On this day… Malcolm Allison joins Manchester City

On this day (July 20) in 1965 Malcolm Allison was formally interviewed by the Manchester City board to be manager Joe Mercer’s assistant. Mercer had wanted to bring Allison in since he took the job earlier in the month. Here is a feature I did on Allison back in January 2005.

I first interviewed Malcolm in 1991, and, using material from several conversations with him, and in 2005 I took the opportunity of a MCFC v Crystal Palace game to remind everyone of his significance. Today, for subscribers, I’m posting it here.

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Subscriber Post – A Complete PDF Of My 1st Book To Download

Back in 1989 my first book was published and now I’ve decided to add that entire book to this website for download. Ignoring yearbooks, this was only the 6th book (and two of those were more like pamphlets published in the 1930s & 40s) ever published specifically on Manchester City.

The book was published in April 1989 and I talk a little bit about it here:

The 200th Post – Joe Mercer

and here:

A Writing Flashback!

I do not have the original layouts and so I’ve scanned my only surviving copy of the book and put the pages together on a PDF. The pages appear in the order they did in the original but, obviously, as I’ve just placed images of the pages on a word document it’s not as it all appeared. Nevertheless, for those who have never seen it you can now.

There were all sorts of issues with the original publication. My co-author had died and the book was delayed by a year. It was originally due out when I was 20 in 1988. As Keith, my co-author, had died mistakes were made. Keith was also a key figure at the publisher and, without his expertise, the quality of the images and other areas was not as great as it should have been. Even the title was incorrectly published (I’d agreed a different title). Ah well… I got enough of a bug to have started writing my second book within about a month of this coming out.

If you’d like to download the book then you do need to be a subscriber to this site. Subscribers pay £20 a year (works out about £1.67 a month) or £3 a month at a time (cancel anytime). For that subscribers now get the entire From Maine Men To Banana Citizens plus my 2010 edition of Manchester A Football History AND all 380+ articles/interviews posted so far. These include audio interviews I did with John Bond, Malcolm Allison and George Graham in the 1990s.

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Coming Tuesday: A Complete PDF Of My 1st Book To Download

From tomorrow (Tuesday June 22 2021) subscribers to my site will be able to download a PDF of my entire first book. It was published back in 1989 and, Ignoring yearbooks, this was only the 6th book (and two of those were more like pamphlets published in the 1930s & 40s) ever published specifically on Manchester City.

Watch this space tomorrow for more details.

The book was published in April 1989 and I talk a little bit about it here:

The 200th Post – Joe Mercer

and here:

A Writing Flashback!

MCFC’s first European final: ECWC victory over Gornik Zabrze


On 29th April 1970 Manchester City won the European Cup Winners’ Cup beating Gornik Zabrze from Poland 2-1 at the Prater Stadium in Vienna.  Here are a few comments and feelings from supporters, players, and others affected by the game. These were gathered as part of a project I organised to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the final. As we’ve now past the 51st anniversary they have become an even greater historical record.

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Allison for England

As it had still been possible for either Manchester City or Manchester United to win the League on the final day of the 1967-68 season, the Championship trophy was left at the home of the reigning champions United.

City won the League at Newcastle while United lost 2-1 to struggling Sunderland.

You can read about that final day of the season here:


At United the Championship trophy vanished at some point during that day.  The Daily Express reporter Alan Thompson set off on a mission to track it down.  He started questioning the Old Trafford staff:  “Secretary Les Olive was under the impression that a League official had taken it earlier in the week, Matt Busby was not at all sure what had happened to it, and for a minute or two it was lost until a member of the female staff admitted that it had been locked up ‘in the vault’.  You are at liberty to allow full rein to your imaginations in concluding exactly where the ‘vault’ is at Old Trafford.  But the centre of the boardroom table, where the League Championship Cup has stood proudly for the last 12 months was occupied by five shillings worth of flowers.  Sit down the City fan who says symbolic.”

City still needed the trophy to be presented (Joe Mercer had offered to walk all the way from the Newcastle game to Old Trafford to collect it if he had to!) and so a friendly against Bury was hastily arranged for the Tuesday (May 14 1968) following the Newcastle game to enable the Championship trophy to be presented. 

If the destination of the title was not obvious during the season, the trophy would be presented at the League’s annual dinner but as City would be on tour in America, the League agreed to present it at Maine Road.  The presentation took place before the Bury game with Tony Book and the rest of the players going on a lap of honour before Mercer was handed the trophy to lift above his head.  The crowd roared with delight and then witnessed a 4-2 victory.

Bury’s two goals were scored by Bobby Owen who, two months later signed for the Blues.

