Thursday, May 30, 2013

DENVER CITY BLUES



With City completing an incredibly successful post-season trip to the United States, where the club succeeded in raising its profile on numerous levels, this is Part Two of our reports from the US and reveals the efforts fans make to follow the club
This is what it's like to be City, Stateside

 
Joe Beauprez – Treasurer, MCFC Denver

Denver, Colorado USA

 ___________________________________________________

Being a passionate City Supporter in the USA has never been the easy road; the list of ‘lovable losers’ here is comprised of very few teams, all of them in ‘American Sports’ (Cubs and Browns fans, take a bow) and one’s affection for them almost always down to having been born in their respective cities.  Choosing a team (not to mention an English Football team) outside of one’s hometown is generally an exercise in taking the safe road.  I originally came to support City through my love of Manchester’s music; what was good enough for Ian Curtis was good enough for me.  What shocked me was how quickly and deeply the connection took hold. I’m every bit as emotionally invested in City as I am the Denver Broncos, my hometown NFL team (meaning, terribly, irrevocably and, if you ask my wife, maddeningly invested). 


Being a City supporter in Denver has always meant embracing a willingness to endure the sticks, stones & harsh stares from ‘them.’ As recently as a few years ago, it wasn’t unusual for there to be only a few of us Blue shirts at the pub, even on Derby Day. Surrounded by a sea of red, but safely insulated by our commitment, love and unexplainable passion for City, come what may. The reds don’t understand why we love our club, but it doesn’t matter. We’re secure enough to not care that the misguided hordes think a trophy case full of silverware means they’re better than us. Silly them; truth will out. 

I’ve been thinking/talking/tweeting the last few weeks about our dear club. Some of the true believers may have felt cause to question the direction of the club, the motives of the board, and if not their own willingness to carry on, at least to once again undertake the internal discussion as to why self-torture makes any sense at all. 

Few can question the Ambition of those in charge. Personally, I’ve been viewing everything through a filter of Authenticity. Does the Club remember who it is? Does it really care who supports them? Does it value the communities, not only where it currently resides, but where it seeks to gain traction (read: USA)? Can I still be proud of my Club? Does City still feel….like City? 

Pete Wright, DenverMCFC Chairman with unknown City fan before the game
The tragicomedy of the timing of the Mancini rumors followed by the FA cup disaster certainly felt to all who remember like the City of old, as most negative events do. The difference, to me, are the events that have followed on. City have lined up a manager who, by all appearances, can take the foundation of success and the winning attitude that Mancini created, almost from nothing, and build a lasting modus operandi into the team DNA, one that mirrors and even exceeds those of ‘old guard’ English & European clubs. City has also come to America, not (only) with money and splashy PR-ready events but with grass-roots, community focused camps and football activity to ensure generations of support, rooted in a deep and Authentic love of club. 

Was there a certain brutality to the treatment of Mancini? It’s hard to argue otherwise. But is the City board now sincerely doing its best to do what we never thought possible – win at every level, every year? Also hard to argue otherwise. 

My love for Manchester City will not waver if I never live to see another trophy. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like to win. That said, I’d never want my club to feel like something other than City. I will defer to the ‘old-timers’ whose memories bear the scars of decades of heartbreak and to whom the success of the last few years must still feel as strange as inhabiting another person’s reality. This ‘new City’ is all well and good as long as it’s still City – Authentically City. True Blue. We support the shirt, we support our club. Winning is alright by me……but no matter what, I’m City Till I Die, I’m City Till I Die, I know I am, I’m sure I am, I’m City Till I Die. 


What was for some time only a few blue shirts in Denver has grown to, by our count, 20 to 30 committed supporters, including a couple guys from Manchester. Hard to say when we’ll finally have a ‘sea of blue’ here but we’re on our way. We have grown by being Authentic. It is said that you don’t find a club to support, the club finds you. To the extent we can, we are drawing new supporters for the club through pride and devotion, and those who are drawn to that are finding us, and finding Manchester City. Just as we can feel good things coming for the Club, we feel good things coming for our special group of Blues here in Denver, and for our fellow OSC chapters in the US, many of whom we were able to meet in St Louis. We have a wonderful home pub at The Armoury in Denver, which has been as supportive a pub as any Supporters Group could possibly ask for. During the last Derby, for the first time, we dramatically outnumbered the reds in attendance. That’s something I never expected to experience, not this soon at least. 

Such is the life of a City Supporter in 2013 that the offseason still carries with it the continued weight of hope and anticipation, albeit of a decidedly more positive nature. In years past, those emotions would be needed to get through the inevitable internal discussion, wondering why we’d subject ourselves to another year of this. Now they focus on thoughts of more silverware and another year of bragging rights. It used to be enough to hope for a quiet morning in the pub without constant taunts from the Red Menace; 3 wins out of 4 in the league over 2 seasons, along with an FA Cup Semifinal victory, have turned the volume down on that a bit. No group talks smack from ahead like United fans however, and #20 has brought the trolls out from under the bridges once again. They never learn - we can’t be bothered by their taunts; everything that happens for us lately still feels like so much gravy. 

City’s move towards the annual expectation of silverware has taken some getting used to for all but its most recent supporters. The desire of those from outside the Blue Circles seems to be to paint the team (and the supporters) with the same broad brush as other big, Nouveau Riche “Pretenders” and their fans; heartless glory hunters who wouldn’t know tradition if it rose up from League One to hit them across the back of the head. 

What they still haven’t realized is that being a true City Supporter is in and of itself a glorious tradition, one that no sane person would willingly choose for himself (save those who’ve taken it up in the last couple years). Our tradition binds us together, gives us a common language; our suffering makes us a proud family, Authentically Blue.  

You can follow the Denver Blues on Twitter  




No comments:

Post a Comment

Other Tedious Stuff

Poets and Lyricists