even the people who don’t. And then the great gathering flood: a wave of red and blue washing through the city, powered along by songs, San Miguel and a skittish nervous energy, picking a careful detour around the half-and-half scarf sellers. For a few restless hours, this city feels like the very centre of the footballing universe.
And by many measures, of course, it is. Come 2pm on Sunday the gaze of the world will be fixed on the latest instalment in the City/United rivalry. No other city in the world – not Milan, not Madrid, not London – can boast two clubs of this size or wealth. The conversation will flow in a dozen languages. The sweeping curves and coiled towers of the Etihad Stadium will be beamed into almost every country on Earth.