Maine Road

On this day (August 25) in 1923 Maine Road staged its first game. Two decades later it staged the first World Cup match in England and the decade after that the first European Cup game in England. It still holds the record provincial crowd and the record for a League game, and for eighty years it was the home of Manchester City. Here’s a look at the life of Maine Road.

Here for subscribers is a 2,000 word piece on City’s former home. It corrects a few myths (the ‘Wembley of the North – pah! It was better than that when it opened!).

If you would like to subscribe and read this and all my other content posted to this site (over 370 articles/sound recordings/interviews including the entire Manchester A Football History) then please use the button below. It costs £20 a year (that’s about £1.67 a month) and you have access to everything for as long as you are a subscriber (you can even subscribe for a month at a time at £3, access everything and then cancel your subscription if you like!).

Here’s the article:

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

MANCHESTER CITY REVEAL ANDY SCOTT AS SCULPTOR COMMISSIONED TO CREATE STATUES OF CLUB LEGENDS

I like this… it’s not just creating a standard statue it’s significantly better than that. If you’ve seen The Kelpies you’ll recognise that Andy Scott uses history to produce modern, impressive, artistic pieces. Anyway, here’s City’s press release (it’s not often that a major city’s leader talks about footballing statues either but Richard Leese does here – see below):

City has revealed that award-winning sculptor Andy Scott was the artist who won the commission to create permanent statues of Club legends Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero. The appointment followed an exhaustive selection process that began in March 2020.

Born and raised in Glasgow and a graduate of the city’s School of Art, Scott is one of the most respected sculptors of his generation and is known for his large-scale figurative pieces, which he creates by blending traditional craftmanship with modern fabrication techniques. His portfolio of more than 80 contemporary projects can be found both in the UK and in many corners of the world.


Now creating from his studio in Philadelphia, USA, Andy works frequently in galvanised steel and counts The Kelpies and Beacon of Hope amongst some of his most celebrated work.


Uniquely, the Kompany and Silva projects have been conducted entirely remotely from Scott’s securing the commission in June 2020, through to creation, completion and transportation of the pieces, which arrived on schedule in Manchester from Philadelphia in August 2021.
The statues of Kompany and Silva are to be installed outside the Club’s Etihad Stadium ahead of this weekend’s fixture against Arsenal, with Aguero’s tribute to follow in 2022, after his departure from the club this summer.

The legacy project was announced by Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak following the departure in Summer 2019 of Vincent Kompany, the Club’s most successful captain in its 127-year history. The decision to honour the three players was based on their unparalleled contribution to the Club’s transformation over their combined thirty-one years at the club. Al Mubarak has since indicated that further work is being undertaken to ensure the legends of earlier eras are appropriately celebrated.

Speaking of his appointment to the project Andy Scott said:
“On hearing that I had secured the commission to bring Vincent, David and now Sergio to life in sculpture form, I was absolutely thrilled. It’s an unbelievable honour to work on something that will be visited by hundreds of thousands of fans as they remember and celebrate the achievements of their footballing heroes.
I have always been struck by how sportsmen and women move and perform, and in the case of football specifically, how they anticipate the ball, how they combine with their teammates, and sometimes simply how they stand.
Reflecting these elements was always going to be challenging, but it was particularly so during a global pandemic as we were only able to meet with Vincent and David virtually. But with their insights and extensive research of film and photographic footage, I have tried to capture their unique physical characteristics and their distinctive movements in a way which I hope does justice to both of these phenomenal footballers.
It’s been such a pleasure to work on this prestigious project and I can’t wait to finally get to meet the team in person as we set about the final installations at the Etihad Stadium this week.”


Manchester City’s Chairman, Khaldoon Al Mubarak commented:
“We are delighted with our choice of Andy to bring this project to life.
His portfolio speaks to his expertise, and his contemporary approach, together with his chosen medium of industrial materials, made him the perfect fit to create artwork for Manchester City. Ultimately, Vincent and David do not need statues to enshrine their achievements at Manchester City over the past decade. They are already revered as icons of their generation. But what these artworks give us, and generations to come, is the opportunity to be reminded of, and savour, the truly magical moments created by both men.”

Leader of Manchester City Council, Sir Richard Leese said:
“City’s decision to commission the statues of their iconic players and the appointment of Andy Scott to deliver them, is such an exciting development for our city. The benefits of public art are well accepted and in addition to the cultural and aesthetic advantages that come with high quality artwork, it can also generate significant economic value for the city.

