1964 League Cup Semi

Today (5 February) in 1964 Manchester City defeated Stoke 1-0 in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final. The goalscorer was Derek Kevan. This was the first time City had reached the semi final stage but the competition was not particularly welcome at this time in football history. Here’s a report of the game:

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Attendances across football were low in this competition. This Maine Road tie with Stoke was watched by 16,894. The first leg, on 15 January, had seen City suffer a 2-0 loss at Stoke.

Were you at either of these games? Please post your comments if you were. I’m keen to understand how fans felt about the semi final back in 1964.

History Talk – MCFC Away Days Now Live For Subscribers

On Wednesday 18 January I held a discussion about Manchester City FC away games. Subscribers can now listen to a recording of that talk here (it costs £20 a year to access everything on the site or £3 per month). The talk lasts about 1 hour so get yourself a brew and listen to the story of traveling away.

We talk about the train specials that the City Supporters Travel Club used to organise and their coaches too (remember number one coach with Helen ‘the Bell’ Turner?). Amongst the moments/subjects discussed were the history of travelling to away games; Trevor Francis’ debut; railway & coach specials; the experience of being an away fan; games at Notts County, Barnsley, Stoke, Bradford, Oldham, QPR, Leeds & more.  Thanks to all who participated in this for your efforts, especially Graham Ward, Roger Reade and the guys from the Lad & Dad Away Days podcast who all brought up their own memories of games.

The next History Talk will take place later today 1/2/23 at 6pm-7pm UK time. This will be more of a presentation and will be about the origins of Manchester City. You can register for that and find out more here:

Here’s the recording of the MCFC Away Days talk. This is for subscribers only:

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History Talk – MCFC Away Days Now Live

On Wednesday 18 January I held a discussion about Manchester City FC away games. You can now listen to a recording of that talk here. It lasts about 1 hour so get yourself a brew and listen to the story of traveling away.

There’s a link further down this page to the recording. We talk about the train specials that the City Supporters Travel Club used to organise and their coaches too (remember number one coach with Helen ‘the Bell’ Turner?). Amongst the moments/subjects discussed were the history of travelling to away games; Trevor Francis’ debut; railway & coach specials; the experience of being an away fan; games at Notts County, Barnsley, Stoke, Bradford, Oldham, QPR, Leeds & more.  Thanks to all who participated in this for your efforts, especially Graham Ward, Roger Reade and the guys from the Lad & Dad Away Days podcast who all brought up their own memories of games.

The next History Talk will take place on 1/2/23 at 6pm-7pm UK time. This will be more of a presentation and will be about the origins of Manchester City. You can register for that and find out more here:

Here’s the recording of the MCFC Away Days talk. This was freely available until 31 January and now it is for subscribers only:

Subscribe to get access – Annual

If you would like to access it here and support my writing & research while also reading all the great content (including PDFs of Manchester A Football History and From Maine Men To Banana Citizens) then please subscribe. It costs £20 a year (access everything) or £3 per month (see below).

Subscribe to get access – Monthly

Subscribe monthly here at £3 per month (cancel anytime) or annually at £20 above.

Free Online Discussion on MCFC Away Days This Wednesday – Register Now

On Wednesday 18 January at 6pm (UK time) come and join me for one hour of discussion about Manchester City FC away games (don’t worry I don’t intend to mention the most recent one!). Sign up to listen to and participate in this free event where we will share memories of watching Manchester City away. This hour will be interactive as I’m keen to hear your memories of your first away game and of other away matches. The aim is to celebrate and share knowledge of great away moments, matches and following.

The event will be live on Zoom on 18/1/23 at 6pm and a link will be sent to all those who have registered for the event beforehand (probably the day before the event). To sign up for this online Zoom talk please register via this link:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/manchester-city-memories-of-away-days-tickets-510637800407

Register now to join this online zoom discussion. The plan is to open up the chat so that we can share our memories of our first away games or of experiences watching City away. Maybe we can remind each other of some great (and not so great) moments supporting City on their travels?

Do you remember traveling on the Train specials that the City Supporters Travel Club used to organise? Or were you on one of the official coaches, maybe number one coach with Helen ‘the Bell’ Turner? 

Amongst the moments/subjects being discussed will be the history of travelling to away games; Trevor Francis’ debut; railway & coach specials; the experience of being an away fan; games at Notts County, Barnsley, Stoke, Bradford, Crystal Palace, Manchester United etc. & much more. 

