Yes, I know Manchester never went away, but with the return of gigs and goals and gose (never had a gose in Manc but I should), the city is buzzing again. The run-down Victorian buildings never looked so good.

And Matt and Emma have moved even closer to Piccadilly, which means if I ever miss the last train back to Sheffield I can kip on the street outside his flat and he’ll pass a sleeping bag out to me.

City’s first home game of the season, and they were urging us to get there 2 hours early for half-price craft beer and street food.

2 hours is pushing it; we had an early lunch at Tariff & Dale (top photo) which had decent local cask, German lager and some wondrous pizza.

It’s great to see the lads and lasses back before the match.

I don’t think they’re Canaries, are they ?

Bad news, gourmands. The Golden Fish was closed. Where will I get my chips and curry fix ?

Oh yes (I’m making this stuff up by looking at the photos); Matt decided to join me at about 13:07. I thought he hated football but barbers need to chat about Ronaldo v Foden I guess. £30 for his ticket; pricing out the working classes again.

Don’t give up the day job, Matt. (joking, he’s done some modelling).

I was so emotional, I bought the programme. NO-ONE buys programmes in 2021.

No Covid restrictions YET, they’ll come in October, but the bag checks mean City’s top fan Pete the Badge got a thorough inspection at the gates.

We were promised edible coffee cups, which sounds like an indie band. No edible cups !

We were promised craft, but 7 Brothers only had a pop-up in the posh seats. Us plebs get Amstel in a paper cup.

But it was only £2.20 till 2pm, as an incentive to get us in the ground early, and you know what ? It was OK. My resignation from CAMRA is surely in the post.

And then, the football was back.

City kick off, the other team don’t touch the ball, City win 5-0, the Colin Bell Stand complain we don’t have a striker, I go on Blue Moon and whine about the lack of craft beer.

Life is back.


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