Goalscoring Feats

This season has brought so many wonderful moments for Manchester City with goalscorers in particular getting the headlines for some outstanding performances and record-breaking achievements. Erling Haaland is, of course, attracting a lot of attention for his exploits, while Phil Foden has also continued to impress. It was particularly satisfying when they both scored hat tricks against United in the Manchester derby back in October. This was the first time two players had scored hat tricks in a Manchester derby and their lifetime of City support and connections adds a great deal to the achievement. 

Haaland’s goalscoring feats have caused some to ask about club records and the players who have achieved them. So for today’s piece I’m taking a look at a few past achievements to remember some of those who have done amazingly well for City over the decades while helping to highlight seasonal records that can be aimed at. 

This is available to subscribers. It costs £3 a month (paying a month at a time) or £20 a year (works out about £1.67 per month). See details below:

Subscribe to get access – Monthly

Read more of this content when you subscribe today. £3 per month allows subscribers to read all content posted since 1 October 2022 and everything posted during your subscription. Cancel anytime. Annual subscribers (see below) get access to everything posted since December 2020 as well.

Subscribe to get access – Annual

Read more of this content when you subscribe today. £20 per yeas allows subscribers to read all content posted on the site and everything posted during your subscription.

MCFC Record Profits

The Manchester City FC annual report is out. Record profits of £41.7m as the club continues to find trophy success and improve its financial position. That investment seems to be paying off a bit now, hey? You can read all the details here:

https://www.mancity.com/annualreport2022/ceos-message/

The Origins of ‘Er-Ling, Erling Haaland’ Chant

A couple of days ago I posted about the birth of the MCFC Viking Call in 1976, well today lifelong City fan Bobby Ward has been in touch with a video he caught during City’s last home game of fans chanting a new Erling Haaland chant. Here’s the video (look out for the actions):

https://gjfootballarchive.files.wordpress.com/2022/10/img_4796-1.mov

The words, if you can’t work them out, are:

What shall we do with a big Norwegian, What shall we do with a big Norwegian, Can’t stop him from scoring, Erling, Erling Haaland, Erling, Erling Haaland…

The game v Brighton on 22 October 2022 ended in a 3-1 City win with Haaland scoring twice.

I’m always keen on the development of football chants, so if you’re one of the guys who started this please get in touch with your story of the chant, the actions and so on. I’d be happy to say more about it here. You guys were certainly persistent.

The Pride of Manchester?

As we build up to the Manchester derby this weekend the usual questions of who represents Manchester best crops up, as does the ‘you’re not from Manchester’ argument. People also talk about Manchester history and so on, so I thought I’d write a few thoughts here to hopefully help anyone with their Manchester geography, history etc. Some fans will love this; some may hate it, but either way it’s all factual. Here goes….

On the question of history: The earliest recorded game for Manchester United (as Newton Heath) is in November 1880 (against Bolton Wanderer’s 2nd team) while the earliest recorded game for Manchester City (as St Mark’s West Gorton) was one week earlier than United’s game. Much is made of the 1878 formation date but that’s a bit of a red herring. There is no evidence of football participation by the Heathens until November 1880. From 1878 Newton Heath did play cricket and perform athletics. Similarly, St Mark’s are known to have played cricket from the 1860s but this does not mean the club should trace its history of football activity to 1867 (or any other date prior to 1880). I go into a lot more detail on all of this in The Emergence of Footballing Cultures: Manchester 1840-1919 but subscribers can also read the evidence & more via the following link:

Of course City was the first of the two clubs to take on the Manchester name, doing so in 1894. That year Newton Heath also tried to reform as Manchester but were prevented from doing so as there was already a Manchester FC in existence (the rugby club). Again you can read the evidence and facts in the Emergence of Footballing Cultures:

Also on the question of history… Manchester City were the first to find national success when they won the Second Division title in 1899 (also becoming the first Manchester side to earn promotion). City were also the first Manchester team to win a major trophy when they won the FA Cup in 1904. United were the first team to win the League with their first national success coming in 1908. United were the first to win a European trophy, winning the European Cup at Wembley in 1968, while City’s first European trophy (the European Cup Winners’ Cup) came in 1970 at Vienna. Both successes of course predate the first UEFA-tournament successes of Liverpool, Barcelona, Arsenal, Chelsea, Juventus and so many other perceived European giants (note: The Fairs Cup was not a UEFA tournament).

