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:

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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/

Manchester City’s Record League Crowd

On this day in 1935 Manchester City established a new Football League record crowd. For subscribers to http://www.GJFootballArchive.com here’s the story and cuttings of that day:

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Manchester City’s Support: The Facts

Over the last few years there’s been a growing tendency by rival fans to mock the support of Manchester City. It’s an extremely odd thing to do, especially as for most of the period between 1981 and 2011 they talked of the loyalty of City fans. It seems, once the Blues started winning trophies again, rival supporters had to find something else to focus on. 

Recently, this myth about City’s support has been used by some in extremely strange ways, for example following the Blues 4-1 thrashing of Liverpool at Anfield (see: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/07/the-last-time-mcfc-scored-4-or-more-at-anfield/ ) some Liverpool fans (and even some journalists!) started to make the point that City’s recent form is down to the fact that ‘they’re used to playing in front of no fans’ with the suggestion being that if Anfield had had fans present then City wouldn’t have won. They go on and suggest that Liverpool would have gained more wins in general and that City would not be top of the League and that Liverpool would be. 

This is an extremely strange view, especially as the 2019-20 season (which included some games without fans of course) was the only time Liverpool have won the Premier League since its formation in 1992. In each of those seasons prior to LFC’s first Premier League title crowds were allowed at Anfield. During that same time City have won the League on four occasions. It’s a preposterous idea that ignores the facts.

So for this article I’ve decided to produce evidence of City support in recent decades along with a few comparisons with other leading sides. It makes interesting reading and may embarrass the supporters of certain clubs who constantly ridicule City’s fanbase, despite the evidence. The following in-depth piece can be accessed by subscribing to this blog below.

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

MCFC V LFC: A Few Items From History

Game One

The first meeting of these two clubs came when Liverpool visited Hyde Road on 16th September 1893 in the Football League.  Liverpool, playing their first season in the League (City had first joined the League as Ardwick in 1892), won the Division Two match 1-0 with an 80th minute goal from James Stott.  

Debuts

Former captains Sam Barkas and Jimmy McMullan both made their debuts in matches with Liverpool.  Barkas first appeared in the 3-2 defeat on 2nd May 1934 at Anfield, while McMullan’s debut came in a 1-1 draw on 27th February 1926 at Maine Road.

Another man to make his debut was the popular Roy Little, who helped City achieve a 1-0 win in January 1953.  Fifties cup hero Little is still a regular Maine Road attender.

Joe Royle made both his first and last league appearance for City against Liverpool.  His first match was on Boxing Day 1974, and his last came in October 1977.  Following that game he played a League Cup tie against Luton, and then moved to Bristol City where he scored 4 goals on his debut against Middlesbrough in Division One. You can read about the October 1977 game here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/06/mcfc-v-lfc-october-1977/

You can read the remarkable story of a Blue who scored four on his debut for City against Liverpool here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/01/18/imagine-scoring-four-goals-for-mcfc-against-liverpool-on-your-debut/

There’s also the story of another City player scoring 4 v Liverpool here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/01/17/the-flu-limits-mcfcs-selections-but-they-beat-liverpool-5-0-roberts-4-goals/

Television

The first meeting of the sides to be shown on the BBC’s Match of the Day was on 12th August 1972.  Liverpool won 2-0 with a goal from Hall in the 3rd minute and one from Callaghan six minutes from time.  An Anfield crowd of 55,383 watched the opening day match.

The first match to be broadcast live was the March 1988 FA Cup sixth round tie.  44,047 witnessed a 4-0 home defeat for the Blues. Here’s film of that game:

Connections

Some of the more recent players to have appeared for both clubs include Raheem Sterling, James Milner, Craig Bellamy, Mario Balotelli, Nicolas Anelka, Albert Riera, Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, David James, Kolo Toure, Didi Hamann, Daniel Sturridge, Peter Beardsley, Mark Kennedy, Steve McMahon, Michael Robinson, Mark Seagraves, and Paul Stewart.  Others to have played for both clubs include Matt Busby, Joe Fagan, George Livingstone and Jimmy Ross.

