Wednesday, March 16, 2011

True Blue

Is there anything to beat a fantasy meeting with childhood heroes? Thanks to Luis Vicente I know the answer.

I grew up True Blue supporting Manchester City and, as many of you will know, we haven’t won anything since 1976. But once a Blue, always a Blue. Loyalty Beyond Reason!

Last week, Luis invited me to Manchester to join Chief Executive Garry Cook in the Chairman’s Lounge as his guest. I arrived in Manchester 7:30am Saturday morning after an overnight flight on Continental to be met by Steve in a luxury Jaguar limo. We zoomed to the City partner hotel, The Malmaison, where I had already been checked in and was led to my room. The True Blue Suite. Complete with abstract paintings of Manchester City heroes, Mike Summerbee, Frannie Lee, Neil Young and Colin Bell. From there it was a pickup to the grounds into the VIP area where I had a wonderful lunch and an hour’s chat with Garry, ex-President of Michael Jordan Nike, and one of the more charismatic, colorful, creative characters I’ve ever met. He has a tremendous vision for the Club that takes it way beyond football and way beyond the UK. Who would have thought that growing up watching the boys trudge through the mud at Main Road?

After winning the game, Luis had set up one of the most memorable moments of my life. A one-on-one meeting with 3 of my heroes, Tony Book, Mike Summerbee, and my old-time personal hero, Colin Bell. And they said they were glad to meet me! That shows a great briefing in action. And Mike Summerbee gave me his personal mobile number!

From there we went into the Players Lounge where I met the heroes of today’s young fans. Then the highlight of this extraordinary day ... being led into Coach Roberto Mancini’s office for a 15-minute one-on-one with him. Then back to the True Blue Suite before a tour of the Academy and the training grounds the next day.

Life does not get any better than this!

Thank you Luis.