Fergie’s Flops

On this day (23rd September) in 1989

Attendance: 43,246; City 5 United 1

Ferguson’s £9m side are destroyed in the most one-sided Manchester derby in years by Machin’s bargain basement Blues.  By the 36thminute City race to a remarkable three goal lead and, despite a magnificent goal from Hughes, they are rampant. “Fergie Out” cry the United fans as the fifth enters the net.

Bananarama – The Inflatables Craze

In the 1980s Manchester City fans demonstrated the positive side of football during a troubled decade for the sport. Despite being one of England’s top four clubs and the third best supported side in the League, the Blues suffered a shock relegation in 1983. Financial issues and an inability to invest meant the club relied on two of its greatest strengths – youth football and the loyalty of City’s fans.  Young players like Paul Simpson, Paul Moulden, Ian Brightwell, David White, Paul Lake and Andy Hinchcliffe, ensured the Blues had a chance of re-establishing themselves on the pitch, while off the pitch a dedicated following was the envy of the majority of clubs.

City fans not only turned out in their numbers – they were the sixth best supported side in 1983-84 and 1988-89 (second tier seasons) – but they also brought great humour to football.  The most newsworthy story involving fans during this period was the inflatable banana craze.  

Rather than spell out every moment from that era, here are a few snippets on how the craze started and how it progressed. 

– A dedicated City fan called Frank Newton took a 5ft 6in demonstration banana to City V Plymouth on 15 August 1987. It caused some amusement.

– Newton took the banana to away games, including the match against Oldham at Boundary Park. The fans were drenched; morale was low as Oldham equalised; and yet the banana continued to be waved throughout the game, bringing much needed humour to a depressing game.

– Other inflatables began appearing and by the end of the season a chant for striker Imre Varadi to the tune of the Israeli folk song Hava Nagila was adapted with the word banana replacing Varadi. The banana craze was not a tribute to Varadi (this has frequently been misreported in recent years due to an incorrect news report from the period that wrongly claimed the craze was a direct tribute to Varadi – it wasn’t), but chants utilising his name could easily be adapted to use banana instead of his surname.

– For the last game of the 1987-88 season the City fanzine Blue Print, edited by Mike Kelly, urged fans to take a blow up banana to Crystal Palace on the last day of the season.  Around 50 bananas made it on to the terraces that day and the scene was set for supporters to enlarge on this in 1988-89.

– By the time the new season began the inflatable bananas had grown in number but so too had the variety of inflatable – sharks, Frankensteins, crocodiles, dinosaurs plus many more.

– The craze grew throughout 1988-89 and then on Boxing Day an appeal by the fanzines led to over 12,000 City fans in fancy dress and carrying inflatables, descending on Stoke’s Victoria Ground.  The capacity was a little over 24,000 and Stoke handed over two full sides of the ground to City fans.  Even the players came on to the pitch with inflatables (which they also did v Leicester in January 1989).

– A company that made inflatable bananas increased production to help satisfy the craze, while Fyffes began to sponsor games at City. Thousands of inflatables appeared at some games.

– The craze was copied across English football but it was City fans that were heralded as the ones who had put the fun back into football.

During a decade of disaster, tragedy and much negativity within football City fans demonstrated there could be another way and fans became internationally renowned for their humour. The craze ultimately died out, although bananas continued to appear on occasion or in limited numbers over the years. 

In 2010-11 City’s FA Cup run brought the bananas back as a nostalgia craze and this has continued to some extent, though nowhere near in the numbers of the late 1980s.Maybe it’s time to bring back the inflatables in great numbers?

MCFC 20TH CENTURY CHRONICLE SEASON 1989-90

The Matches

After achieving promotion the previous season City embarked on the 1989-90 First Division campaign with a view to consolidate rather than set the world alight.  The relatively low-key City manager, Mel Machin, seemed determined to play down expectations, especially as other clubs – in particular Manchester United – were spending millions on strengthening their squad.  City could not afford to spend wildly, although they did increase their overdraft by signing Clive Allen and Ian Bishop during the close season for a combined fee of around £1.75m.

