Musampa’s Strike V Liverpool

On this day (April 9) in 2005 a 90th minute volley from Kiki Musampa – his first for the Blues – at the northern end of the stadium gave Manchester City a 1-0 home victory over eventual European Champions Liverpool.  This was Stuart Pearce’s first league victory as City manager.

The Musampa goal was described at the time as a ‘spectacular volley’ – You can judge for yourself here:

Former City and England captain Pearce guided the Blues through the final nine games of 2004-05 after the departure of Kevin Keegan.  Apart from a 2-1 defeat in his first game, the Blues were unbeaten until the end of the season.  This run included the victory over Liverpool and wins over Birmingham (3-0), Portsmouth (2-0) and Aston Villa (2-1).       

As a result Pearce was named the Barclays Premiership Manager of the Month for April. 

Kevin Keegan Resigns; Stuart Pearce Becomes Manchester City Manager

Manchester City suffered a 1-0 home defeat by Bolton Wanderers on 7th March 2005 and this game ultimately led to a significant change to the then 12th placed Blues.  Years later, in an interview I did with him the City chairman John Wardle told me that Kevin Keegan, the City manager, took him to one side:  “There were nine games left and Kevin said ‘John, I can’t do any more for you’.  I didn’t believe him.  I thought it was a joke at first but with Kevin you knew when he was being serious.  He said ‘I know when I’m done and it’s only right that you put somebody else in’.  I sat there shell-shocked.  He said that if I wanted him to recommend someone he would.  He then recommended Stuart Pearce. 

“Stuart had already left Carrington and we had to call him back.  I spoke with him, then Kevin talked with him.  It was like a handover.  Kevin packed his bags and left.  We never saw him again at the training ground.  That’s Kevin.  Once he makes a decision to move on, he moves on.  Obviously, it stunned me on the day but I have to stress that I cannot speak highly enough about Kevin Keegan.  He’s a real football person and he also cares about people.”  

Keegan was hugely popular with fans and they recognised that he had been responsible for the second stage in City’s redevelopment following the disastrous mid-nineties.  They also felt that the departure of Nicolas Anelka in January was a sign that financial issues were having a severe impact on the Club.  The player was sold for a reported £7m to Fenerbahce.  At the time this was City’s record sale.  

It is fair to say that Keegan’s time brought a great deal of pride back to the Club.  Director Dennis Tueart felt that bringing Keegan in during 2002 was absolutely the right move for the Club. He told me:  “I knew he wouldn’t stay for years and years because I knew him.  He said to me in 1975 that he would never stay anywhere longer than about five years.  People told us he wouldn’t stay but I said if he can have control for a couple of years and get us out of this division then that’s fine.  That’s what we needed.  Let’s manage first things first and get out of this division.  If we can’t do that then what hope? So it was no surprise to me when he eventually left us.”

Former City and England captain Stuart Pearce guided the Blues through the final nine games of 2004-05, taking over on this day (11th March) in 2005.  Apart from a 2-1 defeat in his first game, the Blues were unbeaten until the end of the season.  This run included victories over Liverpool (1-0), Birmingham (3-0), Portsmouth (2-0) and Villa (2-1).  As a result Stuart Pearce was named the Barclays Premiership Manager of the Month for April.  The Club announced he was the first City manager to win the award since the birth of the Premier League.  That was not true – Alan Ball had, of course, previously won the award in 1995-96.

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Delia’s Day

On this day (28th February) in 2005 goals from Robbie Fowler (2) and Antoine Sibierski gave Manchester City a 3-2 victory at Norwich City, but the most newsworthy part of the night came when Norwich’s Delia Smith went on to the pitch at half time to encourage the home fans to make a bit of noise.  

She memorably called out: “A message for the best football supporters in the world: We need a twelfth man here. Where are you? Where are you? Let’s be having you! Come on!”

A lot of people in the media both then and in the years that have followed, criticised Delia but the truth is that she was exhibiting the type of passion and fervour for her club that many of us want to see. Maybe the manner was a bit too much but how great would it be if those in charge of our clubs could demonstrate similar passion?

On This Day – Shauny Wright, Wright Wright

On this day (15th January) in 2005 – Two goals from Shaun Wright-Phillips helped Manchester City defeat Crystal Palace 3-1 before a 44,010 crowd at the City of Manchester Stadium (now the Etihad of course).  

According to one report it wasn’t just SWP’s goals: ‘which caught the eye; more the sheer panic his appearance on the ball instilled in the Palace defence.

The other City scorer was Robbie Fowler and it was the former Liverpool man who got most of the headlines, though SWP was definitely the star as far as most Blues were concerned. Fowler’s goal came just over two minutes after Shaun’s first.

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