Cheltenham For The First Time

On this day (23 January) in 2021 Manchester City played Cheltenham Town for the first time in a competitive fixture. Details and highlights below:

The game ended in a 3-1 City victory but the home side had actually taken the lead first with a 59th minute goal from May. In fact it remained 1-0 right up until the final 9 minutes of normal play.

First Foden netted the equaliser in the 81st minute then, three minutes later Jesus made it 2-1 to City. In the fourth minute of added time Torres made it 3-1 and an embarrassing FA Cup 4th round defeat was avoided! Cheltenham were 72 places below City and, inevitably, much of the media coverage discussed the value of City’s starting 11 (and the bench – I wish City would turn up one day at a game with a diamond encrusted gold bench just so that the usual critics could waffle on even more about the cost of the bench!). Anyway, enough of that, here are the MCFC highlights:

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/mens/cheltenham-town-1-3-man-city-short-highlights-63747017

You can also watch the BBC’s version of the highlights here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/55766769

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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Manchester City versus Chelsea – The story so far…

Tomorrow (5 January 2023) Manchester City play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League and so I thought I’d post a few connections, historical moments and memorable game details here. So here goes…

All-time Record (all first team competitions)

City wins 62, Chelsea wins 71, 39 drawn.

League – 154 played, 53 City wins, 62 Chelsea wins, 39 drawn.

FA Cup – Played 7 (there’ll be another this coming weekend!), 4 City wins, 3 Chelsea wins

League Cup – Played 4, 3 City wins, 1 Chelsea win.

Champions League – Played 1, 1 Chelsea win. You can read about that one here:

ECWC – Played 2, 2 Chelsea wins.

Full Members Cup – Played 2, 2 Chelsea wins.

Community Shield – Played 2, 2 City wins.

Game One

The first match between the sides was on 7 December 1907 in Division One.  Chelsea had been promoted the previous season, and the match ended 2-2 before a 40,000 crowd at Stamford Bridge.

Debuts

City debutants in this fixture include Rodney Marsh, whose first game was the 1-0 victory over Chelsea on 18 March 1972.  Local hero Tommy Booth netted the winner in front of 53,322.

Marsh was a high profile and expensive signing back in 1972. He was signed shortly before the transfer deadline back then. Another major signing who made his league debut v Chelsea was Robinho who joined the Blues on transfer deadline day back in 2008, marking his league debut v Chelsea with a goal that September.

On 14 November 1959 in a 1-1 draw, Alan Oakes made the first of an incredible 665 (plus 3 as substitute) appearances for the Blues – sadly he gave away a last minute penalty, but Bert Trautmann saved it!  You can read more on that game here:

A little over 30 years later Howard Kendall signing Niall Quinn marked his debut with a goal in another 1-1 draw.

Others to have made their debuts include Tosin Adarabioya, Aleix Garcia & David Faupala (scored on his debut). Those players all made their debuts in the FA Cup game on 21 February 2016. 

Television

The first City-Chelsea game to be shown on BBC TV was on 1 October 1955 at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea beat City 2-1. The commentator was Kenneth Wolstenholme. 

The first meeting of the sides to be shown on the BBC’s Match of the Day was 1 October 1966, when Tommy Docherty’s Chelsea beat City 4-1.  Chelsea’s scorers were Tambling, Baldwin, Kirkup and Osgood, while the dependable Neil Young netted for City.

The first live match was on Friday 4 May 1984 with a 7.15pm kick-off, again on BBC.  This Division Two match ended in a 2-0 victory for 2nd placed Chelsea, and the result ended City’s dreams of an immediate return to the top flight.  Chelsea clinched the title that season on goal difference from Sheffield Wednesday and the live game became noteworthy as it was the first Second Division match shown live on television.  Interestingly, the BBC recruited Bobby Charlton as their City ‘expert’ for this game.

