Back in 1995 I interviewed former Manchester City boss John Bond at his home. The interview lasted about two hours and here’s a brief snippet from that interview where Bond talks about beating Liverpool on Boxing Day 1981.
The Blues won 3-1 (Bond, Hartford & Reeves) then two days later (Bond says it’s the next day in this clip but it was 28th December) City defeated Wolves 2-1 at Maine Rd. John discusses a brilliant goal from Trevor Francis. City went top of the League after the Wolves victory.
Stick with the clip because it ends with Bond’s views on how Liverpool used to react to wins and defeats. I’d best not comment – have a listen:
This is only a brief clip of my John Bond interview. The full interview is being uploaded here in stages for subscribers. More details here:
On this day (24th February) in 1899 the great Jimmy Ross signed for Manchester City. Ross was one of football’s leading names and earliest heroes when he played for the famous Preston side that won the League and Cup double of 1889. He had scored an incredible eight goals when Preston beat Hyde 26-0 in the record breaking F.A. Cup tie of 15th October 1887 – a game in which the referee is reputed to have lost his watch and allowed play to last two hours! (you can read about that game here: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/22/hyde-v-preston-a-record-breaking-day/ ).
In addition, he was the Football League’s top scorer in 1890 (24 goals), and was quite a character.
He signed for Manchester City from Burnley for a reported £50 after previously captaining Liverpool to promotion. He had also played for the Football League.
At City he was influential from the start. He netted an incredible seven goals in the final nine games of the 1898-99 season (his first nine games at City too!) brought the Division Two title for the first time – this was the first national success of either of Manchester’s professional clubs.
Years later the legendary Billy Meredith, looking back on his City days, remembered Ross with great affection: “I must confess that Ross will always be my favourite hero. He was good at everything he put his hand to and what he didn’t know about football wasn’t worth knowing. At billiards and card games he was an expert. Though he must have been thirty-four at least when he joined us, he was able to win seventy yards handicaps with ease and did so. He could talk like a lawyer and on and off the pitch his comic sayings had us in stitches.”
Today many of the heroes of football’s earliest years as a professional sport are forgotten and in Manchester’s case people often talk about Meredith as if he was the first and only hero in the city. But Jimmy Ross was a major figure and he was absolutely essential in City’s early development. Without him they may not have achieved that first Second Division title success. He helped develop Meredith into a star and should never be forgotten.
The leading sports newspaper of the day, the Athletic News, often praised Ross. When the club was making its first steps in the top flight the newspaper talked of City’s right sided players and stressed the importance of Ross and of course Meredith: “For real brilliance the right wing took the biscuit….In fact, there are few, if any, better men at outside right (Meredith). His partner, the veteran Ross, of whom it is predicted every season that he has had his day, is in reality taking a second lease of footballing life, despite the paucity of head-covering, and as a wing the two will cause some trouble”.
At one point a newspaper article claimed that Meredith was absolutely brilliant when he was being well served by Ross but when the going got tough, Meredith disappeared. It seems that at this stage in the Welshman’s career he needed the experienced Jimmy Ross more than Ross needed him. One article claimed that Meredith: “doesn’t like donkey-work and if his partner is off, Meredith is off too.”
By the end of the 1901-02 season it looked as if Ross and Meredith, despite Ross’ age, would go on forever. Sadly, tragedy struck in 1902. Ross died on 12th June that year after an illness described as “an acute skin disease and a raging fever.”
Ross’ last appearance was appropriately against Preston North End in the First Round of the F.A. Cup in January 1902. Ross died of an infectious skin condition. City helped his mother, whom he was looking after at the time of his death, financially. They also arranged the funeral.
Ross helped Meredith develop and over time the legend of Meredith grew, while Ross’ name has slowly faded. This is a major shame as Ross’ influence on Preston, Liverpool and City’s development is immense. Ross helped City establish their name at a time when Meredith was not quite the finished article. So many players have been described as legends in the decades that have followed. Many of them become forgotten over time, but it is important that once in a while we pause and remember those players.
Today let’s think about Jimmy Ross and remember him as one of the men who made Manchester City.
