Colin The King

I know I’ve written plenty about Colin Bell over the years but, to be frank, you can never read or write enough about Bell. So for today’s subscriber article here’s a 1,900 word piece (plus videos of the Ballet On Ice game and his first return game v Derby in April 1976 – yes that’s right!) on the legendary Manchester City and Bury footballer. Enjoy!

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Manchester City’s 1980-81 Season

On a day when there’s a controversial refereeing decision in a Manchester Derby here’s a reminder that today is the anniversary (14 January 1981) of a notorious refereeing error in a Manchester City Liverpool League Cup semi-final. You can read about that elsewhere on the site. the anniversary though has given me the impetus to post this 9,000+ word article on the 1980-81 season. This was a remarkable season and you can read it below:

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This 9,000+ article is for subscribers only. You can subscribe at £20 a year (above) or £3 per month (here). Annual subscribers access everything posted since December 2020 and monthly subscribers access everything since 1 October 2022.

John Bond Interview – Part 5

Here’s the fifth part of the 1995 interview I performed with former Norwich City, Manchester City and Burnley boss John Bond. In this section, exclusive to subscribers, Bond talks about the great players he had at City. Most notably he talks about Dennis Tueart, Kevin Reeves, Joe Corrigan, Paul Power and Tommy Caton.

He was extremely frank, open and honest – which delighted me because he was a great talker. It’s well worth listening to. At the time we did this I was researching my in-depth history of the club called Manchester The Greatest City (later updated as Manchester The City Years). 

I met John at his home and spent a good few hours with him chatting about the Blues and his career. I loved doing this interview and was always grateful for the time he gave me. He was also happy for me to quote everything he said in the interview. I did end up quoting him extensively in the book (and in others I’ve produced) but, until now, none of the interview has ever been heard by the wider public.

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If you would like to listen to the fifth part of this frank interview (and the other parts) and read all the in-depth articles on this site (including the entire Manchester A Football History book) then please subscribe. It works out about £1.67 a month if you take out an annual subscription (£20 per year, here) or £3 a month (below) if you’d like to sign up for a month at a time. Annual subscribers gets full access to everything posted since December 2020.

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If you would like to listen to the fifth part of this frank interview (and the other parts) and read all the in-depth articles on this site (including the entire Manchester A Football History book) then please subscribe. It works out about £1.67 a month if you take out an annual subscription (£20 per year, above) or £3 a month (here) if you’d like to sign up for a month at a time. Monthly subscribers gets full access to everything posted since 1 October 2022.

Bond’s First; Tueart Scores 4

New Manchester City manager John Bond’s first cup game was the fourth round tie against Second Division promotion hopefuls Notts County at Maine Road, played on this day (29 October) in 1980  The game had the potential to end in defeat, especially as Bond would be unable to play any of his new signings (remember the struggles pre-Bond’s arrival earlier in the month and the impact he and his new arrivals Now, Hutchison and McDonald had?), nor would the expensive Steve Daley be able to play due to injury. 

The match actually ended 5-1 to the Blues with Dave Bennett opening the scoring after 16 minutes.  Dennis Tueart was in inspiring form that night scoring the other four City goals, but the result was prof that Bond’s whole approach had lifted the Club.  Basically, Bond had taken Allison’s team and given them belief and confidence.  Some of the younger players, like Bennett and Caton, may have been given their chance under Allison, but it was under Bond that they started to achieve their potential.

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On This Day in 1976: Juventus

On this day (15 September) in 1976 Manchester City defeated Italian giants Juventus 1-0 at Maine Road in the UEFA Cup.  A crowd of 36,955 watched Brian Kidd net the only goal. You can read about the game and watch highlights here:

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Law’s Last League Game

On this day (April 27) 1974 Denis law played his last League game on a day that saw Manchester United relegated. Law was in his second spell at Manchester City and, over the years, many myths have developed about his final game and the weeks that followed.

United fans like to say that this game had no bearing on relegation (though pre match United were not relegated and still had a chance of survival) while City fans like to boast that Law’s goal relegated United (mathematically it did not). Many in the media claim Law’s goal was his last in first team football (it wasn’t) and that he retired immediately afterwards (he didn’t). There are other myths about the pitch invasions (there were two not one) and the actions of the ref, so here for the benefit of subscribers is the true story of that day, including quotes from interviews I have performed over the years. Those quoted are Dennis Tueart, Tommy Docherty, Denis law and Willie Donachie.

