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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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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Manchester City v Newcastle United 1984

The 18th February 1984 saw Manchester City attract 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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