On representing the city of Manchester the point is often made, usually by City fans, that United ‘don’t come from Manchester’, so here’s a bit about geography: It is true that Old Trafford is not in the city of Manchester and that it’s in the borough of Trafford (not Salford as some say). United have been based there since 1910. Of course Trafford is within Greater Manchester, just as Bolton, Wigan, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside and the city of Salford are. Prior to 1910 United played in Clayton and Newton Heath. At the time of their formation Newton Heath was not a part of Manchester. It was added to the city in 1890.

Similarly, West Gorton, where Manchester City was first founded as St Mark’s (West Gorton) was not part of the city of Manchester until 1890. Neither club was based in the city of Manchester at time of formation. City’s roots included various moves and name changes, with them settling in Ardwick in 1887. Ardwick had been incorporated into Manchester in 1838, meaning that from 1887 the Blues were based within the city of Manchester. The club moved to Maine Road in 1923 and their current home in 2003, both of which were within the city of Manchester by the time of the club’s move. Whichever way you look at it City have been based in the city of Manchester since 1887 while Newton Heath/United were based in the city of Manchester from 1890 to 1910. So for those who would like the maths that’s 135 years v 20 years.

In terms of first blood in the Manchester derby… Newton Heath beat Ardwick in the first derby in a first team competition that still counts today. That was the FA Cup in 1890-91 and you can read about that here:

Ultimately, all of these are merely bragging rights for particular views but I thought I’d post the facts because, all too often the facts get misreported and myths profligate.

The Manchester Derby

Prior to this weekend’s meeting between the men’s teams of Manchester City and United there have been 187 derbies. This weekend’s will be the 188th (people often miss the first derby!) Here’s the breakdown of those games and links to articles:

Played 187 City Won: 57 United Won: 77 Drawn: 53

The first derby was a FA Cup tie in 1891-92. This is often overlooked these days but was a full-bloodied competitive FA Cup tie so always has to be included in records etc. The details of that game can be read here:

My website carries a lot of content about derby games, as well as plenty on City and United, so have a look and see whether there’s anything of interest. This link is a search of Manchester derby content:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/category/manchester-derbies/

Royal Reactions (part one)

I’m sure we’ve all been watching some of the television coverage following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. With so much air time to fill we’ve often had angles put forward and debated for a few minutes or hours on TV and radio. So I thought it was time I put one (or two – part two will go into detail about royal visits to Manchester City) of my own on my website. Here goes… Someone asked me the other day about how Manchester City reacted in terms of performance in the days/weeks/months after a monarch’s death. So, if you’ve been desperate to find out, or are more likely to think ‘go on then, I’ll stick with it a bit longer’, here’s the answer:

Since Manchester City was established in the 19th Century there have been two British Queens and now five Kings. Detailed below are a few snippets from each of their reigns which may or may not be of interest. I’ll start with Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria was on the throne throughout the birth of League football until her death in January 1901. These were the years when professional football developed and Victoria died only 9 years after the club had joined the League as Ardwick.

Major Trophies Won: No major trophies were won by City during Victoria’s reign but they did win the Second Division title in 1899 – the first national success of either Manchester club. The last complete season of her life saw City compete in the top flight for the first time. the first game after her death was a 2-1 defeat at Stoke.

King Edward VII was on the throne from January 1901 through to May 1910. He died in the close season as City were about to go on tour to Germany and Denmark. During Edward’s life City won the FA Cup in 1904 (Manchester’s first major trophy) and were runners up in the League that season.

