After defeating Manchester United in the November derby (the last at Maine Road), Manchester City were hopeful of success in the return derby at Old Trafford. The game, played on this day (9th February) in 2003, went down in history for a remarkable appearance by substitute Shaun Goater.
The story of this game was written up a couple of years ago for an update of my 1991 book The Pride Of Manchester (co-written with Steve Cawley). Sadly, that book was never updated, though Steve and I put considerable effort into creating all the content.
Here, exclusively for subscribers, is the story of that game as drafted to appear in the updated but aborted Pride Of Manchester.
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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!).
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During 2002-03 the focus for many Manchester City fans was Maine Road’s final season, especially the final month or so of the season.
With every game at the stadium a sell-out – only the size of the away support varied – supporters were desperate for the final season to see the old venue at its best. They also wanted a few memorable results in those final weeks.
Ultimately, the best Maine Road match of the final weeks came on April 21 2003 when a goal from Robbie Fowler and two from Marc-Vivien Foe brought a 3-0 win over Sunderland. The game became significant as it was to be the last City victory at the old stadium and Foe’s 80th minute goal was the last scored there by a City man.
Pre-match Sunderland presented the Blues with a rose bowl commemorating their final visit to the stadium. Significantly, the time span between their first appearance at Maine Road and their last was greater than any other visiting club. Co-incidentally City’s last victory at Hyde Road was also against Sunderland in April. You can read about that game here: