Manchester City V Ipswich Town FA Cup semi-final

On this day (April 11) in 1981 John Bond’s Manchester City faced Bobby Robson’s Ipswich in the FA Cup semi-final. Here’s a piece I wrote for the Times a few years back on the significance of the game for both teams.

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Ipswich Town 1 Manchester City 4

On 27th January 2002 Manchester City’s fourth round FA Cup tie at Ipswich saw Kevin Keegan’s side thrill live on TV. City impressed the nation with their spectacular 4-1 fourth round cup demolition of Premier League side Ipswich Town. It is worth remembering that City were in the second tier at the time, hoping for promotion. Many of us felt that the Blues were not only good enough to find success in the League but also stood a genuine chance of FA Cup success (mind you, some of us felt that every season – nine years later it finally happened!).

The City scorers against Ipswich were Eyal Berkovic, Shaun Goater (2) and Darren Huckerby.

After the Ipswich match Keegan said: “Our fans know we can play but I think we showed the rest of the country that we are a good team. I believe the FA Cup needed a game like our tie with Ipswich where the atmosphere was tremendous and both sides picked their strongest available sides and really set out to win.” 

In the fifth round, Keegan’s Blues travelled to Newcastle for another thrilling performance against the manager’s old club. The media hype focused on Keegan, but the match ended with national recognition that the Blues were clearly a force. Although City lost the match 1-0 after Richard Dunne had been sent off, the general view was that ten-man City were more than a match for the Geordies. City impressed the nation once again.

The Newcastle tie, like the Ipswich game, came at a time when many were questioning the status of the FA Cup. City’s performance in both ties were seen as major boosts for the competition. According to Henry Winter of the Daily Telegraph: “Keegan returned with his magnificent Manchester City side whose spirited, defiant football sent the heart rate soaring among Newcastle’s nervy support. Making light of Richard Dunne’s dismissal and Nolberto Solano’s goal, City scared the black-and-white life out of those who still cherish Keegan’s name. Shaun Wright-Phillips was marvellous, Eyal Berkovic and Kevin Horlock not far behind with outstanding displays as City narrowly lost a Cup-tie but won countless admirers. If they build on this, they will surely keep the Blue Moon rising and head back to the Premiership, where their noisy supporters belong.” 

Here are highlights of the Ipswich tie:

Manchester City’s owner Sheikh Mansour has bought the oldest surviving FA Cup trophy at auction. The trophy, which was the first major trophy won by Bury, City and United, will be on display at the National Football Museum. To understand more of that trophy’s significance to Manchester check out my earlier posts:


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One-nil in your semi-final

From World War Two up to and including 2011 Manchester City won every FA Cup semi-final they played with a 1-0 scoreline.  That’s five games.  In 2013 I caught up with two of the goalscorers – Tommy Booth (1969) and Paul Power (1981) – to discuss their memories of those games. Here for subscribers is what they said:

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