King George V was the first monarch to visit a Manchester City game when he attended a 1920 League game between City and Liverpool at Hyde Road. During his reign City won the FA Cup in 1934 and George was present for that final. City had also appeared in two other finals and had finished 2nd in the League in 1920. He died in January 1936 and the following weekend’s FA Cup games went ahead as scheduled. Over 65,000 watched City defeat Luton 2-1 at Maine Road.

King Edward VIII was only on the throne for about nine months and abdicated in December 1936. City had finished ninth in the only season completed during his reign but the 1936-37 was to be a spectacular one, though the part of the season before his abdication was not so great for the Blues.

King George VI became King on the abdication of his brother and City were to go on an incredible run shortly afterwards. A couple of defeats came within a fortnight of him taking on the role but other than those City were undefeated for the rest of the season. An incredible run of 22 games unbeaten brought City the League title in 1937.

As the Duke of York George had attended the 1933 FA Cup final and had also attended a game at Maine Road that year too. George died in February 1952. The following weekend’s games were not postponed and City drew a goalless match with Blackpool.

Queen Elizabeth II became Queen in 1952 and during her reign City have found major success time and time again. Within 3 years of her becoming Queen she attended Wembley to watch City face Newcastle in the 1955 FAC final. Newcastle won that (their last major domestic trophy) but the year after she was at Wembley again to see City beat Birmingham in the Trautmann Final. Since then City have found major glory in the League and in Europe. Their trophy haul under Elizabeth includes:

1 European Cup Winners’ Cup

7 League titles

4 FA Cups

8 League Cups

City have won 1 trophy approximately every 3.5 years of her reign. When she died games were postponed the following weekend.

King Charles III – Of course it’s too early to say what success arrives during his reign.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this slightly odd football article. There’ll be a second part published next week. Watch this space. While you’re here why not explore the rest of the website. Thanks

Raheem Sterling

I’m sad to see Raheem Sterling is leaving Manchester City but I do wish him well for the future of course. For the final MCFC match programme of the season I included a small piece on Sterling and his status/achievements at the Etihad within my regular feature. To mark his departure I’m posting what I said only a couple of months ago here. Enjoy!

Here’s the unedited original piece as it was written: I want to focus on one of our current players who has been establishing himself as one of our greatest goal scorers of all time. In recent weeks we have rightly remembered the goalscoring exploits of our legendary hero Sergio Agüero, especially that memorable day ten years ago. These achievements have to be celebrated and remembered but we should also look at our current goal scorers and recognise what they are achieving too. Legends like Agüero do not come along every day but in today’s squad we have players whose achievements are way ahead of the majority of other players who have preceded them. 

Although we may celebrate odd goals and moments, we don’t often celebrate the achievements of our players while they are playing, especially as we know we have a squad of talented players helping the club challenge for success. However, I think it’s worth pausing to recognise the achievements of Raheem Sterling during his time at City. Sterling is now the second highest scorer for City in the modern era.

For years our top ten goal scorers of all-time list was fairly static. In fact, before Agüero, the most recent player to enter our top ten goal scorers’ chart was Colin Bell, who had followed Francis Lee into the table around fifty years ago. Agüero, of course, is our number one goal scorer of all time now, followed by 1930s stars Eric Brook & Tommy Johnson, then Colin Bell. At the time of going to press Raheem Sterling is 11th in the list after scoring 131 City goals, only one behind Billy Gilliespie and Fred Tilson, our joint ninth highest goal scorers.

We really should celebrate the career statistics of Sterling. It’s an amazing achievement to have eclipsed ALL but the current top ten prior to today’s game. I’m sure some critics will say ‘ah, but how does his scoring ratio compare?’ Well, sadly, for the majority of players in City’s top ten we are unable to have accurate statistics on the number of minutes played to allow a direct comparison, but we do have goals per game ratio statistics. Sterling’s goals to game ratio is 0.388, which is better than Colin Bell’s ratio of 0.305 goals per game and Eric Brook’s 0.359. Not too shabby then, especially when you consider the nature of modern-day squad football meant that Sterling either came on as substitute or was substituted in over 150 of his 338 games too!