Manchester City versus Chelsea – The story so far…

Tomorrow (5 January 2023) Manchester City play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League and so I thought I’d post a few connections, historical moments and memorable game details here. So here goes…

All-time Record (all first team competitions)

City wins 62, Chelsea wins 71, 39 drawn.

League – 154 played, 53 City wins, 62 Chelsea wins, 39 drawn.

FA Cup – Played 7 (there’ll be another this coming weekend!), 4 City wins, 3 Chelsea wins

League Cup – Played 4, 3 City wins, 1 Chelsea win.

Champions League – Played 1, 1 Chelsea win. You can read about that one here:

ECWC – Played 2, 2 Chelsea wins.

Full Members Cup – Played 2, 2 Chelsea wins.

Community Shield – Played 2, 2 City wins.

Game One

The first match between the sides was on 7 December 1907 in Division One.  Chelsea had been promoted the previous season, and the match ended 2-2 before a 40,000 crowd at Stamford Bridge.

Debuts

City debutants in this fixture include Rodney Marsh, whose first game was the 1-0 victory over Chelsea on 18 March 1972.  Local hero Tommy Booth netted the winner in front of 53,322.

Marsh was a high profile and expensive signing back in 1972. He was signed shortly before the transfer deadline back then. Another major signing who made his league debut v Chelsea was Robinho who joined the Blues on transfer deadline day back in 2008, marking his league debut v Chelsea with a goal that September.

On 14 November 1959 in a 1-1 draw, Alan Oakes made the first of an incredible 665 (plus 3 as substitute) appearances for the Blues – sadly he gave away a last minute penalty, but Bert Trautmann saved it!  You can read more on that game here:

A little over 30 years later Howard Kendall signing Niall Quinn marked his debut with a goal in another 1-1 draw.

Others to have made their debuts include Tosin Adarabioya, Aleix Garcia & David Faupala (scored on his debut). Those players all made their debuts in the FA Cup game on 21 February 2016. 

Television

The first City-Chelsea game to be shown on BBC TV was on 1 October 1955 at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea beat City 2-1. The commentator was Kenneth Wolstenholme. 

The first meeting of the sides to be shown on the BBC’s Match of the Day was 1 October 1966, when Tommy Docherty’s Chelsea beat City 4-1.  Chelsea’s scorers were Tambling, Baldwin, Kirkup and Osgood, while the dependable Neil Young netted for City.

The first live match was on Friday 4 May 1984 with a 7.15pm kick-off, again on BBC.  This Division Two match ended in a 2-0 victory for 2nd placed Chelsea, and the result ended City’s dreams of an immediate return to the top flight.  Chelsea clinched the title that season on goal difference from Sheffield Wednesday and the live game became noteworthy as it was the first Second Division match shown live on television.  Interestingly, the BBC recruited Bobby Charlton as their City ‘expert’ for this game.

Connections

Kevin De Bruyne (made three League appearances for Chelsea), Willy Caballero, Frank Lampard, Scott Sinclair, George Weah, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Nicolas Anelka, Wayne Bridge, Danny Granville, David Rocastle, Gordon Davies, Clive Allen, Clive Wilson, Terry Phelan, and Colin Viljoen are some of the players to have appeared for both clubs.  Further back amateur Max Woosnam had appeared for first Chelsea then City.  He was City’s captain for a while, and was given the honour of captaining the Blues in their first match at Maine Road.  A good all-round sportsman, Woosnam was a Wimbledon doubles champion, and Olympic gold medallist.  He also captained England.

Highest Attendances

The top five attendances for this fixture are:

85,621 – FA Cup semi final, 14 April 2013, City 2 Chelsea 1 

81,775 – 2019 League Cup final, 0-0 City won 4-3 on penalties

72,724 – 2018 Community Shield, City 2 Chelsea 0

68,000 – The highest crowd for this fixture at the old Wembley; the 1986 Full Members’ Cup Final.  

64,396 – 26 March 1948 meeting at Stamford Bridge; a 2-2- draw.

The top five attendances for City V Chelsea at the Etihad are: 54,486 on 23 November 2019; 54,457 on 3 December 2016; 54,452 on 10 February 2019; 54,331 on 16 August 2015 and 54,328 on 4 March 2018. A reduction in capacity at the Etihad means that games from 2021 onwards cannot better these figures.

