Manchester City’s 1980-81 Season

On a day when there’s a controversial refereeing decision in a Manchester Derby here’s a reminder that today is the anniversary (14 January 1981) of a notorious refereeing error in a Manchester City Liverpool League Cup semi-final. You can read about that elsewhere on the site. the anniversary though has given me the impetus to post this 9,000+ word article on the 1980-81 season. This was a remarkable season and you can read it below:

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This 9,000+ article is for subscribers only. You can subscribe at £20 a year (above) or £3 per month (here). Annual subscribers access everything posted since December 2020 and monthly subscribers access everything since 1 October 2022.

The Blue Ballet

On this day (9 December) in 1967 a remarkable game took place at Maine Road that became known as the Ballet On Ice.  Manchester United supporter Bobby Greenroyd watched the game on Match of the Day and wrote to City afterwards:  “I am a regular Manchester United fan, but after Saturday’s game your next home gate will be increased by one.”  High praise, particularly as United themselves were on the verge of European Cup glory.

Why and how did this happen and which leading MCFC figure sneaked out to buy a bag of chips while the club celebrated its 1968 League title success? Here for subscribers is an article that explains all….

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Allison Wins Bet With Crerand!

Today’s the day (27 October) in 1965 when Malcolm Allison won a significant bet with Pat Crerand about attendances at Manchester City. The Blues had drawn 0-0 with Norwich at Maine Road, ensuring City were top of Division Two and looking like promotional hopefuls. A crowd of 34,091 watched the match and Allison was delighted with that figure. The attendance had won him ten pounds off Manchester United’s Paddy Crerand who had told the City coach that City were a ‘dying club’ and bet him the Blues would never get a crowd above 30,000 at Maine Road again!  Later that season 63,034 watched City play Everton – an attendance greater than any domestic crowd at Old Trafford that season. Allison had the last laugh of course!

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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:

MAL’S MISSION – VILLA PARK 1972

On this day (August 5) in 1972 Manchester City faced Third Division Champions Aston Villa in the Blues’ first Charity Shield match played at Villa Park. Here’s a feature on it and a match report from the game.

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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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IN SEARCH OF THE BLUES – Johnny Hart (interviewed December 2004)

Johnny Hart joined City at the age of 16 in December 1944 and went on to make a total of 177 League and Cup appearances, scoring 73 goals.  A skilful inside-right, Hart later had a highly successful coaching career with the Blues, and a spell as manager in 1973.  Here’s an interview I did with him at City’s stadium shortly before Christmas 2004

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Congratulations Manchester City!

Every time City win a trophy in dramatic fashion I always think ’ah, well we’ll never experience anything like that again. Next time it’ll feel different’ but then they go and do something like today. As time goes by we’ll start to think of this as an incredible way to win the title. For now its more of a ’phew!’

Congratulations City. Great achievement and it’s been an incredible season. To win the Premier League you have to be the best, most consistent team that season. Cup competitions are important and it’s great winning them but ultimately winning the League – especially one that we are often told is the greatest in the League – is the mark of a truly great team. Brilliant work City.

Let’s not forget it’s 4 titles in 5 seasons too!

Years ago the great City coach Malcolm Allison told me that ‘it’s important to celebrate each success as if it’s your first because it could be your last.’ Let’s keep celebrating Blues. Never take anything for granted.

Manchester City Win The League

On this day (May 11) in 1968 Manchester City defeated Newcastle United and won the League title. Here’s the build up to that game; the story of the match itself and quotes from those involved.  Enjoy!

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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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