You know that pain you get in your face from smiling too much? You know that hurt you get in your belly from laughing too much? You know that confusion you get as you cry uncontrollably, out of happiness? You know that tender patch you’ve reddened on your back, because so many people have slapped you there repeatedly? Ever had your ribcage ache because your peers have hugged you so much?
Manchester City fans know all about that today.
They went on a little rollercoaster ride yesterday, feeling the stinging lows of going behind to QPR and tasted the gorgeous highs of winning their first English Premier League title, since its inception 20 years ago. They had not won a league title since 1968.
In the end they pipped Manchester United to the post by scoring more goals than their famous rivals, but it must be said that City deserved their title.
They played adventurous soccer all term and despite tumbling out of European competitions they were the undeniable force in English football. They played at a speed, with a deftness and with a ruthlessness that saw them beat Manchester United twice and saw them pepper goalkeepers everywhere.
They almost choked, and if they had relentless nonsense about the Curse of City and the spinelessness of their boss would have been propagated. Robert Mancini would have been lambasted and players like Jolean Lescott and Yaya Toure –players who had been effective all season –would have been unfairly singled out for throwing it away at the last.
They did not, though, and the way they hunted down that last win is almost symbolic of a season where they recouped an 8 point margin and took the public jibes from Sir Alex Ferguson and never broke stride.
Yesterday there was a scene where the last title winning side were represented at the trophy presentation. It was at risk of looking mawkish, but it was not because of what it represented. In the same way that the fans laid siege to the pitch at the final whistle, only to clear away quietly so as to observe the trophy presentation, there was a definitive showing of relief at the present, and a respectful nod to the past.
The future? Well that is up to City’s Sheik owner and Roberto Mancini. If they build as of this instant then they could be even stronger. They can fight on two fronts if they want.
Words like ‘dynasty’ are pointless at this point and insulting to the other Premier League sides when City only won on goal difference, but this side could become synonymous with winning. They have that much potential. As of yesterday they also have that much evidence.