Here for subscribers is a flashback piece to the 1998-99 season and, in particular, the games with Wigan Athletic which included the last competitive match at Springfield Park. Enjoy!
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On this day (7th May) in 2000 Manchester City achieved promotion by beating Blackburn 4-1 on the last day of the season. As with most things City did back then, the journey to promotion had not been as straightforward as fans hoped it would be.
“We will not be going to Blackburn to defend or looking for just one point, that would be inviting disaster. We will be playing to take three points. Legends are born in games like this and particularly at a massive club like City with the fan base we have. Someone can be a hero, not just for a day but for a long time.” These were the words Joe Royle used in the build up to City’s crucial match with Blackburn on the final day of the 1999-2000 season. He wanted to send a strong message to the rest of football that City were determined to return to the Premier League, and return they did. The game with Blackburn was extremely tense at times, and there were a number of occasions when everyone connected with the club felt that Blackburn would be added to the names of Luton and Liverpool in the City cock-up list. However Royle’s City showed resilience and success followed.
Here is my review of that game and the 1999-2000 season. To read the rest of this piece then please subscribe below:
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After defeating Manchester United in the November derby (the last at Maine Road), Manchester City were hopeful of success in the return derby at Old Trafford. The game, played on this day (9th February) in 2003, went down in history for a remarkable appearance by substitute Shaun Goater.
The story of this game was written up a couple of years ago for an update of my 1991 book The Pride Of Manchester (co-written with Steve Cawley). Sadly, that book was never updated, though Steve and I put considerable effort into creating all the content.
Here, exclusively for subscribers, is the story of that game as drafted to appear in the updated but aborted Pride Of Manchester.
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If you would like to view this article 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 200+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.
On 27th January 2002 Manchester City’s fourth round FA Cup tie at Ipswich saw Kevin Keegan’s side thrill live on TV. City impressed the nation with their spectacular 4-1 fourth round cup demolition of Premier League side Ipswich Town. It is worth remembering that City were in the second tier at the time, hoping for promotion. Many of us felt that the Blues were not only good enough to find success in the League but also stood a genuine chance of FA Cup success (mind you, some of us felt that every season – nine years later it finally happened!).
The City scorers against Ipswich were Eyal Berkovic, Shaun Goater (2) and Darren Huckerby.
After the Ipswich match Keegan said: “Our fans know we can play but I think we showed the rest of the country that we are a good team. I believe the FA Cup needed a game like our tie with Ipswich where the atmosphere was tremendous and both sides picked their strongest available sides and really set out to win.”
In the fifth round, Keegan’s Blues travelled to Newcastle for another thrilling performance against the manager’s old club. The media hype focused on Keegan, but the match ended with national recognition that the Blues were clearly a force. Although City lost the match 1-0 after Richard Dunne had been sent off, the general view was that ten-man City were more than a match for the Geordies. City impressed the nation once again.
The Newcastle tie, like the Ipswich game, came at a time when many were questioning the status of the FA Cup. City’s performance in both ties were seen as major boosts for the competition. According to Henry Winter of the Daily Telegraph: “Keegan returned with his magnificent Manchester City side whose spirited, defiant football sent the heart rate soaring among Newcastle’s nervy support. Making light of Richard Dunne’s dismissal and Nolberto Solano’s goal, City scared the black-and-white life out of those who still cherish Keegan’s name. Shaun Wright-Phillips was marvellous, Eyal Berkovic and Kevin Horlock not far behind with outstanding displays as City narrowly lost a Cup-tie but won countless admirers. If they build on this, they will surely keep the Blue Moon rising and head back to the Premiership, where their noisy supporters belong.”
Here are highlights of the Ipswich tie:
Manchester City’s owner Sheikh Mansour has bought the oldest surviving FA Cup trophy at auction. The trophy, which was the first major trophy won by Bury, City and United, will be on display at the National Football Museum. To understand more of that trophy’s significance to Manchester check out my earlier posts:
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