Forest Defeated

On this day (8 October) in 1975 I celebrated my birthday by watching Manchester City defeat Nottingham Forest 2-1 with goals from Colin Bell and Joe Royle in the 3rd round of the successful League Cup campaign. Pre-match Forest manager Brian Clough told the press:  ‘I was praying Manchester City would beat Norwich [in the previous round] because I wanted to play the best. City are one of the most entertaining and talented sides in the First Division at home.  We have no serious thoughts of shocking City but we hope to give a good account of ourselves against a side that is potentially one of the best in the land.’ He added:

‘When I last came to Maine Road it was with Leeds United and we lost 2-1.  If we keep the score down to 2-1 tonight then I think we’ll show the strides that Nottingham Forest have taken.’

Clough, one of football’s most knowledgeable men, predicted the score accurately with goals from Bell and Royle helping City achieve the 2-1 result.  That win put City into the fourth round and set Manchester up for a League Cup derby match for the second successive year.

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On This Day in 1976 – Manchester City v Middlesbrough, a thrilling semi-final

On this day (21st January) in 1976 goals from Peter Barnes, Ged Keegan, Alan Oakes and Joe Royle in the semi-final second leg against Jack Charlton’s Middlesbrough guaranteed Manchester City an appearance in the League Cup final.  The Blues had lost the first leg 1-0 to a Boro side that included Graeme Souness.  The aggregate score was 4-1.

Here’s the story of that game and the situation around MCFC at the time with quotes from interviews I have performed with Alan Oakes and Rodney Marsh.

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MCFC 20TH CENTURY CHRONICLE SEASON 1998-99

The Matches

It’s fitting we end this chronicle of the 20th century with last season.  With typical City style, the Blues waited until the last year of the century to feature in one of the most dramatic and eventful seasons in the club’s history.  Life in Division 2 was totally alien to the Blues, and understandably the media rated them as clear favourites for the Division 2 title.  Supporters were uneasy, however.  Promotion may have been a formality as far as the media were concerned but for City fans it was hoped for – even demanded – but not expected.  Not by all at least.  Nevertheless, there was a perverse excitement about the new season.  

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Andy Morrison – On This Day

A flash back to this date in 1998 and the debut of an influential figure in MCFC history…

Manchester City’s first ever third tier season had been one of struggle so far prompting manager Joe Royle to search for changes. He brought in loan signings Michael Branch and Andy Morrison and they made impressive debuts at home to Colchester. The game had been goalless at half time – and City had been booed off! – but substitute Ian Bishop brought some drive to the team in the second half. In the 49th minute Horlock netted a penalty and four minutes later his corner was headed home by Morrison for a debut day goal. Colchester scored a consolation via Jason Dozzell but it was Morrison who ended the day the happiest. Royle: “Morrison was strong-willed and proved a good passer. And at least we have someone who talks at the back!”  A week later the Blues made Morrison’s move a permanent one, signing him for £80,000.

Morrison continued to impress in the next game, a 3-0 victory over near neighbours Oldham. Kevin Horlock was actually the star man, scoring twice in the first half, with Morrison netting a volley for the third. Royle was happy with the win but not the specifics of the match: “We were nowhere near our best but we scored three terrific goals, had one disallowed, hit the bar and didn’t get a blatant penalty so I can’t be disappointed.”

The Blues were now up to fifth and there was a feeling that a corner had been turned – but the season had many twists to come yet!

Match stats: 31 Oct 1998 Colchester United (H) W 2-1 Horlock (pen), Morrison   Attendance 24,820

99 Dreams

Here for subscribers is a flashback piece to the 1998-99 season and, in particular, the games with Wigan Athletic which included the last competitive match at Springfield Park. Enjoy!

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MCFC 1999-2000 LEAGUE and CUP REVIEW

On this day (7th May) in 2000 Manchester City achieved promotion by beating Blackburn 4-1 on the last day of the season. As with most things City did back then, the journey to promotion had not been as straightforward as fans hoped it would be.

“We will not be going to Blackburn to defend or looking for just one point, that would be inviting disaster.  We will be playing to take three points.  Legends are born in games like this and particularly at a massive club like City with the fan base we have.  Someone can be a hero, not just for a day but for a long time.”  These were the words Joe Royle used in the build up to City’s crucial match with Blackburn on the final day of the 1999-2000 season.  He wanted to send a strong message to the rest of football that City were determined to return to the Premier League, and return they did.  The game with Blackburn was extremely tense at times, and there were a number of occasions when everyone connected with the club felt that Blackburn would be added to the names of Luton and Liverpool in the City cock-up list.  However Royle’s City showed resilience and success followed.

Here is my review of that game and the 1999-2000 season. To read the rest of this piece then please subscribe below:

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MCFC v LFC, October 1977

Liverpool had only lost one of their opening 12 games when they came to Maine Road in October 1977, while the Blues – who had opened the season undefeated in their opening 8 matches – were now struggling. This blog post focuses on what happened when the two clubs met in October 1977: 

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On This Day 1977 – Manchester City and Joe Royle

On this day (11th January) in 1977 Joe Royle ensured Manchester City, wearing their famous red & black striped kit, progressed to face Newcastle United in the FA Cup by scoring the only goal of the Third Round replay at West Bromwich Albion.  The first game had ended in a 1-1 draw at Maine Road.

Royle’s goal came in the 19th minute on the snow at the Hawthorns in a game that many people felt should never have started, though City were not going to complain about that once they had control of the match. According to some reports Albion didn’t have a single shot in the match.

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