Spurs, The Umbro Stand, Swales Out and That Pitch Invasion!

On this day (7th March) in 1993 Manchester City faced Tottenham in the FA Cup Quarter-Final at Maine Road. It was a day that saw the media express shock at the behaviour of City’s fans when they invaded the pitch during the tie with Spurs.  They condemned the supporters without understanding the background story.  To put the record straight it’s vital the day’s events are covered correctly.  Here for subscribers is the full story of that game, including quotes from Niall Quinn and Peter Swales (from my interviews with them in the years since that day…

Subscribe to get access

If you would like to read this and all the in-depth articles on this site (including the entire Manchester A Football History book and the audio interview with John Bond) then please subscribe. 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 260+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

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.

Subscribe to get access to the entire site

This was a brief sample of the site. If you would like to read the in-depth articles (including the entire Manchester A Football History book and listen to a frank interview from John Bond) then please subscribe. 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 260+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

A National Record – 84,569

“I think Brook played in every position for the Club – he certainly went in nets once – and was a very good player.  When the goal went in it was marvellous.  Nirvana.  On the final whistle I didn’t need to use my feet to leave I was wedged in a solid wall of human flesh and swept through the exit gate like a surfboarder.” Supporter Denis Houlston talking in 2003 about Eric Brook’s goal in the 1934 FA Cup tie with Stoke which was watched by 84,569.

It has virtually slipped out of living memory but in 1934 the largest footballing crowd ever assembled on a club ground witnessed a game that still, almost 90 years later, remains etched in the record books.  84,569 paid to watch City face Stoke in the FA Cup quarter-final at Maine Road in March 1934 – a crowd that surpassed Manchester’s previous best (also a national record at the time) by around 8,000 (set in 1924 when Cardiff faced City in another FA Cup quarter-final). Here for subscribers is a long read on the day when 84,569 gathered for a football match in Manchester:

Subscribe to get access

If you would like to read this and all the in-depth articles on this site (including the entire Manchester A Football History book and the audio interview with John Bond) then please subscribe. 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 260+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

The story of City’s game against Sheffield Wednesday (Hillsborough’s record crowd) can be read here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/17/hillsboroughs-record-crowd-swfc-v-mcfc/

City’s record League crowd can be read here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/23/manchester-citys-record-league-crowd/

Re-Using Match Tickets

Today (26th February) reminds me of how football clubs would often do anything to save a few quid or to avoid spending money they didn’t need to. The reason? Because on this day in 1977 Manchester City’s League game with Sunderland was postponed.

The game was postponed because the Blues were drawn to face Leeds United in the fifth round of the FA Cup that day and so the original League fixture was rescheduled. Tickets had already been sold for the Sunderland League game and, rather than issue new tickets, the club simply announced the original tickets would be used for the new game. It made common sense and this was something that happened often when cup games meant League games had to be postponed. Now, in the days when entry for home fans is mostly by card (though some tickets are issued of course), it seems an unusual occurrence.

The re-arranged game saw City beat Sunderland 1-0 on 9th March with a goal from Dennis Tueart. As for the FA Cup tie – that ended in a 1-0 defeat before 47,731 at Elland Road.

Recently Noel Bayley wrote a guest blog on match tickets and their significance. It’s a free read here: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/16/guest-blog-noel-bayley-to-be-retained/

Hyde v Preston – A Record Breaking Day

On 15th October 1887 one of the most remarkable FA Cup games of all time occurred at Preston and featured Hyde FC, who were formed in 1885 at a meeting attended by approximately forty men in the White Lion public house. For subscribers to this site here is the story of a remarkable day that saw Hyde, the town I spent the first 18 years of my life living in, enter the history books. 

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 240+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

Palace Overwhelmed – Report and Film

City hadn’t had a manager since November and were struggling in the League when the Blues played a FA Cup fifth round tie against Crystal Palace on this day (20th February) in 1926. The tie, played at Maine Road turned out to be a fifteen goal thriller with City in rampant form.  

By half-time the score was 7-0 to the Blues, but Palace would not give up and quickly pulled back four goals.  City were knocked out of their period of complacency and soon found their goalscoring touch again.  

By the end it was 11-4 and, according to a number of spectators present on the day, Manchester fans rushed on at the final whistle and carried off the Palace ‘keeper Callendar shoulder high.  Apparently he had played extremely well and, somehow, managed to keep the score down, although one cannot help wondering if he’d have been given such a reception had the scores been reversed.

Frank Roberts was the City star for this particular game, scoring a remarkable five, while Tommy Browell also earned a few plaudits with his hat-trick. Browell had been ill for most of the week and had been unable to train.

With no management and such a miserable time in the League, no one could believe how City had been able to deliver such strong cup performances. 

Remarkably, film of the game has survived and can be viewed here:

https://www.britishpathe.com/video/crystal-palace-overwhelmed

Hillsborough’s Record Crowd: SWFC v MCFC

On 17th February 1934 a remarkable crowd, with thousands travelling from Manchester, watched a thrilling FA Cup tie between Sheffield Wednesday and Manchester City. Subscribers to this blog can read the story of that game, including photographs.

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.

Guest Blog – Noel Bayley: To Be Retained

For my first guest blog I’m delighted to say that a writer I’ve admired for years has agreed to contribute. Noel Bayley, the editor of the Manchester City fanzine Bert Trautmann’s Helmet, tells us about the role Covid has played in him sharing the stories of his match tickets. Noel writes…

High up on a shelf in the spare room there is a shoe box. To be honest it’s a trainers’ box but that doesn’t sound quite right. Although, if I’m being pedantic, it’s a blue and white adidas Samba trainers’ box (reduced to £42.49) that has been there for the 17 years I’ve lived in this house. It came with me from the last house so it’s probably more like 20 years old. Maybe older.

The trainers are long gone (lifespan six to 12 months in my hands… or on my feet since we’re being pedantic!) but the very thing that you’re supposed to throw away – the box – lives on. Inside are match tickets. I just throw them in there whenever I get one. But since I haven’t had one for a while (Aston Villa at Wembley on 1 March last year, since you asked) the box should have just sat there quietly doing nothing throughout lockdown.

But then I had an idea. Who hasn’t during lockdown? I’d get them all out, put them in order and, scan them. I’d had an idea to put them on my FaceBook page but as I had a City fanzine FB page, that was the obvious place to put them.  So I started doing that at the start of the season. It started off slowly and picked up momentum. Nostalgia’s big business on the internet… “Remember when…” And what might have been a meaningless game to you might have great meaning for someone else. Many of us measure out births, deaths and marriages in football matches; the ticket is the proof positive of the day when all the other details have melted away.

I’m not a ticket collector, you understand. Collectors eschew shoeboxes in favour of A4 folders with transparent pockets and dividers, all neatly arranged. Many years ago at Maine Road, a ticket collector turned up at ‘Fanzine Corner’ happy to show anyone who was even mildly interested his fantastic collection of tickets, going back years – as neat as a new pin. 

He was proudly showing someone a ticket from a pre-season friendly in Italy in 1992. “I’ve got that one too,” I told him, “only I went to the match.” That was an understatement. My mate and I had spent a week hitch-hiking to Italy only to find that this very match against Cremonese on a mountain top in the Dolomites had kicked off half an hour early. We got to see an hour of the game anyway! My mate died in the intervening years, but I still have some great memories and a tiny slip of a ticket to mark the highwater mark (literally!) of our great adventure almost three decades ago.

And that’s the thing about tickets and programmes and much of the – mainly paper – ephemera that people collect: it tells a story, and if it’s going to tell a story it might as well be your story! Not that I’m a ticket collector, you understand.  

There were several hundred tickets in the box. Easily enough for one every day of a nine/ten-month season, I thought naively. As I painstakingly scanned them I realised that there were some dates when I was spoilt for choice (Boxing Day, for example, and early January when the FA Cup Third Round kicks in) and some days when there were none at all. Not that City hadn’t played, but I’ve had a season ticket for 40 years and for many years all-ticket games were something of a rarity; pay on the gate, no questions asked. Now, of course, every game is all-ticket.  

I roped my mate Josh in for a few more – not that he’s a collector either; more of a curator – but there are still gaps. Even so, most days I can put a match ticket on FB with a story to go under it. Remember when indeed! Derby matches, important matches and games that had memorable incidents like last-gasp goals are the most popular ones I have found: Ian Brightwell’s Derby Day equaliser, York away, Blackpool away in the Cup in 1988…

The author Hunter Davies said: ““There is the serious collector, who goes out of their way and actively searches for items. Then there is the accumulator, a much more passive beast. He or she accumulates by never knowingly throwing things away.”

Davies is, without question, a serious collector. I’m more of an “accumulator.” I’m certainly not a ticket collector. No way, not me. They can be found on trains. 

Which reminds me: I’ll have to tell you about the model train collection I’ve accumulated over the years when I’ve got more time…

To see Noel’s, err um, collection (not that he’s a collector!) have a look at https://www.facebook.com/leonyelyab It’s updated every day and provides a great ephemeral record of a football goer’s life. Every ticket tells a story.

Watch this space for other guest blogs soon.

The Day Manchester City Chose To Wear Scarlet!

With City playing Everton this week (17th February 2021) here for subscribers is an in-depth piece on the time the Blues chose to wear scarlet in a crucial match with the Toffees.

Here is the story of the game:

Subscribe to get access

If you would like to read this in-depth article and all the others on this site (including the entire Manchester A Football History book) then please subscribe. 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 230+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

Johnny Bond, Johnny Bond, Johnny Bond

On September 25 2012 former City manager and West Ham FA Cup winner John Bond died at the age of 79. Bond followed Malcolm Allison as manager of the Blues in October 1980 and within his first seven months he turned a struggling side into one that reached the FA Cup final and the League Cup semi-final. I wrote an obituary to John in the days that followed.

Here, for the benefit of subscribers to my blog, is that obituary.

Subscribe to get access

If you would like to listen to read this and the other in-depth articles on this site (including the entire Manchester A Football History book) then please subscribe. 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 220+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

I’ve also posted an audio interview I performed with John back in 1995. For details see: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/12/the-john-bond-interview/