So get yourself a brew and enjoy this long read on that infamous day:

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Today in 1976

On this day (20 March) in 1976 a penalty from Dennis Tueart and a goal each from Mike Doyle and Ged Keegan gave City victory by the odd goal in five against Wolves at Maine Road.  City ended the season eighth while Wolves were relegated alongside Burnley (their last appearance in the top flight until 2009-10) and Sheffield United.

The First Manchester Derby at the Etihad

The first Manchester derby at Manchester City’s new stadium (then called the City of Manchester Stadium, now the Etihad) occurred on this date (14th March) in 2004.  For pride’s sake it was important Kevin Keegan’s side did not lose that fixture, but with United some 13 places above the Blues pre-match Ferguson’s side were clear favourites.  It was time for City to upset the form book.

On a wonderful day, perhaps the best the stadium had enjoyed in its inaugural year, a terrific atmosphere helped Keegan’s side achieve a memorable victory.  Fowler opened the scoring in the third minute and Macken made it 2-0 after 32 minutes.  Scholes made it 2-1 three minutes later.  

In the second half goals from Mancunian Trevor Sinclair (73) and Shaun Wright-Phillips made it 4-1 to the Blues.  You can hear my interview with Trevor Sinclair about this game here:

Trevor Sinclair Interview

Matt Dickinson (The Times):  “Humiliated by Manchester City last season, Sir Alex Ferguson and his men used the pain to fuel their drive to the title.  Humiliated again yesterday, they are condemned to live with the despair for months – perhaps even years.”  

Keegan felt the win was thoroughly deserved:  “We had played better against Chelsea and lost.  But against United we got that important early goal which gave us something to hang on to.  We had personnel problems because we had players doing jobs that don’t come naturally to them and also had to make two enforced changes at the interval.”

Chris Bailey explained the significance of the match in the Manchester Evening News:  “Maine Road saw some pulsating derbies in its time but few could have matched this first-ever neighbourly spat at Eastlands.  And how satisfying that Kevin Keegan’s side should choose this day of all days to win their first home game since October 18 and banish all thoughts of the drop.”

In 2012 Dennis Tueart, who was a director at the time of the stadium move, told me his memories of that derby match, believing it was an important moment in the stadium’s inaugural season:  “When we moved to the stadium Kevin Keegan worried about whether the atmosphere would be the same and I told him that fans would take a bit of time getting used to it because they were no longer sat with the people they’d been with for years.  The dynamics were different.  He felt we should try and get fans in the ground earlier, but I said that performance on the pitch would be the most significant factor.  

“When we beat United 4-1 in the first derby at the stadium the atmosphere was incredible.  Kevin came to me afterwards and said ‘I see what you mean’.  That then set the tone of the place.  The place was rocking – people were singing as they walked down the spirals at the end of the match and the atmosphere was absolutely superb.”

If you would like to read about other Manchester derbies then check out this:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/category/manchester-derbies/

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This was a brief taste of the material on http://www.GJFootballArchive.com If you would like to read all the in-depth articles (including the entire Manchester A Football History book and the audio interview with John Bond) 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 500+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming months.

Re-Using Match Tickets

Today (26th February) reminds me of how football clubs would often do anything to save a few quid or to avoid spending money they didn’t need to. The reason? Because on this day in 1977 Manchester City’s League game with Sunderland was postponed.

The game was postponed because the Blues were drawn to face Leeds United in the fifth round of the FA Cup that day and so the original League fixture was rescheduled. Tickets had already been sold for the Sunderland League game and, rather than issue new tickets, the club simply announced the original tickets would be used for the new game. It made common sense and this was something that happened often when cup games meant League games had to be postponed. Now, in the days when entry for home fans is mostly by card (though some tickets are issued of course), it seems an unusual occurrence.

The re-arranged game saw City beat Sunderland 1-0 on 9th March with a goal from Dennis Tueart. As for the FA Cup tie – that ended in a 1-0 defeat before 47,731 at Elland Road.

In 2021 Noel Bayley wrote a guest blog on match tickets and their significance. It’s a free read here: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/16/guest-blog-noel-bayley-to-be-retained/

MCFC 20TH CENTURY CHRONICLE SEASON 1975-76

The Matches

By the start of 1975-6 City were clearly seen as one of football’s wealthiest clubs, and were without doubt one of the decade’s glamour clubs.  Almost every player was a household name and, with the arrival of £200,000 defender Dave Watson in June, City were able to boast they possessed 8 internationals.  By the end of the season the improved form of Joe Corrigan raised that figure to 9.  

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