Someday the City Will be Ours

14 May

I watched the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday with our man Catsmeat at my favorite English ex-pat bar in Brooklyn. I got there about a half hour before they officially opened and sat down near a Man City fan that had been up since 5 AM. He couldn’t sleep.

The bar filled up quickly, and I ended up positioned in between the City and United fans, since I wanted a decent view of both games. In hindsight, that might not have been the best place to be.

The City fans had to outnumber the United faithful by close to 10 to 1 (which is an odd quirk, since the owner is a Tottenham supporter, and more generally you would just expect to see more Man U fans) There was Zak who came in full face paint and an Adam Johnson kit for some reason. Justin who wore a “Why Always Me” shirt and was just a bit too young to remember 1968.

What happened has been all over the news, and if you didn’t see it live, well, it was even more amazing than the highlights showed. The slowly creeping soul-crushing agony of the first 90 minutes, followed by pure joy, utter chaos. Probably on facebook somewhere now is a photo of me, slumped over, head in hands, stunned into disbelief while a sea of blue celebrates behind me.

Afterwards I watched grown men weeping at the bar (in between shots of Jameson, naturally). I saw a City fan flipping off a United fan* right in his face while calling him a cunt, and then five minutes later saw them hugging, (while calling each other cunts). People bought shots for me and soon I ended up in group photos with City faithful as the weird, token Wednesday fan or something. Zak ran out into 4th ave. traffic in the middle of the day, waving his scarf and chanting at passing cars. I think he said he had a 3 PM kickoff for a local club match. I have no idea if he ever made it there, or if he changed into proper footwear or just played in his checkerboard VANS.

That first City fan from 9:30 in the morning, whose name has sadly retreated into the fog of Boddington’s and whiskey couldn’t stop chanting “You sign Phil Jones, we sign Kun Aguero!” He was born into the agony of being a Man City fan, and spent his whole life waiting for this day. He said to me “This is the way we had to do it. I wouldn’t trade any of it.” (or something like that, sobriety was a speck on the horizon at this point) It was a fabulous day to be a neutral. It was indescribably better to be a City fan.

Why do I tell you this?

Well, to be frank, City is the Mets. The parallels are obvious and have been covered by others. The inescapable little brother mentality, the somewhat tortuous recent history. Both teams had great success in the late sixties and early seventies and were shitty in the mid-nieties.

And someday the Mets will win the World Series again. Maybe they won’t be able to pull off the equivalent of beating the Phillies in 7, then the Yankees in 7 to do it, (while almost blowing it half a dozen times)** but it will happen. And I will be the crazy dude in the Josh Satin jersey and checkerboard VANS. Just try to keep me out of traffic.

The Yankees can keep their bazillion world series titles and their arrogance, both deserved and undeserved. Give me one day like Sunday. Let’s Go Mets!

* Have to say, the Man U fan was incredibly classy about the whole thing, and he easily could have killed the City fan. I think someone said he used to play for Blackpool, and he certainly was built like a center back.

**Then again, it’s the Mets, so…

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