Today (20 February) in 1926 Manchester City recorded an amazing victory. It was a fifth round FA Cup tie with Crystal Palace to Maine Road. The Blues, without a manager since November, were being managed by committee with director Albert Alexander senior making the final decisions. It’s an incredible thought that a director without ever being known as a player, could make these decisions but Alexander was a knowledgeable football man and had been with the club since formation in 1894.
By half-time the score was 7-0 to the Blues, but Palace would not give up and quickly pulled back four goals. City were knocked out of their period of complacency and soon found their goalscoring touch again. By the end it was 11-4 and, according to a number of spectators present on the day, Manchester fans rushed on at the final whistle and carried off the Palace ‘keeper shoulder high. Apparently he had played extremely well and, somehow, managed to keep the score down, although one cannot help wondering if he’d have been given such a reception had the scores been reversed.
Frank Roberts was the City star for this particular game, scoring a remarkable five, while Tommy Browell also earned a few plaudits with his hat-trick. With no management and such a miserable time in the League, no one could believe how City had been able to deliver such strong cup performances. Here’s film of the game: