MCFC V LFC: A Few Items From History

On this day (16th September) in 1893 Manchester City played Liverpool FC for the first time competitively. To mark this anniversary, here are a few items from history on games between the clubs.

Game One

The first meeting of these two clubs came when Liverpool visited Hyde Road on 16th September 1893 in the Football League.  Liverpool, playing their first season in the League (City had first joined the League as Ardwick in 1892), won the Division Two match 1-0 with an 80th minute goal from James Stott.  

Debuts

Former captains Sam Barkas and Jimmy McMullan both made their debuts in matches with Liverpool.  Barkas first appeared in the 3-2 defeat on 2nd May 1934 at Anfield, while McMullan’s debut came in a 1-1 draw on 27th February 1926 at Maine Road.

Another man to make his debut was the popular Roy Little, who helped City achieve a 1-0 win in January 1953.  Fifties cup hero Little is still a regular Maine Road attender.

Joe Royle made both his first and last league appearance for City against Liverpool.  His first match was on Boxing Day 1974, and his last came in October 1977.  Following that game he played a League Cup tie against Luton, and then moved to Bristol City where he scored 4 goals on his debut against Middlesbrough in Division One. You can read about the October 1977 game here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/06/mcfc-v-lfc-october-1977/

You can read the remarkable story of a Blue who scored four on his debut for City against Liverpool here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/01/18/imagine-scoring-four-goals-for-mcfc-against-liverpool-on-your-debut/

There’s also the story of another City player scoring 4 v Liverpool here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/01/17/the-flu-limits-mcfcs-selections-but-they-beat-liverpool-5-0-roberts-4-goals/

Television

The first meeting of the sides to be shown on the BBC’s Match of the Day was on 12th August 1972.  Liverpool won 2-0 with a goal from Hall in the 3rd minute and one from Callaghan six minutes from time.  An Anfield crowd of 55,383 watched the opening day match.

The first match to be broadcast live was the March 1988 FA Cup sixth round tie.  44,047 witnessed a 4-0 home defeat for the Blues. Here’s film of that game:

Connections

Some of the more recent players to have appeared for both clubs include Raheem Sterling, James Milner, Craig Bellamy, Mario Balotelli, Nicolas Anelka, Albert Riera, Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, David James, Kolo Toure, Didi Hamann, Daniel Sturridge, Peter Beardsley, Mark Kennedy, Steve McMahon, Michael Robinson, Mark Seagraves, and Paul Stewart.  Others to have played for both clubs include Matt Busby, Joe Fagan, George Livingstone and Jimmy Ross.

Inside-forward Livingstone joined City from Liverpool in May 1903 and was an important member of the 1904 Cup winning side.  Incredibly, during a career that spanned 3 decades Livingstone played for both Manchester clubs and both Celtic and Rangers.  Somehow he never made it to Everton to complete a unique treble.

Jimmy Ross was one of football’s first stars and joined the Blues in 1898 after highly successful spells at Preston and Anfield.  Although he’s relatively unknown these days, Ross deserves a major place in football’s hall of fame for his achievements during the first 15 years of League football.  Incidentally, he also netted 7 (sometimes reported as 8) in Preston’s record 26-0 demolition of Hyde at Ewen Fields in the FA Cup.

Highest Attendance

The highest attendance for a match between the two sides is 70,640 at Maine Road for the fifth round FA Cup tie on 18th February 1956.  Here’s film of that game played in snowy conditions: 

https://www.britishpathe.com/video/f-a-cup-newcastle-v-stoke-manchester-city-v-liverp/query/manchester+city

The match ended goalless and four days later the highest attendance for a City-Liverpool match at Anfield (57,528) watched the Blues defeat the Reds 2-1.  City’s victory brought a crowd of 76,129 to Maine Road for the visit of Everton in the quarter-final.  

Interestingly, Liverpool have played in higher attendances at Maine Road.  Their semi-finals against Burnley (1947) and Everton (1950) both attracted crowds of 72,000.

The highest League crowd at Maine Road was 50,439 in April 1976 (of course games at the Etihad have attracted higher figures), while the highest at Anfield is 55,383 for the televised match in August 1972.

Did You Know?

The first recorded rendition by City fans of Blue Moon occurred following the 3-1 defeat at Anfield on the opening day of the 1989-90 season.  Despite the scoreline the Blues had played well with Clive Allen and Ian Bishop impressing on their debuts.  As the City fans left the stadium a couple of supporters started to sing the song that was later to become a Blue anthem.  The song seemed to dovetail neatly with the events of the day and over the course of the next few weeks it became popular.

Controversy

Don’t get me started on this but the 1981 League Cup semi-final still rankles with many of us! The story can be read here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/01/13/manchester-city-liverpool-and-the-1981-league-cup-semi-final/

Well I Never!

During City’s 1936-7 Championship season the Blues defeated Liverpool 10-1 on aggregate in the space of four days.  On 26th March an Eric Brook hat-trick, plus goals from Alec Herd and Peter Doherty brought a 5-0 Anfield win.  Then on 29th City achieved a 5-1 Maine Road victory despite being a goal down in the fifth minute.

