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.

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

Background

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:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/05/11/manchester-city-win-the-league/

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. 

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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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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Cossack Allison

On this day (April 3) in 1965 Manchester City defeated Malcolm Allison’s Plymouth 2-1 before a pitiful Maine Road crowd of 10,929. This was a desperate Second Division season for the Blues but it was also a time when the Manchester press laughed at Allison.

Allison, wearing a Cossack hat for the match, had entertained Mancunians earlier in the season by outlining his footballing aims in the Football Pink. Some of these were viewed as ludicrous by local journalists at the time but little did they realise that within four months of this victory over Plymouth Allison would be helping to transform City.

Back in the 1990s I interviewed Malcolm about joining City and the transformation of the Blues. This hour+ interview has now been posted in its entirety to this site. You can access it here:

The days of replays in Europe

On this day (March 31) in 1971 holders Manchester City were forced to play a European Cup Winners’ Cup game at a neutral ground. These were the days before penalty shoot outs decided ties. For subscribers to my site, here’s the story of that game: 

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