Franny’s First

Tony Coleman was Manchester City’s regular penalty taker before Francis Lee. Lee later gained somewhat of a reputation at Manchester City for his penalties but it wasn’t until he’d been with the club for over three months that he netted his first at Maine Road.  On this day (20 January) in 1968 Coleman’s substitution meant that Lee’s first City penalty was scored V Sheffield United (see photo of the goal).

City won that game 3-0 and, of course, ended the season as League champions.

I was 3 months old then and doubt I was at this game (although my parents used to take me as a baby). Were you at this match? If you were why not leave your memory as a comment or email it to me for possible future use on this website?

City Make History With Foreign Player Rule?

On this day (23 December) in 1995 there was a great deal of speculation that Manchester City would be the first team to field four ‘foreign players’ which wound PFA chief Gordon Taylor up considerably. There had been a rule in place limiting the number of foreign players to three but this had been challenged by English clubs, following the historic Bosman judgement in the European Court of Justice.

Basically, before Bosman challenged the restrictive trade practices UEFA insisted that a maximum of three foreign players could appear for clubs. The Bosman judgement was immediately considered by Premier League clubs who felt it meant they could play as many players from the European Union as they wanted (though the maximum of 3 from outside the EU was still a limit).

The Premier League, supported by the FA, said the ruling meant that City and other clubs could play as many EU players as they wanted. At Maine Road Alan Ball had brought Danish under-21 international Ronnie Ekelund on loan and together with Eike Immel, Uwe Rosler and Georgi Kinkladze it was suggested he would play against Chelsea on 23 December 1995.

In the end Ekelund came on as substitute for Rosler, so 4 ‘foreign players’ had appeared that day but only 3 at any one time (though there’s a whole other discussion to be had about players from other United Kingdom countries and Ireland and whether they should count as that day the Republic of Ireland’s Niall Quinn played, as did Gerry Creaney from Scotland and Welsh international Kit Symons!).

As for the game… City lost 1-0 to Chelsea!

Ekelund had a brief up and down career at City, making only 6 (plus 3 as sub) appearances and he was soon off to Barcelona, while the change to the ‘foreign player’ rule was to have a massive impact on the development of football in England, paving the way for the multitude of talented players at City today.

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The Story of 1974-75

Here’s a review of the 1974-75 season as experienced by Manchester City. That year Manchester City finished 8th with an average attendance of 32,898 (fifth highest in the top flight). The following explains how Denis Law played on into the 1974-75 season, even scoring in one game (this is often ignored by those who incorrectly claim Law retired after the 1974 Manchester derby – he did not and played club football in 1974-75 for City!).

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A Derby Hat-trick

On this day (12 December) in 1970 a hat-trick from Francis Lee (this was City’s last hat-trick in a derby until Haaland and Foden in 2022!), together with a goal from Mike Doyle, gave Manchester City a comfortable 4-1 victory over Manchester United before an Old Trafford crowd of 52,636.  That victory meant City had won 5 and only dropped 4 points in 8 consecutive League derby meetings with the Reds. There was also a devastating injury to Glyn Pardoe (more on that in another post!). Here is the background, report and verdict of that game…

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IN SEARCH OF THE BLUES – Ian Bowyer

Back in 2010 one of my interviews with Ian Bowyer was published. Bowyer won European trophies at both Manchester City and Nottingham Forest. The interview ended with Bowyer talking about modern day football (this was 2010 before City rediscovered their trophy winning ways) and he commented: ‘Can I add that I really want to see City re-establish themselves as a successful side? I know what this Club can achieve and I hope success – real success – comes soon.’  Subscribers can now read this 3,000 word article here as it was first published:

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IN SEARCH OF THE BLUES – Frank Carrodus (interviewed September 2004)

Midfielder Frank Carrodus joined Manchester City in November 1969.  Over the course of the following five years Frank made a total of 37 appearances plus ten as substitute before joining Aston Villa in July 1974.  Gary James caught up with him at the City Social in September 2004 to discuss his career. Here for subscribers is that interview.

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Only 13,646 at Old Trafford

On this day (30 October) in 1973 The second round League Cup tie between Manchester City and Walsall went to a second replay.  City won the game 4-0 with a hat-trick for Francis Lee, but a pitiful crowd of 13,646 witnessed the match at Old Trafford.  City fans didn’t mind playing a 2nd replay, but they did object to it being played at United’s ground.

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On This Day – Francis Lee

On this day (9 October) in 1967 Francis Lee finally signed for Manchester City from Bolton Wanderers. Heres a long profile of Lee I’ve written on him:

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Managerial Merry Go Round

On this day (7th October) in 1997 Steve Coppell became Manchester City’s manager. Here’s the story of that period with quotes from exclusive interviews I have performed with Coppell’s assistant Phil Neal.

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Allison’s Red and Black

On this day in 1968 Manchester City wore Red & Black stripes for the first time. Malcolm Allison had suggested adopting AC Milan’s colours and City first wore them for their meeting at Everton on October 5th 1968. Sadly, City were defeated 2-0 at Goodison and the colour change wasn’t popular with fans at first. However, due to a colour clash with Leicester, the new colours were worn in the 1969 FA Cup final. The club won that trophy and the kit soon entered City folklore as an important kit.

City chose to wear the new style for all the successful major finals that followed during Joe Mercer & Malcolm Allison’s time, including the club’s first European trophy in 1970.  At one point Allison suggested making red and black the first choice kit.

There were however plenty of complaints about City adopting the colours. Take a look at an earlier post I made on those complaints here: