Hart: I wondered ‘Is this how it finishes?’
Home and away, the blue masses were there all the way as City powered towards the finish line and to a first top flight title in 44 years.
The combative De Jong always had a close relationship with the supporters during his four seasons at the Etihad, and during his extended 93:20 CITY+ interview, he revealed just how influential the fans were that year.
“They were very special because we had won the FA Cup the year before and for most City fans, it was the first time they’d seen their team win a trophy,” said De Jong.
“So now, all the diehard City fans who had been following the club all their lives are completely engaged for the 2011/12 season.
“Even so, the supporters I was meeting were like ‘yeah’ we’re going for the Premier League but we’re still in this progressive phase period right now’ – but we knew as players that we were taking it step-by-step to become the best team in the Premier League – and then the world.”
The 1-0 defeat at Arsenal left City eight points adrift of leaders Manchester United with only six games remaining.
It looked as though the title was heading to Old Trafford, but De Jong says the belief and energy the City fans gave the team in the matches that remained, were the reason the seemingly impossible became a reality.
“Our fans were always there, especially the away support, always loud and always right behind us,” he said.
“You’d see them at the train station, around the coach, at Carrington or in the city centre and they were always with us, believing.
“That game against United with three games to go was electrifying, because they had invested so much money, time and blood sweat and tears for us over the years.
“We always understood that our fans were the twelfth man and maybe sometimes it didn’t look as though we knew that because we were separated or in a bubble, but without those fans, we could never have won the Premier League.”