Connections

Kevin De Bruyne (made three League appearances for Chelsea), Willy Caballero, Frank Lampard, Scott Sinclair, George Weah, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Nicolas Anelka, Wayne Bridge, Danny Granville, David Rocastle, Gordon Davies, Clive Allen, Clive Wilson, Terry Phelan, and Colin Viljoen are some of the players to have appeared for both clubs.  Further back amateur Max Woosnam had appeared for first Chelsea then City.  He was City’s captain for a while, and was given the honour of captaining the Blues in their first match at Maine Road.  A good all-round sportsman, Woosnam was a Wimbledon doubles champion, and Olympic gold medallist.  He also captained England.

Highest Attendances

The top five attendances for this fixture are:

85,621 – FA Cup semi final, 14 April 2013, City 2 Chelsea 1 

81,775 – 2019 League Cup final, 0-0 City won 4-3 on penalties

72,724 – 2018 Community Shield, City 2 Chelsea 0

68,000 – The highest crowd for this fixture at the old Wembley; the 1986 Full Members’ Cup Final.  

64,396 – 26 March 1948 meeting at Stamford Bridge; a 2-2- draw.

The top five attendances for City V Chelsea at the Etihad are: 54,486 on 23 November 2019; 54,457 on 3 December 2016; 54,452 on 10 February 2019; 54,331 on 16 August 2015 and 54,328 on 4 March 2018. A reduction in capacity at the Etihad means that games from 2021 onwards cannot better these figures.

The highest attendance for City V Chelsea at Maine Road was 53,322 on 18th March 1972. 

Wembley ‘86

The only game between the two sides at the old Wembley Stadium was the inaugural Full Members’ Cup Final in 1986.  Despite taking the lead in the eighth minute, City were losing 5-1 with only five minutes left.  A Mark Lillis inspired fightback followed and he helped City achieve a 5-4 scoreline, before time ran out.  It was a thrilling match and it also helped David Speedie enter the record books.  His hat-trick was the first in a senior domestic final at Wembley since Stan Mortensen in 1953.

You can read about that one here:

Kippax First and Last

City’s first & last games in front of the Kippax Stand were both against Chelsea. The first came on 5 September 1957. City won that game 5-2 (goals from Colin Barlow 2, Fionan ‘Paddy’ Fagan 2 and Billy McAdams), attendance 27,943. The second was on 20 April 1994 – a 2-2 draw (City goals from Uwe Rosler and Paul Walsh), attendance 33,594.

Did You Know?

The two Second Division matches between the sides in 1927-8 were watched by a total of 104,643.  That season City, despite being a Second Division club, had the highest average attendance of all the clubs in the Football League.

Well I Never!

The last match of the 1993-4 season was the last played in front of the old Kippax Stand.  At the time, the Kippax was the largest capacity terraced stand in the country, and Chelsea supporters (dressed as Blues Brothers) laid a wreath in front of the famous old stand.  It was a gesture much appreciated by City fans.  The game ended 2-2 and afterwards supporters hacked off pieces of the old terracing.  Even the old “Colin Bell Bar” Sign was seen being taken towards the city centre after the match!

Feature Match

My feature match is noteworthy as it was played at a time when the Blues were suffering heavy fixture congestion, and squad rotation was still something for the future.

The match is the first leg of the 1970-1 ECWC semi-final.  City were cup holders, while Chelsea had qualified after beating Leeds in the FA Cup Final replay at Old Trafford played on the same night as City’s ECWC final in April 1970.

Malcolm Allison was banned from all football activity by the FA, leaving Joe Mercer in total control.  Joe always believed the strongest team possible should play.  He didn’t hold with the view that players should be saved for the important matches and, although his belief that every team should always field their strongest side was fair and just, in 1971 it was to cost the Blues dearly.  During a relatively meaningless 4 League fixtures over the Easter period injuries piled up.  By the time of the ECWC game Summerbee, Pardoe, Oakes, Heslop, Bell, and Doyle – all crucial players – were on the injury list, causing Joe to play a team of inexperience in the most crucial match of the season.  Shortly before kick off at Stamford Bridge he solemnly told the press his team and then said:  “And may God bless this ship and all who sail in her.”