I have seen Andy’s work and I’m thrilled that Manchester’s landscape will be blessed with new artwork from someone of his standing and whilst naturally, these pieces will be of appeal first and foremost to Manchester City fans, it is clear that this calibre of artwork will be admired and respected by millions around the city and beyond.”


NEWS: City Reflections

I’m delighted to say that earlier this week I agreed to write a regular column for the new Manchester City Match Programme. If all goes to plan it should be included in today’s programme. There will be two pieces written by me…

One will be about 3 pages or so on a historical theme and the other will be a crowd puller style feature where I provide brief information comparing City’s volume of support with the day’s opponents (the stats may shock a few of City’s rivals as the season progresses!).

Today’s main feature (v Norwich) is on City’s Olympic gold medalists – obviously there have been a few gold winners for football connected with our club but today’s feature focuses on two men connected with City who won gold for other sports.

Hopefully fans will find it interesting.

I’m keen to hear from fans who buy the programme about what areas of history they’d like to read about. Obviously, I want to ensure there’s a connection to the present in some way, but I’m keen to cover topics that fans want to read or learn about.

Please either leave comments below or email me at gary@GJFootballArchive.com

Thanks.

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Available Here!

Tonight Peter & I will be talking about my new book on Peter’s life and career. At Reddish MCFC Supporters Club. If you can’t make it you can still order the book here:

United Kingdom

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – UNITED KINGDOM

Order today for £16.95 (incl UK Postage and Packaging).

£16.95

This 372 page, colour paperback book is £16.95 (including UK postage).

You do not need to have a PayPal account to order – use the ‘Pay with PayPal’ button above and it will give you the option to pay by credit/debit card without creating a PayPal account. UK postage included; outside UK contact me for additional postage costs.

Here are the contents pages:

This is the life story of Peter Barnes who, at the age of 18, scored the opening goal in the 1976 League Cup final. Playing for the team he supported, Manchester City, Peter was idolised by fans and was awarded the 1976 PFA Young Player of the Year award. The following year he made his England debut and was described by one journalist as the ‘saviour of English football.’

These were the days when Manchester City won the League Cup; were runners up in the League (missing the title by a point); and were challenging in Europe but then Malcolm Allison returned as coach and within months Peter, and a whole host of international stars, were on their way out. Peter was sold for a record amount. City’s fortunes suffered while Peter carved out a new career at West Bromwich Albion (where he played for Ron Atkinson).

Another record breaking transfer to Leeds United followed, before spells at Real Betis, Coventry City, Manchester United (playing for both Ron Atkinson and his replacement Alex Ferguson) and Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Written by acclaimed author Dr Gary James, this book covers the highs and lows of Peter’s life with stories about his time playing for some of the game’s biggest clubs and most famous managers. It also discusses Peter’s ongoing involvement with the sport and the significance of his family.

Oh, and if you’re wondering where the cover came from… it’s based on the packaging and advertising for the cult toy from the late 1970s The Peter Barnes Football Trainer.

If you run a book shop and would like to know more about the book please email: accounts@manchesterfootball.org

If you’re a media company interested in interviewing Peter or Gary about the book then please contact author Gary James: gary@GJFootballArchive.com

The ISBN is 978-1-9168852-0-2 and stocks are now available for book shops.

You can listen to Peter in conversation with myself about the book here:

Thanks,

Gary James

Reddish Event – 20 August 2021

For those who are interested: tomorrow night Peter Barnes & I will be appearing at the Reddish branch of the Manchester City Supporters Club to talk about The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography. Copies of the book will be available on the night at the specially discounted price of £15 (Cash only).

Details of the evening here:

http://www.reddishblues.com/index.php/2021/07/31/welcome-back-party-official-book-launch/

Ten Years Ago Today – Sergio Agüero’s Debut

On this day (August 15) in 2011 Sergio Agüero made his Manchester City debut after signing in the summer of 2011 from Atletico Madrid. Here’s an article on his debut for subscribers to this site. Enjoy!

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Different Gravy: A Review of MCFC’s Together Film

last night I was fortunate to attend the premiere of the new Manchester City film Together at the Everyman Cinema, ABC Building on Quay Street, Manchester. Here is my review of the film and the evening.