Why not now read about the game when Ross played for Preston against Hyde? It already appears on my blog here:
After today’s (7th February 2021) 4-1 victory over reigning Champions Liverpool by League leaders Manchester City it’s worth highlighting a few of the records and the significance of today’s win in City’s history. It was the Blues’ greatest win at Anfield for over 80 years.
In 1937 the Blues managed a 5-0 victory on Good Friday (and three days later won 5-1 at Maine Road). That season the Blues went on to win the League – hopefully this is a good omen for this season.
As the above advert shows, it cost 3 shillings for a return train fare to Anfield that day (sadly no fans were allowed today).
Here’s how the MCFC match programme remembered the victory:
Here are the League results and table following that historic win at Anfield. It’s interesting to see which clubs are no longer members of football’s top division and which of today’s giants are missing.
Here are a few snippets from a Liverpool based newspaper telling the story of that day:
The Blues have struggled to win at Anfield over the last 40 years (I don’t need to go through the stats, City fans get bombarded with them every time there’s a game at Anfield! You can check all results here if you really want to: https://bluemoon-mcfc.co.uk/History/Matches/Opponent.aspx?id=15 ) and so today’s resounding victory over Liverpool is significant. Of course, it is only one result and anything is possible this season.
Here’s a few stats:
Sterling became the third player to score 100 or more goals under Guardiola, after Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (211) and City’s Sergio Aguero (120).
Of all players to score at least 10 goals within the top five European leagues (England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain) this season, only Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Braut Haaland (20 years 2021 days) is younger than Phil Foden (20 years 255 days).
Since netting his first goal of the season on 15 December, Ilkay Gundogan has scored at least three more Premier League goals than any other player (nine).
At 20 years and 255 days Phil Foden is the youngest player to score and assist in a Premier League game at Anfield.
Oleksandr Zinchenko made his 50th Premier League appearance today.
Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another 80+ years for City’s next 4 goal plus win at Anfield!
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Today marks the latest in the series of games between one of the Manchester clubs and a Liverpool team. Yesterday (6 February 2021) we saw Everton score an equaliser deep in extra time in their 3-3 draw with United). Much will be made of the Manchester-Liverpool rivalry today and it is true that the two cities have been rivals for over 150 years (it certainly predates the building of the Ship Canal!) BUT the football clubs have not always been rivals.
The footballing rivalries came during the late 1960s but intensified in the late 70s. Prior to this one-off seasons may have seen grudge matches or significant games between clubs from the cities but nothing more than that. In fact for many, many years Manchester United and Liverpool, for example, were extremely close. They once put forward a suggestion to the Football League that all home teams should wear red and away teams white – the rest of football soon got wise to the plan!
The rivalry between the footballing clubs developed in the 60s and there were many significant games between all the clubs in the two cities with several prominent matches (there were significant grudge matches between Everton and City for example in the 60s and at one point Liverpool’s Bill Shankly told the media that City were Liverpool’s biggest rival!).
The first meeting of these two clubs came when Liverpool visited Hyde Road on 16th September 1893 in the Football League. Liverpool, playing their first season in the League (City had first joined the League as Ardwick in 1892), won the Division Two match 1-0 with an 80th minute goal from James Stott.
Former captains Sam Barkas and Jimmy McMullan both made their debuts in matches with Liverpool. Barkas first appeared in the 3-2 defeat on 2nd May 1934 at Anfield, while McMullan’s debut came in a 1-1 draw on 27th February 1926 at Maine Road.
Another man to make his debut was the popular Roy Little, who helped City achieve a 1-0 win in January 1953. Fifties cup hero Little is still a regular Maine Road attender.
Joe Royle made both his first and last league appearance for City against Liverpool. His first match was on Boxing Day 1974, and his last came in October 1977. Following that game he played a League Cup tie against Luton, and then moved to Bristol City where he scored 4 goals on his debut against Middlesbrough in Division One. You can read about the October 1977 game here:
The first meeting of the sides to be shown on the BBC’s Match of the Day was on 12th August 1972. Liverpool won 2-0 with a goal from Hall in the 3rd minute and one from Callaghan six minutes from time. An Anfield crowd of 55,383 watched the opening day match.