Despite their naivety, Mercer’s Minors put in a good performance.  Goalkeeper Joe Corrigan, who played the game with his left eye half-closed through injury, was in exceptional form.  Dave Sexton’s Chelsea surged forward in the opening minutes, but Corrigan kept them at bay.  Gradually, the confidence of City’s inexperienced side increased, and at half-time they entered the dressing room still level.

Sadly, a minute into the second half Tony Towers was unable to intercept a cross from Chelsea’s Keith Weller to David Webb, and a mistake by Tommy Booth allowed Derek Smethurst to score for the home side.  It was the only mistake City made all night, and the game ended 1-0.  Joe was proud of his players, and looked forward to the return.

Sadly, others (Booth and Corrigan) were missing for the second match – played only 48 hours after a gruelling 2-2 draw against Liverpool.  Again Chelsea won 1-0, this time the replacement ‘keeper, Ron Healey, turned an inswinging free kick from Weller into his own net.

City’s dream of becoming the first side to retain the trophy ended – a feat no club ever managed to do – while Chelsea went on to beat Real Madrid in the final.

The 1970-1 season had also seen a ferocious boardroom battle tear the club apart, and for the first time had caused friction between Mercer and Allison.  A year later the partnership ended for good.

Stats:  ECWC Semi-Final first leg 14 April 1971

Chelsea 1 City 0

Scorers – Chelsea: Smethurst

City: Corrigan, Book, Connor, Towers, Booth, Donachie, Johnson, Hill, Lee, Young, Mann

Attendance: 45,955 

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Sterling Double

On this day (30 September) in 2020 Manchester City defeated Burnley 3-0 in the League Cup at Turf Moor. City’s scorers were Raheem Sterling (2) and Ferran Torres. Here are some highlights of the game:

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/mens/burnley-0-3-city-match-highlights-63737092

The 2021 League Cup Final

On this day (25 April) in 2021 Manchester City defeated Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 thanks to a Laporte goal in the League Cup final at Wembley. The game was played in front of a Covid restricted crowd of 7,773.

Here are highlights of that game:

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/mens/city-1-0-spurs-carabao-cup-extended-highlights-63754978

A year Ago Today – Pep’s Record breakers

On this day (10th February) in 2021 Manchester City won 3-1 at Swansea in the FA Cup with goals from Kyle Walker (30’), Raheem Sterling (47’) and Gabriel Jesus (50’).

The victory meant that City became the first team to win 15 consecutive games (excluding penalty shootouts). This new record was added to the Blues other win record established in 2017: Most consecutive wins (including penalty shootouts): 20. For more information on these records see:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/11/consecutive-win-records-facts-or-fiction/

For more on games between City and Swansea see: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/10/swansea-and-city/

The win also meant that Pep had managed City to 200 victories during his time as manager. After the win he told the media: “I’m very pleased for the way they performed. All of them.

“Swansea is a strong side. They are a really strong team. You understand how many games they were unbeaten. We are in the next round. We are very pleased. The game takes more than 90 minutes. I would love to win after eight minutes. That’s why you have to be patient, control the strength points. In general we played a really good game.

“It shows how special these players are. And we think of the next one. I know we broke a record of all-time. Now it belongs to us and it will be broken for sure. Sport is like this. It means a lot. This is the toughest period. To do what we have done so far is quite remarkable. The important thing is the way we are playing, consistency and the next ones.

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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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Different Gravy: A Review of MCFC’s Together Film

last night I was fortunate to attend the premiere of the new Manchester City film Together at the Everyman Cinema, ABC Building on Quay Street, Manchester. Here is my review of the film and the evening.

Guests were welcomed from 6PM with some drinks and nibbles at the cinema. I’d never been to the Everyman before. It’s a fairly new, stylish cinema and a welcome addition to Manchester’s entertainment offering. The bar area encouraged a relaxed mood and it was good to chat with various City staff and guests, most of whom I haven’t seen since before Covid. I spent quite a bit of time with actor John Henshaw who, like me, had worked on The Keeper (the film about Trautmann – he played Bert’s father-in-law and I was a historical consultant to the film).

