Fast forward more than three decades and you will find one important parallel, the loud and prolonged chanting of a very particular nature, heard after last weekend's game as it was after the West brom defeat of 1979.
The result produced a point and kept City in 4th place. Hoorah for that. We live in strange times and keep exalted company and all that. What it also highlighted was the stubbornness of coach Mancini, who seems so unwilling to shift away from his solidifying the defence mantra that we are in danger of taking every little team too seriously, every little point squeezed from barren games like this as nectar to the Gods.
|The moment Roberto raised the temperature|
If you want to have a squad bursting with the likes of Tevez, Silva, the hitherto malfunctioning but nevertheless "offensive" Johnson and Wright-Philips, if you want Jo and Milner and Balotelli, then surely one has to lift up this coarse hair blanket a little and waft some warm air into our lives. Watching City on Saturday was like having your teeth flossed by the local plumber. This squad has talent coming out of its ears, but it is being asked to drop the fantasy football and play coalface percentages. My heart is beginning to ache. What you can barely justify against United, you will do well to get away with against a baleful Birmingham City.
It is not the lists of rich comedians in sky blue that sets our pulses running. We are used to having a ringer or two in every side, after all. No, it is the hope that we may have left these times behind us. The eternal hope, dashed time after time. The great run of wins that suddenly stops for no reason at home to Charlton Athletic. The magic goal-scoring feats followed swiftly by three nil-nils on the trot. The glorious form of the little winger that precedes six months wallowing in the reserves (elite reserves at that) and an alcohol addiction. The 18 million pound Jo, followed by the 50 grand miss. The nil nil with Birmingham followed by the thrilling 4-2 win at Fulham. You see? It really can't go on like this. My physician is writing one of his little notes for me to take to the chemist again. Twas ever thus.