Guests were welcomed from 6PM with some drinks and nibbles at the cinema. I’d never been to the Everyman before. It’s a fairly new, stylish cinema and a welcome addition to Manchester’s entertainment offering. The bar area encouraged a relaxed mood and it was good to chat with various City staff and guests, most of whom I haven’t seen since before Covid. I spent quite a bit of time with actor John Henshaw who, like me, had worked on The Keeper (the film about Trautmann – he played Bert’s father-in-law and I was a historical consultant to the film).

About 7pm we were invited into the cinema room, passing the Premier League and League Cup trophies. The seats are plush, most are two seater settee style seats and some are single. Popcorn was of course readily available.

Rob Pollard, a member of City’s media team who many Blues will know, did a great introduction. It was great to see a regular member of City staff fronting the premiere like this and Rob represented all those involved well. Great work and much better to me than bringing on a celebrity announcer who hadn’t a direct connection to the film to present it. The name of the film is Together and Rob’s introduction added to that general theme in my opinion.

The film then started. I won’t give away too much in this review but it is worth explaining what the film is and a few key points/memories from it.

The film follows the players through the final stages of the 2020-21 season showing City’s fight in four competitions. Obviously, there are high points and a few lows in the film but this isn’t a typical ‘let’s see City scoring goals from every angle’ film. Instead it’s a fly on the wall style supported with interviews with players looking back at certain points. Goals and match action are often filmed from a camera in the stands or on the sidelines rather than typical broadcast coverage. I think this adds to the view that we’re observing something we don’t normally see.

There’s quite a bit of humour in there and the personalities of some players really come out. De Bruyne displays a deadpan style of humour – at one point he’s asked what would be going through Mahrez’s mind as he’s preparing to take a penalty and he simply says ‘I don’t know’. Scott Carson arrives dressed as a fireman one day and we learn how popular he is with the rest of the squad. Everyone’s delighted when he gets to appear in his first Premier League game for a decade.

Phil Foden features a lot and he talks about Aguero, explaining how he was in awe of him when Foden first made his way into the team. We also see Aguero telling Foden that he’s ‘Different Gravy’ after the League Cup final.

Food features a lot… we see smoothies being made, Walker helping the chefs and we hear how Riyad’s Pasta has become the most popular dish for several players. Oh, and then there’s Pep trying a bacon sandwich!

There was a personal bonus for me when I spotted two of my nephews on screen holding up an Aguero banner in the film.

Overall, the film is a great watch and lasts over 90 minutes. It’s available on City+ from today and I think that all those involved deserve praise for what they’ve achieved. Considering this is an in-house production the quality of the production is impressive. Football clubs traditionally don’t produce film productions of this quality. Nice work City’s media team.

The ending was always going to be tough for a film that chronicles the last weeks of the season but I think they did a great ending… I won’t say how it ends but keep watching after the CL final conclusion.

Oh, and if you do watch Together make sure you look out for the in-depth description of the ‘boot steamer’ when watching!

Here’s a trailer:

Subscriber Post – Manchester City’s Oldest

Recently, I covered the youngest, now it is the turn of the oldest. Today I’m taking a look at some of Manchester City’s landmark oldest record holders.

This post is available to subscribers of my site. If you would like to subscribe and read this and all my other content posted to this site (over 370 articles/sound recordings/interviews including the entire Manchester A Football History & From Maine Men To Banana Citizens books) then please use the button below. It costs £20 a year (that’s about £1.67 a month) and you have access to everything for as long as you are a subscriber (you can even subscribe for a month at a time at £3, access everything and then cancel your subscription if you like!).

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

MAL’S MISSION – VILLA PARK 1972

On this day (August 5) in 1972 Manchester City faced Third Division Champions Aston Villa in the Blues’ first Charity Shield match at Villa Park. Here’s a feature on it and a match report from the game.

Subscribers can view the article and all others on here (including the entire Manchester A Football History and a PDF of my first book). It costs £20 a year (works out about £1.67 a month) or join up a month at a time for £3 and you can sign up below. Thanks.

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

40 Years Ago Today

On this day (2nd August) in 1981 the Sunday Mirror published an interview with Peter Barnes saying he would return to Manchester City if he could. The player was at WBA and, following Ron Atkinson’s move to Manchester United, it looked like Peter was to move from the Hawthorns.m

Both City and Leeds United seemed interested. This article from 1981 talked of Barnes’ final days at Maine Road two years earlier. Of course this time is extensively covered in my new book The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography which is now available direct from most bookshops. If yours doesn’t stock it then let them know they can get hold of it from their usual supplier or direct from me.

For those who use online retailers and prefer to use Amazon here’s their link: