22 years ago this weekend, Manchester City were in a different final. To get there, we had to scrape past Wigan Athletic for the right to face Gillingham in the league 2 play-off final. This weekend, we face Chelsea, but the prize is so different and so much bigger.
Manchester City fans have been through it all. Emotion and elation, despair and defeat. There isn’t much that we haven’t seen, and this is another chapter in the amazing story of Manchester City FC.
I asked our writing team exactly what reaching the Champions League final means to them.
What are your thoughts on the Champions League?
Amy: As I’m only 20 I don’t really much remember a time when City weren’t in the Champions League however of course we’ve never got this far. I think we’ve done very well this season as we’ve had the tougher run than Chelsea, beating PSG comfortably was very impressive considering they were the team to knock Bayern out. I would always rather win the Premier League than CL as it shows you have to be consistent over a season whereas one bad game could finish a CL run. However, winning it this year would shut up rival fans saying we’ve never won it.
Pete: I’m being a bit of a hypocrite now, but after years of hating the Champions League, I’ve got caught up in the excitement. I still hate the format though as I think the seedings for the group stage and the last 16 are so wrong and unfair. Plus I hate the way certain countries get four teams, while others only have one, but if it wasn’t like that, we wouldn’t be here this season. No doubt if we do win it, other fans will find another stick to beat us with but I don’t care.
What does reaching the final mean to you?
Eunice: Although Porto won’t have a packed stadium this year it will be the most intense and heart wrenching final. This year’s Champions League Final is so special and important as we are witnessing history with Manchester City making it to it’s first CL Final! I’ve always been a proud Manchester City supporter, but this year I am an even prouder fan of such a fantastic team and squad who have made the game and season that much more enjoyable.
Amy: I don’t think it means as much as winning the Premier League does (better when it’s a tight run race), however as it could be the first time we win it I think it’ll be surreal and would be the perfect send of for Aguero. It’d be gutting to never see him win it in a City shirt. I think in terms of this season it’s a huge achievement as we walked the Prem easily after a very rocky start so specifically this season it’ll mean so much as a tight fought competition and beating Chelsea would be the cherry on top.
Saul: Manchester City’s biggest match maybe ever is set for Saturday. As a fan and even for all involved it’s a culmination of a dream many had for a while now. It’s the first final and City could go 1-0 in UCL finals. Of course, the feeling is optimistic and the match will be tough, but City have the best manager ever. Many amazing players and back room staff. Even our fan base is happy and want to win as shown by the supporters attending the event. I think it will mean a lot to win and be hopefully the first in a long line of European success. Prepare for history City supporters!
Pete: I’ve supported City since 1980 and after not seeing City in Cup Finals for 30 years, I’m getting used to seeing them continually challenging for silverware. I’m probably alone on this one and I still prefer to win the FA Cup and like Amy said, it’s not as important as winning the league. However I’m actually loving being in this one. Call me a hypocrite, I don’t care!
Where will you be watching:
Amy: I’ll be watching the match at the academy stadium as I managed to get tickets after a few struggles with the website! Unfortunately, that means I can’t watch from behind the sofa but a chippy and a couple beers should calm the nerves somewhat!
Eunice: I will be watching it on TV with my mom who is just as much of a massive fan as I am and has watched every single game with me this season.
Saul: I will be watching from South Florida and so will the dozens of supporter’s groups across the country and abroad.
Pete: Between the gaps in my fingers that will be behind the sofa! In reality, I’ll be stood up for most of it, watching on TV with my wife telling me to sit down every five minutes.
What are your predictions?
Eunice: My prediction is that City will win 3-2, it will be a challenging game with Chelsea’s solid defense but in the end City will maintain the majority of the possession of the ball and reveal their stronger offensive side. CMON CITY!!! We wish you the best of luck and thank you for a fantastic season!
Amy: In terms of lineup I’ve seen lots of people wanting Walker to start but personally I’d like to see Cancelo and Zinny as fullbacks, the usual two in the middle. With them KDB, Foden, Mahrez, Silva, Fernandinho, Gundogan. Would love to see Aguero come on at some point. I think the score is a tough one to call as a 1-0 Chelsea on the break can’t be ruled out which would be gutting but I reckon we’ve learned from our mistakes in the FA Cup. I think 2-1 City in normal time (Fingers crossed). Come on boys!!!
Saul: I’ll go with my first instinct and say Man City win fairly comfortably, 3-0. CMON CITY!
Pete: Pep will not play the same teams that lost to Chelsea recently. I personally think the league game was a ploy by the gaffer to keep Tuchel guessing about Pep’s team selection and, if he gets it right, we’ll be all over them. About a day before, I either get a feeling of dread or delirium and that usually dictates my prediction. Right now, I’m feeling delirium and I think we’re going to do it. I’m going for 3-1 City with Foden running the show. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!!!
We’ll be doing a live blog starting around 4pm, building up to kick off time, when Saul will take you through the 90 minutes of emotion. Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a hell of a ride.