Manchester City 5-1 Newport County

On this day (June 16) in 1947 the Western Mail carried this match report of Manchester City’s 5-0 victory over Newport County, which was played on June 14. The game was remarkable for a number of reasons:

  • Prior to the 2019-20 Covid affected season this was the club’s latest finish to a season. 2019-20 ended in August (Champions League) with the League campaign ending on July 26 2020. The 1946-47 season had been affected by snow and frozen pitches, causing many games to be postponed.
  • City played with only ten men for much of the second half due to an injury to Billy Walsh
  • The Blues won 5-1 with George Smith scoring all five goals. No player has ever scored more goals for the Blues in a League game (Sergio Aguero of course also scored 5 v Newcastle in October 2015). Denis Law did score 6 goals in a FA Cup tie v Luton but this was abandoned and wiped from the records.
  • Roy Clarke made his City debut and, as City were promoted, he became the first man to play 3 successive league games in 3 different divisions when he appeared in his next City game. He’d joined from Cardiff (Division 3); made his City debut in Division 2 then played in Division 1. Subscribers can read more about Roy Clarke here:
  • City had achieved promotion over a month earlier (May 10) when they defeated Burnley 1-0 in front of a Maine Road crowd of 69,463. You can read about that game here:

69,463 watch MCFC and Burnley in Division Two

  • City were promoted as champions.

The Final Whistle – MCFC v QPR, 13 May 2012

On this day (13 May) in 2012…

I’m sure it gets boring to some but for those of us there that day the drama and the emotion can never be forgotten. Here’s my own personal film of the moment the final whistle went on that incredible day when MCFC won the Premier League title in 2012.

I know the camera’s all over the place (I was jumping up and down like everybody else) and the sound isn’t great but I hope it helps to show what it was like to all those who couldn’t be there that day.

https://gjfootballarchive.files.wordpress.com/2021/02/2012-aguerooooooooo-sd-480p.mov

You can also read this 3,400 article about the day:

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‘Where do you want your statue?’

In November 2020 I was delighted to be one of the speakers at a blue plaque unveiling for former Manchester City boss Joe Mercer in his home town of Ellesmere Port. It set me off thinking about permanent tributes to footballers and so for this article I’m taking a look at the tributes already made and questioning what else could be developed.

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Sergio Agüero’s Retirement

Today (December 15 2021) Sergio Agüero has announced his retirement. The man is a true footballing legend (I don’t use that word lightly!) and deserves to be acclaimed for his incredible achievements and career. He has brought immense joy to millions throughout his career. As a tribute I am posting here a free to read feature on Sergio’s Manchester City debut on August 15 2011. Enjoy this flashback to a time before he became renowned in England for his major contribution to the Premier League!

Sergio Agüero’s Debut

Sergio Agüero joined Manchester City from Atletico Madrid for a fee reported to be around £35 to £38m depending on which sources were to be believed. During 2010-11 the player had netted 20 league goals for the Spanish side.  City boss Roberto Mancini commented at the time of the transfer:  “Agüero can play any position – he can be the main striker, he can play behind the striker, he can play left or right.  He is not tall but he is quick and strong and he can score a lot of goals.  Now he can play behind Dzeko, Carlos or Mario.”

The Premier League campaign opened at the Etihad Stadium – the City Of Manchester Stadium had been renamed during the close season – with the visit of newly promoted Swansea City. This was to be Swansea’s first season in the Premier league.  

New signings Stefan Savić and Sergio Agüero made their City debuts as substitutes that day while another summer arrival, Gael Clichy, started the match.  Clichy had made his first appearance at Wembley against Manchester United in the Charity/Community Shield the previous week.

The match opened in a worrying manner for City.  The team wore their new all-blue kit which had caused some fans to criticise the break with tradition (as it often does when City drop the white shorts – maybe I’ll write an article on City’s use of blue and white one day, comparing the successes in seasons with blue shorts to ones with white?) and the loss of white shorts, however it was not the kit that brought the worries in the opening period it was the pressure exerted by Swansea.  They came looking to make their mark following promotion and they did all they could to play football in a positive manner.  

