City 2 Spurs 1

Ten years ago today (11 November 2012) League Champions Manchester City defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 with goals from Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko. The game. was played before a sell-out 47,208 crowd at the City of Manchester Stadium (now Etihad). The City team was:

Hart; Zabaleta, Clichy, Kompany, Nastasic, Barry, Yaya Toure, Kolarov, David Silva, Tevez and Aguero with Maicon, Dzeko & Garcia coming on and Nastasic, Tevez and Aguero substituted.

‘Where do you want your statue?’

In November 2020 I was delighted to be one of the speakers at a blue plaque unveiling for former Manchester City boss Joe Mercer in his home town of Ellesmere Port. It set me off thinking about permanent tributes to footballers and so for this article I’m taking a look at the tributes already made and questioning what else could be developed.

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Collecting Shirts – Mark McCarthy Guest Blog

Here’s a guest blog written by Mark McCarthy, who collects match worn Manchester City shirts. Mark has recently brought out a book on his collection (see below) and has written this blog to explain how his collection and interest started.

A visit to my Grandfather’s house on a Sunday evening was something I always looked forward to as a child, but on this particular afternoon in December 1983 it was to change the course of my then 9 year old life forever. He would always have a story to tell but that afternoon’s tale was by far the best yet as he informed me that my cousin (Mick McCarthy) would be joining Manchester City.

I knew nothing about football at this stage  nor did I follow a team or OWN A FOOTBALL SHIRT but I was simply hooked. As the years ticked by it was always my goal or dream really to own a shirt from Mick’s time at City. That dream became a reality when I finally sourced a shirt of his from a dealer who was selling up his City collection.

It was only ever my intention to own just the one shirt, at the time of writing this my City match worn shirt collection now stands at 410 original match worn or issued shirts dating back to the 1926 FA Cup Final, where I have George Hicks’ shirt from the final v Bolton, by far the oldest in the collection.

There was simply something about receiving Mick’s shirt that day which kicked off my passion for collecting City match shirts. The smell and feel of the shirt, coupled with me simply being lost in time reminiscing about the dressing rooms that shirt had been in or battles that took place while being worn during the two seasons it was used by City from 1985 to 1987. It is of course very different these days with the players having so many shirts a season. I recall Mick telling me once that the shirts were virtually counted on and off the players’ backs. A similar story to the one the great Mike Summerbee told me that if shirts were torn back in the day the players would have to get them repaired themselves before the next game. This was still the case in 1996 when Georgi Kinkladze’s shirt was torn and simply sewn up for the next fixture

When you eventually find or trace a shirt from of a player whose poster would don your bedroom wall as a kid kind of keeps the kindred child spirit alive  in the collector. Players from days gone by are far more approachable and will always have time for the fans of the clubs they played for.  

Now City weren’t exactly setting the world alight in 1983 and after declaring myself a blue I immediately received some serious abuse from school mates who just couldn’t get the heads round why I’d chosen Manchester City, and equally wouldn’t believe I had a relative that had played for the club. 

I was totally obsessed with City which virtually took over my life. Unfortunately there was hardly any, in fact NO media coverage of City at this time, and even more so as we were in the old Second Division so I’d often have to get the latest news by scrolling through teletext or by ringing the City ClubCall line.

One day I returned home from school to find that the TV and video were missing from my bedroom as my Mum had sold them off to pay for the massive phone bill that I’d run up! 

I first got my chance to see City play live in November 1985 as were due at Luton Town, which is only half hour from our home in Milton Keynes. Manchester to me in those days was just a place I dreamt of going and Maine Road seemed a world away. After many months of badgering my parents to take me and with no chance of a fixture change in those days they finally gave in. My Mum kitted me out from head to toe in blue and white City colours and I couldn’t have been prouder on my way to watch the Blues. 

The walk to the ground felt amazing and we entered the first turnstile we saw. Off came the coat to reveal my pride but after a few minutes and constant dirty looks, we realised something wasn’t right and we appeared to be on show. As the chants of ‘City….City’ went up from the opposite end of the ground it dawned on us that we were in the wrong end of the ground and needed to moved quickly. 