The highest attendance for City V Chelsea at Maine Road was 53,322 on 18th March 1972. 

Wembley ‘86

The only game between the two sides at the old Wembley Stadium was the inaugural Full Members’ Cup Final in 1986.  Despite taking the lead in the eighth minute, City were losing 5-1 with only five minutes left.  A Mark Lillis inspired fightback followed and he helped City achieve a 5-4 scoreline, before time ran out.  It was a thrilling match and it also helped David Speedie enter the record books.  His hat-trick was the first in a senior domestic final at Wembley since Stan Mortensen in 1953.

You can read about that one here:

Kippax First and Last

City’s first & last games in front of the Kippax Stand were both against Chelsea. The first came on 5 September 1957. City won that game 5-2 (goals from Colin Barlow 2, Fionan ‘Paddy’ Fagan 2 and Billy McAdams), attendance 27,943. The second was on 20 April 1994 – a 2-2 draw (City goals from Uwe Rosler and Paul Walsh), attendance 33,594.

Did You Know?

The two Second Division matches between the sides in 1927-8 were watched by a total of 104,643.  That season City, despite being a Second Division club, had the highest average attendance of all the clubs in the Football League.

Well I Never!

The last match of the 1993-4 season was the last played in front of the old Kippax Stand.  At the time, the Kippax was the largest capacity terraced stand in the country, and Chelsea supporters (dressed as Blues Brothers) laid a wreath in front of the famous old stand.  It was a gesture much appreciated by City fans.  The game ended 2-2 and afterwards supporters hacked off pieces of the old terracing.  Even the old “Colin Bell Bar” Sign was seen being taken towards the city centre after the match!

Feature Match

My feature match is noteworthy as it was played at a time when the Blues were suffering heavy fixture congestion, and squad rotation was still something for the future.

The match is the first leg of the 1970-1 ECWC semi-final.  City were cup holders, while Chelsea had qualified after beating Leeds in the FA Cup Final replay at Old Trafford played on the same night as City’s ECWC final in April 1970.

Malcolm Allison was banned from all football activity by the FA, leaving Joe Mercer in total control.  Joe always believed the strongest team possible should play.  He didn’t hold with the view that players should be saved for the important matches and, although his belief that every team should always field their strongest side was fair and just, in 1971 it was to cost the Blues dearly.  During a relatively meaningless 4 League fixtures over the Easter period injuries piled up.  By the time of the ECWC game Summerbee, Pardoe, Oakes, Heslop, Bell, and Doyle – all crucial players – were on the injury list, causing Joe to play a team of inexperience in the most crucial match of the season.  Shortly before kick off at Stamford Bridge he solemnly told the press his team and then said:  “And may God bless this ship and all who sail in her.”

Despite their naivety, Mercer’s Minors put in a good performance.  Goalkeeper Joe Corrigan, who played the game with his left eye half-closed through injury, was in exceptional form.  Dave Sexton’s Chelsea surged forward in the opening minutes, but Corrigan kept them at bay.  Gradually, the confidence of City’s inexperienced side increased, and at half-time they entered the dressing room still level.

Sadly, a minute into the second half Tony Towers was unable to intercept a cross from Chelsea’s Keith Weller to David Webb, and a mistake by Tommy Booth allowed Derek Smethurst to score for the home side.  It was the only mistake City made all night, and the game ended 1-0.  Joe was proud of his players, and looked forward to the return.

Sadly, others (Booth and Corrigan) were missing for the second match – played only 48 hours after a gruelling 2-2 draw against Liverpool.  Again Chelsea won 1-0, this time the replacement ‘keeper, Ron Healey, turned an inswinging free kick from Weller into his own net.

City’s dream of becoming the first side to retain the trophy ended – a feat no club ever managed to do – while Chelsea went on to beat Real Madrid in the final.

The 1970-1 season had also seen a ferocious boardroom battle tear the club apart, and for the first time had caused friction between Mercer and Allison.  A year later the partnership ended for good.

Stats:  ECWC Semi-Final first leg 14 April 1971

Chelsea 1 City 0

Scorers – Chelsea: Smethurst

City: Corrigan, Book, Connor, Towers, Booth, Donachie, Johnson, Hill, Lee, Young, Mann

Attendance: 45,955 

If you have enjoyed this article then feel free to use the search field or Category selection below to find other articles. Some content is free to read while others are for subscribers only.

Subscribe to get access

If you have enjoyed this free post and would like to support my research and writing then please subscribe. Annual subscribers (£20 per year, sign up here) get access to everything posted on the site including PDFs of 2 of my out of print books and archived content like my exclusive audio interviews with John Bond, Malcolm Allison etc. Not only that but you’ll be helping to support this site’s development.

Subscribe to get access

If you have enjoyed this free post and would like to support my research and writing then please subscribe. Monthly subscribers (£3 per month, sign up here) get access to everything posted on the site since 1 October 2022. Not only that but you’ll be helping to support this site’s development.

Crowd Trouble Causes Switch

On this day (4 January) in 1975 Manchester City played ‘away’ at Maine Road against Newcastle United in the FA Cup.  The tie should have been played at Newcastle but the FA ordered that the match be played at Maine Road following crowd disorder at St. James’ Park the previous season.  City lost the match 2-0.

Were you at this match? If so why not leave your memory as a comment or email it to me for possible future use on this website?

You can read a 1500 article on the 1974-75 season here:

The Story of 1974-75

Abandoned Game – MCFC V Brentford

On this day (November 28) in 1936 Manchester City’s game was abandoned due to fog. For today’s piece I’m taking a look back at the season of 1936-37and that game when City and Brentford were title rivals.

The early months of the season were difficult for City. Despite exciting victories over Leeds (4-0) and West Bromwich Albion (6-2), an opening day defeat at Middlesbrough and another at Old Trafford in the first derby since February 1931 caused a little concern. The United defeat was particularly upsetting as the Reds were a side clearly lacking and destined to return immediately to the Second Division. Further City failures occurred, including a 2-1 loss at Wolverhampton and a 4-2 Maine Road defeat to Sunderland.

Significant injuries to captain Sam Barkas, and attackers Alec Herd and Fred Tilson had hampered our progress during the opening months. All three absences affected the Blues considerably – Tilson missed twenty consecutive League games; Herd eight and Barkas missed seven of the opening nine matches.

These injuries meant it was difficult to find consistency and by November 28 City were twelfth. That day they were to face Brentford at Maine Road, who were already perceived as title challengers after defeating West Bromwich Albion 2-1 the previous week. That victory had meant that Brentford were third, only one point behind leaders Sunderland. If anyone had been asked to predict which of City and Brentford were more likely to end the season as champions at that time they would inevitably have answered Brentford. However, things were about to change for Manchester’s Blues.

Subscribers to my site can find out what happened next…

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this article when you subscribe today. It costs £20 a year (£1.66 a month) to access everything or £3 per month paying a month at a time (see below). If you’d like to support my research then why not subscribe? Every subscription directly helps support my research and provides annual subscribers with access to everything posted on this site, including the entire Manchester A Football History and From Maine Men To Banana Citizens books, plus interviews, articles and more. I am not employed by anyone and all my research is self funded or comes from subscriptions to this site.

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this article when you subscribe today. You can subscribe at either £20 per year (above) or at £3 per month here (cancel any time). For those subscribing £3 per month you will be able to access all content from October 2022 onwards for as long as you are a subscriber. Those subscribing £20 a year have access to everything posted since December 2020.

Trautmann’s Debut

On this day (November 26) in 1949 Bert Trautmann played his first Maine Road League game. Trautmann’s debut had come a week earlier at Bolton. Here’s a 1400 word article on Trautmann’s arrival, the proposed boycotts and the general situation at Maine Road that led to the gamble on playing the former Prisoner of War.

This article is available to all monthly and annual subscribers to GJFootballArchive.com. It costs £20 to subscribe annually and annual subscribers get access to everything on this site. Monthly subscription costs £3 per month and can be cancelled any time. Monthly subscribers can access everything posted since 1st October 2022. If you’d like to see what’s available do a few searches before subscribing. Or subscribe for a month and check out what you want. Subscribers access all material posted during their subscription too. 

Subscribe to get access – Annual

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Subscribe to get access – Monthly

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Allison Wins Bet With Crerand!

Today’s the day (27 October) in 1965 when Malcolm Allison won a significant bet with Pat Crerand about attendances at Manchester City. The Blues had drawn 0-0 with Norwich at Maine Road, ensuring City were top of Division Two and looking like promotional hopefuls. A crowd of 34,091 watched the match and Allison was delighted with that figure. The attendance had won him ten pounds off Manchester United’s Paddy Crerand who had told the City coach that City were a ‘dying club’ and bet him the Blues would never get a crowd above 30,000 at Maine Road again!  Later that season 63,034 watched City play Everton – an attendance greater than any domestic crowd at Old Trafford that season. Allison had the last laugh of course!

Subscribe to get access

If you’ve enjoyed this then why not subscribe? Every subscription directly helps support my research and provides each annual subscriber with access to everything posted on this site, including the entire Manchester A Football History and From Maine Men To Banana Citizens books, plus interviews, articles and more. I am not employed by anyone and all my research is self funded or comes from subscriptions to this site.

Subscribe to get access

You can subscribe at either £20 per year (above) or at £3 per month here (cancel any time). For those subscribing £3 per month you will be able to access all content from October 2022 onwards for as long as you are a subscriber. Those subscribing £20 a year have access to everything posted since December 2020.

Fenerbahce Floodlights

On this day (21 October) in 1953 the second game played under floodlights at Maine Road occurred with Turkish side Fenerbahce (later famous for being Manchester City’s opponents in the Blues first European cup match) defeated 5-1 by City. You can read more about these first floodlights and the opening games here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/?p=6422

The photo is from the Hearts floodlit match.

“Stanley’s Match” – England 8 Scotland 0 16th October 1943

“When I heard the team I said two prayers.  One of thanks to the Scots for leaving me out, and one on behalf of Adam Little who had taken my place.  I knew then we’d do well to get away with less than five goals against.”  So said Bill Shankly referring to the selection of the England team to face Scotland at Maine Road in October 1943. You can read the story of this incredible game here:

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today. You can subscribe at either £20 per year (above) or at £3 per month here (cancel any time). For those subscribing £3 per month you will be able to access all content from October 2022 onwards for as long as you are a subscriber. Those subscribing £20 a year have access to everything posted since December 2020.

Floodlights

On this day (14 October) in 1953 the first game under floodlights at Maine Road took place, Manchester City 6 Hearts 3.  Here’s an article about that period and City’s first floodlighting system, including a photo from the actual game and another report.

Subscribe to get access

If you’d like to read this article then why not subscribe? The £20 annual subscription works out about £1.67 per month. Every subscription directly helps support my research and provides annual subscribers with access to everything posted on this site, including the entire Manchester A Football History and From Maine Men To Banana Citizens books, plus interviews, articles and more. I am not employed by anyone and all my research is self funded or comes from subscriptions to this site.

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today. You can subscribe at either £20 per year (above) or at £3 per month here (cancel any time). For those subscribing £3 per month you will be able to access all content from October 2022 onwards for as long as you are a subscriber. Those subscribing £20 a year have access to everything posted since December 2020.

Royal Reactions (part two)

On 17th of this month I posted the first part of a two part feature on the royal family and Manchester City. Now, as promised, here’s the second part focusing on visits to Manchester City by the UK monarchs over the decades plus a few other snippets. Enjoy this free to read article…

Before I start with part two here’s a link to the first part of the feature:

Over the years Manchester City has proved to be a very popular club for visits by significant members of the British Royal family and of other nations’ royalty.  Whether this has anything to do with the club’s success, the stadium’s importance, or the role of Manchester in terms of industry and commercial activity is unclear (probably a bit of all of that!). There have been two major royal visits to Maine Road and there has been a significant visit to the club’s former ground at Hyde Road (though some people incorrectly think there have been two!). In addition, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh plus other senior royals visited the City of Manchester Stadium (now Etihad) twice for the Commonwealth Games. Prince Philip was creating history by becoming the first senior member of the Royal family to visit two of City’s venues. 

The first Royal visit to Maine Road was on 20 October 1934 when the Duke of York (future King George VI, Queen Elizabeth II’s father) watched City’s 1-0 defeat by Derby County.  Prior to the match the Duke was introduced to both sides and then he took his seat at the front of the Directors’ Box. The previous year he had witnessed City’s FA Cup final defeat to Everton at Wembley.