Inside-forward Livingstone joined City from Liverpool in May 1903 and was an important member of the 1904 Cup winning side.  Incredibly, during a career that spanned 3 decades Livingstone played for both Manchester clubs and both Celtic and Rangers.  Somehow he never made it to Everton to complete a unique treble.

Jimmy Ross was one of football’s first stars and joined the Blues in 1898 after highly successful spells at Preston and Anfield.  Although he’s relatively unknown these days, Ross deserves a major place in football’s hall of fame for his achievements during the first 15 years of League football.  Incidentally, he also netted 7 (sometimes reported as 8) in Preston’s record 26-0 demolition of Hyde at Ewen Fields in the FA Cup.

Highest Attendance

The highest attendance for a match between the two sides is 70,640 at Maine Road for the fifth round FA Cup tie on 18th February 1956.  Here’s film of that game played in snowy conditions: 

https://www.britishpathe.com/video/f-a-cup-newcastle-v-stoke-manchester-city-v-liverp/query/manchester+city

The match ended goalless and four days later the highest attendance for a City-Liverpool match at Anfield (57,528) watched the Blues defeat the Reds 2-1.  City’s victory brought a crowd of 76,129 to Maine Road for the visit of Everton in the quarter-final.  

Interestingly, Liverpool have played in higher attendances at Maine Road.  Their semi-finals against Burnley (1947) and Everton (1950) both attracted crowds of 72,000.

The highest League crowd at Maine Road was 50,439 in April 1976 (of course games at the Etihad have attracted higher figures), while the highest at Anfield is 55,383 for the televised match in August 1972.

Did You Know?

The first recorded rendition by City fans of Blue Moon occurred following the 3-1 defeat at Anfield on the opening day of the 1989-90 season.  Despite the scoreline the Blues had played well with Clive Allen and Ian Bishop impressing on their debuts.  As the City fans left the stadium a couple of supporters started to sing the song that was later to become a Blue anthem.  The song seemed to dovetail neatly with the events of the day and over the course of the next few weeks it became popular.

Controversy

Don’t get me started on this but the 1981 League Cup semi-final still rankles with many of us! The story can be read here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/01/13/manchester-city-liverpool-and-the-1981-league-cup-semi-final/

Well I Never!

During City’s 1936-7 Championship season the Blues defeated Liverpool 10-1 on aggregate in the space of four days.  On 26th March an Eric Brook hat-trick, plus goals from Alec Herd and Peter Doherty brought a 5-0 Anfield win.  Then on 29th City achieved a 5-1 Maine Road victory despite being a goal down in the fifth minute.

In between those matches City had managed a 2-2 draw at home to Bolton on 27th while Liverpool had defeated Manchester United 2-0 on the same day.

Sadly, in 1995 Liverpool defeated the Blues 4-0 in the League Cup and 6-0 in the League over a similar time frame.  The League performance ended with Uwe Rosler throwing his boots into the crowd, while Alan Ball amazed all Blues by saying he enjoyed the game.

Own Goal

Dave Watson headed an 89th minute own goal in this fixture on 29th December 1976 to help League leaders Liverpool achieve a 1-1 draw.  Third placed City had taken a first half lead from Joe Royle, before 50,020 at Maine Road.  The result proved costly as that season City finished second – a mere point behind Liverpool. 

1996 – Timewasting

A deflection from Lomas (off a McManaman effort) gave Liverpool a 6th minute lead in a last day of the season match the Blues needed to win to stay up.   Rush scored Liverpool’s second in the 41st minute as City looked dead and buried.  Rosler (71st minute penalty) and Symons (78th minute) gave the Blues hope, but City decided to timewaste in the mistaken belief they were safe.  Quinn, on the touchline after being substituted, urged the players to attack, while Liverpool seemed determined to open up play, but the game ended with Ball’s side relegated.

2000- Weah’s Only Goal

Former World Player of the Year George Weah scored his first and only League goal for City in the 3-2 defeat at Anfield in September.

2003- Anelka Double

A 74th minute penalty and a stoppage-time volley gives Anelka two goals against his former club.  The Blues win 2-1 at Anfield in the penultimate match of the season. 