The first match to be broadcast live was the March 1988 FA Cup sixth round tie. 44,047 witnessed a 4-0 home defeat for the Blues. Here’s film of that game:
Some of the more recent players to have appeared for both clubs include Raheem Sterling, James Milner, Craig Bellamy, Mario Balotelli, Nicolas Anelka, Albert Riera, Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, David James, Kolo Toure, Didi Hamann, Daniel Sturridge, Peter Beardsley, Mark Kennedy, Steve McMahon, Michael Robinson, Mark Seagraves, and Paul Stewart. Others to have played for both clubs include Matt Busby, Joe Fagan, George Livingstone and Jimmy Ross.
Inside-forward Livingstone joined City from Liverpool in May 1903 and was an important member of the 1904 Cup winning side. Incredibly, during a career that spanned 3 decades Livingstone played for both Manchester clubs and both Celtic and Rangers. Somehow he never made it to Everton to complete a unique treble.
Jimmy Ross was one of football’s first stars and joined the Blues in 1898 after highly successful spells at Preston and Anfield. Although he’s relatively unknown these days, Ross deserves a major place in football’s hall of fame for his achievements during the first 15 years of League football. Incidentally, he also netted 7 (sometimes reported as 8) in Preston’s record 26-0 demolition of Hyde at Ewen Fields in the FA Cup.
The highest attendance for a match between the two sides is 70,640 at Maine Road for the fifth round FA Cup tie on 18th February 1956. Here’s film of that game played in snowy conditions:
The match ended goalless and four days later the highest attendance for a City-Liverpool match at Anfield (57,528) watched the Blues defeat the Reds 2-1. City’s victory brought a crowd of 76,129 to Maine Road for the visit of Everton in the quarter-final.
Interestingly, Liverpool have played in higher attendances at Maine Road. Their semi-finals against Burnley (1947) and Everton (1950) both attracted crowds of 72,000.
The highest League crowd at Maine Road was 50,439 in April 1976 (of course games at the Etihad have attracted higher figures), while the highest at Anfield is 55,383 for the televised match in August 1972.
Did You Know?
The first recorded rendition by City fans of Blue Moon occurred following the 3-1 defeat at Anfield on the opening day of the 1989-90 season. Despite the scoreline the Blues had played well with Clive Allen and Ian Bishop impressing on their debuts. As the City fans left the stadium a couple of supporters started to sing the song that was later to become a Blue anthem. The song seemed to dovetail neatly with the events of the day and over the course of the next few weeks it became popular.
Don’t get me started on this but the 1981 League Cup semi-final still rankles with many of us! The story can be read here:
During City’s 1936-7 Championship season the Blues defeated Liverpool 10-1 on aggregate in the space of four days. On 26th March an Eric Brook hat-trick, plus goals from Alec Herd and Peter Doherty brought a 5-0 Anfield win. Then on 29th City achieved a 5-1 Maine Road victory despite being a goal down in the fifth minute.
In between those matches City had managed a 2-2 draw at home to Bolton on 27th while Liverpool had defeated Manchester United 2-0 on the same day.
Sadly, in 1995 Liverpool defeated the Blues 4-0 in the League Cup and 6-0 in the League over a similar time frame. The League performance ended with Uwe Rosler throwing his boots into the crowd, while Alan Ball amazed all Blues by saying he enjoyed the game.
Dave Watson headed an 89th minute own goal in this fixture on 29th December 1976 to help League leaders Liverpool achieve a 1-1 draw. Third placed City had taken a first half lead from Joe Royle, before 50,020 at Maine Road. The result proved costly as that season City finished second – a mere point behind Liverpool.
1996 – Timewasting
A deflection from Lomas (off a McManaman effort) gave Liverpool a 6th minute lead in a last day of the season match the Blues needed to win to stay up. Rush scored Liverpool’s second in the 41st minute as City looked dead and buried. Rosler (71st minute penalty) and Symons (78th minute) gave the Blues hope, but City decided to timewaste in the mistaken belief they were safe. Quinn, on the touchline after being substituted, urged the players to attack, while Liverpool seemed determined to open up play, but the game ended with Ball’s side relegated.
2000- Weah’s Only Goal
Former World Player of the Year George Weah scored his first and only League goal for City in the 3-2 defeat at Anfield in September.
