On Wednesday June 17th, City will be making our eagerly awaited return to action with the resumption of Premier League action when we entertain Arsenal.
After more than three months since we last played, we can’t wait to get back on the pitch - though everyone at the Club is just sorry that, for now, you can’t be with us due to the safety restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We all know that football is simply not the same without you.
We are pleased to be able to play again, but nothing can replace the emotion, passion and sense of togetherness felt when we stand side by side in our home watching the beautiful game.
Our players will miss you, Pep and our staff will miss you, we will all miss each other.
But City want you to know that we are doing all we can to find ways to bring you into our stadium and to make sure that you can experience the match in the best way possible.
In the meantime, we want you to follow us every step of way as the first team squad returns to the game we all love.
Which is why, to herald the resumption of the 2019/20 season, we’re launching a special campaign under the banner ‘We’re Not Really Here,’ a phrase synonymous with all our fantastic supporters.
And we have a lot of exciting developments lined up for you in the build up to our return.
In the next few days we’ll be letting you know about a brand-new matchday show which will feature our own commentators as well as special panellists, with full details to be announced soon.
We’ll also we’ll be bringing you details of the rest of our unmissable coverage, including our enhanced Match Day Centre while, as ever, we will bring you all the news and views from the boss Pep Guardiola and the squad both in the build-up to games and in the aftermath.
So, for everyone thinking of having a second screen experience as we await football’s return, we want it to be with us for ‘We’re Not Really Here.’
The title, of course, refers to the stadium anthem which has become the staple of all City fans for the past two plus decades.
“We are not, we’re not really here,
“We are not, we’re not really here,
“Just like the fans of the Invisible man, we’re not really here.”
Such has been its success, it has given rise to a plethora of accompanying memorabilia including T-shirts and books.
There was even a ‘We’re Not Really Here’ theatre performance, depicting our various highs and lows, which was staged at Manchester’s Contact Theatre back in 2017.
But like any football chant, arguments and myths still rage about the precise origins of the song, which is based around the melody of the spiritual song ‘We Shall Not Be Moved’ which became a powerful anthem of the Civil Rights movement in America.
Some claim that it first surfaced during what was a raucous celebration amongst fans in a Dublin bar when City were over in Ireland for a tour during the mid-90s.
There is another school of thought that City fans, in the wake of our drop into Division Two in 1998, who could not quite believe we were at such a low ebb, decided to take up the chant in typical ironic self-deprecating fashion.
One fanciful theory even claims it may have surfaced at an away game at Millwall by City fans who had somehow managed to circumnavigate their way round a ban on away fans attending the Den.
However, what’s thought to be the most plausible explanation is that it was adopted by the Club’s fans in the mid-1990s after having originated as a pub lament in tribute and memory to a man who had sadly passed away in tragic circumstances.
So, there are many theories behind the genesis of one of football’s most unique stadium chants, but perhaps the truth will never really be known.
Whatever the real explanation, having subsequently been taken to the hearts of all City fans, ‘We’re Not Really Here’ then took on even extra resonance and meaning during that spell in the lower leagues in the late 1990s when it was bellowed out with pride from such unfamiliar ports of call as York City, Chesterfield and Lincoln City.
It quickly became a loud and proud vocal backdrop to City fixtures, both home and away, as the chant became embedded in City culture.
Our manager at the time, Joe Royle, for one was hugely taken by the emergence of ‘We’re Not Really Here.’
“I never stopped smiling at the City fans. I still smile now when I’m watching telly or I’m at a game and the crowd goes up, singing: ‘We’re Not Really Here’, which was probably the best chant of all time,” Royle recalls.
“Gallows humour - I don’t know where it started. Was it York, Port Vale or Wycombe? It was certainly in the outposts of football, and whenever I see City fans, they tell me they loved that season – that they really enjoyed it.”
From a song that personified City’s fans’ famed sense of humour during those days, ‘We’re Not Really Here’ has subsequently become a stirring anthem that has captured the essence of our last decade of remarkable success.
Now the focus is on the present as the build-up intensifies ahead of football’s return.
And ahead of the resumption of action, we would also like as many of our Cityzens to be part of the banners displayed across the stands at the Etihad. Show us your colours! Share your design for a banner to be included in the very fabric of the stadium – so the moment our players walk out onto the pitch, they’ll know that you are with them.
‘We’re Not Really Here’ – every City fan knows…