About 7pm we were invited into the cinema room, passing the Premier League and League Cup trophies. The seats are plush, most are two seater settee style seats and some are single. Popcorn was of course readily available.

Rob Pollard, a member of City’s media team who many Blues will know, did a great introduction. It was great to see a regular member of City staff fronting the premiere like this and Rob represented all those involved well. Great work and much better to me than bringing on a celebrity announcer who hadn’t a direct connection to the film to present it. The name of the film is Together and Rob’s introduction added to that general theme in my opinion.

The film then started. I won’t give away too much in this review but it is worth explaining what the film is and a few key points/memories from it.

The film follows the players through the final stages of the 2020-21 season showing City’s fight in four competitions. Obviously, there are high points and a few lows in the film but this isn’t a typical ‘let’s see City scoring goals from every angle’ film. Instead it’s a fly on the wall style supported with interviews with players looking back at certain points. Goals and match action are often filmed from a camera in the stands or on the sidelines rather than typical broadcast coverage. I think this adds to the view that we’re observing something we don’t normally see.

There’s quite a bit of humour in there and the personalities of some players really come out. De Bruyne displays a deadpan style of humour – at one point he’s asked what would be going through Mahrez’s mind as he’s preparing to take a penalty and he simply says ‘I don’t know’. Scott Carson arrives dressed as a fireman one day and we learn how popular he is with the rest of the squad. Everyone’s delighted when he gets to appear in his first Premier League game for a decade.

Phil Foden features a lot and he talks about Aguero, explaining how he was in awe of him when Foden first made his way into the team. We also see Aguero telling Foden that he’s ‘Different Gravy’ after the League Cup final.

Food features a lot… we see smoothies being made, Walker helping the chefs and we hear how Riyad’s Pasta has become the most popular dish for several players. Oh, and then there’s Pep trying a bacon sandwich!

There was a personal bonus for me when I spotted two of my nephews on screen holding up an Aguero banner in the film.

Overall, the film is a great watch and lasts over 90 minutes. It’s available on City+ from today and I think that all those involved deserve praise for what they’ve achieved. Considering this is an in-house production the quality of the production is impressive. Football clubs traditionally don’t produce film productions of this quality. Nice work City’s media team.

The ending was always going to be tough for a film that chronicles the last weeks of the season but I think they did a great ending… I won’t say how it ends but keep watching after the CL final conclusion.

Oh, and if you do watch Together make sure you look out for the in-depth description of the ‘boot steamer’ when watching!

Here’s a trailer:

Brian Kidd

The news has been released that Brian Kidd has left Manchester City after 12 years in a coaching role there. Brian was of course a truly successful footballer with both Manchester clubs and has been a legendary coach with both clubs too, helping Ferguson, Mancini, Pellegrini and Guardiola find major trophy success.

He is one of the nicest men in football and his presence will be missed.

On leaving Brian has said: “It has been a privilege to be part of such an exciting chapter in this Club’s history.

“I can only thank Pep, Roberto and Manuel for their leadership during a period of huge change and challenges for everyone involved here. I hope to have offered them enough help and support along the way to have made a difference and played a small role in the different teams’ successes.

“Having also played for Manchester City, it was very special to return and throughout the last 12 years I have felt the warmth of the leadership, the staff and of the fans throughout. I am incredibly grateful to all of them.

“I would also like to say what an honour it has been to witness the evolution of the Club under the stewardship of Sheikh Mansour and leadership of Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

“I am a Manchester man, and the work that has been done to improve the City of Manchester and the local community is fantastic. I wish only the best for Manchester City moving forwards.”

When the time is right I’ll post a detailed profile of Kiddo here but for the moment here are links to a few stories already posted to this site:

City’s history via 16 players

I’m always keen to find links between today’s Manchester City and the key players of the past and so I set myself the task of trying to find connections from the club’s first competitive game in 1890 through to the Premier League successes of today.

The idea was to see how few players I could find to form a chain through the decades.  Subscribers can read the result of my efforts below:

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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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