Bury’s FA Cup Successes

Bury Football Club was the first in the wider Manchester region to find major success. In 1900 they won the FA Cup, defeating Southampton 4-0 in the final and in 1903 they won the competition again by defeating Derby county by a record 6-0 scoreline (this was equalled by Manchester City’s FAC final victory over Watford in 2019).

Subscribers can read about Bury’s successes in this article:

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Manchester City Season – 1997-98

Not the best season to focus on but here for subscribers is the latest post covering the 1997-98 season for Manchester City. Those were the days hey? Enjoy – if you can. Well, at least City have won a few trophies since then.

Manager

Frank Clark had been appointed manager during the previous season, but was replaced by popular former Blue Joe Royle in February 1998.

League Overview

1997-98 was expected to see an end to the troubles and misery of the previous seasons.  It was anticipated Frank Clark would develop a side capable of seeking promotion.  The Blues had struggled to find form under each of the managers appointed since the dismissal of Brian Horton in 1995 and Chairman Francis Lee was facing much criticism.  Everyone recognised that the 1997-8 season had to see improvement. 

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On This Day: Colin Bell Was Born

On this day (26th February) in 1946 Colin Bell was born. Sadly Colin, recognised by most Manchester City fans as the greatest ever player for the club, passed away in January 2021.

The above photo comes from Peter Barnes’ collection and was taken at Champneys where City were staying prior to the League Cup final in 1976. It was, of course, Colin’s 30th birthday.

My thoughts and best wishes are with Colin’s family today.

I’ve interviewed Colin and written a lot about him over the years. A few posts are available (free to read) here for anyone who wants to learn more about Colin or remember some of his incredible achievements:

Colin Bell Interview/Tribute

1977-78 Colin Bell’s Contribution To The Central League Title

Colin Bell 1946-2021

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2020/12/29/manchester-city-hall-of-fame-colin-bells-significant-game/

IN SEARCH OF THE BLUES – Colin Bell MBE (interviewed in January 2005)

Goalkeeper Dowd Scores; Colin Bell’s Bury Scoring Debut

On this day (8th February) in 1964 Manchester City and Bury drew 1-1. It hardly sounds a remarkable game but it was for two reasons – this was Colin Bell’s Bury debut (and he scored!) AND City’s goalkeeper Harry Dowd scored the Blues equaliser.

This was City’s first point of 1964. The Blues were losing 1-0 to a debut goal from Bury youngster and future Blue Colin Bell at Maine Road when Dowd suffered a broken finger in the 54th minute.  He was unable to continue in nets but stayed on the field and reverted to centre-forward – a role he’d often played as a youngster.  

Scottish forward Matt Gray replaced Dowd in nets and the game continued with the regular ‘keeper keen to impress in attack:  “I was restless enough to give it all I’d got.  I felt just like a colt on its feet for the first time, pushing and shoving my way through and going for the every ball – many of which I hadn’t a hope of getting.  But the moment of glory wasn’t far away, and it seemed the fans were loving every minute of the action.”

“I got the chance to slip the ball to Derek Kevan, his shot hit the bar, and as it bounced down I went lunging in to turn home the equaliser.  The newspapers said some very kind things the next day.”

With Dowd’s efforts up front and a fine performance in goal from Gray the Blues secured the point.  Gray had managed to keep a clean sheet, although Dowd’s amazing exploits prevented him from receiving the kind of credit that other emergency City ‘keepers Doyle, McDonald, Gleghorn, Quinn and Walker would over the decades that followed. 

This game was probably Dowd’s highlight of the season as later on, he found himself dropped with Bert Trautmann returning to the side for three games before even he gave way to Alan Ogley for the final five matches of the season..  At one point Dowd asked for a transfer, but he remained at Maine Road, playing a significant part in the successes that followed under manager Joe Mercer. 

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On This Day: Christmas at Manchester City

Had your Christmas dinner yet? If not then spare a thought for those days when professional football in England would take place on Christmas Day. In the modern era the thought of playing League football on Christmas Day is totally unacceptable, but in years gone by games were played on consecutive days over Christmas, including Christmas Day, and these were often the best attended matches of the winter.  

The last Christmas Day game featuring Manchester City took place in 1957 when the Blues were defeated 2-1 at Burnley.  The City team for that landmark game was:  Trautmann, Leivers, Little, Barnes, Ewing, Warhurst, Barlow, Kirkman, Johnstone, Hayes, and Fagan.  Fionan Fagan was the last City player to score on Christmas Day

The following day City defeated Burnley 4-1 at Maine Road in front of a crowd of 47,285.  The only change to the line up was Ron Phoenix, who replaced Bobby Johnstone. 

The First Noel

The first League game ever played by City on Christmas Day was at Christmas 1896 against Newton Heath (present day Manchester United).  The game was played at Bank Street, Clayton (roughly across the road from the Etihad, the site of the BMX centre behind the present Velodrome) and was attended by 18,000 – a figure described by the Athletic News as being huge for Newton Heath:  “The crowd was an enormous one and I never saw so many lads at a football match.  They were really the cause of the encroaching in the first half, for they were continually creeping under the rails, and as a natural consequence their elders were bound to follow if they were to get a glimpse of the game.”  

Fans streamed on to the pitch on several occasions and the game was almost abandoned at half time:  “Mr. J. Parlby, one of the League Management Committee, told the crowd point blank that if they did not keep beyond the touchline, the game could not proceed, and the Newton Heath Club would have to suffer the consequences.”