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I Just Wellied It!

On this day (February 3) in 1990 Manchester City and Manchester United drew 1-1 at Old Trafford. The derby became remembered as the ‘Wellied It!’ derby. Here is the story of that day with quotes from an interview I did with Ian Brightwell a few years ago. He explains how the ‘Wellied It!’ phrase came about and why he said it. Enjoy….

Howard Kendall’s City arrived at Old Trafford for the return derby match on February 3 1990. So much had changed since September when Mel Machin’s City had defeated Alex Ferguson’s United 5-1 and so the game was always going to be a difficult one to call. As the Blues were now supposedly a better side it is true to say most City fans eagerly awaited this particular match. Disappointingly, United only gave City 600 seats and 4,500 terrace tickets, although even that was considerably more than in the years that followed. The eventual attendance was only 40,274 in a stadium holding a minimum of 48,000, as many disenchanted United fans stayed away. 

Although there were noticeable gaps in the United sections, the paddock in front of the Main Stand appeared full of City supporters. They were later joined by Blues evacuated from the Stretford End and estimates from impartial observers suggested there were around 12,000 City fans in the 40,000 crowd. 

The match was the 100th meeting in the First Division and commenced with City tearing into the Reds as they had in September. The Blues were actually two points better off than United in the League and the difference in position prompted City fans to chant “Fergie in” to annoy the home contingent… Football humour, hey?

Squandering some early chances, City looked the more composed overall but when Clarke missed a sitter some fans still muttered about Everton rejects (it had been a thing ever since Howard Kendall’s arrival and transfer of several former Evertonians to Maine Road). It wasn’t just the Evertonians who should have given City the lead; Ian Brightwell was also guilty of a shocking miss when, with Leighton off his line, the youngster feebly lobbed the ball wide. Don’t worry, he made up for it!

Against the run of play it was actually United who took the lead when Clayton Blackmore was gifted a free header. Fortunately, within five minutes Mark Ward found Brightwell who, from fully 25 yards out, blasted a stunning shot past Leighton for the equaliser. Afterwards the delighted player explained exactly how he’d scored by succinctly telling the media: “I just wellied it!”  In May 2010 he remembered how the expression came about:  “We totally outplayed them, but Clayton Blackmore scored even though we’d had most of the chances.  I had a chance in the first half, but that’s a different story.  Once they went a goal ahead you’d normally think it’s going to be difficult, but we still had a lot of chances and I felt we’d still do it.  I remember that the ball was out on the right and Mark Ward sort of half-crossed it.  It came to me and I’ll never forget this – I heard Steve Redmond on the half way line shout:  “Bob…” I’d best not say his exact words, but let’s just say he wanted me to have a go in his strong scouse accent!  It was on my left foot, which isn’t my strongest, but I did what Reddo said.  It went in the top corner!

“I ran off and jumped about twenty feet in the air – or at least that’s how it looks on the photos.  I remember the noise because back then the away fans used to get about 10,000 tickets at Old Trafford and it was phenomenal.  

“When we came to do the post-match TV interview I was asked the usual stuff and then was asked about the goal.  So I told him what I just told you, being careful not to say what Reddo actually shouted!  Just as I was doing it, someone walked past and we had to do the interview again.  But then the same happened again.  So we had to do it a third time.  By this point I thought I had to say it in a different way – inexperience I guess.  I didn’t need to, but I ended up saying:  ‘the ball came out to me and I just wellied it!’  It’s true I did, but now it’s the phrase that people remember.  It summed it up nicely, but it wasn’t what I’d meant to say.”

The match should have brought a City victory, but everyone seemed satisfied with a point. You can watch highlights of the game here: 

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Managerial Change at MCFC

On this day (November 25) in 1989 Brian Gayle played his last League match for City.  The game ended in a 1-1 draw (Clive Allen scored) and Chairman Peter Swales decided the time was right to dismiss manager Mel Machin.  Machin, who had guided the side to promotion the previous May, was dismissed that weekend and not replaced until 8th December.

Historic Name That Ground – Week 17 Answer

Well, did you get the latest ‘Historic Name That Ground’… On Monday I asked ‘Can you name the ground featured in the image above? This was taken in the 1950s.’ The ground is…

Bolton Wanderers’ old Burnden Park Stadium, seen in 1952. Years later they build a Co-op store on part of that end and I remember standing there (on the terracing, not in the Co-op!) for the Nat Lofthouse Testimonial in August 1989. My first book had come out that year and as I was stood waiting for the game to start I heard a bloke in front of me say to his mate: ‘Have you seen that new book that’s come out on City?’

Immediately, my ears pricked up. This was the first time I’d overheard anyone talking about one of my books and couldn’t wait to hear what he said. His mate replied: ‘no, not seen it. I’ll have a look.’

First bloke replied: ‘I wouldn’t bother. It’s sh*t!’

Since then I’ve always been somewhat grounded about my writing and books!

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I had planned to run ‘Historic Name That Ground’ only during the close season as in previous years, but it’s proving of interest so I’ll keep it going for a little while yet. If you have an old image of a ground that you think it’d be worth including in this weekly quiz then please get in touch. They don’t have to be from the 1900s to 1960s – even ground images from the 70s and 80s may prove a challenge to identify these days. You can email me at gary@GJFootballArchive.com Thanks.

Talking City: Ian Bishop

On this day (25th March) in 1998 Manchester City cult hero Ian Bishop returned to the club. Here subscribers can read an interview I did with the former Bournemouth, West Ham and City player in 2015. 

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You can also read about the 1989-90 season and Ian’s first spell with the club on this earlier post:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/01/12/manchester-city-season-1989-90/

Everton V Manchester City – The History

To mark today’s (20th March 2021) FA Cup meeting between Manchester City and Everton here are a few historical facts, memories and video highlights of games between the clubs.

Feature Match

The December 1989 meeting between the two sides was memorable because of events off the field rather than on it.  The match ended goalless but the attention the game received from the national media was incredible, and it was all because 20th placed City had appointed the former Evertonian Howard Kendall as manager.

Earlier that season Peter Swales had dismissed the rather quiet, unassuming Mel Machin despite him guiding City to promotion and a memorable 5-1 victory over United.  He publicly approached Joe Royle, who turned the club down, and then turned to Kendall.  

Almost immediately the ex-Evertonian stamped his authority on the side and quickly brought in Peter Reid and Alan Harper to make their debuts at Goodison.  Disappointingly, the highly popular Ian Bishop was named as a substitute.  Kendall:  “It was not a popular move.  I walked out at 2.55pm to hear my supporters chanting, ‘There’s only one Ian Bishop’.  Nice welcome that was.  The Bishop situation developed into a saga, the like of which I have never experienced in football before.”

It wasn’t long before the long-haired Bishop was sold to West Ham.  Earlier in his career Kendall had transferred him out of Everton.

Kendall’s new look City managed to keep ninth placed Everton at bay in a rather dour televised match to earn only their second point in six games.  City ended the season in 14th place while Everton finished 6th.

Film of the game here:

Stats:  Division One 17th December 1989

Everton 0 City 0

Everton: Southall, Atteveld, McDonald, Ratcliffe, Watson, Ebbrell (Newell), Beagrie, McCall, Sharp, Cottee, Sheedy, 

City:  Dibble, Harper, Hinchcliffe, Reid, Hendry, Redmond, White, Morley (Oldfield), Allen (Bishop), Megson, Brightwell

Attendance: 21,737 

Game One

The first League game between the two sides was a 2-1 Everton win on 23rd December 1899 in Division One.  The match was played at Hyde Road with Billy Meredith scoring for the newly promoted City, while Jimmy Settle and R Gray netted for the Toffees.  City ended their first season in the top division in 7th place while Everton finished 11th.

