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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1969 FA Cup Semi – Everton v Manchester City

On this day (22nd March) 1969 Manchester City and Everton met in the FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park. Here for subscribers is the story of that day, including material from interviews I have performed with some of the key people (such as Tommy Booth). Enjoy!

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To read this and all the other in-depth articles 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’d like to thank you for taking the time and trouble to visit my website. I have been researching and writing about Manchester football since the 1980s. 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 hundreds of articles/posts including the entire Manchester A Football History book (now out of print but it did retail for £24.95) and exclusive audio interviews with former City bosses Malcolm Allison and John Bond. 

It costs £20 a year (it works out £1.67 a month) or £3 if you’d like to sign up a month at a time to get full access for as long as you subscribe. If you’d like to check whether it’s value for money, have a search through content before subscribing – or even subscribe for a month, access what you want and then cancel!

Thanks for the support, Gary.

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.