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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 5 March 2021

From car cleaner to City superfan

Having toiled outside the Manchester City ground in his childhood, a 44-year-old supporter wins online competition to the premier of the club's documentary film.

ABU DHABI // When Mohammed Ajmal Bhatti was six years old, he used to clean cars outside the old Manchester City stadium, Maine Road, to save enough money to attend the matches.

At the weekend, he and his 16-year-old son, Shoayb, were among the five winners of the Man City UAE Superfan Search - an online competition - who were given VIP invitations to the premiere of Blue Moon Rising. The film documents the club's first season under Sheikh Mansour, and follows five fans who travel to all of City's matches.

The screening was followed by a barbecue and football competitions at the Emirates Palace.

Mr Bhatti, now 44 and a senior executive at Nokia Siemens Networks in Dubai, has attended about 500 City matches.

He said it all started after he moved to Manchester when he was six, and lived in walking distance of Maine Road. "I attended my first match when I was 10, and I've been a season-ticket holder ever since."

He said his life revolves around the games. "We have the fixtures posted on our fridge; my wife has to organise social gatherings around the schedule."

Adam White, a fan featured in the film, said it received a good response in the UK: "Local lads are coming up to us, talking about City. Hopefully this film shows them what supporting City is like for us, and now we've seen how they do it here."

hdajani@thenational.ae

Published: November 7, 2010 04:00 AM

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