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If you would like to read other articles like this and the blog’s in-depth longer 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 months.

Can You Help Find These MCFC Fans?

“It was the way in which the football supporters of Manchester United and Manchester City used to dress and treat the whole match as if it were a carnival”
– Iain S. P. Reid

A book is to be produced on Iain SP Reid’s photographs of City and United fans at Maine Road and Old Trafford. Paul Sorene (one of the people behind the book) has asked me to help track down anyone who appeared in these photos.

Images, like the one above of the hot dog sellers and fans on Maine Road, will be reproduced in the book with, where possible, the stories of those featured in the photos. Maybe, if circumstances allow, they’ll recreate some of the scenes within the book too.

So if you appeared in that photo or in any of the others Iain took during this period then please get in touch.

You can make contact with Paul Sorene and all involved at info@flashbak.com or through the Facebook page for Iain’s work at:

These photos were taken circa 1977. Iain believed that photography could improve lives. His work is full of joy. Sadly he died in 2000, leaving his fabulous archive of photographs filed away in boxes unseen until his family rediscovered them.

The book will be crowdfunded and we’ll all be able to spread the word but, most importantly at the moment, the people behind the book really want to hear from those Iain captured in his work. The pictures alone would make a fantastic book, but including the stories of those capture will make it a truly brilliant project.

I’m always passionate about the capturing and preservation of footballing images and stories. For me football simply isn’t about the players on the pitch but the thousands who dedicate significant time – and money – to supporting their club. If you’re a Blue or a Red who attended games around 1976-77 then take a look at Iain’s collection at https://www.facebook.com/IainSPReid and see if you’re there – or if there’s someone you recognise. The more people can do this the better. Thanks

On This Day – Outfield Player In Nets But MCFC Still Beat Leeds

On this day (14th January) in 1928 Manchester City faced Leeds United in a FA Cup tie. Although the result went City’s way, the game was to affect the Blues for several weeks afterwards.

The reason is that the ‘Citizens’, as they were occasionally called in the press, lost the services of Bert Gray for part of January and February following this third round cup tie with Leeds.  Gray had broken a cheek bone after about thirty minutes and was replaced by winger Billy Austin, who managed to keep Leeds from scoring on a few occasions, as the Blues won 1-0. The City ‘scorer was Tommy Johnson (pictured above).

There’s film of the game here which is well worth watching for the mud. It’s difficult to tell if any of this footage shows Austin in nets (I think it does but am still studying it!): 

https://www.britishpathe.com/video/manchester-city-defeat-united/query/manchester+city

Manchester City Season – 1994-95

Busy Close Season

Following the takeover by Francis Lee, Lee & the Managing Director Colin Barlow, another former player, uncovered some serious issues within the Club.  City’s financial arrangements seemed complex and there had been underinvestment for a number of years in many areas of the Club.  One of the biggest issues was the state of Maine Road itself.  The Kippax Stand had to be demolished and a new all-seater stand developed, but the existing plans were far from suitable.  Lee & Barlow spent considerable time creating new plans with an ultimate aim to redevelop the entire stadium into a 50,000 capacity venue.  The new Kippax Stand was the first stage of this plan and built at a rapid pace throughout the 1994-95 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 100+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

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Manchester City Season – 1996-97

Previous Season

The Blues were relegated from the Premier League at the end of 1995-96.

Manager

The season started with Alan Ball as manager, but ended with Frank Clark.   In between Steve Coppell had been appointed (7 October) but resigned (8 November) while Asa Hartford and Phil Neal both had long spells – or at least longer than Coppell’s permanent period – as caretaker managers.

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

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Maine Road Name

Where did the name Maine Road come from? For years I’ve been researching the site and what’s published here is the latest material I have on the ground. I’ve now found mention of ‘Maine Road’ in the 1890s. Subscribe to this site to find out more (it costs £20 a year – about £1.67 a month – or £3 a month if subscribing a month at a time. For that you get full access to everything posted on this site and all new posts until your subscription ends. You’ll also be supporting my writing and research – Thanks. It is appreciated).

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When is a home game not a home game? Newcastle United v Manchester City 4th January 1975

On this day 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.