Five years ago to the day, we were preparing for an FA Cup tie against Southampton, the previous weekend we had slumped to a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Blackburn Rovers in front of just 36,950 fans at what was then The City of Manchester Stadium. The drubbing left the club 13th in the Premier League and a run of bad form saw us slipping down towards the relegation battle at the bottom of the league. Our team that day was Weaver, Trabelsi, Distin, Dunne, Richards, Dabo, Ireland, Sinclair, Jordan, Vassell and Corradi with Beasley, Samaras and Miller coming on from the substitutes bench. We finished that season just 4 points from safety, and the difference between survival and what would have been oblivion at the time was some vital goals provided by Belgian free agent Emile M'Penza. If we rewind the clock ten years from this week, we weren't even in the Premier League.
Back to the present, we are preparing for a tricky away game at Everton where a win would keep us at least three points clear on top of the Premier League, we are doing this on the back of a 2-2 draw at Anfield which saw us eliminated from the League Cup in the Semi-Final. The other 36,949 people sat around me enduring the tonking we suffered at the hands of Blackburn 5 years ago would not believe the present day scenario that I have just detailed, it would seem unbelievable. Drawing at Anfield? Making the semi-final of a cup competition? Being 3 points clear at the top of the league in January? If they knew the previous season we had won the FA Cup beating United at Wembley en-route their heads would have exploded.
If we take all of this into account, why are we seemingly finding it so hard to enjoy where we are? As someone that has seen City plummet up and down the leagues I find it genuinely difficult to get angry about the 'new' City. Clearly I get disappointed when things don't go right and we lose a game, but general my mood is one of positivity. As a youngster and into my teenage years I genuinely felt that I would never see the club win a trophy, I mean seriously, could you ever have imagined it when we were struggling with the likes of Gerrard Wiekens and Kevin Horlock, absolute legends to me but I wouldn't have them back now!
Now we play the blame game, "the ref had a shocker", "that was never a penalty", "he's utter rubbish, why do we play him" and perhaps most incredibly "what is Mancini doing, what an idiot!". I don't exclude myself from this mindset, well the last one I do, but the others we have all muttered over recent weeks I am sure of it. The thing is though that these things never change, football fans will always have grievances, but why can't we enjoy ourselves? We have all paid our dues and been through the really bad times, so why can't we enjoy where we are now? Some sections of our support spend hours if not days after a defeat flooding the Internet with messages apportioning blame, desperately trying to find someone or something that can be held responsible for the loss. Isn't it a fact though that sometimes in all sports, you just lose when someone plays better than you? Sure refereeing decisions may hinder, and players may not perform to the tops of their game, but, no team has a divine right to win every game.
I am not the sort of person to criticise these supporters, I wouldn't wish to single out fans of this club, I think generally we have one of the best sets of followers in the country, but I do admit to finding it strange how some people seem to not enjoy supporting City. No one likes to lose and it can ruin a perfectly good weekend, but all things considered at this moment in our clubs history, things are pretty incredible, we should be enjoying ourselves, not getting stressed and disenchanted over a draw at Anfield in the Semi-Final of a cup competition.
The only plea I will make is to give some of our players a break, some of the criticism hurled at Stefan Savic, a 21 year old defender who has been thrust into the deep end is totally unfair, as is criticism of Edin Dzeko, a striker who has scored 15 goals this season. In years gone by we had players struggle to score 5 goals, and now some sections of our support are giving stick to someone scoring 15? At times in the past we have had some really shocking players, but generally we have got behind them, just because we have better players now this should not change, try to support your club, and most of all, try to enjoy it!