So here I am sat in the departure lounge waiting for my flight to Madrid. Tuesday night, little old City face Real in the first game of our second consecutive season in the Champions League.
Just like anything at the moment, if you’ve followed City through thin and thinner, it still all seems a bit surreal. Not only are we playing Madrid tomorrow night, but we have been drawn in another so-called “group of death” with the winners of the Dutch league (Ajax) and the winners of the German league (Dortmund). It is in fact, as journalists and some of our support have called it, “the group of Champions”.
My personal views cannot reflect our supporters as a whole, but for the regular match going fan, we’re pretty delighted. Without trying to sound like a footballing snob, it tells you a lot about how a person supports their team by their reaction to our draw. A Chelsea match going fan texted me saying, “You lucky bastards.” Whereas an Arsenal fan that I play 5-a-side with said, “haha you lot won’t get through.”
And to be honest, if we don’t get through then I don’t care. Having been to Dean Court to see more sendings off than goals in 1999, the prospect of these trips is incredible. No matter what could happen on the pitch, us City fans will make the most of the towns and cities that we get to watch our team in.
I get a lot of people asking me, “how do you think you’ll get on?” Well, I think we’re travelling to our toughest game tomorrow night at the best possible time. Jose doesn’t seem to have control of the situation at the minute. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t be delighted with a draw. I don’t watch enough European football, so it would be difficult for me to comment on Ajax or Dortmund. But, as previously said, they are their countries champions, so they’ve got to be alright, haven’t they?
To be fair to our Champions League campaign last season, we were very unlucky not to go through. It was really our first game at home to Napoli that let us down, so I hope that we can learn from our experiences and make the Etihad as hard for the European teams as it has been for domestic teams.
Finally from a fans perspective, I hope that if we ever win the Champions League it means a lot to us. Obviously winning it this year would be great, but Chelsea winning it last year after coming so close on a number of occasions clearly made it sweeter for them, and although I wouldn’t want to do it the way they did it (I think after our QPR game, a Barca away styled game for us would see me off) I think we still need a few years to find our feet in the Champions League. And then if we do ever do it, it will be even better.
Liam Wright, along with guest writing for us here at Football Rascal, runs his own blog on all things City here: http://mcfctba.blogspot.co.uk/ … and you can also follow the man himself on twitter @mcfc_TBA