Solution Architect - Contract

£500 - £600 per day: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Solution Architect is requir...

360 Resourcing Solutions: Export Sales Coordinator

£18k - 20k per year: 360 Resourcing Solutions: ROLE: Export Sales Coordinato...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Telesales Executive - OTE £35,000+

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest developer of mobile...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The old 1,000 Greek drachma notes and current 20 euros  

Greece debt crisis: History shows 'new drachma' is nothing to fear

Ben Chu
David Cameron leaves Number 10 to speak at Parliament  

Tunisia attack: To prevent more bloodshed we must accept that containment has not worked

Patrick Cockburn
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue
E L James's book Grey is a reminder of how the phenomenon of the best-seller works

Grey is a reminder of how the phenomenon of the best-seller works

It's hard to understand why so many are buying it – but then best-selling was ever an inexact science, says DJ Taylor
Behind the scenes of the world's most experimental science labs

World's most experimental science labs

The photographer Daniel Stier has spent four years gaining access to some of the world's most curious scientific experiments
It's the stroke of champions - so why is the single-handed backhand on the way out?

Single-handed backhand: on the way out?

If today's young guns wish to elevate themselves to the heights of Sampras, Graf and Federer, it's time to fire up the most thrilling shot in tennis
HMS Saracen: Meeting the last survivor of a submarine found 72 years after it was scuttled

HMS Saracen

Meeting the last survivor of a submarine found 72 years after it was scuttled
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Martine Wright lost both legs in the attack – she explains how her experience since shows 'anything is possible'

7/7 bombings 10 years on

Martine Wright lost both legs in the attack – she explains how her experience since shows 'anything is possible'