On This Day: Elano Wonder Goal

On this day (29 September) in 2007 goals from Petrov (38 mins), Mpenza (47) and Elano (87) helped Manchester City to a 3-1 victory over Newcastle United.  Elano’s goal came from a truly outstanding free kick and was his first goal for the club. You can see highlights of the game here:

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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 Title Race Moves To Newcastle

On May 6 2012 the Premier League title race was to see Manchester City away at Newcastle. The Blues had two games left to play – away at Newcastle and at home to QPR – and inevitably the focus on both Manchester sides was hight. The global audience for the Manchester derby had been huge and that game had swung the advantage City’s way. Both Manchester sides had the same number of points but the Blues had the better goal average.

The Blues felt they could do win their first top flight title since 1968 with captain Vincent Kompany leading the way on the pitch:  “If we in at Newcastle we will win the title.  Sir Alex said that, so it must be right.  He has far more experience than me.”

Here for subscribers to the site is the story of what happened at Newcastle:

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IN SEARCH OF THE BLUES – Bobby Kennedy (Interviewed in April 2005)

Defender Bobby Kennedy proved to be a popular player after joining the Blues in 1961.  He went on to make 251 (plus 3 as sub) appearances for City over a seven year period and was a key member of City’s mid sixties side.  In April 2005 Gary James caught up with him at the stadium.

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Manchester City v Newcastle United 1984

On this day (18th February) in 1984 Manchester City attracted a crowd of 41,767 in the Second Division for the visit of Newcastle United. The attendance was the biggest of the day (see image above to compare with Arsenal for example). It was also City’s and the division’s second biggest crowd of the season (the division’s highest was 41,862 for City v Sheffield Wednesday). It’s worth stating that the highest average League crowd of the season was 42,534 (Manchester United) and the next best was Liverpool with 31,974. 

City’s average was the sixth highest in the entire League at 25,604 while fellow Second Division side Newcastle were the third best supported team that season with 29,811.

The Blues had been relegated the previous May (it was a shock relegation!) but with three automatic promotion places available City felt certain they could achieve an immediate return. Unfortunately, they did not account for the role Kevin Keegan would play in Newcastle’s fortunes.  Newcastle had been struggling to make an impact since relegation in 1978, but then Keegan returned as a player and the whole place seemed revitalised (part of the reason Newcastle’s crowds were their best for six seasons), indeed he had helped the Geordies achieve a 5-0 thrashing of City in October. 

City boss Billy McNeill later admitted:  “There are few players that I have greater respect for than Keegan and this time, I’m referring only to his ability on the pitch, he was the heart and soul of Newcastle.  It’s a terrible thing to admit, but every time I read that Kevin had an injury I hoped it would keep him out of the Newcastle side for a game or two.  Usually it didn’t and I was glad in the end because I have such a high regard for him.  He was certainly the difference between City and Newcastle.  They had Keegan’s inspirational qualities and we didn’t.”

By 11th February City and Newcastle were level on points with the Blues in third place, and Newcastle fourth with a game in hand.  Above them lay Chelsea and Sheffield Wednesday.  The four sides were termed the ‘Big Four’ by the media who regularly chose to feature games from the Second above those in the First.  As always Liverpool seemed destined to win the Championship and so much attention turned to the glamour clubs of the Second, especially Newcastle with the charismatic Keegan.  

On 18th February came the vital Maine Road clash between the ‘Jocks’ and the Geordies.  A win would put City six points ahead of Newcastle, yet defeat would put the two sides level with Keegan’s men also having a game in hand. The crowd saw Steve Kinsey score but fine goals from Beardsley and Keegan gave Newcastle a 2-1 victory.  It also gave the Geordies the advantage.        

Here’s film of the game (poor quality but well worth watching for Steve Kinsey’s lobbed City goal):

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Where Were You?

On this day (January 20) in 1900 the attendance stats (see image) seen here were published in various newspapers. Of course, as a historian who researches these sorts of things it does not surprise me at all that Manchester City were the best supported club at this stage. However, I can understand why some may have been surprised back then. City had only just been promoted for the first time the previous season.

In the end Manchester’s Blues ended the season as the third best supported club with an average of 16,000 (League champions Aston Villa attracted 19,825 and 5th placed Newcastle 16,725). City ended the season 7th in the top division.

For those wondering Newton Heath (Manchester United) averaged 6,225 and were the 16th best supported club. Liverpool averaged 11,325 and were 5th best supported club.