In between those matches City had managed a 2-2 draw at home to Bolton on 27th while Liverpool had defeated Manchester United 2-0 on the same day.

Sadly, in 1995 Liverpool defeated the Blues 4-0 in the League Cup and 6-0 in the League over a similar time frame.  The League performance ended with Uwe Rosler throwing his boots into the crowd, while Alan Ball amazed all Blues by saying he enjoyed the game.

Own Goal

Dave Watson headed an 89th minute own goal in this fixture on 29th December 1976 to help League leaders Liverpool achieve a 1-1 draw.  Third placed City had taken a first half lead from Joe Royle, before 50,020 at Maine Road.  The result proved costly as that season City finished second – a mere point behind Liverpool. 

1996 – Timewasting

A deflection from Lomas (off a McManaman effort) gave Liverpool a 6th minute lead in a last day of the season match the Blues needed to win to stay up.   Rush scored Liverpool’s second in the 41st minute as City looked dead and buried.  Rosler (71st minute penalty) and Symons (78th minute) gave the Blues hope, but City decided to timewaste in the mistaken belief they were safe.  Quinn, on the touchline after being substituted, urged the players to attack, while Liverpool seemed determined to open up play, but the game ended with Ball’s side relegated.

2000- Weah’s Only Goal

Former World Player of the Year George Weah scored his first and only League goal for City in the 3-2 defeat at Anfield in September.

2003- Anelka Double

A 74th minute penalty and a stoppage-time volley gives Anelka two goals against his former club.  The Blues win 2-1 at Anfield in the penultimate match of the season. 

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If you would like to read other articles like this and all the in-depth longer articles (including the entire Manchester A Football History book and several interviews, including audio interviews with Malcolm Allison, John Bond & George Graham) then please subscribe. 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 hundreds of articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming months.

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:

Kidd’s Double

On this day (April 8) in 1977 two goals from Brian Kidd gave Manchester City a 2-1 victory over Leeds at Maine Road.  A crowd of 47,727 witnessed the game as the Blues challenged for the League title. This result saw City move a point behind the League leaders Ipswich Town, managed by Bobby Robson.

It had not been a convincing City performance but there had been injury issues with Mike Doyle and Brian Kidd playing in an unorthodox midfield – my forthcoming biography of Peter Barnes goes in to a lot of detail about these easter 1977 games. Watch this space over the coming month to hear details of how you can subscribe to that book:

Leeds had taken the lead with Joe Jordan heading home after 17 minutes. Kidd equalised in the 38th minute after Joe Royle’s pass bounced off Leeds’ Trevor Cherry. Kidd’s second came when he flicked in the winner after Paul Madeley had seemingly headed clear a Peter Barnes corner in the 64th minute.

This is a small free taster of the material on this site. If you’d like to find out more about the site then have a read of:

Thanks for reading.

Borussia Mönchengladbach and Manchester City: The First Time

Back in 1978-79 Manchester City had reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup by beating Milan (2-2 at the San Siro and 3-0 at Maine Road). It was the first time City had reached the quarter finals of a European trophy since 1971 and was to be their third appearance in a major European quarter final. Unfortunately, the January UEFA draw wasn’t kind as it paired City with top German side Borussia Mönchengladbach.  

With West Bromwich Albion, Hertha, Duisberg, Dukla Prague, Honved and Red Star Belgrade all through the Blues had hoped for one of the less powerful sides.  Nevertheless, the Blues were hopeful. Years later City player Kenny Clements told me: “We thrashed Milan at Maine Road in the second leg and I felt we’d made our mark as a European power.  Everybody was talking about us, and we should have progressed further but we messed up.” 

How they messed up became part of the ‘Typical City’ DNA of the club that always seemed to plague the Blues in the late 70s to 2010s (and occasionally has reared its head since then but thankfully not that often these days).

The first leg of the quarter final occurred on 7th March 1979, before a 39,005 crowd at Maine Road and the City team was: Corrigan; Donachie, Power, Reid, Watson, Booth, Channon, Viljoen, Kidd, Hartford & Barnes.

Believe it or not (this may surprise a modern audience but leading clubs often did what I’m about to say) Liverpool, in particular Bob Paisley, had spent considerable time helping the Blues prepare for this match by providing vital information on the West German side.  Liverpool had faced Mönchengladbach on five occasions, the most famous was the 1977 European Cup final and the most recent being in the 1978 European Cup semi-final.  Paisley told City that the game would be tough, and outlined the players to watch.  He also suggested that Dave Watson and Tommy Booth might be the key men in City’s side as the Germans seemed to lack ability to attack the ball in the air.

In the 1977 European Cup final, Liverpool had defeated Mönchengladbach by playing to the strengths of players like Tommy Smith and Paisley felt City should do the same.  The first leg saw Malcolm Allison, who had returned to the Blues in January as the self-styled ‘coaching overlord’, perform one of his many shock moves when Nicky Reid was thrust in to the spotlight at the age of 18 for his debut.  Allison selected him to mark Allan Simonsen.  It was an amazing selection at the time, but Reid did enough to justify Allison’s bold move.