2003- Anelka Double
A 74th minute penalty and a stoppage-time volley gives Anelka two goals against his former club. The Blues win 2-1 at Anfield in the penultimate match of the season.
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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 (18th January) in 1913 Manchester City’s Fred Howard scored four goals on his debut against Liverpool at Hyde Road. I love the description of Howard in one report of this game: ‘Howard, a hefty individual who apparently does not believe in allowing the full backs free kicks, had pounced on the ball’. I think we’ve all seen a few ‘hefty individuals’ who did not ‘believe in allowing the full backs free kicks’ over the years!
A report also warns that Howard: ‘would do well to remember that he will not always be served as he was on this occasion. Nor will he have a much easier task’. I’m pretty sure Howard did not expect to score four goals in every game.
Howard, from Walkden, ended his City career after scoring 43 goals in 90 first team competitive games. Note in this article (below) the use of the nickname Citizens to describe the Blues. Maybe one day I’ll do a piece on club nicknames but I do know that many fans didn’t feel the word Citizens (or Cityzens as it is usually written these days at the club) had much to do with the club when City re-adopted it a few years back. It was certainly used a lot when talking of the club from 1894 through to perhaps the inter-war period.
Three of Howard’s goals came in a 13 minute spell as the Blues won 4-1. It was regarded as the greatest debut feat by any player at the time. Even now, over a century later, it’s hard to think of any player having a better debut.
Over the years plenty have talked of players scoring hat-tricks on debuts around the globe but how often do you hear of a player scoring four in the top flight of a major League against a team that is regarded as one of your main rivals? After this game Liverpool had dropped to 13th in the First Division, while City were fifth.
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On this day (17th January) in 1925 – Manchester City’s Frank Roberts scored four as Liverpool were defeated 5-0 in Division One.
Roberts’ feat was remarkable because he was playing as centre-forward, a position he seemingly was not keen on playing, due to regular centre-forward Tommy Browell being struck down with influenza.
He normally played as City’s inside-right, his preferred position.
It was Roberts’ first outing as centre-forward that season and incredibly he scored four goals against the Anfield club. It was the first time he’d ever scored four in a game and it made him the League’s top scorer with 24 goals so far.
City’s opening goal had been scored by legendary, amateur footballer Max Woosnam in the opening minute. Sadly, accurate time keeping was not a feature of football then (some would argue that some referees still don’t have accurate time keeping but that’s for another day) and so we don’t know how few seconds this was actually netted in. Some reports say straight from the kick-off.
The Liverpool Echo talked of the game starting in a gale which worked against the Liverpool club. The Athletic News makes no such comment preferring, instead, to talk of City’s ‘lightening like movements’ and their approach being ‘the way to win’.
This was just a taster of the content in GJFootballArchive.com. If you would like to read the in-depth, longer articles (including the entire Manchester A Football History book) then please subscribe below. 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 150+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.
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Liverpool and Manchester United meet this weekend (17th January 2021) in the Premier League. It’s a game that throughout the modern era has been played between two major clubs, hoping for success. This has not always been the case of course and in 1914-15 a notorious game between the two teams was deemed to be fixed.
Why and how has been debated for years but here, for the benefit of subscribers to http://www.GJFootballArchive.com I spell out the full story of the game and the investigations that followed. Some of what follows is astounding, but it’s all factually correct and based on contemporary material and detailed research.
The following article contains over 4,000 words plus a photograph from the game.
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On this day (14th January) in 1981 Kevin Reeves had a goal disallowed for ‘illegal jumping’, according to referee Alf Grey, in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final against Liverpool at Maine Road.
Afterwards manager John Bond claimed the referee would “never make a worse decision for as long as he lives.”
When I interviewed Bond two decades later he was still fuming about the decision.
Even the Liverpool players, such as Souness. Phil Thompson and Alan Kennedy, believed it was a valid goal. This is even more significant as Kennedy was the player Reeves is supposed to have impeded when he jumped up to the ball!
Subscribers to http://www.GJFootballArchive.com can read an in-depth piece, with quotes from some of my interviews with those involved that night, such as John Bond, Kevin Reeves and the late Eddie Large talks about his post match discussion with Bill Shankly:
If you would like to read more pieces like this and the in-depth, longer articles on this site then please subscribe below. 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 120+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.
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