On This Day in 1977: Colin Bell’s Emotional Return

City 4 Newcastle United 0

Division One

26th December 1977

City Team: Corrigan, Clements, Donachie, Booth, Watson, Power (Bell), Barnes, Owen, Kidd, Hartford, Tueart

Attendance: 45,811

This match has entered Manchester folklore as one of those games you just had to experience to fully appreciate.  All of those present that night from players, to fans, club officials to newspaper reporters, talk of this night as one of football’s most emotional nights.

The story of Colin Bell and his injury had become one of football’s most discussed issues.  The teatime BBC television news show Nationwide had profiled Colin’s tragic story and as a result the player received thousands of good luck messages from neutrals and ordinary non-footballing members of the public.  They had been touched by his long, hard training schedules; his lonely runs through the streets of Moss Side and Rusholme; and by his absolute determination to return to full fitness.  To them Colin’s story was incredible, to City and England supporters it was a deeply disappointing and tragic story.  

Colin’s gruelling training regime ensured he forced his way into manager Tony Book’s thinking by December 1977, and on Boxing Day he was named as substitute for the visit of Newcastle.  Anticipation was high as supporters believed this would be the day they would see their hero return to action.  

Chairman Peter Swales rated Colin highly and shortly before his death in 1996 the former Chairman explained:  “The supporters loved him.  You can never kid supporters.  They know great players.  It’s no good a manager saying, ‘this is the best player we’ve ever had’.  The supporters will know after a few weeks whether he really is the best.  Bell was the best.  No question.”

On the night itself Tony Book had planned to send Colin on as substitute for the final twenty minutes, but an injury to Paul Power meant the manager had to take decisive action.  The supporters didn’t realise, but as the players were making their way into the dressing room for the interval, it was decided that Colin would play the second half.  During the interval fans started to speculate as to when they would see their hero, with the majority believing he would come on for the final flourish, but then as the players came back out on to the pitch it was clear that Paul Power was missing and that Colin was coming on.  

The stadium erupted and the fans on the Kippax terracing began to chant his name.  It was a truly marvellous sight and the tremendous feeling of anticipation and excitement had never been felt midway through a match for any player before.  It was the most amazing individual moment witnessed at the old ground.  Dennis Tueart, a player on that day, remembers:  “He came on at half time, and it was like World War Three.  I’ve never known a noise like it in all my life!  The crowd gave him a standing ovation and he hadn’t even touched the ball.  I’ve never seen a guy work as hard to get back.  The hours and hours he put in.  The pain he went through…  it was a phenomenal amount of work and he definitely deserved that ovation.”

For the player himself the day remained one of the most significant memories of his life when I interviewed him in 2005.  “As I came down the tunnel I could hear a whisper go right round the ground.  I knew that reception was for me alone.  I was never an emotional player but that afternoon I got a big lump in my throat.  I’ve been lucky to win cups and medals and play internationals, but of all my great football memories, that is the one that sticks in my mind.”

“The City crowd and I had this mutual respect really, and that standing ovation from over 40,000 people brought a lump to my throat for the only time in my career.”

The substitution totally transformed the atmosphere and the result.  The game had been goalless, but the Blues tore into Newcastle as if they were playing in the most important game of all time.  Dennis Tueart played superbly and scored a hat-trick, with Brian Kidd also scoring, to make it a convincing 4-0 win for the Blues.  At one point Colin had a header which just sneaked over the bar, but the fairytale goal on his return did not arrive.

When I interviewed him years later a modest Colin felt he didn’t contribute a great deal:  “I don’t think I touched the ball.  It was ten men versus eleven, but the atmosphere got to our team and we ran away with it.”

MCFC 20TH CENTURY CHRONICLE SEASON 1967-68

The Matches

As with the 1936-7 Championship season, the first few weeks gave little indication of what the Blues were ultimately to achieve as only one point – a goalless game with Liverpool – was obtained during the first three matches.  Fortunately, this was followed by a 5 match unbeaten run, lifting City into the top 5. 

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MCFC 20TH CENTURY CHRONICLE SEASON 1975-76

The Matches

By the start of 1975-6 City were clearly seen as one of football’s wealthiest clubs, and were without doubt one of the decade’s glamour clubs.  Almost every player was a household name and, with the arrival of £200,000 defender Dave Watson in June, City were able to boast they possessed 8 internationals.  By the end of the season the improved form of Joe Corrigan raised that figure to 9.  

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Billy Meredith’s Last Game: 1924 FA Cup Semi

On this day (29th March) in 1924 Manchester City faced Newcastle United in the FA Cup semi-final. Not only that but the game was to be the last competitive game played by City’s legendary winger Billy Meredith. Meredith’s Manchester career began in 1894 when he joined City.

Here for subscribers is the story of that game, plus a contemporary match report and links to a film of Meredith’s last game. Enjoy!

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