One-nil in your semi-final

From World War Two up to and including 2011 Manchester City won every FA Cup semi-final they played with a 1-0 scoreline.  That’s five games.  In 2013 I caught up with two of the goalscorers – Tommy Booth (1969) and Paul Power (1981) – to discuss their memories of those games. Here for subscribers is what they said:

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this and all the other content when you subscribe today. £20 a year works out about £1.67 a month and you get access to the 360+ articles posted here, including exclusive audio interviews and other archive material.

25 Years Ago – The 1996 Manchester Bomb

25 years ago today (June 15 1996) I was in Manchester Central Library doing some research for my book Manchester The Greatest City when a terrorist bomb went off close to M&S and the Arndale Centre. The explosion was felt across the city and in the library flecks of white paint floated down moments later, creating a surreal site. It looked like it was snowing.

I’ve written about the day before and maybe, when the time feels right, I’ll post more about it here but for the time being it’s worth pointing out that though no one died hundreds were injured. Many of these were seriously injured and it has affected them since.

In addition some lost there homes – there were houses on top of the Arndale centre back then – and businesses suffered too. Many closed down for good (a major loss was the old Corn Exchange – the building survived and was ‘gentrified’ but the small businesses that had operated in there mostly disappeared for ever).

I know we all talk positively of the changes to the city since the bomb but we should also remember those who suffered and the trauma faced.

More here on the day:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-36474535

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography Update

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography is currently being printed and is anticipated to be available from July 1st 2021. If you haven’t managed to order it yet you can do so now and, if ordered before July 1st, your copy will be signed by Peter and myself and posted before it appears in the shops.

This 372 page, colour paperback book is £16.95 (including UK postage).

United Kingdom

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – UNITED KINGDOM

Order today for £16.95 (incl UK Postage and Packaging).

£16.95

The ONLY way to guarantee your copy is from this site by using the order button above or those for non-UK below. You do not need to have a PayPal account to order – use the ‘Pay with PayPal’ button above and it will give you the option to pay by credit/debit card without creating a PayPal account.

Copies ordered by July 1st will be despatched BEFORE the book appears in any shops. Certain online retailers are advertising the book but, so far, none of these have actually ordered a supply. You can get yours before they do by ordering below (non UK see further down this page):

Here are the contents pages:

This long awaited authorised biography, written by Gary James with the memories and stories of Peter’s career throughout, tells the story of Peter’s life from his childhood in Manchester and Wrexham through to the modern day. With particular focus on his footballing career with Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion, Leeds United, Real Betis, Coventry City, Manchester United, Tampa Bay Rowdies and, of course, England.

Those living in the European Union can now order the book for £28 including postage to an address within the EU and those in the USA for £40 including postage to the States. If you’re in Malaysia it’s £35. Sadly, we have no control over those additional postage costs (we have used the Royal Mail international standard rate).

Outside the UK, EU, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and USA please contact for confirmation of postage costs.

Here’s the order button:

European Union

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – EUROPEAN UNION

Order today for £28 (incl postage and packaging within the EU).

£28.00

United States of America

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – USA

Order today for £40 (incl postage and packaging to the United States).

£40.00

Malaysia

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – MALAYSIA

Order today for £35 (incl postage and packaging to Malaysia).

£35.00

Australia and New Zealand

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

Order today for £38.95 (incl postage and packaging to Australia or New Zealand).

£38.95

If you run a book shop and would like to know more about the book please email: accounts@manchesterfootball.org

The ISBN is 978-1-9168852-0-2 and stocks should be available for book shops after it has been distributed to all subscribers and others who have ordered it here. This is anticipated to be in early July 2021.

You can listen to Peter in conversation with myself about the book here:

Thanks,

Gary James

SUBSCRIBER LIST CLOSED: Peter Barnes Biography

The opportunity to subscribe to The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography has now passed. However, you can still order the book before publication and your copy will be signed by both Peter and myself.

This is the only way to guarantee your copy of book.

Publication is anticipated to be June 30 and copies will be despatched in July BEFORE the book appears in any shops. Certain online retailers are advertising the book but, so far, none of these have actually ordered a supply. You can get yours before they do by ordering below (non UK see further down this page):

United Kingdom

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Subscriber Offer UNITED KINGDOM

Order today for £16.95 (incl UK Postage and Packaging).

£16.95

The ONLY way to guarantee your copy is from this site by using the order button above or those for non-UK below.

