Sunday, 4 May 2008
City Till I Die!
I'm bracing myself to go through the mill for six hours today - Hull City chasing the Premiership dream followed by the Hull derby at the Millennium Stadium.
I'd have been happy at the beginning of the season to finish it knocking on the door of the play-offs. But the prospect of automatic promotion seems absolutely surreal.
I spent between 1989 and 1992 following the Tigers across the country with Jivin' Jeff's Self-Driving Army - a band of like minded dreamers who felt one day we'd hit the big time.
I remember going to St James Park for the last match - after already being relegated to Division 3 - and chanting at the Toon Army: "We're going down, we're going down, you're not, you're not!" We were wearing home made t shirts with a cartoon tiger dressed as ship's captain saluting as he disappeared under the waves with the slogan "Down with the Tigers!"
Yep, we had our fair share of lows - relegation down to League Three in 95-96, The David Lloyd years, getting locked out of Boothferry, bucket collections for the players and the Pepis Tiger Skin strip - consistently held up as the worst kit of all time (look at that picture!)
But Warren's Joyce's Great Escape season in 98-99, where we defied the drop to the conference typified the Tiger's fighting spirit and the move to the best community stadium in the country - owned by the people FOR the people - allowed us to start again.
So to contemplate seeing City playing week in, week out at the Emirates and Stamford Bridge is still hard to grasp.
Some might say it's unlikely we'll do it today - Stoke only need a point against Leicester and we need to beat Ipswich.
I think it'll come down to how much our opponents want to win - will Leicester's determination to avoid relegation be stronger than the Tractor Boy's desire to make the play-offs.
But the one thing I've learnt following City is they'll give it their all. And, if not today, there's still our chance of our day at Wembley.
They say that it's only by tasting the bitterness of defeat that you really appreciate how sweet success can really be.
Watching City of the years, I've had more than my fair share of bitter lemon. Hopefully we'll get to enjoy the land of milk and honey.