The Day’s Highest Attendance

The 18th of February 1984 brought a crowd of 41,767 (the division’s second biggest crowd of the season) to the Second Division match between Manchester City and Newcastle United. This crowd was over 15,000 higher than the best in the top flight (Arsenal v Aston Villa attracted 26,640). City were third prior to the match, with Newcastle fourth. and here’s some background and highlights.

With three promotion places available City felt certain they could achieve an immediate return, however they did not account for the role Kevin Keegan would play in Newcastle’s fortunes.  Newcastle had been struggling to make an impact since relegation in 1978, but then Keegan returned as a player and the whole place seemed revitalised, indeed he had helped the Geordies achieve a 5-0 thrashing of City in October.  McNeill:  “There are few players that I have greater respect for than Keegan and this time, I’m referring only to his ability on the pitch, he was the heart and soul of Newcastle.  It’s a terrible thing to admit, but every time I read that Kevin had an injury I hoped it would keep him out of the Newcastle side for a game or two.  Usually it didn’t and I was glad in the end because I have such a high regard for him.  He was certainly the difference between City and Newcastle.  They had Keegan’s inspirational qualities and we didn’t.”

By 11 February City and Newcastle were level on points with the Blues in third place, and Newcastle fourth with a game in hand.  Above them lay Chelsea and Sheffield Wednesday.  The four sides were termed the ‘Big Four’ by the media who regularly chose to feature games from the Second above those in the First.  As always Liverpool seemed destined to win the Championship and so much attention turned to the glamour clubs of the Second, especially Newcastle with the charismatic Keegan. 

On 18 February came the vital Maine Road clash between the ‘Jocks’ and the Geordies.  A win would put City six points ahead of Newcastle, yet defeat would put the two sides level with Keegan’s men also having a game in hand.  A crowd of 41,767 – City’s and the division’s second biggest crowd of the season – saw future Blues Peter Beardsley and Kevin Keegan netting fine goals to give the Geordies the initiative with Steve Kinsey scoring for the Blues.  Highlights:

City finished the season fourth and missed out on promotion.

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