FA Cup: Manchester City v Arsenal

It’s Manchester City v Arsenal on Friday. The first FA Cup tie between these clubs came in 1904 and was part of Manchester’s first major trophy winning campaign. The two sides met at Arsenal in the second round of the competition. Back then City were a top flight team while Woolwich Arsenal were in the Second Division and some reports talked of the Gunners being envious of Manchester City and their status (how often do modern interpretations of a club’s status forget the game’s full history hey?). Arsenal had defeated Fulham 1-0 in the previous round. 

The Blues defeated the Gunners 2-0 with goals from Sandy Turnbull and Frank Booth, prompting the Manchester Evening News to print a cartoon of Billy Meredith leapfrogging over the Gunners while Tom Maley, dressed in kilt, watches. 

Outside-left Frank Booth, one of the scorers, had joined City in April 1902 making his first appearance for the Club in a friendly with Celtic on 1 September 1902.  That friendly appearance brought a little bad luck to the player as fairly early on in the match he accidentally collided with Celtic’s Right-back Hugh Watson causing him to leave the field for twenty minutes or so.  When he returned however he seemed more determined than ever to prove what he was capable of and, when a chance came his way, he scored what was described as a “very fine” goal to give City a 1-0 victory.

Throughout Booth’s career prior to the Arsenal game he had been rather unlucky with injuries and, at times, must have seriously considered concentrating on a life outside of the sport.  He was a hatter by trade, coming from the local hatting areas surrounding the towns of Hyde and Denton, and had only completed his apprenticeship in 1903.  Nevertheless a career in football had to be more appealing than life in one of the large hatting factories of east Manchester.

Here’s a brief cutting mentioning the game. Note also the difficulties being experienced by Second Division Manchester United (again, how often do modern day commentators on the game’s history forget the full history?).

After the tie with Arsenal at Plumstead, George Robey, a very famous Music Hall comedian with a love of football, took the City team to visit the capital’s top Music Halls.  Such light relief was needed in the City camp as the realisation was now dawning that the Blues might seriously be contenders for the League and Cup double that at this point in history had only been achieved by Preston (1889) and Aston Villa (1897). 

For a side (indeed a city) whose only national success so far had been to win the Second Division, this must have felt like an impossible dream but, as the season progressed it became increasingly possible.

You can read about what happened next here:

The next FA Cup meeting between the teams didn’t come until 1932 when they met in at the semi-final stage.

You can read all about that here:

Since 1932 the sides have met in the competition on 17/2/1971 at Maine Road (a 2-1 Arsenal win); the 2017 semi-final (2-1 aet for Arsenal); and again in the 2020 semi played on 18 July 2020 (a 2-0 Arsenal win).

A City FA Cup win over Arsenal is long overdue!

Aguero’s 6th in 3

On this day (21 January) in 2020 Sergio Aguero scored his sixth goal in three games as Manchester City defeated Sheffield United 1-0 at Bramall Lane. You can watch highlights of the game below.

Aguero had come on as substitute to score the only goal. The goal was described as a ‘tap in’ from a Kevin de Bruyne cross towards the end of the second half, but the goalkeeper was close at hand. It had been a tight game but the win meant City means could strengthen their place in second place. The Blues had 51 points but were 13 behind leaders Liverpool.

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/match-highlights/2020/january/sheff-utd-v-city-extended-highlights-21-jan

Were you at this match? If you were why not leave your memory as a comment or email it to me for possible future use on this website?

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Everton Defeated

On this day (28 September) in 2019 Manchester City defeated Everton 3-1 before 39,222 at Goodison Park. The City scorers were Jesus, Mahrez and Sterling and you can see highlights of the game below:

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/match-highlights/2019/september/everton-man-city-extended-highlights-video-premier-league

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Latest Finish

This day (15 August) in 2020 was the latest date a football season had ended for Manchester City. Sadly, the Blues were defeated 3-1 in the Champions League quarter final v Olympique Lyonnais. There are some highlights here if you want to see them:

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/mens/city-lyon-match-highlights-63733124

Sterling’s 100th

On this day (7 August) in 2020 Raheem Sterling scored his 100th goal for Manchester City. Not only that but this was City’s latest victory (2-1 v Real Madrid, Champions League) in a football season. The season had been halted and then restarted due to Covid. You can see highlights of the game here:

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/mens/city-real-madrid-champions-league-highlights-63732419

Manchester City Fans

While searching through my articles earlier this week I spotted a piece I wrote in 2019-20 on Manchester City’s support. Back then I became somewhat frustrated with a series of articles criticising City’s support. There were a number of ridiculous comments by some and so I wrote a piece challenging some of these views.

I’m not certain all the points are still valid (though City fans have received some significant abuse since 2020 too!) but readers can be the judge of that. Anyway, here’s the article for those who missed it back then:

MCFC Attendances Sequences

Lots of people talk incorrectly of Manchester City’s support and so for today’s subscriber feature I’ve decided to focus on the growth in City’s average attendance from the club’s first season in the League through to recent years, alongside other crowd related statistics. Hopefully, this will help to answer any questions raised on the loyalty of City’s support (but somehow I doubt it!).

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Here’s the article for subscribers…

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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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A Year On – Criticism of MCFC Fans in the Media

In the build up to Manchester City’s League Cup final against Aston Villa last year (2020) I was somewhat deflated by the way in which some in the media were critical of City fans. There wasn’t any one thing in particular that prompted this but it was something that had been growing for some time. It was all connected with the general stereotyping of City fans and the language being used by some to write negatively about them. I decided to write a lengthy piece on how I felt about this and I published it on my Facebook and twitter accounts the day after the League Cup final (the final was on 1st March 2020).

Sadly, one year on and little has changed. Ah well! So for those who missed it last year here is the piece:

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On This Day – The Last Fans Wembley Trip?

A year ago today (1st March 2020) I like thousands of other Manchester City and Aston Villa supporters travelled to Wembley for the League Cup final. 82,145 were there that day and now it seems so unlikely that we’ll have anywhere near that figure at a game for some time.

It was the last time I attended a live game of football (I missed the Manchester Derby the week after) although none of us believed that at the time. I enjoyed Wembley that day – as I do every trip (well, at least I do beforehand. 2013 FAC final was not so great, nor one or two semi-finals in recent years!) – and I hope that one day we can all be there again for a major final.

The game itself saw City race to a 2-0 lead within thirty minutes with Rodri (20) and Aguero (30) netting. Villa pulled a goal back 4 minutes before half time and it was a tense match. City did enough to win the game 2-1 of course, becoming the last (and only) team in England to win a major competition in front of a crowd that season.

It’s been a strange year since then for us all and it’s been a difficult year for many of us. I hope that life can return to normal and that football crowds of this size and scale get a chance to gather once more. Here’s hoping.