Are Manchester City Really Ruining Football? Ask Neil Young.

True BlueCorrespondent IDecember 11, 2010

Neil Young at Wembley
Neil Young at Wembley

As a City fan, I clearly see the disparity between what the club does and how it does it, and how the club is portrayed in the media.

For many months now, City fans have been getting rather hot under the collar about this unfair imbalance. Now, however, I would say that most City fans are basically indifferent to the press.

There is also a small number of fans who are taking the battle directly to the press, and having success in changing how some reporters and commentators go about their business.

But there is a long, long way to go before the press see Manchester City as they truly are, a club at the heart of its community and with its fans central to its existence.

The money City's owners have spent on players and the sacking of Hughes have blinded many in the media.

The lazy reporters at the "redtops" are blinded. There are those who are obviously based in London or in the thrall of Sir Alex Ferguson, so they do not see the reality of the developments at City and what City stand for.

The press have decided not to investigate what City do, but further they are ignoring anything positive that City does.

A prime example of that centres on the plight of a City great, Neil Young.

Neil, or Nelly to many Blues, is a true legend at City. His cultured left foot scored all the important goals in the glory years of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

A local Manchester lad Neil was the epitome of homegrown talent. He was born and bred quite literally in the shadows of Maine Road.

My dad played football at school with Neil, and I went to the same school that Neil and my dad did. Like so many from Manchester, I could empathise with him like no other famous City player. 

Over the years though, Neil felt betrayed by Manchester City (with broken promises from the new chairman Peter Swales) and slowly drifted away from any official involvement with the club.

His name was never mentioned whilst Peter Swales was in charge, and even under Francis Lee (his old teammate) he didn't re-enter the City fold.

It is tragically sad that he missed out on the years of adulation from the fans that still remember him as a great.

But now Neil is bravely battling cancer and may not have long to live; it is tragic that such a thing should happen. The fans that were robbed of a chance to let this footballing great know how they feel knew something had to be done.

The fans made it clear on City forums that they wanted some way of telling Neil how important he is to the club and how he is remembered.

Then Manchester City were drawn against Leicester City in the FA Cup.

Neil had scored the winning goal against Leicester when City last won the cup whilst wearing the famous black and red shirts.

There seemed the perfect opportunity for fans and club to do something.

Fans suggested to the club that City wear a replica black and red kit for the Leicester game and that fans use red and black scarves for the occasion.

It took only a few days for the club to agree, and the idea became a reality.

So the club has again done something that doesn't match the image that the press want to portray of them.

They have reacted to fans' needs and desires, again.

They have seen the importance of an occasion to the club's history and an ex-player.

They have put in place something that no doubt will cost them money and take time and effort to organise in a short space of time.

They have done all of that with no great fanfare in the press and for all the right reasons.

It hasn't been reported at all in the media.

To City fans that is not surprising, and in truth no longer of any real importance. We are City and we know we are the greatest club in the world. Greatness is not measured simply by trophies, and the values of community, history and youth are celebrated more at City than any other club.

It might take others a little time to understand that, but understand it they will.


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