By Adrian Greenwood
Every now and then you will hear of a Dimitry in St Petersburg or a Bantam in Florida, City fans who live their lives in far flung parts of the globe, but who stick nonetheless to their club, year on year. I thought the readers of Width of a Post might be interested to hear how we exiles cope with this strange half-life.
I was born in Bradford, saw my first City game in the 1956-7 season (with my grandfather who had been a supporter since before 1911) and never missed a home game until I left Bradford at the age of 18 in 1966 – for good as it happened.
I have lived in various countries at various times but married and made my home in Sussex, where we brought up our children. For 25 years I was able to read the newspapers, and watch Match of the Day. I always looked out for City, who virtually never made it on to TV in those years, but I never transferred my day-to-day allegiance to Brighton or Crystal Palace. I only ever got to see City when visiting my mother in Bradford, or maybe at best once a year at an away game in the south. I had become an absent supporter.
In 1998 my work took me to Germany, and I continue to live here, as a “Bundesbantam”, for 16 years now. My mother died in 2000, and she was the last of my family in Bradford, so I now live abroad and have no reason ever to visit Bradford again…
And yet I have never stopped being a City supporter. For some years now I have being a paying season ticket holder, even though it is a rare season when I take in even one game. I see it as my way of supporting the club from afar, and a donation to help the club prosper. I have seen too many seasons where City could not be sure of survival to be able to take survival for granted.
I missed much of the two Premiership years, as Sky had not taken off in Germany then; although these days I can watch as many as three or four live Premiership games a weekend, better than in the UK. However, what has changed the nature of my support is the internet. I subscribe to Player, so get live broadcasts of every City game, and can watch highlights a few hours later. This has brought me far closer to the club than I had been when living in Sussex in the seventies and eighties, although I am geographically far further away. I have only recently found Width of a Post, but this too has now become required reading. Thank you for this!
I will now never live near enough to see City regularly, although another spell in the Premiership would bring me Sky coverage, which would be a real bonus. However, internet technology compensates in ways I couldn’t have dreamed of in the past. And in case you are wondering – yes I did fly over, three times in 2012/13, to see City’s amazing home game against Arsenal , and then both times at Wembley.
When you’ve seen City losing to Workington or Barrow in the old Third Division North, you do appreciate moments like those.