WHAT MANCHESTER'S ALL ABOUT.
An extract from a story I wrote for Noel Bayley's book The Kippax - A Celebration in 1994.
"Skinheads and Greasers in the Kippax, dad?" Billy asked. He was just seventeen and the blue shirt that he was wearing with the 'Brother' logo emblazoned across the front was identical to ten more on the field of play and a few thousand more on the Kippax Street.
"That was twenty-six years ago, son." Rocky replied, pulling his New Yorker hat down over his ears and the collar of his donkey jacket up over the wooly thing. "Skinheads and Greasers, Mods and Rockers, Suedeheads, Rockerbillies, Punks, Bovver Girls... you name it son, they've all bin 'ere at one time or another!" he continued, as Swindon stuck the ball into the North Stand net. "Bleedin' 'ell, and we didn't play shit like this in the old days either!" He gasped in not quite disbelief at going a goal down to the bargain basement of the Premier League. 'Come on City, come on City...' the Kippax chanted almost in unison as the game restarted.
"What was it like then dad?" Billy asked, "In your day?"
"Sky blue, white and maroon, Billy, And red and black - all over. I came 'ere fer two seasons and never saw the Blues get beat once, son."
"You must've missed a few matches then dad, eh?"
"Only one or two, son... When yer Uncle Bob got married, that was one of 'em..." Rocky stopped in disbelief as the ball whistled past Dibble and into the City net. "I don't believe it!" he cried, "What are they playing at?"
"Keep your wig on dad, it's been disallowed!" Billy said.
Rocky stuck his hands deep into the pockets of his work coat and consoled himself with his memories, 'Mulhearn, Book, Pardoe, Oakes, Doyle, Heslop, Lee, Bell, Summerbee, Coleman and Young,' he mused. "Yeah, those were the days son!" he said out loud as the game settled down. "We used to sit on the crush bars 'cos we were too small to see over the crowd. An' sometimes we'd stand on the railings at the very back and kick the corrugated iron wall with our heels. They used to call us 'The Kickers'"
"The kids still do all that, dad."
"Yeah, but it was different in those days, Billy."
"Yeah, it would be wouldn't it? You're about forty now!"
"Thanks a lot son. I've always said, 'You're as young as you feel!' haven't I?"
"And how old do you feel dad? Come on, give us a break. Twenty thousand nutters all decked out in the latest gear? When was that dad?"
"Well, that's what it felt like, Billy. It was true for our mob anyway. We was always smart as owt but I suppose you're right. There's always bin a few divvies about... there always will be won't there? But as far as I'm concerned the Kippax is what Manchester is all about!" by Danny Wise (my pen name).