Television

The first meeting of the two clubs to be televised on BBC’s Match Of The Day was the 1-1 draw on 23rd August 1969. Film here:

The first ‘live’ televised meeting was the famous Howard Kendall match played on 17th December 1989 (see above).  The game was shown on ITV. 

Highest Attendance

The highest crowd for a game between the two clubs is 92,950 for the 1933 Cup Final. An in-depth piece on that game can be read here: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/14/the-day-manchester-city-chose-to-wear-scarlet/

The next highest is 76,129 for the 3rd March 1956 FA Cup meeting at Maine Road.  City won 2-1 with goals from Joe Hayes and Bobby Johnstone.  The Everton scorer was Jimmy Harris. It’s well worth watching this footage: https://www.britishpathe.com/video/manchester-city-v-everton-1/query/manchester+city

Did You Know?

When Everton appeared in their first FA Cup final it was played at Fallowfield, Manchester.  The 1893 final against Wolves was the first, other than the 1886 replay, to be played outside London.  Wolves won the match 1-0 and a row of houses in Wolverhampton were given the name Fallowfield Terrace in celebration.

The Fallowfield site now forms part of Manchester University’s student campus.

Well I Never!

City fans demonstrated against the transfer of their hero, Tommy Johnson, to Everton in March 1930 for £6,000.  At City Johnson entered the record books by scoring most goals in a season – he netted an incredible 38 in 39 League games during the 1928-9 season.  He was a popular player and lived amongst the fans in Gorton.  He was often seen drinking draught Bass at The Plough on Hyde Road, and was something of a trend-setter in the area.  As soon as he was spotted wearing a wide brimmed trilby hat it quickly became the fashion all young men wanted to follow!

His greatest individual game for City must have been the 6-2 defeat of reigning champions Everton in September 1928, when he scored five goals.  Eric Brook scored the other while Dunn and Weldon netted for the Toffees.

In the 1960s Tommy was a regular attender at Maine Road where he and Billy ‘Dixie’ Dean would watch Joe Mercer’s City side.  On 28thJanuary 1973 Tommy died at Monsall hospital aged 71.

Record defeat

Everton beat City 9-1 on 3rd September 1906 to record their record victory and City’s record defeat.  This was only City’s second match following the findings of the FA investigation into illegal payments which resulted in the suspension of 17 players, the manager Tom Maley, the chairman, and two other directors.  The entire summer had been spent finding a new manager and new players – any would do – to fill the void.  City’s consolation goal was scored by debutant A.Fisher.  The great Sandy Young had netted 4 of Everton’s 9 that day.

Two days before this game, the Blues had been defeated 4-1 by Arsenal in an incredible match that saw City leave the field with only six men.  The rest were mainly suffering from heat exhaustion – it was 90 degrees in the shade!

The Young Royle

When Joe Royle made his debut in January 1966 against Blackpool he became the youngest player to appear for Everton in the League.  He was 16 years and 282 days.  His first game against City was the on 29th April the following year – only his 6th League appearance.

Joe Mercer

Obviously I’m biased but I’d urge everyone reading this article to also read:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/01/the-200th-post-joe-mercer/

A Few Memorable Moments From the 90s to 2010s…

1992 – Premiership first

The first Premier League meeting between these sides ends in a comfortable City win before 20,242 at Goodison Park.  Two goals from Sheron and one from David White gave the Blues a 3-0 lead before an own goal from Brightwell made it 3-1 on Halloween.

1993 – Last Day

On the last day of the season Everton win 5-2 in a frustrating match for City fans.  Goalscorers for Everton included future Blues Beagrie (2 goals) and Beardsley.  White and Curle (penalty) scored for the home side.

1993 – Rideout Goal

The first away match of the season ends in a 1-0 City defeat.  Rideout scored for the Toffeemen on 17th August before 26,025.

