Referee Webb ‘Was Not To Blame!’ – Manchester City’s Mysteriously Abandoned Game

On 7th January 1956, with the score at 1-1 Manchester City’s cup tie with Blackpool was abandoned in the 56th minute after fog enveloped the ground. The game was an extraordinary one with City fans angry that it had ever started. In thick fog the referee H Webb (no not that one!) of Leeds said the game should go ahead because, although those in the stands could see little, he claimed he could see both ends of the pitch.

Blackpool kicked off to start the game but City were unable to see what was going on unless they were close up to the ball. Within 13 seconds Ernie Taylor, who later signed for Manchester United of course, scored without a single City man touching the ball (or even seeing it it seems). 

After 37 minutes the players left the field and it looked like the game would be abandoned but, to the shock of the City players (who seemed to want it abandoning according to some reports, though we all know how things can be incorrectly reported), the match restarted. 

A longer half-time than usual followed but still the game went on. After eight minutes City’s Jack Dyson was fouled in the area – although only the referee, Dyson and the man who committed the foul seemed to know this at the time. Dyson scored the resulting penalty and then a couple of minutes later referee H Webb abandoned the game (maybe it was that H Webb after all!).

Amazingly one newspaper photograph of the game did appear, but apart from that it seems the public didn’t see anything. A cartoon appeared in one ‘paper suggesting that fans only found out what happened when they went home and turned on their radios.

Four days later 42,517 attended Maine Road for a 2.15pm kick off on a Wednesday afternoon to see City win 2-1.

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‘False Number 9s’

Today I’m going to discuss an element of Manchester City’s 1950s period that bears significance to today. In essence a tactical innovation that the Blues – and star player Don Revie – became renowned for: The Revie Plan or, using modern day phraseology, the False 9.

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The Player of the Year Awards

This season has seen Manchester City players win several prominent player of the year awards with Kevin De Bruyne winning the PFA player of the year award; Phil Foden the PFA young player of the year and Lauren Hemp won the women’s PFA young player of the year award. There was also Ruben Dias won the FWA footballer of the year award and the Premier League player of the year award.

This is an incredible array of awards. The following subscriber post details all the Manchester City winners of these awards since their formation:

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1956 Semi Final and Abuse for Trautmann

On this day (17th March) in 1956 a solitary goal from Bobby Johnstone was enough to see Manchester City beat Spurs in the FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park. The game led to considerable abuse for City’s German ‘keeper Bert Trautmann. To understand why read the story of the semi-final here (for subscribers):

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