This was 1985 and was certainly an experience for a then ten year old. The stewards promptly threw us out and my dad was seething as we headed back to the van to go home, I was distraught but he finally saw sense and we headed back to the ground where he had to pay again at the right turnstile and again I was hooked. The atmosphere in that tiny away end was electric and I couldn’t help but watch the many characters I was surrounded by. Everyone seemed to know each other and I wanted a part of it. 

For the record we lost 2-1 – Typical City !! 

One of the most enjoyable aspects of collecting for me is the groundwork that goes into finding a shirt or the buzz of the unearthing a shirt. Always look for a shirt in the least expected places you’d think of finding one as you just never know who may have collected a shirt along the way or how. If you don’t ask then you don’t get is the number one rule.   

I’m sure I speak for all collectors when I say that opening a random online message that start’s with the words “I have this shirt if you are interested in it.” Then the shirt turning out to be one of the most difficult shirts to find is a buzz only a collector will understand. I was contacted recently with that exact message asking did I think the shirt was genuine. It turned out to be Mick McCarthy’s issued long sleeve chequered style away shirt from the 1986-87 season which was used just seven times in that campaign, not by Mick though as he refused to wear long sleeved shirts.

The shirt had been given to a young City fan by his next door neighbour who used to work in the Maine Road laundry  room!  Always believe the shirts are out there as 9 out of 10 times they are.   

A question I’m often asked, as I’m sure all collectors are, is what’s the favourite shirt in my collection. This is a difficult question considering the numbers to choose from but at the moment it would be a 1967/68 Colin Bell Umbro home shirt worn by arguably City’s greatest ever player, during a title winning season. One that runs it close is a more modern day shirt but equally as great a player in David Silva,  from City’s fixture v Watford on 21st September 2019, during City’s 125 anniversary celebration. 

The shirt was a gift from City as a thank you for displaying 11 shirts from the collection in a mock up dressing room at City Square before the match as part of the 125  anniversary celebrations. I was asked to drop off the shirts at reception for the City Square team to display but duly explained that although I was more than happy to bring the shirts…. I  wouldn’t be leaving their side.  

My lad and I spent a fantastic couple of hours meeting & chatting to fellow Blues while giving them a bit a history behind each of the 11 shirts I’d brought to display (at the same time also keeping a very close eye on the kids with burgers and drinks in hand approaching  them!). 

I was asked if we’d like our seats upgraded to the legends lounge as a thank you but of course declined as I had a much better idea in mind, cheekily asking for a shirt of the greatest City player I’ve seen play live in my time watching the Blues. Although the City Square match day manager, a lovely lady, said she’d ask but said it would be very unlikely…. but if you don’t ask then you don’t get as they say. 

Once the display was finished and the shirts were safely packed we sat back and enjoyed a stunning 8-0 City win, captained by Silva who would just happen to open the scoring in under the first minute of the match. I’d completely forgotten I’d even asked ‘that’ shirt question as we made our way back to Piccadilly for the train journey home after the game. I was interrupted by a phone call half way there from the lady at City Square to inform me my request had been granted and could I make my way back to collect the shirt which was waiting at the City@Home office for me……….. I’m pretty sure it was the quickest walk I’d ever made to collect said shirt, fresh from Merlin’s back and still completely wet through…. First thing I did was…….Yes you’ve guessed it…….Sniff the shirt!   

As far as the future is concerned for my collection I certainly don’t see any signs of it slowing down as yet. I have a target in mind for a number of shirts to reach……….. Well a man does need a hobby!

You can buy Mark’s book direct from the publisher here:

https://www.conkereditions.co.uk/shop/

City’s record appearances

Now that Sergio Aguero has left Manchester City it seems an appropriate time to review where he fits in the all-time appearance list for the club.  City’s appearance holder is Alan Oakes and it may be some time before another player comes close to his total of 676 (plus 4 as substitute) appearances.

Here for subscribers is a feature on the top 25 appearance holders for Manchester City with some commentary on how the record has changed over the decades.