The next major Royal visit came on Thursday 7 May 1964 when Prince Philip witnessed a City-United derby match. The game had been organised by the Variety Club of Great Britain as a charity fund raiser for underprivileged children, and it had been hoped a capacity crowd of over sixty thousand would be present, however appalling weather limited the attendance to approximately 36,000. Philip, as with the Duke of York thirty years earlier, sat in the Directors’ Box, although this time, according to newspaper reports the box had been decked out with flowers and was christened the Royal Box for the evening.

The game ended with Philip presenting the Duke of Edinburgh Cup to United’s captain Denis Law on the pitch in the pouring rain. Thousands of children, according to local reports, swarmed on to the pitch, as the Duke became drenched. Interestingly, Philip’s visit to the Commonwealth Games in 2002 also saw him suffer with the rain. Perhaps he remembered his 1964 visit as he waited for the 2002 Games to end!

City’s current stadium has welcomed a variety of international royal guests, including the former King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, who attended City v Liverpool in March 2017, while Maine Road saw several visits by middle eastern princes and others over the years. 

The most significant Royal visit of all to a City venue has to be the 1920 appearance of King George V at Hyde Road. This was the first visit to a provincial ground by a reigning monarch and as such is of immense importance. A month or so earlier the King had gone to watch a FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Leicester.

Subscribers can read more on that visit here:

It has been suggested that twenty years earlier, however, Queen Victoria’s son, the Prince of Wales (future King Edward VII), attended Hyde Road. This is a myth – please don’t believe it! I’m always keen on finding evidence and the author who propagated this story actually mistook City director Joshua Parlby for the future King on a photograph! 

I’ve performed extensive research on this so-called visit and have revealed in earlier books (most notably Farewell To Maine Road in 2003) that the visit did not occur. As with all myths I try to work backwards to understand how these things take hold and why some become convinced (don’t get me started on the myth about Anna Connell!). I find it helps to get to the source because that way it becomes clear why someone who hasn’t performed detailed research becomes convinced. So, here’s the story of how some authors have incorrectly claimed a royal visit in 1900…

Back in 1930 City’s first true history, Manchester City Football Club Souvenir History by Fred Johnson, stated: ‘The Hyde Road ground was honoured with the presence of His Majesty the King on March 27th 1900 when Liverpool were opposed.’ This is clearly a typographical error as the incident it refers to is the visit of King George on 27 March 1920 (Liverpool were the visitors). 

This explains the birth of the error but a photograph has also been produced by one author ‘showing’ the King at Hyde Road. It shows nothing of the sort and the photo (below) is clearly a red herring. It is Hyde Road (the stand in the background is the Stone Yard Stand) but the two gentlemen wearing top hats have been claimed to be leading royals with the one closest to the camera supposedly future King Edward. However, he is not. I’ve compared these photos to others in my collection and published in the early 1900s. These images are actually from the visit of future Prime Minister Arthur Balfour in September 1900.

Balfour was the only significant visitor that day and his head actually appears on the image (between the ladies and the top-hatted men). One of the women is described as Balfour’s daughter on another photo from this day. The top-hatted gent at the back is City director W. Richmond (director between 1896 and 1902), while the other top-hatted man looks an awful lot like Joshua Parlby (the club’s former manager and a director in 1900). 

Regardless of this myth, it is amazing that three successive monarchs had attended City’s grounds, albeit in George VI’s case he was still Duke of York when he attended Maine Road in 1934.   

Subscribe to get access

While you’re here why not subscribe to my website. It costs £20 per year (works out about £1.67 a month) and for that every subscriber gets access to a PDF of both Manchester A Football History and From Maine Men to Banana Citizens (both out of print) plus the hundreds of articles, interviews and videos already posted and a guaranteed 4 new exclusive articles per month (usually a lot more than that!). I am not employed to do any research and so subscribers help fund detailed research into football’s history. Thanks for supporting my work if you do already subscribe or buy my books.

A Manchester Derby Record Crowd

On this day (20 September) in 1947 a crowd of approximately 78,000 witnessed the first post-war Manchester derby.  A tense match ended goalless before the derby’s record crowd on a club ground. This attendance remained the highest for a Manchester derby until the 2011 FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium. The return fixture, also played at Maine Road, was watched by 71,690. Subscribers can read the story of the 1947 game (background, match report, statistics etc.) below:

Subscribe to get access

You can read this detailed article when you subscriber (plus all other material on the site). It costs £20 a year (£1.67 per month) to subscribe