Who Decides the Big Six?

Today I’m taking a look at the so-called current Premier League Big Six and the significance of football history. It frustrates me when people assume that any group of clubs have been the biggest throughout football history and so I’ve decided to post this article.

It considers the claims of the so-called Big Six and has some findings that may surprise fans of some of those Big Six clubs. This article is available to subscribers to my site. Subscribing costs £20 a year and subscribers have full access to everything posted on the site, including audio interviews with John Bond, Malcolm Allison, George Graham and others, plus the entire text of Manchester A Football History and a PDF of my first book From Maine Men to Banana Citizens. You can always try it out by subscribing £3 per month and cancel at any time. No matter whether you sign up for a year or a month at a time you get full access to everything for as long as you are a subscriber.

Anyway, here’s the article…

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The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – Available Here!

Tonight Peter & I will be talking about my new book on Peter’s life and career. At Reddish MCFC Supporters Club. If you can’t make it you can still order the book here:

United Kingdom

The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography – UNITED KINGDOM

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


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

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. UK postage included; outside UK contact me for additional postage costs.

Here are the contents pages:

This is the life story of Peter Barnes who, at the age of 18, scored the opening goal in the 1976 League Cup final. Playing for the team he supported, Manchester City, Peter was idolised by fans and was awarded the 1976 PFA Young Player of the Year award. The following year he made his England debut and was described by one journalist as the ‘saviour of English football.’

These were the days when Manchester City won the League Cup; were runners up in the League (missing the title by a point); and were challenging in Europe but then Malcolm Allison returned as coach and within months Peter, and a whole host of international stars, were on their way out. Peter was sold for a record amount. City’s fortunes suffered while Peter carved out a new career at West Bromwich Albion (where he played for Ron Atkinson).

Another record breaking transfer to Leeds United followed, before spells at Real Betis, Coventry City, Manchester United (playing for both Ron Atkinson and his replacement Alex Ferguson) and Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Written by acclaimed author Dr Gary James, this book covers the highs and lows of Peter’s life with stories about his time playing for some of the game’s biggest clubs and most famous managers. It also discusses Peter’s ongoing involvement with the sport and the significance of his family.

Oh, and if you’re wondering where the cover came from… it’s based on the packaging and advertising for the cult toy from the late 1970s The Peter Barnes Football Trainer.

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

If you’re a media company interested in interviewing Peter or Gary about the book then please contact author Gary James: gary@GJFootballArchive.com

The ISBN is 978-1-9168852-0-2 and stocks are now available for book shops.

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


Gary James

Reddish Event – 20 August 2021

For those who are interested: tomorrow night Peter Barnes & I will be appearing at the Reddish branch of the Manchester City Supporters Club to talk about The Peter Barnes Authorised Biography. Copies of the book will be available on the night at the specially discounted price of £15 (Cash only).

Details of the evening here:


Bert Whalley Plaque Reveal

Earlier this evening I attended the unveiling of a blue plaque commemorating the life and career of Bert Whalley at Stalybridge Celtic.

Whalley is one of Manchester & Tameside’s unsung footballing heroes. Bert passed away in Munich, a victim of the air crash in 1958. The unveiling was performed by former United captain Bryan Robson and Bert’s granddaughter Lindsay Vare.

Several former United players were there, including Tony Whelan who had given a one hour talk to United’s under 23s about Bert. It’s great to see clubs educating their current/future stars about the names from their past.

Special recognition to Mark Metcalf for his efforts ensuring the plaque happened.

For those interested the plaque is situated at Stalybridge’s Bower Fold ground and can be viewed on the exterior of the main stand.

To read about Bert’s life see:

100 Years Ago Today: The Great Billy Meredith

100 years ago today the great Billy Meredith returned to Manchester City from Manchester United. This was the third time the legendary Welsh player had joined the Blues – a club he continued to watch and support until his death in 1958. I discussed his life and career with his daughter Winifred (who was 98 at the time) and his grandson Ian Pringle many years ago and they both talked fondly and passionately about his Manchester City connections.

Here for subscribers is a detailed profile of Billy Meredith I wrote about 16 years ago. It appeared in my Hall Of Fame book. Enjoy….

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Bert Whalley Blue Plaque

One of the unsung heroes of Manchester football, Bert Whalley, is to be honoured with a plaque in Stalybridge.

My grandad, a United fan, knew Bert and obviously Bert’s death at Munich affected him and all Mancunians significantly. Great to see Bert is being honoured. You can read more on Bert’s life and career here:

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:

Remember the old Spot The Ball competition?

Here’s one (above) I’ve spotted from the 1930s at Old Trafford. Can you work out where the ball should be? The winner wasn’t the person who accurately identified where the ball was, instead it was the person who accurately identified where football experts, employed by the newspaper or pools company, said the ball would be.

So where do you think the ball was? Is it in the goal; has it been saved and at the feet of a striker; could it have been curled around the post; maybe it’s flying high over that Trafford Park chimney?

See below for the answer…

Sadly, I don’t know which game this was (and they never said at the time) but it is Old Trafford and it appeared in the Athletic News in January 1931.

The experts identified that the ball would be here:

I can’t make out if that’s in the back of the net (possible – these were bad days for United and the club was relegated this season) or if it’s been curled around the post.

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:

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