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MANCHESTER CITY REVEAL ANDY SCOTT AS SCULPTOR COMMISSIONED TO CREATE STATUES OF CLUB LEGENDS

I like this… it’s not just creating a standard statue it’s significantly better than that. If you’ve seen The Kelpies you’ll recognise that Andy Scott uses history to produce modern, impressive, artistic pieces. Anyway, here’s City’s press release (it’s not often that a major city’s leader talks about footballing statues either but Richard Leese does here – see below):

City has revealed that award-winning sculptor Andy Scott was the artist who won the commission to create permanent statues of Club legends Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero. The appointment followed an exhaustive selection process that began in March 2020.

Born and raised in Glasgow and a graduate of the city’s School of Art, Scott is one of the most respected sculptors of his generation and is known for his large-scale figurative pieces, which he creates by blending traditional craftmanship with modern fabrication techniques. His portfolio of more than 80 contemporary projects can be found both in the UK and in many corners of the world.


Now creating from his studio in Philadelphia, USA, Andy works frequently in galvanised steel and counts The Kelpies and Beacon of Hope amongst some of his most celebrated work.


Uniquely, the Kompany and Silva projects have been conducted entirely remotely from Scott’s securing the commission in June 2020, through to creation, completion and transportation of the pieces, which arrived on schedule in Manchester from Philadelphia in August 2021.
The statues of Kompany and Silva are to be installed outside the Club’s Etihad Stadium ahead of this weekend’s fixture against Arsenal, with Aguero’s tribute to follow in 2022, after his departure from the club this summer.

The legacy project was announced by Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak following the departure in Summer 2019 of Vincent Kompany, the Club’s most successful captain in its 127-year history. The decision to honour the three players was based on their unparalleled contribution to the Club’s transformation over their combined thirty-one years at the club. Al Mubarak has since indicated that further work is being undertaken to ensure the legends of earlier eras are appropriately celebrated.

Speaking of his appointment to the project Andy Scott said:
“On hearing that I had secured the commission to bring Vincent, David and now Sergio to life in sculpture form, I was absolutely thrilled. It’s an unbelievable honour to work on something that will be visited by hundreds of thousands of fans as they remember and celebrate the achievements of their footballing heroes.
I have always been struck by how sportsmen and women move and perform, and in the case of football specifically, how they anticipate the ball, how they combine with their teammates, and sometimes simply how they stand.
Reflecting these elements was always going to be challenging, but it was particularly so during a global pandemic as we were only able to meet with Vincent and David virtually. But with their insights and extensive research of film and photographic footage, I have tried to capture their unique physical characteristics and their distinctive movements in a way which I hope does justice to both of these phenomenal footballers.
It’s been such a pleasure to work on this prestigious project and I can’t wait to finally get to meet the team in person as we set about the final installations at the Etihad Stadium this week.”


Manchester City’s Chairman, Khaldoon Al Mubarak commented:
“We are delighted with our choice of Andy to bring this project to life.
His portfolio speaks to his expertise, and his contemporary approach, together with his chosen medium of industrial materials, made him the perfect fit to create artwork for Manchester City. Ultimately, Vincent and David do not need statues to enshrine their achievements at Manchester City over the past decade. They are already revered as icons of their generation. But what these artworks give us, and generations to come, is the opportunity to be reminded of, and savour, the truly magical moments created by both men.”

Leader of Manchester City Council, Sir Richard Leese said:
“City’s decision to commission the statues of their iconic players and the appointment of Andy Scott to deliver them, is such an exciting development for our city. The benefits of public art are well accepted and in addition to the cultural and aesthetic advantages that come with high quality artwork, it can also generate significant economic value for the city.

I have seen Andy’s work and I’m thrilled that Manchester’s landscape will be blessed with new artwork from someone of his standing and whilst naturally, these pieces will be of appeal first and foremost to Manchester City fans, it is clear that this calibre of artwork will be admired and respected by millions around the city and beyond.”


8 Points behind United and all was lost, or was it?

On this day (April 11) in 2012 Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City lay eight points behind Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United and possessed an inferior goal difference (two goals) after the same number of games. There were only six games left to play and, as far as the wider public was concerned, it was only a matter of time before United won the title. But things began to change on this day in 2012 when City faced West Bromwich Albion.