Mike Channon, who was rumoured to be unhappy at the Club,  managed to give the Blues a 1-0 lead.  Unfortunately, the highly disciplined Mönchengladbach kept the pressure on and managed to snatch an equaliser and the often vital away goal.  

The second leg of the tie took place 13 days later, on 20th March 1979 watched by around 30,000. The City team was: Corrigan; Donachie, Power, Viljoen, Watson, Booth, Channon, Reid (Deyna), Henry, Hartford & Barnes

Nicky Reid retained his place for the second leg (but still didn’t make his League debut until eleven days later when he scored against Ipswich).  He was clearly a talented player but his arrival in the heat of European competition without even making an appearance in the League did raise many questions about the way Malcolm Allison was influencing things.  Reid went on to captain the Blues to the FA Youth Cup final the following May, and was voted City’s young player of the year.

Malcolm Allison made yet another surprise selection as Tony Henry – another reserve who up to that point had only featured in two League game (once being substituted by Kenny Clements, once coming on for Asa Hartford) – was included while experienced European campaigners Deyna, Bell, and Kidd were left on the bench with Paul Futcher.  

It was not a good night at all for City and having so much experience on the bench seemed baffling to fans, the media and also most of the players. City were very much the underdogs throughout and were losing 3-0 when, late on, Reid was substituted by Deyna.  The experienced Pole provided City’s only goal of the match, but it was too late and City were out of Europe.

Kenny Clements later explained to me: “I broke my leg a few weeks after Milan so that made life a bit difficult for me, but the big problem was the return of Malcolm Allison.  I know he was a great coach first time at City, but second time he really did ruin everything.  All the older players told me it’d be great having him back, and then when he was back they all admitted they were wrong.  I think he’d become too hung up on new ideas that he forgot about the basics.  I remember he used to give us homework.  He’d tell us to go home and write “I must win” or “I will win” a thousand times, then the next day he’d ask us if we’d done it.  

“I always used to say ‘yeah’, but some of the younger, more impressionable lads would produce their lists and some would even write out twice as many lines!  He insisted we drank coffee before a game to keep us alert, and brought in lots of motivational people.  It didn’t motivate me I’m afraid!

“By the time of the next UEFA match (Mönchengladbach) I was fit but didn’t start, and then for the second leg both Brian Kidd and I had to sit it out while Nicky Reid made his debut marking one of the greatest players of all time.  When we were two goals down Kiddo threw his shirt at Allison in anger.”

For many connected with City Mönchengladbach became the game that would be quoted when they discussed how things had changed following Allison’s return. Tony Book had developed a good team with a nice blend of young up-and-coming talent, like Peter Barnes (who was still only 21 but an exciting England winger), with the older experienced internationals like Dave Watson, Brian Kidd, Asa Hartford. Book’s team had been runners up to Liverpool in 1977 and had impressed with many great individual victories since then, especially that Milan victory of course, but the return of Malcolm Allison changed the dynamics at the club.

Ah well! Without that I guess City wouldn’t have what they have today, but for those of us who lived through the 70s to the present, it was the return of Allison that started the process of transforming City from regular challenging giant into a club that had lost its way. The 1978-79 Mönchengladbach games are a reminder of what we were, what we lost, but also of what we have now. Let’s ensure we enjoy the present because, as Allison once said to me: “Celebrate every success as if it’s your first, because it could be your last!”

In 1978-79 the Milan victory was City’s last in Europe until 2003-04. When City walked out to face Mönchengladbach in the quarter final none of us, especially Allison, expected it would be our last European tie for 25 years! To read about the significance and facts of City’s European heritage (there are a few points that may surprise fans of certain other clubs) then take a look at another post: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/01/11/manchester-citys-european-heritage-facts-not-fiction/

This post has been published prior to City’s 2020-21 meeting with Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Champions League. It should be noted that the two teams have met in the intervening years. The results are:

7/3/1979 City 1-1 Mönchengladbach (UEFA Cup)

20/3/1979 Mönchengladbach 3-1 City (UEFA Cup)

30/9/2015 Mönchengladbach 1-2 City (CL)

8/12/2015 City 4-2 Mönchengladbach (CL)

14/9/2016 City 4-0 Mönchengladbach (CL)

23/11/2016 Mönchengladbach 1-1 City (CL)

MCFC v LFC, October 1977

Liverpool had only lost one of their opening 12 games when they came to Maine Road in October 1977, while the Blues – who had opened the season undefeated in their opening 8 matches – were now struggling. This blog post focuses on what happened when the two clubs met in October 1977: 

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On This Day – A FA Cup Manchester Derby (Story And Film)

On this day (24th January) in 1970 Manchester City and Manchester United met for the fourth of five meetings that season. This game was in the FA Cup and the following article tells the story of that game and includes highlights of the match.

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