This long awaited authorised biography, written by Gary James with the memories and stories of Peter’s career throughout, tells the story of Peter’s life from his childhood in Manchester and Wrexham through to the modern day. With particular focus on his footballing career with Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion, Leeds United, Real Betis, Coventry City, Manchester United, Tampa Bay Rowdies and, of course, England.

There are quotes from people connected with Peter throughout his career plus archive material too.

Pre-publication you can order the 360+ page, colour paperback book for £16.95 (including UK postage). Those living in the European Union can now order the book for £28 including postage to an address within the EU and those in the USA for £40 including postage to the States. If you’re in Malaysia it’s £35. Sadly, we have no control over those additional postage costs (we have used the Royal Mail international standard rate).

Outside the UK, EU, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and USA please contact for confirmation of postage costs.

Here’s the order button:

European Union

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Subscriber Offer EUROPEAN UNION

Order today for £28 (incl postage and packaging within the EU).

£28.00

United States of America

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Subscriber Offer USA

Order today for £40 (incl postage and packaging to the United States).

£40.00

Malaysia

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Subscriber Offer MALAYSIA

Order today for £35 (incl postage and packaging to Malaysia).

£35.00

Australia and New Zealand

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Subscriber Offer AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

Order today for £38.95 (incl postage and packaging to Australia or New Zealand).

£38.95

If you run a book shop and would like to know more about the book please email: accounts@manchesterfootball.org

The ISBN is 978-1-9168852-0-2 and stocks should be available for book shops after it has been distributed to all subscribers and others who have ordered it here. This is anticipated to be in early July 2021.

You can listen to Peter in conversation with myself about the book here:

Thanks,

Gary James

Manchester City’s “European Heritage” – Facts Not Fiction

With the 2021 Champions League final looming, most City fans know that the Blues possess a great history but in recent years some of the club’s rivals have tended to play down City’s European heritage suggesting the Blues are relative newcomers to the continent’s biggest competitions. So in this article I thought I’d take the opportunity to spell out a few of City’s earliest connections with European competition:

If you would like to read the full article and other pieces like this then please subscribe below. It works out about £1.67 a month if you take out an annual subscription (£20 per year) or £3 a month if you’d like to sign up for a month at a time. Each subscriber gets full access to the 100+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

Subscribe to get access

Read this article and all other content on GJFootballArchive when you subscribe today.

Peter Barnes Biography – UPDATE

Thanks to all those who have subscribed to Peter Barnes: The Authorised Biography (especially 250 Scandinavian Manchester City fans who have ordered the book!) It really is appreciated.

Emails have started to go to all subscribers to confirm details for the book (these should all be sent by May 20th). There is still time to order the book and get your name printed in it for anyone who hasn’t managed that yet.

Subscribers will receive signed copies (signed by both Peter Barnes and myself) of the book posted out before it appears in any shop AND will get their names printed in the special subscriber section of the book. 

This is the only way to guarantee your copy of the book. All subscriber orders must be made by May 20th.

This long awaited authorised biography, written by Gary James with the memories and stories of Peter’s career throughout, tells the story of Peter’s life from his childhood in Manchester and Wrexham through to the modern day. With particular focus on his footballing career with Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion, Leeds United, Real Betis, Coventry City, Manchester United, Tampa Bay Rowdies and, of course, England.

There are quotes from people connected with Peter throughout his career plus archive material too.

Pre-publication you can order the 350+ page, colour paperback book for £16.95 (including UK postage) and have your name printed in it (or if being bought as a gift the name of another person). Those living in the European Union can now order the book for £28 including postage to an address within the EU and those in the USA for £40 including postage to the States. If you’re in Malaysia it’s £35. Sadly, we have no control over those additional postage costs (we have used the Royal Mail international standard rate).

Outside the UK, EU, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and USA please contact for confirmation of postage costs.

The ONLY way to order your copy and get your name printed in the book is from this site by using the order button below.

The book is expected to be published in June 2021 and all this subscriber offer will be available until May 15, 2021 (orders received after that date cannot be guaranteed to have names printed in the book, so order as early as possible).

Here’s the order button (before publication those who have subscribed to the book will be emailed to ask which name is to be printed in the book, so please make sure you include an email address, in addition to postage details, when asked at time of ordering):

United Kingdom

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Subscriber Offer UNITED KINGDOM

Order today and have your name printed in the book. £16.95 (incl UK Postage and Packaging).

£16.95

European Union

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Subscriber Offer EUROPEAN UNION

Order today and have your name printed in the book. £28 (incl postage and packaging within the EU).

£28.00

United States of America

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Subscriber Offer USA

Order today and have your name printed in the book. £40 (incl postage and packaging to the United States).

£40.00

Malaysia

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Subscriber Offer MALAYSIA

Order today and have your name printed in the book. £35 (incl postage and packaging to Malaysia).

£35.00

Australia and New Zealand

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Subscriber Offer AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

Order today and have your name printed in the book. £38.95 (incl postage and packaging to Australia or New Zealand).

£38.95

If you run a book shop and would like to know more about the book please email: accounts@manchesterfootball.org

The ISBN is 978-1-9168852-0-2 and stocks should be available for book shops after it has been distributed to all subscribers. This is anticipated to be by the end of June 2021.

You can listen to Peter in conversation with myself about the book here:

Thanks,

Gary James

European Semi Finals

Tonight Manchester City take on Paris Saint Germain in the 2nd leg of the Champions League semi-final. The Blues won the first leg 2-1 and are hopeful of reaching their first Champions League final. It would not of course be their first two-legged semi-final win in Europe – that came way back in 1970. 

You can read about that 1970 ECWC semi-final here:

Manchester United were the first of the region’s sides to compete in European competition and they reached a European Cup semi-final in 1956-57. They’d played their earlier rounds at Maine Road, where they’d attracted significant attendances (including their current record home European crowd) but they moved the semi-final to Old Trafford. Here for subscribers is the story of that campaign:

Subscribe to get access

Read more of this and all other content when you subscribe today.

Parallels – MUFC 2021 and MCFC 1993?

Some people say that history repeats. I’m not so certain about that but I do think we can learn a lot from history about modern society and how things develop. Actions are often similar decades apart and, unless we learn from what’s gone before, we do often make similar mistakes or not consider how things could turn out. Parallels should be looked for and considered.

This weekend (May 2 2021) has seen the postponement of the Manchester United – Liverpool Premier League game due to concerns over the safety of players and staff. Whether it should have been or whether there had been any potential for players to be injured is debateable but postponed it was.

United fans had been protesting on the forecourt outside Old Trafford a few hours before the match and some managed to find their way into the stadium. Footage of some smashing a door down and others seemingly walking straight into the stadium at a door manned by stewards have circulated, causing various conflicting views as to how fans managed to get into a stadium that should be impenetrable (if a few hundred fans can get in to a closed and secure stadium what does this say about the general security of the venue?).

The fans that made it in to the stadium found their way on to the pitch and television broadcast the scenes. Eventually the stadium was cleared, although Sky TV told us of a second group of fans who had got into the stadium through the second tier. Ultimately, all fans were cleared but the game was postponed. Fans were also positioned outside the Lowry Hotel where the United team were and television told us that there were concerns as to whether the team would be able to safely travel to Old Trafford. 

Similar views were expressed about Liverpool (don’t get me started on the safety of teams arriving at Anfield!).

Whether any player was in actual danger or not didn’t seem to matter. This was the view being expressed by those paid to describe the scene.

So, what should we make of all this? Well, we have been told that the protests were against the owners of Manchester United, the Glazer family, and the birth of the European Super League. The Super League plan has been halted (I’m sure it will keep coming back as the birth of the Premier League did) but the Glazers still own United.

I opened this post by saying how parallels should be looked for and considered and, as a historian, I cannot help but compare what’s happened this weekend with events at Manchester City in 1993. Back then the Blues were run by chairman Peter Swales.

Swales had mismanaged the club for two decades and had taken a hugely profitable and successful club, piled it with debt and seen it lose pace with some of its traditional rivals. Fans had been angry about his chairmanship for years and had demonstrated regularly. Swales Out was often the most popular chant at Maine Road and the pre and post-match demonstrations were an everyday part of life as a City supporter. Fans loved City but hated Swales.

Inevitably, when City were successful the Swales Out protests were not as visible as they were at times of failure – and this has been true at United. There have been many, many United fans who have constantly highlighted the faults of the club’s ownership and they have campaigned, but the wider fan base has been quiet when the successes have occurred. This was true at City (though successes were less frequent at City during Swales’ chairmanship).

Frustrations at Manchester City continued, even when the club had relatively successful seasons. For example, the Blues finished fifth two years running in 1991 & 1992 – poor by 1970s standards but better than the 80s – but fans still wanted Swales out. Part of the reason lay in his support for the proposed Premier League, which began in 1992-93 but had been discussed for several years before that (it was initially planned as a complete breakaway from the Football League by the biggest clubs who were determined to reduce the money they passed down to the rest of football – hmm, parallels here that often get forgotten!).

The Premier League was anticipated to make the rich richer and clubs that had lost their way, like City because of Swales and his supporting directors who had placed the club in enormous debt (for the time) which meant they struggled to compete for the best, were going to make up the numbers to some extent.

The first season of the Premier League went okay for Manchester City. They finished ninth which was a little disappointing but in itself was not the main concern. That was still Swales’ chairmanship and the general mood was poor. Fans had had enough. 

City’s chance of glory that season faded in a FA Cup quarter final with Tottenham and fans’ frustrations at their chairman and directors spilled out. It was a day when Swales’ new stand was opened – the Umbro Stand – and this was small-time compared to the club’s history and heritage. The stand it had replaced held over 9,000 seated. The new stand was basically two rows of executive boxes with about 4,500 seats in front. The ordinary fan felt that with that stand and the birth of the Premier League they were no longer relevant. Hospitality, money and TV deals seemed to matter most to club owners. 

The frustrations that had been bubbling for years (and we must NEVER underestimate the efforts City fans made demonstrating against their directors and for how many years they did this) bubbled on to the pitch. Live television captured the scenes as City fans invaded the pitch and the FA Cup quarter final was halted.

The media criticised the couple of hundred fans who made it on to the pitch. They didn’t ask why they’d done it, they just assumed City fans were unhappy at losing a FA Cup game. Had they bothered to ask fans – I was there and knew the situation and have over the years discussed this extensively with people who were on the pitch – they would have realised that they climbed on to the pitch out of frustration. Frustration at the way football was developing and frustration at Peter Swales and his supporting directors. 

Fans were right to be frustrated and history has shown that their predictions (covered extensively in City fanzines at the time) about the way football was developing to create an elite and more money for certain clubs was right.

I interviewed Peter Swales about two years after that pitch invasion and he told me that he should have listened to the fans and resigned that night. I agree – things would have been different for him and for City. Maybe in a few years the Glazers will say the same about this weekend?

That 1992-93 season saw Manchester United win the top flight for the first time in 26 years and United’s success brought added pressure to those in charge at Maine Road. The frustration of seeing your nearest rival achieve something that you’ve not done for years (City had been the last Manchester team to win the League prior to 1992-93 as they’d won it in 1967-68) gave fans further ammunition. Fans could point out to Swales that he became chairman of a club that had been hugely successful (four major trophies in the previous 5 seasons before his chairmanship) and profitable (previous chairman Eric Alexander was proud of the profitability of the Blues in the years before Swales). They could also ask ‘where did the money go’, ‘Why were we mismanaged?’ etc.

That event in City’s history is similar to some extent to what’s happened at United. Years of frustration at the owners/directors; the recognition that a rich club had been placed in significant debt; the proposed birth of a new league; the resurrection of a neighbour who seems destined to have a bright future just at a time when your directors don’t seem able or willing to compete etc. 

The proposed change of structure to football, where greed of club owners seemed more important than what the fans wanted, was the catalyst to the demonstrations at United this weekend.

Please don’t be fooled into thinking this is a demonstration against the European Super League – that’s the catalyst but United fan dissatisfaction runs much deeper than that. As with City’s 1993 FAC quarter final defeat and the birth of the Premier League that season, these are catalysts that bring the wider fan base on board (and often the media attention), but they are not solely the cause. 

In 1993 the media claimed City fans were unhappy because they’d lost the FAC tie. Well, yes, but they’d lost plenty of other FAC ties over the years and never invaded the pitch. That tie became the visible outpouring of dissatisfaction, just like the European Super League has created a situation which has allowed United fans to bring more visibility to their longstanding protests against the club’s owners. 

So where do we go from here? Well, there’s one major change since 1993 and that is that the majority of media coverage seems to have sympathy with fans this time. But those working in the media should ensure they go and talk to the fans who were actually on the Old Trafford pitch and ask them why they were there. That would help frame the discussions about what it all actually meant. Some media coverages has said in rather simple terms that United fans were campaigning against the European Super League – no, it’s part of a long standing dissatisfaction with the club’s owners, but I’m not a fan who went on the pitch (that’s my interpretation but best way to find out is to ask those who were in Old Trafford).  

In 1993 the media didn’t ask City fans why and they made assumptions which painted football fans extremely negatively. Instead of showing them as people who cared about how their club was developing they were presented as hooligans.

