On this day (26th February) in 1946 Colin Bell was born. Today would’ve been his 75th birthday. Sadly Colin, recognised by most Manchester City fans as the greatest ever player for the club, passed away earlier this year.
The above photo comes from Peter Barnes’ collection and was taken at Champneys where City were staying prior to the League Cup final in 1976. It was, of course, Colin’s 30th birthday. My thoughts and best wishes are with Colin’s family today. Many of us know how tough it can be on the first birthday after a family member’s death (my mum died last year and it would’ve been her birthday last month) and it’s often a difficult day. Here’s hoping the knowledge that Colin was loved by so many helps in some small way.
I’ve interviewed Colin and written a lot about him over the years. A few posts are available (free to read) here for anyone who wants to learn more about Colin or remember some of his incredible achievements:
Back in 2003 I wrote this profile of former Manchester City player and Polish World Cup star Kazimierz Deyna. Deyna was such an important and unusual signing at the time he joined City in November 1978 that I feel this article is still appropriate and of interest to subscribers to my blog today.
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Today (28th January) in 1961 Denis Law’s six goals for Manchester City against Luton in the FAC were wiped from the records when the game was abandoned. City were winning 6-2. Here for subscribers to the blog is the story of that game and the ‘typical City’ replay that followed.
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I’ve been working with Peter Barnes since 2019 on his biography. This will cover his life & career and will be illustrated throughout. Personal items, such as Peter’s own artwork from school lessons (and earliest attempts at writing his autograph!), will appear in the book.
Written to a similar standard as my biography of Joe Mercer (Football With A Smile, first published in 1993, reprinted in 1994 and updated in 2010), this includes quotes from Peter throughout, alongside the views of players and managers.
This will, hopefully, prove to be a must have book for fans of Manchester City & United, West Bromwich Albion, Leeds United, Real Betis and the other clubs Peter played for.
Details will be revealed here later this year, but it is anticipated the book will be available before the end of the current football season (assuming Covid does not add any further delays). There will be the opportunity to subscribe to the book before publication (and get your name included in the subscriber section at the back of the book).
On this day (18th January) in 2014 Edin Dzeko netted Manchester City’s 100th competitive goal of the 2013-14 season.
The goal was City’s opener against Cardiff and was also the first Premier League goal to be awarded after the use of goal line technology. The Blues became the fastest team in history to reach 100 goals.
On this day (18th January) in 1913 Manchester City’s Fred Howard scored four goals on his debut against Liverpool at Hyde Road. I love the description of Howard in one report of this game: ‘Howard, a hefty individual who apparently does not believe in allowing the full backs free kicks, had pounced on the ball’. I think we’ve all seen a few ‘hefty individuals’ who did not ‘believe in allowing the full backs free kicks’ over the years!
A report also warns that Howard: ‘would do well to remember that he will not always be served as he was on this occasion. Nor will he have a much easier task’. I’m pretty sure Howard did not expect to score four goals in every game.
Howard, from Walkden, ended his City career after scoring 43 goals in 90 first team competitive games. Note in this article (below) the use of the nickname Citizens to describe the Blues. Maybe one day I’ll do a piece on club nicknames but I do know that many fans didn’t feel the word Citizens (or Cityzens as it is usually written these days at the club) had much to do with the club when City re-adopted it a few years back. It was certainly used a lot when talking of the club from 1894 through to perhaps the inter-war period.
Three of Howard’s goals came in a 13 minute spell as the Blues won 4-1. It was regarded as the greatest debut feat by any player at the time. Even now, over a century later, it’s hard to think of any player having a better debut.
Over the years plenty have talked of players scoring hat-tricks on debuts around the globe but how often do you hear of a player scoring four in the top flight of a major League against a team that is regarded as one of your main rivals? After this game Liverpool had dropped to 13th in the First Division, while City were fifth.
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On this day (18 January) last year Manchester City looked set to take all three points against Crystal Palace when Sergio Aguero netted twice in five minutes late in the game but then Fernandinho diverted a ball from Zaha into the net in the last minute to end the game 2-2.
The Blues had gone behind six minutes before half time.
Aguero’s first goal came in the 82nd minute when he sent home a Gabriel Jesus cross. This was the Argentinian’s 250th goal for the Blues and five minutes later he netted his 251st when he headed home from a Benjamin Mendy delivery.
The game was, on the whole, somewhat frustrating for those of us in the 54,439 Etihad crowd and this was exacerbated when after the break City appeared to have been awarded a deserved penalty. Referee Graham Scott had pointed to the spot for a Jairo Riedewald handball, but then the video assistant referee overruled the decision. It was decided that a replay of the incident showed the ball had came off the defender’s foot first as he blocked Joao Cancelo’s cross. Few City fans were convinced of course!
As well as Aguero reaching 250 goals, the match saw another landmark as David Silva made his 300th Premier League appearance for City.
This was just a taster of the content in GJFootballArchive.com. If you would like to read the 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 150+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.
On this day in 1953 Manchester City defeated Swindon Town 7-0 in the FA Cup third round at Maine Road. The goalscorers were Hart (4), Broadis, Cunliffe, and Williamson.
Exactly one year later future Manchester United and Manchester City full-back John Gidman was born in Garstang. Gidman went on to make 123 first team appearances for United and 71 for City. He briefly became a cult hero at Maine Road by stating that City were the only side he would leave Old Trafford for at the time of his transfer in 1986.
I did an interview for the Blue Moon Podcast the day after Colin Bell MBE passed away. It was an emotional morning of course. The guys at the podcast have made the entire interview free to listen to here:
Many goals over the years are described as the greatest ever by a City player. Sometimes these become a talking point for a few days, sometimes for a few years but unless they happen to occur in a major trophy winning game goals tend to lose their significance as time moves on. This is especially true for games prior to the 1990s when television coverage was limited to, at best, a handful of top flight games.
The idea of this piece today is to highlight a spectacular goal from the 1970s that has slipped from the minds of many.
The goal featured here is Rodney Marsh’s overhead kick from the City-QPR Division One game of September 1974.
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