Fans from both sides of Manchester recently met on neutral ground to discuss all things City vs United, including - of course - Monday's massive derby.
In the red corner - TV & radio presenter Terry Christian and The Charlatans guitarist Mark Collins. In the blue corner - Cass, the founder of street festival organisers Eurocultured, and Nigel Jones, a freelance journalist and City season-ticket holder...
Growing up in Manchester, did you view each other as true rivals?
Cass: I would say we always have been rivals, but I think you Reds will say different. I think United fans used to say “you’re not our derby, Liverpool is our big game” just to wind City fans up.
Terry: It’s changed. For me, City stopped being United’s rivals the minute they appointed John Bond in 1980, because that’s when they lost their ambition. Before that, when they won the league in the ’60s and into the ’70s, City had a similar approach to
United. They always played with two wingers and were an attacking side. That ended with John Bond. I thought it was the most peculiar appointment.
Mark: Historically, playing City wasn’t always a huge game as a fan, although you always like to get one over on your neighbour. But I think it’s changed in the last couple of years and it is a bigger game now.
Terry: City fans do make me laugh, the way they’ve reacted the last few years when they’ve won a game. Their giddyometer goes up to 11 and they’re all walking around next day with their blue scarves done up like Mancini.
Nigel: What’s wrong exactly with enjoying winning the game between two rivals, two clubs from the same city?
Can you remember your first derby?
Mark: My dad only took me to one match and that was City Reserves v United Reserves at Maine Road, in 1972, when I was six. We went because George Best was playing for the Reserves at the time.
Terry: Mine was January 1970 at Old Trafford, and we beat City 3-0 [FA Cup 4th rnd].
Nigel: My first match was actually a derby at Old Trafford in March 1986, when Big Ron was still manager. It was 2-2.
Cass: I can’t remember mine, to be honest.
What was your first impression of the difference between the two clubs?
Terry: I actually liked City in the early ’70s and I used to go when I wasn’t watching United, but I was shocked at how much their fans moaned. They were the biggest moaners I’d ever heard!
Nigel: Well, the first game I ever went to was United v City, because my dad’s a Red, and I thought United fans