1994 – Double Double

Two goals each from Rosler and Walsh give City a 4-0 home win on 27th August.  The Maine Road sell out crowd of 19,867 is City’s 3rdlowest crowd in the Premiership.  The Kippax Stand was in construction and the capacity was severely restricted as a result.

1996 – Former Blue Scores

Former City hero Andy Hinchcliffe scores a 47th minute penalty to ensure a 2-0 Everton win in February 1996.

2000 – Five Stars

Wanchope (14), Howey (23), Goater (42), Dickov (54), and Naysmith (own goal in 67th minute) give City a thrilling 5-0 victory over Everton at Maine Road in December.

2002 – Anelka hat-trick?

City fans celebrate an Anelka hat-trick but his 14th minute opener is later ruled an own goal, scored by Everton’s Radzinski.  In addition, Wright-Phillips is controversially sent off in the 28th minute but this is later downgraded to a yellow card.  Despite the controversy and confusion City win the match 3-1 on 31st August.

2003 – New Year’s Day

Over 300 million fans watch this 2-2 draw on Chinese television.  Everton took the lead in the 6th minute, City made it 2-1 in the 82ndbefore Everton equalised 2 minutes into injury time on January 1st.

2004 – Keegan’s Disappointment

On the season’s final day, City beat Everton 5-1 with goals from Wanchope (16 & 30), Anelka (41), Sibierski (89) & Wright-Phillips (90).  The victory caused the two sides to swap League places.  The Blues ended the campaign on 41 points, eight more than relegated Leicester, Leeds and Wolves.  A decent enough margin in the end, but that did not change the way most felt about the season.  

Prior to that final match Keegan explained truthfully how he felt:  “We are just about at the end of the most disappointing season of my managerial career.  I haven’t enjoyed it and I am sure the same goes for everyone connected with Manchester City.”

2005 – Early Morning Blues

Everton, so often a bogey team during the previous decade or so, were defeated 2-0 on 2nd October.  This was the first Sunday morning kick off in the Premier League and the match commenced at 11.15 with some fans making a point of the early start by wearing pyjamas.  It was also Stephen Ireland’s first full Premiership game.  Before the match he admitted to being “very nervous” and post-match he commented that the rest of the team had supported him:  “That helped me ease my nerves and settle in as one of them.” 

2006 – Richards the Hero

One player, who would help City win the FA Cup and Premier League a few years later, was beginning to be seen as one of the club’s most positive assets this season – Micah Richards.  He performed to a consistent standard and, on 30th September, he actually netted an equaliser for the club in the dying seconds against Everton to ensure an away point.  The 18 year old Richards made his first full international appearance a few weeks later when he played for England against Holland on 15th November.  Henry Winter, writing for the Telegraph, claimed:  “England may well have discovered Gary Neville’s long term successor.”  By this stage in his career Richards had only made 23 Premier League starts.

At Everton Richards’ goal was very important but City’s dominance during the final minutes of the match should have seen the Blues snatch a winner according to goalkeeper Nicky Weaver:  “The last five minutes we absolutely battered them and every time the ball went in the box we looked as though we were going to score.  Then when [Samaras] hit the post, you’re thinking ‘is it not going to be our day?’  But we kept going and deep, deep into injury time, we got something out of the game.”

Everton’s captain Phil Neville admitted:  “It feels like a defeat… we should have got the second goal and killed off the game.”

2011 – Super Mario

In September City defeated Everton 2-0 with goals from substitute Mario Balotelli and James Milner.  It was an important victory over a team that continued to be a bit of a bogey side in recent seasons, and ensured the Blues were now back on equal points with Ferguson’s Manchester United, who had drawn 1-1 at Stoke despite leading at half time.

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Manchester City Season 1989-90

Back in the top flight, the 1989-90 season saw the arrival of Howard Kendall as manager; a high-profile derby victory and the arrival and departure of several players.

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