The Starting Eleven – Joe Corrigan

It’s the 40th anniversary of the 1981 FA Cup final on May 9 and ten years ago, as we looked forward to Manchester City appearing in the 2011 FA Cup final, I was asked by the Manchester Evening News to write profiles of the eleven players who started the 1981 final.

For the next eleven days I will post those profiles, one a day, free to read here. These will only be free to view until May 16, so please read them while you can. Thanks.

Here’s the first (appearing here as it was written in 2011)…

As we look forward to the 2011 FA Cup final, Gary James takes a look at the eleven players who made the starting line-up for City’s last FA Cup final in 1981.  Today, Joe Corrigan.

Heralded as the Man Of The Final for his performance over the two games, Joe Corrigan was one of the biggest Maine Road stars of the period.  The 32 year old England goalkeeper had already been a Wembley Cup Final winner twice with the Blues – the 1970 and 1976 League Cup final – and his appearances in the 1981 final; cemented his name and reputation as one of England’s best.  

During the final Corrigan played superbly, making several brilliant saves, most notably when Tottenham’s Roberts sent a downward header goal-bound and another time when he rushed from his line to check Crooks on the edge of the area. 

Ultimately, Corrigan was beaten but the goal was a freak own goal scored by Tommy Hutchison.  Despite his obvious disappointment one of the most memorable sights was when the City ‘keeper walked over to Hutchison, lifted him up and patted him on the back.  Corrigan:  “We’d been on top for most of the game.  I knew that what had happened to him could have happened to any one of us.  So I just told him to ‘get up, get on with it.  It’s only 1-1 and we are still going to win!’  He was devastated to be fair, but we did almost win it in the dying minutes.  Personally, I believe the game should have been played to a conclusion on that night.  The FA Cup is all about the Saturday and I know we would have won had it gone to a conclusion.  No question.”

With the final ending in a draw Corrigan missed an important opportunity.  England were playing Brazil the following Wednesday and it is widely accepted that the City ‘keeper was to appear.  With the FA Cup replay taking place the next night, Corrigan couldn’t play and the opportunity to gain the upper hand in the race to be England’s permanent ‘keeper went begging.

After the FA Cup final replay defeat Corrigan was presented with his Man Of The Final award by Spurs’ manager Keith Burkenshaw.  “It does mean a lot to me, but I’d rather have won the final” he later admitted.

Corrigan’s reputation as one of City’s greatest players developed with the final, and he remained a popular and significant member of John Bond’s side.  However, by the summer of 1982 the Club was changing.  Finance meant Bond’s squad building plans were brought to a swift end.  The signs were not good and players like Corrigan deserved better.

The ‘keeper realised City had changed:  “I think I should have left a little earlier.  I love City but it got to the stage where I knew I wasn’t really wanted here.  The fans were marvellous; the players were great; but maybe it wasn’t really my time any more.  When Seattle made their approach in 1983 I was told I could go.”

A spell at Brighton followed before Corrigan moved into coaching:  “Bert Trautmann and the other ‘keepers taught me more than other coaches could because they had been there.   I felt that I need to do the same.  I’ve coached all over the UK and, at one point, I was flying to Scotland, driving to Yorkshire and the north-east the next day… every day I was on the road.  Then I had ten very enjoyable years at Liverpool, and then Stockport and Chester as well.  It’s been great to put something back.”

In 2004 Corrigan was the first player inducted into the MEN sponsored Manchester City Hall Of Fame and his name will forever be bracketed with Swift & Trautmann as three of the game’s greatest goalkeepers.

My biography of Peter Barnes is now available to subscribe to. Order by May 15 and you will receive a copy signed by me & Peter, the book posted to your home address before it appears in any shop AND your name printed in the book. Order (and more details) here:

The Span of Success

Following Manchester City’s victory in the League Cup last Sunday (April 25 2021) I’ve updated the table showing the span of success (above) – i.e. the number of years between a club’s first major success (FA Cup, League, League Cup, European trophy) and their most recent.

Despite the win City remain third behind Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers, though the gap with Blackburn is narrowing year on year at the moment.

Tottenham missed out on not only winning a major trophy last Sunday but also on leapfrogging City, Blackburn and Liverpool to take top spot! I doubt it would’ve made national headlines if they’d topped the span of success table though.

Okay, the span of success does not show how many trophies each club has won or how frequently that club has experienced great eras of success, but it does demonstrate how wrong those people are who believe certain clubs were unsuccessful until recent years, or those who think certain clubs have always been giants. The column on first major success helps to show when some first became significant (often after transformational investment).

While you’re here… You can now order my new book, Peter Barnes: The Authorised Biography, and get your name printed in it (if ordered before May 15 2021). All orders before May 15 will also have their copy signed by me & Peter Barnes. To order see:

Peter Barnes Biography – Order Now

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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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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Who Said City Couldn’t Play?

Over the years several Manchester City fans have asked me about an old City song that I’ve played at various talks and events I’ve staged. The song, ‘Who Said City Couldn’t Play’, was based on a popular tune of the period and was sung by fans in the 1930s, possibly even the 1920s.

Here for subscribers is more information on the song and a recording of fans singing it back in the 1930s…

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Manchester City – FA Cup Winners Since 1904

St. George’s Day always marks the anniversary of Manchester City’s first FA Cup success. In fact the 1904 FA Cup win was the first major trophy success by any of the Manchester teams and has been recognised as the point when Manchester became a footballing city. 

I’ve written about this often (including academic papers. See: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/01/11/fa-cup-success-football-infrastructure-and-the-establishment-of-manchesters-footballing-identity-free-download-for-limited-period/ ) and feel that every Mancunian should recognise the significance of this moment. 

Subscribers to my site can read the following article highlighting the key people, moments and fan related material from that success:

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Manchester’s First Great Season

“Not a little of the success the City club has achieved is due to the indefatigable labours of the secretary, Mr T.E. Maley, who came to Manchester three years ago, when the City were in the Second Division.  He brought to his duties valuable experience gained with the famous Celtic club, and he has had the benefit of being a player, a club official, a legislator, and a selector.  His splendid services to the City are reflected in the position they at present occupy – the holders of the English Cup – the most coveted of football prizes, and one of the leading clubs in the League.”The Manchester Evening Chronicle, 12 November 1904

This season became Manchester’s first major trophy-winning season. It established the city’s trophy-winning heritage and it helped transform Manchester from a rugby playing city to a footballing one. Every Mancunian needs to know the story of this season. The following 10,000 word article tells the story of that season.

If you would like to read the full article and other pieces like this 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 hundreds of articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming months.

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Restored 2011: The All-Manchester FA Cup Semi Final

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of Manchester City’s FA Cup semi final victory over Manchester United at Wembley (April 16 2011) I’ve produced Restored 2011: The All-Manchester FA Cup Semi Final. This special 1 hour audio recording looks at the game and the years between the 1976 League Cup success and the FA Cup glory of 2011. The 2011 semi-final was a crucial step in City’s journey since the 2008 takeover and I felt it was vital to do a special marking this.

Following last night’s Champions League victory for City (May 4th – City beat PSG to reach the Champions League final) this will now be free to listen to until May 12th. After that date, as with audio recordings with John Bond, Malcolm Allison and George Graham (and hundreds of articles), it will only be available to subscribers to the site. So, if you don’t subscribe, have a listen now while you can.

So what’s in this special recording? Well, I’ve included exclusive material from interviews and recordings I’ve done over the years with Garry Cook, Brian Marwood, Roberto Mancini, Peter Barnes and Peter Swales.  Why Swales? Well, have a listen and you’ll hear why. Basically though I’m trying to set the tone for why the 2011 FA Cup semi final victory and overcoming Manchester United was so significant.

On Mancini… I include a few words from him recorded in 2011 and at one point he talks about the view that was then being expressed that City were ‘trying’ to buy success (now they say City ‘have’ bought success!). His words are a reminder that City have been having that particular criticism thrown at them for over a decade! Oh well, I wonder how long those criticisms were laid at other clubs who had seen major investment which propelled them forward?

Anyway, get yourself a brew and be prepared to be transported back in time. Here’s the recording:

If you enjoy the recording then please let me know, comment or subscribe to the site. If it’s of interest then, over the coming months and years, I’ll produce others like this highlighting key points in Manchester City – and Manchester’s – footballing history. It costs £20 a year to subscribe (it works out £1.67 a month) or £3 if you’d like to sign up a month at a time to get full access for as long as you subscribe (you can always try it for a month). It’s worth bearing in mind that the 2010 Manchester A Football History cost £24.95 and all subscribers will be able to access all of that for as long as they are a subscriber (plus all the other stuff of course). You can subscribe below.

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Match Stats for the 2011 FA Cup Semi-final

City 1-0 United (HT 0-0)

Yaya Toure 52

City: 25 Hart 04 Kompany (yellow card), 05 Zabaleta (yellow card), 13 Kolarov, 19 Lescott, 11 Johnson (Wright-Phillips 79), 18 Barry, 21 Silva (Vieira 86), 34 De Jong (yellow card), 42 Y Toure, 45 Balotelli (yellow card). Substitutes 12 Taylor, 38 Boyata, 07 Milner, 08 Wright-Phillips, 24 Vieira, 10 Dzeko, 27 Jo

United: 01 Van der Sar, 03 Evra, 05 Ferdinand, 15 Vidic, 22 O’Shea (Fabio Da Silva 84), 13 Park Ji-Sung, 16 Carrick, 17 Nani, 18 Scholes (red card), 25 Valencia (Hernandez 65), 09 Berbatov (Anderson 74). Substitutes 29 Kuszczak, 12 Smalling, 20 Fabio Da Silva, 08 Anderson, 28 Gibson, 07 Owen, 14 Hernandez

Referee: Dean

Attendance: 86,549

Manchester City Women: The First Game After Relaunch

On this day (April 13) in 2014 Manchester City’s women’s team played its first competitive game after the relaunch. It was a FA Cup tie against Reading played at the Regional Athletics Arena. 

Here for subscribers is a section of Manchester City Women: An Ora History discussing that opening game:

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If you would like to buy Manchester City Women: An Oral History copies are available direct from me (I’ll sign them) via:

Billy Meredith’s Last Game: 1924 FA Cup Semi

On this day (29th March) in 1924 Manchester City faced Newcastle United in the FA Cup semi-final. Not only that but the game was to be the last competitive game played by City’s legendary winger Billy Meredith. Meredith’s Manchester career began in 1894 when he joined City.

Here for subscribers is the story of that game, plus a contemporary match report and links to a film of Meredith’s last game. Enjoy!

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To read this and all content on this site 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 290+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.