Swansea pressured the Blues throughout the opening thirty minutes.  Mancini’s side clearly had the quality but the visitors seemed the more determined.  However, the Blues had been soaking up the pressure and taking stock of what Swansea had to offer.  Whereas earlier City sides may have become anxious during the period of pressure, the new Blues were more than equipped to deal with a determined opposition.  

The game remained goalless until the 57th minute when David Silva dodged past Leon Britton before progressing from City’s half and well into Swansea’s.  He passed to Adam Johnson, who raced forward, cut inside and then tried to curl a shot past the Swansea ‘keeper.  The shot was saved but the ball dropped in front of Dzeko who, from six yards out, sent the ball home.

A minute or so later Sergio Agüero came on for Nigel De Jong and within nine minutes of his arrival the Argentinian made it 2-0 with a simple tap-in.  Three minutes later he played his part in the third goal.  

Agüero lifted the ball over the advancing Swansea ‘keeper and then managed to hook it back to a waiting Silva on the penalty spot who sent his own shot into the net. 

By this time Mancini’s side were in total control of the match, although Swansea were still playing decent football themselves and certainly did not adopt negative tactics as many other sides may have done.  

Shortly before the end Agüero made it 4-0 with an absolutely brilliant swerving 30 yard shot.  Afterwards Mancini was delighted with his new signing:  “I’m not surprised by what I saw tonight.  Agüero has scored a lot of goals in Spain and Argentina – he’s a fantastic striker.”

Two debut day goals – significantly he was only on the pitch for around 31 minutes – made Agüero a hero from the start and caused the wider football world to look at City’s new signing as a hugely positive arrival to the Premier League.  

Highlights of the game can be viewed here: 

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/match-highlights/2011/august/city-v-swansea-60-seconds

Norwich Suffer

A flashback to a high scoring win for Manchester’s Blues on this day in 2013…

After the 2-1 last gasp defeat at Chelsea in their previous League game, manager Manuel Pellegrini took the decision to drop goalkeeper Joe Hart for this important match with Norwich. The decision brought much scrutiny City’s way but Hart’s replacement Pantilimon had little to do as the Blues thrashed Norwich 7-0.  The win lifted City to fourth in the League but more significantly demonstrated the fire power the Blues possessed and demonstrated to all that Pellegrini’s men were determined to mount a serious challenge for the title. Seven separate scorers – including an own goal – made this City’s largest top flight win since 1968. Afterwards Pellegrini was delighted that his side kept striving for more: “Normally a team 4-0 ahead finishes working.”

City had a 100% home record in the Premier League but away from home life was not so easy. At Sunderland in the next League game the Blues were unfortunate to lose 1-0. The BBC’s Sam Sheringham explained: “Referee Mike Dean’s leniency was on display once again in the build-up to the opening goal. The official opted not to penalise Bardsley when he appeared to bundle over Milner, allowing the full-back to race on to Brown’s long pass and curl a precise finish past Costel Pantilimon.”

The Blues were back down to eighth in what seemed likely to be a tight title race.

Match Stats:

2013-14

2 Nov   Norwich City (H)                        W 7-0 Silva, Nastasic, Negredo, Toure, Aguero, Dzeko & Johnson (OG)              47,066

10 Nov Sunderland (A)                         L 0-1                                        40,137

League Cup

30 Oct  Newcastle United (A)                 W 2-0 Negredo, Dzeko             33,846

City’s record appearances

Now that Sergio Aguero has left Manchester City it seems an appropriate time to review where he fits in the all-time appearance list for the club.  City’s appearance holder is Alan Oakes and it may be some time before another player comes close to his total of 676 (plus 4 as substitute) appearances.

Here for subscribers is a feature on the top 25 appearance holders for Manchester City with some commentary on how the record has changed over the decades.