If we’re thinking about parallels then it’s worth considering what happened next in 1993 so that United fans can shape things differently or prepare for the worst! Back in 93 the momentum at Maine Road continued but, as with the widespread protest of the 1980s at City, nothing could change while the majority shareholders supported Swales. Put simply, if you own the club no amount of fan pressure can force you to sell. You only sell when you want to.

Swales felt the protests would die down (he explained all of this to me in an interview) but this time, as protests continued in 1993-94, former player Francis Lee decided to mount a takeover. That was eventually what forced Swales to stand down.

Sadly, for City the damage was done though and financially Lee’s City couldn’t compete with clubs who were able to spend freely like Blackburn (a major benefactor at the time) and those who were already benefitting financially from Premier League success. City ended up dropping to their worst ever position in the late 1990s and were financially adrift of many of their traditional rivals. Only the takeovers of 2007 and 2008 could help the club regain its position as a serious trophy challenger.

If we consider the City situation as an example, then it seems that the best chance United fans have got to change the ownership of the club is if someone like Gary Neville came in to front a major takeover of the club. Even then, as with City, it may well be that the damage done to the Reds and the debt placed on the club limits its future.

It does make you wonder what would have happened had Alex Ferguson, who had spoken out against the Glazers before the takeover, opposed the Glazers when they took over his club. Had Ferguson stood down back then maybe the protests against the Glazers would have been immense?

Football owners have never been properly policed and there are examples throughout the English league system of clubs whose futures were jeopardised by owners who have gambled on future success by borrowing to fund purchases, or who have sold club assets or placed a club in debt for their own personal gain. Change in football’s governance is needed. Simply changing owners is not the answer because football is a business and any owner wants his/her business to be profitable for him/her and shareholders.

Fans views, whether in the 1980s or 1990s campaigning against the Premier League and football chairmen, or in the 2020s campaigning against the Super League and football owners need to be listened to. Understand us and work with us – you might help make football an even greater spectacle.

Subscribe to get access

This is a taster of the material on this site. If you would like to read everything (including the entire Manchester A Football History book) then please subscriber. It’s £20 a year (works out about £1.67 a month) and you’ll have access to all 340+ articles/interviews etc. posted so far and the others coming during your subscription.

Don’t forget if you order The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography before publication you can get your name printed in it and your copy will be signed by Peter and myself. Details here:

Decisive Derbies: April 30, 2012

It was one of the most important Manchester derby matches of all time. Second placed City, who were still searching for their first League title since 1968, were to face League leaders United at the Etihad Stadium in a crucial game. United led the table by three points but City’s goalscoring exploits in recent games had swung goal difference back the Blues’ way. With two games left after the derby a victory for United would almost end City’s chance of winning the title, while a City victory would put the Blues in the driving seat.  

Here for subscribers to my site is the story of this monumental derby game.

Subscribe to get access

Subscribers get access to this and over 300 other articles, including audio recordings of interviews with John Bond, Malcolm Allison and George Graham and the entire Manchester A Football History. It costs £20 per year (works out about £1.67 a month).

Peter Barnes Talking About His Biography

I managed to catch up with Peter a few weeks ago to talk about his biography. Here’s a brief recording of us discussing the book:

You can subscribe to this 350+ page authorised biography of Peter Barnes, which will be published in June. Subscribers will receive signed copies (signed by both Peter Barnes and myself) of the book posted out before it appears in any shop AND will get their names printed in the special subscriber section of the book.

This is the only way to guarantee your copy of the book.

The ONLY way to order your copy and get your name printed in the book is from this site by using the order button below. This subscriber offer will be available until May 15, 2021.

Here’s the order button (before publication those who have subscribed to the biography will be emailed to ask which name is to be printed in the book, so please make sure you include an email address, in addition to postage details, when asked at time of ordering):

United Kingdom

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Subscriber Offer UNITED KINGDOM

Order today and have your name printed in the book. £16.95 (incl UK Postage and Packaging.

£16.95

European Union

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Subscriber Offer EUROPEAN UNION

Order today and have your name printed in the book. £28 (incl postage and packaging within the EU).

£28.00

United States of America

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Subscriber Offer USA

Order today and have your name printed in the book. £40 (incl postage and packaging to the United States).

£40.00

Malaysia

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Subscriber Offer MALAYSIA

Order today and have your name printed in the book. £35 (incl postage and packaging to Malaysia).

£35.00

Australia and New Zealand

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Subscriber Offer AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

Order today and have your name printed in the book. £38.95 (incl postage and packaging to Australia or New Zealand).

£38.95

Outside the UK, EU, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and USA please contact for confirmation of postage costs.

Thanks,

Gary James