The game was noteworthy for it also included an appearance by Malcolm Allison.  For much of the game he’d sat, wearing his familiar red tracksuit then, with about ten minutes left he substituted George Heslop and entered the field himself wearing the number 8 shirt.  This caused a little confusion as Colin Bell remained on the pitch with the same number but nobody complained, after all it was a night to enjoy especially when Allison threw himself into the game.  He forced a great save from Neil Ramsbottom, the Bury ‘keeper, and had a goal disallowed.  The City supporters chanted ‘Allison for England’, and even called for Mercer to take to the field. 

The 1970 ECWC Semi-Final

Tonight (May 4, 2021) Manchester City will play the second leg of their Champions League semi final with PSG. It’s not the first European semi final the Blues have played of course, but for those thinking City’s European heritage began after the 2008 takeover here’s the story of City’s first European semi-final. This came way back in 1970!

In 1969-70 City, managed by Joe Mercer, played their first European semi-final. The second leg was was to be the best and most important European victory ever at Maine Road.

Here for subscribers is the story of both the first and second legs of that first European semi-final for the Blues.

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The 1969 FA Cup Final

On April 26 1969 Manchester City defeated Leicester City in the FA Cup final. It is worth pausing to consider how the Blues compared to football’s other successful sides in the competition at this point.  City’s four FA Cup successes placed them behind Aston Villa (7), Blackburn Rovers (6), Newcastle United (6), Tottenham Hotspur (5), The Wanderers (5) and West Bromwich Albion (5).  Bolton, Sheffield United and Wolves had, like City, each won four FA Cups, while Manchester United had only won three, Liverpool one and Chelsea had not yet won the trophy.  In fact Chelsea had only won one major trophy (the League Championship) at this point in their history.  

Here for subscribers is a long read on that final and the events surrounding it:

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Season ends With MCFC top but…

On April 22 1972 title challenging Manchester City’s final game of the season ended in a 2-0 victory over Derby County. Goals from Francis Lee and Rodney Marsh. Attendance 55,023. The Blues finished their season top of the League BUT…

Subscribers to my site can read what happened next in this piece which includes quotes from Rodney Marsh, Malcolm Allison & Eric Alexander from my exclusive interviews with them.

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Decisive Derbies MUFC v MCFC 27 March 1968

Score United 1 City 3, Attendance 63,004 Old Trafford

Rather than settling a relegation issue, this match was perceived more as a title decider.  Prior to the match United were 2 points clear of the Blues at the top of the table, and were favourites for the League title, but the City of Mercer & Allison wanted to challenge United’s stranglehold on local football.  If the Blues were to make a name for themselves they had to beat the Reds.  It was as simple as that. Here for subscribers is the story of that game…

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Malcolm Allison Audio Interview Part Five

It’s the final part of my 1991 interview with Malcolm Allison today. Thirty years ago, while researching for my biography of Joe Mercer, I interviewed Malcolm in his flat at Yarm. This has now been serialised over five days for subscribers (take a look back at previous posts or use the Malcolm Allison tab below for the other sections).

I’ve often talked at supporters’ meetings and other events about this first time I met Malcolm. There are several funny aspects to it and I may post the story of the interview at some point.

In the full interview Malcolm talks about his meeting Joe Mercer for the first time; joining Manchester City; the relationship with Joe; the signing the players; the major successes; the set-up of Manchester City at the time and much more.

The quality of recording at the start of this section is quite poor – sadly this part of the cassette was damaged and I’ve lost about 15 minutes of the tape. What I’ve included here is all that’s been salvaged from that final 30 minutes or so of the interview.

Obviously, this was recorded on an old cassette recorder so, at times, the quality is not the best, plus every so often you can hear Malcolm’s young (I think she was two) daughter in the background. Despite the background noise I’m sure you’ll agree that this exclusive interview is worth listening to.

Each section lasts between ten and twenty minutes so get yourself a brew and have a listen.

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To listen 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 280+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this serialisation. I’m planning on posting other audio interviews over time, with one I did with George Graham (who was the Arsenal boss at the time) appearing at the end of March 2021) and others with Peter Swales, Tom Finney and many others.

While you’re here I’d like to thank you for taking the time and trouble to visit my website. I have been researching and writing about Manchester football for a long time (no wonder I’m going grey!) with my first book published in 1989. I am not employed by anyone and I do not have sponsorship either and so I’ve set up this website to help share my 32 years plus writing and research.

The intention is to develop the archive and to provide access to as much of my material as possible over the coming weeks, months & years. Subscribers can already access over 280 articles/posts including the entire Manchester A Football History book and an audio interview with former City boss John Bond I performed in 1995.