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MANCHESTER CITY REVEAL ANDY SCOTT AS SCULPTOR COMMISSIONED TO CREATE STATUES OF CLUB LEGENDS

I like this… it’s not just creating a standard statue it’s significantly better than that. If you’ve seen The Kelpies you’ll recognise that Andy Scott uses history to produce modern, impressive, artistic pieces. Anyway, here’s City’s press release (it’s not often that a major city’s leader talks about footballing statues either but Richard Leese does here – see below):

City has revealed that award-winning sculptor Andy Scott was the artist who won the commission to create permanent statues of Club legends Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero. The appointment followed an exhaustive selection process that began in March 2020.

Born and raised in Glasgow and a graduate of the city’s School of Art, Scott is one of the most respected sculptors of his generation and is known for his large-scale figurative pieces, which he creates by blending traditional craftmanship with modern fabrication techniques. His portfolio of more than 80 contemporary projects can be found both in the UK and in many corners of the world.


Now creating from his studio in Philadelphia, USA, Andy works frequently in galvanised steel and counts The Kelpies and Beacon of Hope amongst some of his most celebrated work.


Uniquely, the Kompany and Silva projects have been conducted entirely remotely from Scott’s securing the commission in June 2020, through to creation, completion and transportation of the pieces, which arrived on schedule in Manchester from Philadelphia in August 2021.
The statues of Kompany and Silva are to be installed outside the Club’s Etihad Stadium ahead of this weekend’s fixture against Arsenal, with Aguero’s tribute to follow in 2022, after his departure from the club this summer.

The legacy project was announced by Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak following the departure in Summer 2019 of Vincent Kompany, the Club’s most successful captain in its 127-year history. The decision to honour the three players was based on their unparalleled contribution to the Club’s transformation over their combined thirty-one years at the club. Al Mubarak has since indicated that further work is being undertaken to ensure the legends of earlier eras are appropriately celebrated.

Speaking of his appointment to the project Andy Scott said:
“On hearing that I had secured the commission to bring Vincent, David and now Sergio to life in sculpture form, I was absolutely thrilled. It’s an unbelievable honour to work on something that will be visited by hundreds of thousands of fans as they remember and celebrate the achievements of their footballing heroes.
I have always been struck by how sportsmen and women move and perform, and in the case of football specifically, how they anticipate the ball, how they combine with their teammates, and sometimes simply how they stand.
Reflecting these elements was always going to be challenging, but it was particularly so during a global pandemic as we were only able to meet with Vincent and David virtually. But with their insights and extensive research of film and photographic footage, I have tried to capture their unique physical characteristics and their distinctive movements in a way which I hope does justice to both of these phenomenal footballers.
It’s been such a pleasure to work on this prestigious project and I can’t wait to finally get to meet the team in person as we set about the final installations at the Etihad Stadium this week.”


Manchester City’s Chairman, Khaldoon Al Mubarak commented:
“We are delighted with our choice of Andy to bring this project to life.
His portfolio speaks to his expertise, and his contemporary approach, together with his chosen medium of industrial materials, made him the perfect fit to create artwork for Manchester City. Ultimately, Vincent and David do not need statues to enshrine their achievements at Manchester City over the past decade. They are already revered as icons of their generation. But what these artworks give us, and generations to come, is the opportunity to be reminded of, and savour, the truly magical moments created by both men.”

Leader of Manchester City Council, Sir Richard Leese said:
“City’s decision to commission the statues of their iconic players and the appointment of Andy Scott to deliver them, is such an exciting development for our city. The benefits of public art are well accepted and in addition to the cultural and aesthetic advantages that come with high quality artwork, it can also generate significant economic value for the city.

I have seen Andy’s work and I’m thrilled that Manchester’s landscape will be blessed with new artwork from someone of his standing and whilst naturally, these pieces will be of appeal first and foremost to Manchester City fans, it is clear that this calibre of artwork will be admired and respected by millions around the city and beyond.”


Ten Years Ago Today – Sergio Agüero’s Debut

On this day (August 15) in 2011 Sergio Agüero made his Manchester City debut after signing in the summer of 2011 from Atletico Madrid. Here’s an article on his debut for subscribers to this site. Enjoy!

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Different Gravy: A Review of MCFC’s Together Film

last night I was fortunate to attend the premiere of the new Manchester City film Together at the Everyman Cinema, ABC Building on Quay Street, Manchester. Here is my review of the film and the evening.

Guests were welcomed from 6PM with some drinks and nibbles at the cinema. I’d never been to the Everyman before. It’s a fairly new, stylish cinema and a welcome addition to Manchester’s entertainment offering. The bar area encouraged a relaxed mood and it was good to chat with various City staff and guests, most of whom I haven’t seen since before Covid. I spent quite a bit of time with actor John Henshaw who, like me, had worked on The Keeper (the film about Trautmann – he played Bert’s father-in-law and I was a historical consultant to the film).

About 7pm we were invited into the cinema room, passing the Premier League and League Cup trophies. The seats are plush, most are two seater settee style seats and some are single. Popcorn was of course readily available.

Rob Pollard, a member of City’s media team who many Blues will know, did a great introduction. It was great to see a regular member of City staff fronting the premiere like this and Rob represented all those involved well. Great work and much better to me than bringing on a celebrity announcer who hadn’t a direct connection to the film to present it. The name of the film is Together and Rob’s introduction added to that general theme in my opinion.

The film then started. I won’t give away too much in this review but it is worth explaining what the film is and a few key points/memories from it.

The film follows the players through the final stages of the 2020-21 season showing City’s fight in four competitions. Obviously, there are high points and a few lows in the film but this isn’t a typical ‘let’s see City scoring goals from every angle’ film. Instead it’s a fly on the wall style supported with interviews with players looking back at certain points. Goals and match action are often filmed from a camera in the stands or on the sidelines rather than typical broadcast coverage. I think this adds to the view that we’re observing something we don’t normally see.

There’s quite a bit of humour in there and the personalities of some players really come out. De Bruyne displays a deadpan style of humour – at one point he’s asked what would be going through Mahrez’s mind as he’s preparing to take a penalty and he simply says ‘I don’t know’. Scott Carson arrives dressed as a fireman one day and we learn how popular he is with the rest of the squad. Everyone’s delighted when he gets to appear in his first Premier League game for a decade.

Phil Foden features a lot and he talks about Aguero, explaining how he was in awe of him when Foden first made his way into the team. We also see Aguero telling Foden that he’s ‘Different Gravy’ after the League Cup final.

Food features a lot… we see smoothies being made, Walker helping the chefs and we hear how Riyad’s Pasta has become the most popular dish for several players. Oh, and then there’s Pep trying a bacon sandwich!

There was a personal bonus for me when I spotted two of my nephews on screen holding up an Aguero banner in the film.

Overall, the film is a great watch and lasts over 90 minutes. It’s available on City+ from today and I think that all those involved deserve praise for what they’ve achieved. Considering this is an in-house production the quality of the production is impressive. Football clubs traditionally don’t produce film productions of this quality. Nice work City’s media team.

The ending was always going to be tough for a film that chronicles the last weeks of the season but I think they did a great ending… I won’t say how it ends but keep watching after the CL final conclusion.

Oh, and if you do watch Together make sure you look out for the in-depth description of the ‘boot steamer’ when watching!

Here’s a trailer:

The Player of the Year Awards

This season has seen Manchester City players win several prominent player of the year awards with Kevin De Bruyne winning the PFA player of the year award; Phil Foden the PFA young player of the year and Lauren Hemp won the women’s PFA young player of the year award. There was also Ruben Dias won the FWA footballer of the year award and the Premier League player of the year award.

This is an incredible array of awards. The following subscriber post details all the Manchester City winners of these awards since their formation:

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