The link will be sent out shortly before the event is live to all those registered. Only those registered will be admitted into the video chat site. You must register here if you want to get involved.

The talk will last about 1 hour and will be online on zoom, so you should be able to access it anywhere. This is a free event but there are a limited number of tickets. These must be ordered in advance.

There is a limited capacity so please book early if you want to participate.

Free Online Discussion on MCFC Away Days – Register Now

On Wednesday 18 January at 6pm (UK time) come and join me for one hour of discussion about Manchester City FC away games. Sign up to listen to and participate in this free event where we will share memories of watching Manchester City away. This hour will be interactive as I’m keen to hear your memories of your first away game and of other away matches. The aim is to celebrate and share knowledge of great away moments, matches and following.

Do you remember traveling on the Train specials that the City Supporters Travel Club used to organise? Or were you on one of the official coaches, maybe number one coach with Helen ‘the Bell’ Turner? 

Amongst the moments/subjects being discussed will be the history of travelling to away games; Trevor Francis’ debut; railway & coach specials; the experience of being an away fan; games at Notts County, Barnsley, Stoke, Bradford, Crystal Palace, Manchester United etc. & much more. 

Register now to join this online zoom discussion. The plan is to open up the chat so that we can share our memories of our first away games or of experiences watching City away. Maybe we can remind each other of some great (and not so great) moments supporting City on their travels?

The link will be sent out shortly before the event is live to all those registered. Only those registered will be admitted into the video chat site. You must register here if you want to get involved.

The talk will last about 1 hour and will be online on zoom, so you should be able to access it anywhere. This is a free event but there are a limited number of tickets. These must be ordered in advance.

There is a limited capacity so please book early if you want to participate.

The event will be live on Zoom on 18/1/23 at 6pm and a link will be sent to all those who have registered for the event beforehand (probably the day before the event). To sign up for this online Zoom talk please register via this link:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/manchester-city-memories-of-away-days-tickets-510637800407

A WW1 Death

On this day (17 November) in 1915 former Manchester City, Oldham Athletic and Hyde forward Frank Hesham was killed in action in Belgium (often reported as northern France at the time of his death). The Gorton born player was on City’s books for 5 years during the late 1890s. Here’s a profile of his life and career:

Frank Hesham began his football career at St Francis (the well-known Catholic monastery and related school in Gorton) before joining City in November 1896. He made his debut at Newcastle United in February 1897. Sadly, the game ended in a 3-0 defeat and Hesham was unable to establish himself in the team. 

In total he only made three first team appearances for the Blues and one reserve game over a period of about five years.

Brief spells at Crewe and Accrington followed before he signed for Stoke in May 1904. 17 Stoke appearances followed before he moved to Leyton Orient, returning north to join Oldham in August 1907.

He made his Oldham debut in a 3-0 victory over Hull City on 28 September 1907 and it finally looked as if he’d found the right club. He stayed at Boundary Park for a couple of years, playing 29 first team games before joining Preston North End in 1909.

The move to Preston was not a success and two months later he joined Croydon Common in the Southern League where he scored 27 in 55 appearances. Another return north came – he clearly had reasons for wanting to alternate between southern and northern clubs so frequently which have yet to be identified – and he joined Hyde.

Hesham also played for Newton Heath Albion but was working as a clerk in Manchester when war broke out. 

The following details of his military service and death are from the website: https://www.footballandthefirstworldwar.org

First World War Service

Gunner 53546 Hesham, who had pre-war service with the 4th Volunteer Battalion of the Manchester Regiment (time-served), enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) on 18 November 1914 and was subsequently sent for basic training. After leaving Number 2 Depot, Gosport, Gnr Hesham was posted to 21 Siege Battery RGA and landed in the French port of Boulogne on 25 May 1915. On 29 September 1915, Hesham was granted short leave before returning to his unit on 3 October 1915 – just two weeks before the Second Battle of Ypres. On 17 November 1915, Gnr Hesham was killed in action and subsequently buried at La Clytte Military Cemetery, located 8km south-west of Ypres. He left a widow and a 14 year-old son who lived in Longsight, Manchester.

City’s First Shoot-Out

On this day (28 October) in 1981 Manchester City faced their first competitive penalty shoot-out.  The League Cup tie with Stoke ended 2-2 on aggregate but it took some considerable effort for either side to progress in the competition.  With the penalty shoot-out reaching 8-8 goalkeeper Joe Corrigan saved.  Norwegian Aage Hareide made it 9-8 for City and the Blues progressed.   You can read what John Bond thought about penalties below.

Royal Reactions (part two)

On 17th of this month I posted the first part of a two part feature on the royal family and Manchester City. Now, as promised, here’s the second part focusing on visits to Manchester City by the UK monarchs over the decades plus a few other snippets. Enjoy this free to read article…

Before I start with part two here’s a link to the first part of the feature:

Over the years Manchester City has proved to be a very popular club for visits by significant members of the British Royal family and of other nations’ royalty.  Whether this has anything to do with the club’s success, the stadium’s importance, or the role of Manchester in terms of industry and commercial activity is unclear (probably a bit of all of that!). There have been two major royal visits to Maine Road and there has been a significant visit to the club’s former ground at Hyde Road (though some people incorrectly think there have been two!). In addition, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh plus other senior royals visited the City of Manchester Stadium (now Etihad) twice for the Commonwealth Games. Prince Philip was creating history by becoming the first senior member of the Royal family to visit two of City’s venues. 

The first Royal visit to Maine Road was on 20 October 1934 when the Duke of York (future King George VI, Queen Elizabeth II’s father) watched City’s 1-0 defeat by Derby County.  Prior to the match the Duke was introduced to both sides and then he took his seat at the front of the Directors’ Box. The previous year he had witnessed City’s FA Cup final defeat to Everton at Wembley.

The next major Royal visit came on Thursday 7 May 1964 when Prince Philip witnessed a City-United derby match. The game had been organised by the Variety Club of Great Britain as a charity fund raiser for underprivileged children, and it had been hoped a capacity crowd of over sixty thousand would be present, however appalling weather limited the attendance to approximately 36,000. Philip, as with the Duke of York thirty years earlier, sat in the Directors’ Box, although this time, according to newspaper reports the box had been decked out with flowers and was christened the Royal Box for the evening.

The game ended with Philip presenting the Duke of Edinburgh Cup to United’s captain Denis Law on the pitch in the pouring rain. Thousands of children, according to local reports, swarmed on to the pitch, as the Duke became drenched. Interestingly, Philip’s visit to the Commonwealth Games in 2002 also saw him suffer with the rain. Perhaps he remembered his 1964 visit as he waited for the 2002 Games to end!

City’s current stadium has welcomed a variety of international royal guests, including the former King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, who attended City v Liverpool in March 2017, while Maine Road saw several visits by middle eastern princes and others over the years. 

The most significant Royal visit of all to a City venue has to be the 1920 appearance of King George V at Hyde Road. This was the first visit to a provincial ground by a reigning monarch and as such is of immense importance. A month or so earlier the King had gone to watch a FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Leicester.

Subscribers can read more on that visit here:

It has been suggested that twenty years earlier, however, Queen Victoria’s son, the Prince of Wales (future King Edward VII), attended Hyde Road. This is a myth – please don’t believe it! I’m always keen on finding evidence and the author who propagated this story actually mistook City director Joshua Parlby for the future King on a photograph! 

I’ve performed extensive research on this so-called visit and have revealed in earlier books (most notably Farewell To Maine Road in 2003) that the visit did not occur. As with all myths I try to work backwards to understand how these things take hold and why some become convinced (don’t get me started on the myth about Anna Connell!). I find it helps to get to the source because that way it becomes clear why someone who hasn’t performed detailed research becomes convinced. So, here’s the story of how some authors have incorrectly claimed a royal visit in 1900…

Back in 1930 City’s first true history, Manchester City Football Club Souvenir History by Fred Johnson, stated: ‘The Hyde Road ground was honoured with the presence of His Majesty the King on March 27th 1900 when Liverpool were opposed.’ This is clearly a typographical error as the incident it refers to is the visit of King George on 27 March 1920 (Liverpool were the visitors). 

This explains the birth of the error but a photograph has also been produced by one author ‘showing’ the King at Hyde Road. It shows nothing of the sort and the photo (below) is clearly a red herring. It is Hyde Road (the stand in the background is the Stone Yard Stand) but the two gentlemen wearing top hats have been claimed to be leading royals with the one closest to the camera supposedly future King Edward. However, he is not. I’ve compared these photos to others in my collection and published in the early 1900s. These images are actually from the visit of future Prime Minister Arthur Balfour in September 1900.

Balfour was the only significant visitor that day and his head actually appears on the image (between the ladies and the top-hatted men). One of the women is described as Balfour’s daughter on another photo from this day. The top-hatted gent at the back is City director W. Richmond (director between 1896 and 1902), while the other top-hatted man looks an awful lot like Joshua Parlby (the club’s former manager and a director in 1900). 

Regardless of this myth, it is amazing that three successive monarchs had attended City’s grounds, albeit in George VI’s case he was still Duke of York when he attended Maine Road in 1934.   

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Royal Reactions (part one)

I’m sure we’ve all been watching some of the television coverage following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. With so much air time to fill we’ve often had angles put forward and debated for a few minutes or hours on TV and radio. So I thought it was time I put one (or two – part two will go into detail about royal visits to Manchester City) of my own on my website. Here goes… Someone asked me the other day about how Manchester City reacted in terms of performance in the days/weeks/months after a monarch’s death. So, if you’ve been desperate to find out, or are more likely to think ‘go on then, I’ll stick with it a bit longer’, here’s the answer:

Since Manchester City was established in the 19th Century there have been two British Queens and now five Kings. Detailed below are a few snippets from each of their reigns which may or may not be of interest. I’ll start with Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria was on the throne throughout the birth of League football until her death in January 1901. These were the years when professional football developed and Victoria died only 9 years after the club had joined the League as Ardwick.

Major Trophies Won: No major trophies were won by City during Victoria’s reign but they did win the Second Division title in 1899 – the first national success of either Manchester club. The last complete season of her life saw City compete in the top flight for the first time. the first game after her death was a 2-1 defeat at Stoke.

King Edward VII was on the throne from January 1901 through to May 1910. He died in the close season as City were about to go on tour to Germany and Denmark. During Edward’s life City won the FA Cup in 1904 (Manchester’s first major trophy) and were runners up in the League that season.

King George V was the first monarch to visit a Manchester City game when he attended a 1920 League game between City and Liverpool at Hyde Road. During his reign City won the FA Cup in 1934 and George was present for that final. City had also appeared in two other finals and had finished 2nd in the League in 1920. He died in January 1936 and the following weekend’s FA Cup games went ahead as scheduled. Over 65,000 watched City defeat Luton 2-1 at Maine Road.

King Edward VIII was only on the throne for about nine months and abdicated in December 1936. City had finished ninth in the only season completed during his reign but the 1936-37 was to be a spectacular one, though the part of the season before his abdication was not so great for the Blues.

King George VI became King on the abdication of his brother and City were to go on an incredible run shortly afterwards. A couple of defeats came within a fortnight of him taking on the role but other than those City were undefeated for the rest of the season. An incredible run of 22 games unbeaten brought City the League title in 1937.

As the Duke of York George had attended the 1933 FA Cup final and had also attended a game at Maine Road that year too. George died in February 1952. The following weekend’s games were not postponed and City drew a goalless match with Blackpool.

Queen Elizabeth II became Queen in 1952 and during her reign City have found major success time and time again. Within 3 years of her becoming Queen she attended Wembley to watch City face Newcastle in the 1955 FAC final. Newcastle won that (their last major domestic trophy) but the year after she was at Wembley again to see City beat Birmingham in the Trautmann Final. Since then City have found major glory in the League and in Europe. Their trophy haul under Elizabeth includes:

1 European Cup Winners’ Cup

7 League titles

4 FA Cups

8 League Cups

City have won 1 trophy approximately every 3.5 years of her reign. When she died games were postponed the following weekend.

King Charles III – Of course it’s too early to say what success arrives during his reign.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this slightly odd football article. There’ll be a second part published next week. Watch this space. While you’re here why not explore the rest of the website. Thanks

41 Years Ago Today: Trevor Francis Debut

I feel old today as 41 Years ago today (September 5, 1981) I attended my first away game. That day my parents told me we were going to Stoke v Manchester City. The reason why? It was to be the debut of new City striker Trevor Francis. This was perceived as a huge transfer at the time (don’t be fooled into thinking major transfers have only come in recent years!) and part of manager John Bond’s plan to challenge for the League title – and for a while it looked as if they would!

Here for subscribers is a piece on that day and what followed with quotes from interviews I’ve performed with Trevor Francis and Peter Swales who tell the story of that time. There are also contemporary match reports too:

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