Here for subscribers is the story of that day…

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Swansea and City

It’s Swansea v Manchester City tonight in the FA Cup and so I thought I’d put together a few historical facts and stats about games between the two clubs.

Game One: The first competitive meeting between the two teams came in Division Two on 25 September 1926. The Blues had been relegated the previous May and the historic first meeting with Swansea Town (Swansea was not a city at this point) ended in a 3-1 City victory at Maine Road, before 24,314 fans. George Hicks, Tommy Johnson & Frank Roberts netted for the Blues.

The return game also ended in a 3-1 win on 12 February 1927. Hicks and Johnson both scored again, with Johnson netting twice. A Swansea crowd of 20,345 watched on.

The first top flight game between the sides didn’t come until 21 November 1981 (following Swansea’s promotion) and saw two each from Kevin Reeves and Dennis Tueart (the first a penalty 4 minutes before half time) help City to a 4-0 win. Here’s film of that game – see if you can spot the fan carrying two pints (presumably of Greenall’s or Grunhalle!) back to his seat (the days when we were allowed to drink in our seats or on the Kippax – well, not quite all of us. I was just 14 at the time!):

The first Premier League meeting came on 15 August 2011 – another 4-0 City win. This time Dzeko, Aguero (2) and David Silva each scored at the Etihad before 46,802. Film of that game here:

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/match-highlights/2011/august/city-v-swansea-60-seconds

Incredibly the first FA Cup meeting didn’t come until 16 March 2019 and this saw City win 3-2 at Swansea (OG from Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Bernardo Silva & Sergio Aguero). City had been losing 2-0 (a penalty from Matt Grimes in 20th minute and Bersant Celina netted the other in 29th minute) up until Silva’s 69th minute goal. The action from this game can be viewed here:

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/match-highlights/2019/march/swansea-v-city-highlights-extended

Prior to tonight’s game of course: In terms of all time record the two teams have met on 36 occasions:

Played 36; City won 25; Drawn 4; Swansea won 7.

Breakdown by competition is:

League P34; City won 23; Drawn 4; Swansea won 7

FAC P1; City won 1; Drawn 0; Swansea won 0

League Cup P1; City won 1; Drawn 0; Swansea won 0.

The highest scoring game between the teams came in August 1927 when City beat Swansea Town 7-4 in Division Two. 34,316 watched a hat trick from Tommy Johnson and other goals from Peter Bell, Charlie Broadhurst, George Hicks and Frank Roberts.

Here’s hoping tonight’s game brings as much entertainment as that one did.

While you’re here, it’s worth taking a look at something else already posted on http://www.GJFootballArchive.com. It’s a profile of Tommy Hutchison who was a cult hero at MCFC and also spent time with Swansea City:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2020/12/30/the-starting-eleven-tommy-hutchison/

Aguero’s 250th and 251st Goals

On this day (18 January) last year Manchester City looked set to take all three points against Crystal Palace when Sergio Aguero netted twice in five minutes late in the game but then Fernandinho diverted a ball from Zaha into the net in the last minute to end the game 2-2.

The Blues had gone behind six minutes before half time.

Aguero’s first goal came in the 82nd minute when he sent home a Gabriel Jesus cross. This was the Argentinian’s 250th goal for the Blues and five minutes later he netted his 251st when he headed home from a Benjamin Mendy delivery.

The game was, on the whole, somewhat frustrating for those of us in the 54,439 Etihad crowd and this was exacerbated when after the break City appeared to have been awarded a deserved penalty. Referee Graham Scott had pointed to the spot for a Jairo Riedewald handball, but then the video assistant referee overruled the decision. It was decided that a replay of the incident showed the ball had came off the defender’s foot first as he blocked Joao Cancelo’s cross. Few City fans were convinced of course!

As well as Aguero reaching 250 goals, the match saw another landmark as David Silva made his 300th Premier League appearance for City.

Highlights here:

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/match-highlights/2020/january/city-v-crystal-palace-extended-highlights

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