Maine Road have a long established reputation as being a focal point for supporters of Manchester City.
Formed in 1955 as ‘City Supporters Rusholme’ before changing their name to match that of their favourite club’s ground in the 1970s, having a club badge based on the design of a former Manchester City badge, and playing in sky blue, no one can be left in any doubt about the links between the club and their illustrious Manchester neighbours.
That being the case, anyone buying the club’s match programme – with main club sponsors the Manchester City Supporters Club clearly displayed on the front cover – may be slightly surprised to see that one of the programme sponsors with a full page advert inside is the Association of Former Manchester United players.
The deal came about through Maine Road Vice-Chairman Colin Broadbent, who is a good friend of the Secretary of the Association, Alan Wardle.
Alan played for United in the 1960’s under Matt Busby and was a regular in the reserves for a number of years, before going on to play non-league football.
These days, he is involved in organising a variety of events attended not only by former United stars but City stars too, and as he explained, he was happy to lend his support to Road.
“I have a lot of good banter with Colin, he loves City so much”, said Alan.
“The Manchester City old boys come to a lot of our United do’s, and we go to theirs and we all get on great, and Colin comes along to a lot of the events we put on.
“I went to the Maine Road 60th anniversary function a couple of months ago in Didsbury, and some of the club’s match programmes were there on the night.
“I noticed that there were individual page sponsors, so I offered to support the club and take an advert out on behalf of the Association.
“They do a tremendous job down at Maine Road to keep the club going, and as well as supporting the club, we thought it would be a chuckle to get a Manchester United badge in their programme”.
Colin said: “The United old boys have a great relationship with City old boys. They are from an era when tribalism was not around, and Alan was happy to help grassroots football.
“As far as finances are concerned, we will take money even from the ‘dark side of Manchester’!”