Parlby, was actually a City director, and his words may have been influenced by the fact Newton Heath were the better side that day!  The game ended 2-1 to the Heathens.

The two sides met on two further occasions on Christmas Day, the last (1902) ended 1-1 at Clayton before 40,000 with Billy Meredith scoring for the Blues.

Highest Christmas Crowd

City tended to be away from home on Christmas Day, but the best Maine Road crowd on the 25th was 56,750 in 1930 when City faced Arsenal.  The following day a mere 17,624 attended the return game at Highbury.

The previous year a crowd reported as 70,000 watched Aston Villa beat City 2-1 on Boxing Day at Maine Road.  This is the highest Christmas crowd at a City League game.

Christmas Thriller

Perhaps the most entertaining – if disappointing – game ever played by the Blues on Christmas Day was the 6-5 defeat by Bury at Gigg Lane in 1925.  

Debuts

The following players made their Manchester City League debuts on Christmas Day:

1946 – Peter Robinson (V. Plymouth Argyle)

1933 – Frank Swift (V. Derby County)

1902 – Johnny Mahon (V. Manchester United)

1909 – George Wynn (V. Bradford Park Avenue)

Review of Barnes Biography

For those still wondering whether my biography of Peter Barnes is worth getting, here’s a fairly typical review that appeared last month. Enjoy! Also thanks to Ian Farrell for reviewing this in When Saturday Comes. Ta!

Allison for England

As it had still been possible for either Manchester City or Manchester United to win the League on the final day of the 1967-68 season, the Championship trophy was left at the home of the reigning champions United.

City won the League at Newcastle while United lost 2-1 to struggling Sunderland.

You can read about that final day of the season here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/05/11/manchester-city-win-the-league/

At United the Championship trophy vanished at some point during that day.  The Daily Express reporter Alan Thompson set off on a mission to track it down.  He started questioning the Old Trafford staff:  “Secretary Les Olive was under the impression that a League official had taken it earlier in the week, Matt Busby was not at all sure what had happened to it, and for a minute or two it was lost until a member of the female staff admitted that it had been locked up ‘in the vault’.  You are at liberty to allow full rein to your imaginations in concluding exactly where the ‘vault’ is at Old Trafford.  But the centre of the boardroom table, where the League Championship Cup has stood proudly for the last 12 months was occupied by five shillings worth of flowers.  Sit down the City fan who says symbolic.”

City still needed the trophy to be presented (Joe Mercer had offered to walk all the way from the Newcastle game to Old Trafford to collect it if he had to!) and so a friendly against Bury was hastily arranged for the Tuesday (May 14 1968) following the Newcastle game to enable the Championship trophy to be presented. 

If the destination of the title was not obvious during the season, the trophy would be presented at the League’s annual dinner but as City would be on tour in America, the League agreed to present it at Maine Road.  The presentation took place before the Bury game with Tony Book and the rest of the players going on a lap of honour before Mercer was handed the trophy to lift above his head.  The crowd roared with delight and then witnessed a 4-2 victory.

Bury’s two goals were scored by Bobby Owen who, two months later signed for the Blues.

The game was noteworthy for it also included an appearance by Malcolm Allison.  For much of the game he’d sat, wearing his familiar red tracksuit then, with about ten minutes left he substituted George Heslop and entered the field himself wearing the number 8 shirt.  This caused a little confusion as Colin Bell remained on the pitch with the same number but nobody complained, after all it was a night to enjoy especially when Allison threw himself into the game.  He forced a great save from Neil Ramsbottom, the Bury ‘keeper, and had a goal disallowed.  The City supporters chanted ‘Allison for England’, and even called for Mercer to take to the field. 

On This Day 1963: The 1st FA Cup Tie

On this day (6th March) in 1963, due to an exceptionally snowy winter, both Manchester City’s and Manchester United’s first appearances in the FA Cup that season occurred. The games had been delayed until this date due to the poor weather.  

For the record, the Blues won away at Walsall 1-0 in the 3rd round (Alex Harley scored).  7 days later they beat Bury (1-0 at Maine Road, 41,575 crowd) in the 4th round and then lose to Norwich (2-1 at Maine Road on 16th March) in round 5.

The Reds defeated Huddersfield 5-0 at Old Trafford (Law 3, Giles & Quixall) before 47,703. They also defeated Aston Villa (1-0 on 11th March at Old Trafford), Chelsea (2-1 on 16th March at Old Trafford), Coventry (3-1 on 30th March), Southampton (1-0 at Villa Park on 27th April) and Leicester City 3-1 in the final at Wembley on 25th May.

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Manchester A Football History part 33

This is the thirty-second chapter of the 2010 edition of the book Manchester A Football History (Gary James, published by James Ward). As with everything else on this site copyright laws apply. The book is published here for the personal use of subscribers to this site. For any other use please email the publishers at info@manchesterfootball.org

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Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Manchester A Football History part 32

This is the thirty-first chapter of the 2010 edition of the book Manchester A Football History (Gary James, published by James Ward). As with everything else on this site copyright laws apply. The book is published here for the personal use of subscribers to this site. For any other use please email the publishers at info@manchesterfootball.org

Subscribe to get access

If you would like to read this piece and all the other in-depth articles (including the entire Manchester A Football History book) then please subscribe below. It works out about £1.67 a month if you take out an annual subscription (£20 per year) or £3 a month if you’d like to sign up for a month at a time. Each subscriber gets full access to the 200+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.