13th May 2012. A day when dreams turned into reality. A day when 44 years of heartbreak, hurt and living in the shadows ended. A day when typical City ceased to exist. A day which will be remembered forever. A day when Manchester City became Premier League Champions.
95 minutes of unrelenting emotion. 95 minutes of hope, ecstasy, despair, utter deflation, humiliation, hope again and then chaos. 93 minutes of nerve-wracking tension followed by two minutes of pure, unbridled joy. 95 minutes that took you to the edge. 95 minutes that tested you in every way imaginable. 95 minutes that typified Manchester City.
There are no superlatives to describe what happened on Sunday afternoon. It was, if possible, even more remarkable than Wembley in 1999 against Gillingham. For Horlock and Dickov, read Dzeko and Aguero. For Joe Royle, read Roberto Mancini. For the team that scraped through and were promoted from Division Two, read the team that scraped through and became Champions of the Premier League. For the fans, read … the fans.
It was a quite incredible, breathtaking afternoon, one to which no report can do justice. At 1-0 up, there was an air of cautious expectancy. City, with the best home record in the league, were leading against the side with the worst away record. But then Djibril Cissé scored and faces dropped. And then Jamie Mackie scored.
It is impossible to describe the feelings at that point. One paper suggested it was ‘numb disbelief’ and that’s about as close as you can get. From the moment QPR took the lead until Dzeko’s equaliser, there was deathly silence. We had the title in our grasp and then threw it away in the most feeble manner possible. Or so it seemed.
Then, from nowhere, Dzeko scored. Silva swung yet another corner in and the Bosnian leapt highest to give us a glimmer of hope. 92 minutes in and we knew that one more goal would secure the title.
And then came the moment that will live long in the memory. Receiving the ball from Nigel De Jong, Sergio Leonel “Kun” Agüero del Castillo played a one-two with the much-maligned Mario Balotelli and then time stopped. At the ground, I saw the net ripple. Cue absolute pandemonium. Utter chaos. Raw joy. Pure emotion.
Replays showed just how superb a finish it was from Aguero. Most would have snatched at the shot, but the Argentinean is a world class performer, worth every penny of the £38m we paid for him. The composure he displayed in taking that extra touch to round Taiwo was remarkable and then he fired home past Kenny to send us delirious. For a split second, I thought he may go to ground and we would get a penalty. Perhaps a Balotelli spot-kick in the 95th minute to win the title would have been too much. As it was, I doubt anything will ever top the seconds after Aguero’s goal. He has made sure the players and staff will be remembered as legends and rightly so.
Even a couple of days later, it seems unreal. The fact that Manchester City Football Club are Champions of England hasn’t sunk in and probably won’t do for quite some time. Thank you Sheikh Mansour. Thank you Roberto Mancini. Thank you Sergio Aguero. And thank you to everyone connected with this amazing club. I am privileged to support you.
Manchester City, Premier League Champions.