Usually the only connotation of salmon with football is a Roy of the Rovers’ keeper leaping like one or Everton’s garish kit disaster from the 90s. Here, in the first of a new series where fans tell their own unique tales from a lifetime of footy, Andy Morris reveals why a tin of fish will always bring back nostalgia for Man City’s much-missed spititual home Maine Road…..

There are thousands of blues who have a place in their hearts for Maine Road.

It was a very special place for very many reasons.

For me it was also an extension of my garden (actually we had a yard but mum would be mortified in a Mrs Bucket style if we referred to it as such) as our house on Thornton Road backed onto the corner of the ground where the Kippax met the Platt Lane stand.

The reason we lived there wasn’t accidental either; it was because of my fanatically Blue Dad that we had a view of the pitch from my bedroom window and fell asleep to the roar of the crowds when evening games were being played.

(My dad also gave up a decent engineering job, took a pay cut and became a postman because he knew he would be delivering to Maine Road – you could say he liked Manchester City!)

Although living so close to the stadium meant I had a closer relationship to the place than lots of football fans I also share common memories. Memories of the Pink Final, the burger sellers, the God-awful toilets, the blue crush barriers.

There was, admittedly, the occasional dog turd to be found on the cobbled alleyways and passages (remember that the passages were numbered?) and it wasn’t unheard of for there to be a tiny bit of litter on the floor as well.

But though I share these and many other recollections with thousands of Blues I also have some unique ones.

For example I reckon in a word association test you would not link Maine Road to salmon? Well, as strange as it may seem, I do.

In the mid-late seventies it wasn’t unheard of for a working gentleman to return home from an evening at the pub a little worse for wear.

On a summer’s night in 1977 or 78 dad came home in such a state and asked mum to make him something to eat. She however politely suggested that he make himself the aforementioned snack.

With his judgement impaired and brain fogged by beer he decided to take his frustrations out on the contents of the kitchen cupboards as my mum stood there pleading with him to stop.

Tins of beans were thrown over the back wall, hot dogs followed, Spam, soup, Bisto, and perhaps even a Fray Bentos pie dispatched like a Frisbee in the same direction.

The tins had of course made it over our back wall and into Maine Road.

By this time we were all awake and listening to the sound of dad slamming cupboard doors, opening and closing the back door with the grunt of a drunken shot putter to punctuate the shouts from mum.

The one that stays in my memory though was the cry of, ‘No, NOT THE SALMON!’

But away it flew, a tin of John West Pink Salmon, the pride of the tinned fleet.

This was of course in the days of tinned salmon being considered only for ‘best’.

With his ammunition expended and his mood calmer – and no doubt with his muscles aching – peace was restored and we all went to bed with my mother furious that another trip to the shops was now needed.

But in the morning there was a surprise in store when she made it downstairs and into the kitchen.

Every tin was back in the cupboard, dented and dinked and some without labels, but it was all there.

The tins had of course made it over our back wall and into Maine Road.

Dad woke up early that morning and the first thing he did was to run around the ground and wake up Stan Gibson (City’s long-serving groundsman) and ask if he could go and retrieve the food.

As Stan knew dad so well he let him into the ground and dad hurriedly collected up everything he could see. He was in a rush though as it was the first Saturday of the season and he needed to get everything back before the crowds gathered and the gates were opened.

What makes this even funnier though is that dad didn’t collect things into a carrier bag and walk back with them. He threw them back over the stadium wall for the return journey to our garden!

So whenever I think of Maine Road there is a fleeting image of a tin of John West’s Finest Pink Salmon in my mind’s eye.