The Sacking of Ron Saunders

On this day (April 11) in 1974, despite bold statements from new Manchester City Chairman Peter Swales at the time of his appointment, manager Ron Saunders was dismissed after less than five months in the role.  In March Saunders’ City had been defeated 2-1 in the League Cup final against Wolves. 

Here for subscribers are Peter Swales’ comments (from an interview I did with him shortly before he died) on the dismissal:

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Decisive Derbies MCFC v MUFC 13 March 1974

Score 0-0, Attendance 51,331 Maine Road

The Old Trafford derby of 1974 is usually quoted as a decisive derby, however the Maine Road match was viewed at the time as being vital to United’s survival.  In fact in the programme Red manager Tommy Docherty claimed:  “Tonight’s game is one which decides our fate.  City’s League Cup defeat is a big anti-climax for them and could help our fight for First Division survival.” Here for subscribers to this site is the story of that game – a highly controversial one that was almost abandoned due to player indiscipline!

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The 1974 League Cup Final – Wolves v Manchester City

The City players lined up to applaud Wolves and congratulated them on their success.  Dave Wagstaffe believed this was well received by his team mates:  “That was great.  Wonderful.  If you looked at our team none of us had ever won anything.  Even Derek Dougan!  I think City were saying ‘Well done’.  We really appreciated that.  It meant a lot and said something about City.  That night we celebrated at a club after the formal dinner and Franny Lee walked in with bottles of champagne.  He gave them to us and said well done.  It was a great gesture and said a lot about him and City at that time.”

Here for subscribers is the story of a final that, from a Manchester City perspective is often forgotten (in the early 2000s a history video of the club neglected to include it at all!):

Subscribe to get access

If you would like to read this and all the in-depth articles on this site (including the entire Manchester A Football History book and the audio interview with John Bond) then 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 260+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.