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What's it like to play in a derby as a City fan?

Nedum Onuoha Manchester derby

Nedum Onuoha Manchester derby

It's one of the biggest games of the football calendar, but how would you cope playing in one as a City fan?


What’s it like to play in a derby as a City fan?

It’s the game we all dream of playing.

Lining up against United in the Manchester derby and giving it our all – but what if it actually happened?

For some players who grew up supporting City, it has and among them is lifelong Blue and QPR skipper Nedum Onouha – here he answers the questions every supporter wants to know…

Is it easier to play in a derby if you’re a City fan or is it harder?

“I think nowadays it’s probably harder as a supporter whereas there were more Mancunians on either team a few years back so you were either a fan or a player – just one or the other. You have your work interest but the longer you stay somewhere, the more if feels like your home. From my point of view, I’d been supporting City since I was eight years-old so to be playing against United could be the worst of both worlds if things went against you because the team you played for had lost and you also felt it as a fan. If you won, of course, it was amazing.”

What was it like the night before a derby?

“It was harder when I was younger but the more you played and the older you get, the more you appreciate the professional game is all about. If you lose, you know your friends are going to get on to you, neighbours and whatever and there would be no way to get away from it, but as you get older, you learn ways to escape. I remember the time Cristiano Ronaldo scored to give United a 1-0 win at the Etihad at a time we hadn’t scored a home goal for about three months. The way the fixtures fell meant they could have won the title that day and we could have been relegated. I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God! What a close escape that was.’

Did you watch the derby as a kid?

“I did go to a few – not as many as I would have liked. When I was at the Academy and got to be a ball-boy a few times, we weren’t playing derbies twice a season because we weren’t always in the top flight, but as I got to as many as I could and if I’m not working, I always watch them on TV.”

How do you see Sunday’s game going?

“Manuel Pellegrini has worked out how many wins are needed to win the title so this is a must-win game for City. Normally it’s a must-win just for bragging rights but this is for a greater goal. I think it could be a great game and I see City coming out on top.”

Finally, how are things at QPR?

“Not too bad but it’s been a disappointing season for us but then again it has been for a lot of teams who were expected to do well – across all divisions. The play-offs are not impossible so we are going to give it our best for as long as we can and see where it takes us.


What the Media Says

M.E.N: City and United face "do or die" derby

Raheem Sterling

It’s Derby Day Eve and with excitement building for the 171st encounter between the Blues and the Reds, the pixelated and paper pages of the media are awash with previews, quotes and predictions.

Saturday's media coverage of City under the spotlight...

First Team News

Pellegrini: Otamendi to be assessed on Saturday

Nicolas Otamendi will face a fitness test on the eve of the 171st Manchester derby to determine whether or not he can take any part.

Manuel Pellegrini confirmed that the Argentine defender, who was forced off injured in City’s draw with Dynamo Kyiv, received a significant kick on his leg on Tuesday night.

First Team News

What's it like to captain City in a derby?

What’s it like to captain City in a derby? It’s one of the biggest games of the season and as skipper, you have to rally the troops before and during the game.

The highs and lows of being the skipper in the Manchester derby