Dear all, interested or not, especially Blues,
I’ve known Waits since I joined Shenzhen Blues way back in 2014-ish. The oddity of it all, is that he and I hadn’t met in person until July 2021. Arriving in the old Zhangye Railway Station I spot Waits by the railway station entrance immediately. His sky blue t-shirt emblazoned with MCFC was exactly what I had expected to see. Us Blues stand out. What amazed me most is that Zhangye is 2865km from Shenzhen. There are no direct flights, and certainly no direct trains. The quickest flights via Lanzhou are 5 hours and 50 minutes.
Waits has been following Manchester City for years. We’re not talking about a glory-seeker at all. He latched onto the singers of the blues on the back of a certain Sun Jihai. He’s endured seasons of toil and mid-table football, before the good times came along. He even said he preferred watching City from 2001 to 2009. Most City fans have that romantic lust for those times. The expectation and the angry eye of the media these days can be all-so-consuming. He’s sat up at all hours of day to see the famous sky blue and white team play umpteen teams over land and sea… and Stretford. He’s one of our own.
Over the years I have acted as his football jersey mule, occasionally sourcing one or carrying his Classic Football Shirt orders from my Mam’s house to China. His collection, his famed home-office (man cave?) is full of City. Tencent and QQ media have interviewed him. He was interviewed for Shenzhen’s live fan gathering at the end of the last season. He’s featured on City’s Inside City shows and other places too. Sometimes, I wonder why Manchester City’s China office hasn’t offered him a position (of remote working). His passion for teaching English and his love of City is for all to see.
Waits reply to his best goal: “SWP nearly zero angle shot”
Waits has translated the poem This Is The Place by Tony Walsh, with permission. The Chinese edition featured in Dongguan’s defunct HubHao magazine and online. Shenzhen Blues also published it to Manchester City fans in China. For years Waits has translated Manchester City’s On This Day information, statistics, facts, stories and tales of City folklore. He’s encouraged young and new fans alike, giving advice, passion and fairness accordingly. He has championed the Champions before they won leagues, cups and trophies (this century). Recently, he translated an interview between Mark McCarthy (Manchester City Match Worn Shirts, MCMWS) and Pete ‘The Badge’ Berry.
这是我和@Waits 还有@二蛋💭 一起运营的公众号，会发一些曼城相关的好玩内容。欢迎订阅！
Miranda, @Waits and @二蛋 are running this public account. It will share some interesting content about City on it. Come and subscribe！Go on!
His favourite game remains City beating Tottenham Hotspurs having gone 3-0 down to come away 4-3 winners. Considering the games that have passed since, he’s sticking to that one game. He even chooses Kevin Keegan as top gaffer over the elite leaders that have managed the Citizens since. He told me once that he translated subtitles for There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble! Hey Manchester City China, “Go on, give it to Waits!”
Waits has much more to him than football. Whilst he plays it with students and local Zhangye folk, he can often be found strumming his guitar. A few renditions of Blue Moon have been heard over the years. And, in recent years he has welcomed Amos to his family alongside Mrs Waits. The family can enjoy tales of how Waits was raised on a cavalry base by his mother and father. They can discover their Sichuanese heritage, without taking a panda! Whilst Waits asked more questions, than I asked him, when he spoke, he spoke in an articulated way about all manner of things. I learned about Zhangye’s three Buddha statues. One standing, one crouching (tired) and one resting.
One thing, I can say about Waits is that his English is fantastic. He asked me, “What do you think of my English accent?” I think I hurt him, with my joking response, “It sounds Chinese.” In actual fact, his English is very clear and follows a British tone similar to that found on Downton Abbey and other TV drama shows set in England. I probably have only met a dozen Chinese-born people who have such a great spoken English accent. Obviously, Waits is not speaking Mancunian-nasal tones but his heart is definitely in it! Innit.
Ode to Hart
Time, flows in passing days,
Memories, flashes now and then,
And my tears, reluctantly falling,
Falling like I’m faking falsely by no means.
No more you on the pitch
No more your passion, your shouting and your encouragement
No more your commitment, no more your fighting, your joy and regret
Because I know, gone is gone
Like your waving to us
Your clapping, and your farewell words
“We are all grown man, we get over with it.”
Happy 30th, my HART. Happy everyday
It’s not something I won’t let go
They may forget, but I won’t
They may laugh, and I won’t
Neither will I forget nor will I laugh
I will keep it in my heart and keep you my SOUL AND HART
Waits [April 19th, 2017]
I hope that the next time I see Waits, we can enjoy a good old chinwag and I’ll get to know more about him. It was good to hear him talk with enthusiasm about how my Mum with Paul visited him on his trip to Manchester to see his first City game. I liked his response to how a City steward offered him tickets to Old Trafford swamp to see that lot play and he flat out refused, pointing to his badge. Pride in battle indeed. Until next time I meet Waits, I consider him a great friend and a wonderful person to know (with great English).
- 你为什么追随曼城？Why do you follow Manchester City?
- 你最深刻的曼城记忆是什么？What’s your favourite Manchester City memory?
- 你最钟情的曼城球衣是哪几件？What are your favourite Manchester City shirts?
- 说出你心目中的曼城最佳阵容。Name your all-time Manchester City XI (eleven).
- 这个赛季最终的结果将会如何？How will this season end?
- 你去过曼彻斯特吗？如果没有，你梦想去那里旅行吗？Have you been to Manchester? If not, do you dream to travel there?
- 在中国，你会推荐外国城迷们去哪里参观？他们应该尝尝哪些中国的食物呢？Where do you recommend City fans see in China? What food should they try?
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