City Women goalkeeper Andie Worrall has been a die-hard Blue since the age of twelve. Having experienced the many ups and downs the club has been through over the years, she shares her story with us...
As a City fan, to be able to play for the club is a dream come true - especially at the top level. I first joined City in 2001 but I still get the same feeling that I did when I was a teenager, pulling on the shirt. It's just amazing and I can't wait for the new season to start.
My first game was in 1989. A week after the 5-1 derby, my dad decided to take me to Maine Road. We won 3-1 and if I remember rightly, David Oldfield scored.
I remember being in ‘windy corner’ at the Platt Lane End with my dad, my uncle, my brother and my grandad – who sadly is no longer with us. It was a real family day out and every time we scored, my dad lifted me up onto his shoulders.
Before the game, my brother had told me to look out for Paul Lake – or as he called him: 'the one with the flowing hair'. He told me all about the week before when Lakey played against United and it didn’t take long for him to become my favourite player. It was so sad what happened with his injury. I was gutted for him.
Where I grew up, it was completely dominated by United fans. In my school in Dukinfield, I was one of a only handful of Blues. I’m sure a lot of fans can relate! Even the teachers would pick on me.
I used to have an art folder with pictures of City players all over it. Keith Curle was one of them. I got some abuse for that because at the time, United were winning absolutely everything and we won absolutely nothing. The most excitement we had was relegation scraps!
To be honest, I didn’t think that we’d ever win anything in my lifetime. I think we got to a couple of quarter-finals and semi-finals but in Typical City fashion, they always let us down.
Now, it’s a completely different story and here we are, fighting for honours! I was there when we ended the drought and won the FA Cup in 2011. That was probably my most emotional day as a City fan. I just cried all day and all my friends were laughing at me before they started crying as well!
The semi-final against United is probably my favourite match. That was amazing and I think that was the day we officially arrived.
Though of course, I can’t ignore the QPR game. I was in Benidorm that weekend and I booked a flight back to Manchester. The week before, I’d given my brother my ticket but I ended up taking it back off him, getting a flight out of Benidorm after two hours sleep before arriving back in Manchester at 1 o’clock.
I raced to the game and endured the most torrid time. I fell into the seat when we went 2-1 down but I told my friend that I wasn’t going to leave the stadium. I couldn’t bring myself to stand up until Edin Dzeko scored and my friend told me I had to. And of course, the rest is history. I don’t remember much from after the game to be honest!
Over the last few months of that season, I almost ended my relationship over football! During the run-in to the end, we lost to Arsenal and I was in a pub full of Reds. My partner’s a Red and it got a bit heated. I stormed off in a taxi like a spoilt child and I thought that was it – the title was gone.
And then I went on holiday to Tenerife and United drew 4-4 with Everton. Suddenly, it was back on. I was absolutely unbearable to live with for those six weeks. I was a horror and I can feel it sneaking back in now.
God help us if we ever have to play them in the Champions League final!
At the end of the day, it’s not life and death but try telling me that before the derby in March! For now though, I’m pleased to say that my partner and I are still going strong.
It’s hard to pick my all-time favourite player. Of course, I loved Lakey but I also liked Ian Bishop and Uwe Rosler is another one. I remember going to watch City at Newcastle and although we were beaten, Rosler scored and his celebration was just amazing. Shirt off – the lot!
I loved Tony Coton too – he was an absolute nutter and my goalkeeping hero! I remember he was sent-off once for lobbing his gloves onto the referee’s head. He completely lost the plot and then Niall Quinn had to go in net and ended up saving a penalty. I used to love Coton so I was gutted when he went to United.
Who can forget Shaun Goater either and more recently, Nigel de Jong? I was heartbroken when he left. I think even my partner noticed how upset I was. It was like someone had died!
My current favourite would have to be Pablo Zabaleta. He’s blue through and through and he really will fight for every ball.
This year, above anything, I really want us to win the league. Everything else is a bonus, for me. Of course, we’ve got the Capital One Cup in a few weeks so we’ll see how that pans out and go from there.
Here's hoping for another great season...