Manchester City Chants

Chanting at football games is rarely documented correctly with many myths, rumours and stories developing over the years. This feature is designed to give a potted overview of the development of singing at City.

I explained about some of the chants in this talk recently:

Now, for subscribers is an 1800 word article on the history and development of chants at Manchester City:

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‘Where do you want your statue?’

In November 2020 I was delighted to be one of the speakers at a blue plaque unveiling for former Manchester City boss Joe Mercer in his home town of Ellesmere Port. It set me off thinking about permanent tributes to footballers and so for this article I’m taking a look at the tributes already made and questioning what else could be developed.

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A Million on the Streets of Manchester

On this day (May 1st) in 1934 Manchester City, who had won the FA Cup for the second time in their history, took part in an incredible home coming parade.

Deservedly Manchester took time out to celebrate and what seemed like the whole of Manchester lined the city’s streets.  The authoritative Pathe News claimed there were over a million on the streets.  The film company was not known for exaggeration and if that figure is accurate – and their footage suggests it is – then this remains the largest homecoming in Mancunian football history (It was claimed in 1999 that 700,000 people had welcomed Manchester United’s treble winning team through the streets).  

Various speeches were made into a microphone set up on the Town Hall steps (the BBC were broadcasting this live on radio), and the players and officials were given a civic reception. Mancunians enjoyed the success and wanted more.  

In Albert Square Mancunians sang their celebratory songs including “Who Said City Couldn’t Play” – the earliest known recording of a City specific song:

Who Said City Couldn’t Play,

City Couldn’t Play, City Couldn’t Play,

Who Said City Couldn’t Play,

City Couldn’t Play football?

You can hear a recording of the song and read more about it here:

Who Said City Couldn’t Play?

The 1933-4 League programme still had two games left for the Blues.  On 2nd May – the day after the parade – City suffered a 3-2 defeat at Liverpool, and then on 5th May City demolished Wolves 4-0 at Maine Road. Before the game City staff, assisted by a couple of police officers, carried the trophy around the ground on some kind of wooden board.  The fans were delighted.

During a week of FA Cup celebrations an illuminated bus journeyed around the city covered in City’s colours.  On the front above the bus number, ‘City 2 1’, was the Manchester coat of arms.  On the side the message ‘Welcome to the victors’ proudly illuminated next to a picture of the FA Cup and a drawing of Sam Cowan.  

You can see film of this illuminated ‘Victory Bus’, preserved by the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University, here (the bus can be seen after 5 mins 38 seconds but other scenes connected with the homecoming can be viewed after about 3 minutes):

https://www.nwfa.mmu.ac.uk/viewVideo.php?token=2495agw5666w7h114804aP5nxZYm4638b49Hq2dw

You can view Pathe’s coverage of the homecoming here (the commentary is a bit cringeworthy but listen out for comment about a million people on the streets; the scenes certainly suggest there was too):

This has been a taster of the material on this site. Subscribers have access to over 500 articles and posts, with many more scheduled over the coming weeks. Posted already for subscribers are exclusive audio interviews I have performed with Malcolm Allison, John Bond and George Graham (more to follow); the entire Manchester A Football History book (now out of print) and various other long read articles. It costs £20 a year (that’s about £1.67 a month) or £3 per month if you want to sign up a month at a time. Whichever subscription is taken out subscribers get full access to everything posted for as long as they are subscribers. You can subscriber here:

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Decisive Derbies: April 30, 2012

It was one of the most important Manchester derby matches of all time. Second placed City, who were still searching for their first League title since 1968, were to face League leaders United at the Etihad Stadium in a crucial game. United led the table by three points but City’s goalscoring exploits in recent games had swung goal difference back the Blues’ way. With two games left after the derby a victory for United would almost end City’s chance of winning the title, while a City victory would put the Blues in the driving seat.  

Here for subscribers to my site is the story of this monumental derby game.

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Numbered Shirts

On this day (April 29) in 1933 Manchester City and Everton became the first teams to wear numbered shirts in the FA Cup final. To mark this occasion here is an article on the history of numbered shirts…

This 1700 word article is available to subscribers to my website.

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The 1934 FA Cup Final

Manchester City had reached their second consecutive FA Cup final in 1934. They were to face Portsmouth at Wembley on April 28 1934.

Here for subscribers is a long read on City’s preparations for the final and the game itself:

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Law’s Last League Game

On this day (April 27) 1974 Denis law played his last League game on a day that saw Manchester United relegated. Law was in his second spell at Manchester City and, over the years, many myths have developed about his final game and the weeks that followed.

United fans like to say that this game had no bearing on relegation (though pre match United were not relegated and still had a chance of survival) while City fans like to boast that Law’s goal relegated United (mathematically it did not). Many in the media claim Law’s goal was his last in first team football (it wasn’t) and that he retired immediately afterwards (he didn’t). There are other myths about the pitch invasions (there were two not one) and the actions of the ref, so here for the benefit of subscribers is the true story of that day, including quotes from interviews I have performed over the years. Those quoted are Dennis Tueart, Tommy Docherty, Denis law and Willie Donachie.

So get yourself a brew and enjoy this long read on that infamous day:

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The Poznan

The experience of attending a football match isn’t just about seeing great football (but I love those of us who support Manchester City have been blessed with that over the last few years of course!), it’s about what happens in the stands and around the stadium. Fan culture has been something that has mattered to me for decades and I love the atmosphere and mood around watching City.

City fans have had a great reputation for their humour and their ability to add something different to the match day experience. From the 1890s when fans would bring musical instruments and wear fancy dress to City games at the Blues’ Hyde Road ground, through to the 1980s banana craze and on to recent years, attending City games has always been more than simply watching a match.

So for today’s subscriber piece I want to talk about something that swept the club in 2010-11 that has this season been making steps towards returning en masse at the stadium. That is The Poznan! 

The following 1,700 word article is available to all subscribers to this site (see below). If you don’t subscriber then why not join up? It costs £20 a year (that works out about £1.67 a month) and for that you get access to every article on here, plus some audio interviews and PDFs of the entire Manchester A Football History and From Maine Men To Banana Citizens books. You’ll also get everything else added during your period of subscription. You can also give it a try by subscribing at £3 per month (cancel any time) if you’d prefer. Whichever subscription is taken out you then access everything. Thanks.

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The 1969 FA Cup Final

On April 26 1969 Manchester City defeated Leicester City in the FA Cup final. It is worth pausing to consider how the Blues compared to football’s other successful sides in the competition at this point.  City’s four FA Cup successes placed them behind Aston Villa (7), Blackburn Rovers (6), Newcastle United (6), Tottenham Hotspur (5), The Wanderers (5) and West Bromwich Albion (5).  Bolton, Sheffield United and Wolves had, like City, each won four FA Cups, while Manchester United had only won three, Liverpool one and Chelsea had not yet won the trophy.  In fact Chelsea had only won one major trophy (the League Championship) at this point in their history.  

Here for subscribers is a long read on that final and the events surrounding it:

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The 2021 League Cup Final

On this day (25 April) in 2021 Manchester City defeated Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 thanks to a Laporte goal in the League Cup final at Wembley. The game was played in front of a Covid restricted crowd of 7,773.

Here are highlights of that game:

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/mens/city-1-0-spurs-carabao-cup-extended-highlights-63754978