My Sportsman: Manchester City Football Club
I was born into a Manchester City family. My granddad, who was my dad's dad, used to play for Manchester City on the B team just before the war. My dad ended up playing for the club while in the reserves. I played two years as a junior at Manchester City's School of Excellence when I was 13 and 14. There was only one team that I was really ever going to support. I went to my first Manchester City match when I was 10 and I've not looked back since.
It hasn't always been easy. Until last season, City had not won the league title in 44 years, and we'd gone through more low points than most clubs. As a City supporter you've had to watch some rubbish over the years. What made it worse were the enemies down the road, Manchester United, winning 19 league titles. It had been painful to say the least. There were times over the past three years when it seemed the tide was turning and our club was finding a bit of form and getting a lot of good players and good performances, but nothing compared to what happened in May: when Manchester City finally won the league in the most exciting finish in Premier League history.
You could not write it. We were 2-1 down against Queens Park Rangers with five or six minutes to go, needing a victory to move level on points with Manchester United and win the title on goal differential. All the United fans were jumping:
I was with Liam Gallagher from Oasis and we went out and celebrated with the players. It was a proud moment, not just because of the rubbish we'd been used to, but the success of United that had been really painful for us. You'd go to the gym or you'd go to the pub and you'd see your mates who are United fans and they're always throwing it back at you. It was a long time coming, but the manner in which they won it made it truly worth the wait.
For that, the entire Manchester City football club are my choice for Sportsmen of the Year.
It's impossible to pick just one player from the team. Vincent Kompeny was voted the best defender in the Premier League and he was the captain. He was absolutely brilliant leading from the back. It was nip and tuck at the top of the league pretty much all the way through the season. It's the captain's job to keep the players' morale up and he did an monumental job as we were coming down to the last few games and it was so tight.
Another who will go down in Manchester City history is Sergio Aguero, who scored that last goal against QPR. He will be forever remembered in the hearts of City fans for winning our first title in more than 40 years on the last kick of the game to beat Manchester United on goal difference. Again, you couldn't have written it. So many other players came up huge: Joe Hart, David Silva, Yaya Touré, David Silva, Mario Balotelli, James Milner, and Gareth Barry each played a part in making history.
It's not for me to compliment Manchester United a great deal, but United's longevity of winning league championships, winning FA Cups, has been proven time after time. It gets heated. "You've only got it on loan," they say. "We've won 19, you've only won one." But I think it's hurt them. You say you've won 19, then what are you complaining about? Down in the streets and in the pubs, we've still got the bragging rights. When City beat United 6-1 at Old Trafford last October, I think it hurt Manchester United supporters more than it hurt losing the league, to be honest. We went to their ground and banged six goals past them. It could have been 10.
I don't think anything will ever top what Manchester City was able to give their supporters last season. It was perfect. To be honest, I think United expected us to beat QPR in the last game. I think United fans had given up. I think they thought, "City's