Manchester’s Emblems

Today I’m focusing on Manchester emblems and, in particular, those used by Manchester City over the years. The club’s current badge has been worn on shirts for over six years after first being revealed at Christmas 2015 and worn from summer 2016, but its roots go back decades with City developing a round badge by the 1930s. 

Here for subscribers is a 1500 word piece on the development of badges at City and United. Enjoy!

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GOLDEN GOALS – 1999 Kevin Horlock Goal V Gillingham

Paul Dickov’s goal in the 1999 Play Off final has often been described as the most important Manchester City goal of all time.  That goal does deserve significant recognition, however it is also important to remember the other contributing factors on that day all those years ago, including the opening City goal scored by Kevin Horlock.

The late 1990s had been a very difficult period for City and Horlock’s goal came at a moment when all hope that the Club could resurrect itself seemed to have vanished.   This goal was obviously important as it gave City hope and ultimately that transferred into achievement.

The idea of this ‘GOLDEN GOALS’ feature is to remember a significant or spectacular Manchester City goal from yesteryear.  My hope is that supporters who were not around back then will learn more about these goals while those who were here will hopefully be reminded of them.  If you would like to nominate a goal for possible use in a future feature then please comment at the end of this piece or email me with details of game, goal scorer and date.

This article, covering Horlock’s goal and the story of that day, is available for subscribers to the website. It costs £20 a year (it works out £1.67 per month) and you get full access to all articles posted, including PDFs of the out of print Manchester A Football History and my first ever book about Manchester City. There are also audio interviews & more. Do a few searches on past content to see what’s available.      

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Showing Your Colours

In January this year the Newcastle Chronicle published a story that intrigued me. It talked of the history of fans wearing football scarves and suggested that a Newcastle fan in 1932 was the first to be photographed wearing a football scarf. The article explained that previously it had been claimed that an Arsenal supporter at a 1934 FA Cup tie had been the first filmed/photographed wearing a traditional bar scarf.  This set me off looking into the history of football scarves and of fans showing their colours.

So, here for subscribers to my site is a 1400 word article on showing your colours, focusing on the stories associated with Manchester City…

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Eleven Years On: 2011 FA Cup

Had we all been allowed to attend matches last season I would have marked the tenth anniversary of Manchester City’s 2011 FA Cup success with a programme feature. Sadly, Covid prevented that and now, a year on, I want to commemorate the eleventh anniversary of that FA Cup success. How time flies!

There are so many angles to that first major success of the modern era for Manchester City and it is impossible to cover them all here. Elsewhere on this website I talk about the 2011 FA Cup run, especially that semi-final win over Manchester United. If you’ve not heard it have a listen to this:

Today I’ll focus on the final itself…

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Manchester City Women’s First FA Cup Final

Manchester City Women’s (then as Manchester City Ladies) first FA Cup tie was a 7-2 defeat at Robin Park, Wigan on 17 September 1989. This was only the second competitive game ever played by the club and came less than a year after formation. Since then, apart from a couple of seasons in the 1990s when the Blues decided not to enter, City have been regular competitors in the competition. In September 1999 City achieved their record score in the competition: 26-0 v Norton, WFA Cup Extra Preliminary Round and on this day (May 13) in 2017 they reached the FA Cup final for the first time.

Here for subscribers is the story of that final as told by those involved and those who were there… as documented in Manchester City Women: An Oral History – get your copy here if you don’t want to subscribe to this site:

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The 1934 FA Cup Final

Manchester City had reached their second consecutive FA Cup final in 1934. They were to face Portsmouth at Wembley on April 28 1934.

Here for subscribers is a long read on City’s preparations for the final and the game itself:

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The 2021 League Cup Final

On this day (25 April) in 2021 Manchester City defeated Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 thanks to a Laporte goal in the League Cup final at Wembley. The game was played in front of a Covid restricted crowd of 7,773.

Here are highlights of that game:


The Matches

By the start of 1975-6 City were clearly seen as one of football’s wealthiest clubs, and were without doubt one of the decade’s glamour clubs.  Almost every player was a household name and, with the arrival of £200,000 defender Dave Watson in June, City were able to boast they possessed 8 internationals.  By the end of the season the improved form of Joe Corrigan raised that figure to 9.  

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FA Cup Final Record Score

On this day (May 18) in 2019 Manchester City defeated Watford 6-0 at Wembley Stadium in the FA Cup final. This equalled the record score achieved in the final by any team.

You can view highlights of the final here:

The record City equalled was held by Bury. You can read about Bury’s FA Cup successes here:

2021 League Cup Final – The Fan Experience

Sunday April 25 2021 brought the first League Cup Final played during any form of Covid lockdown in England. The 2020 final had been the last major final played in the country before the pandemic led to various lockdowns and then the continuation of football without fans.

Some football clubs, including Tottenham, had been allowed to have a limited number of supporters at their home games during the early stages of the 2020-21 Premier League season, but Manchester City had not as they were in a regional tier that prevented crowds. So, for many of us, the last physical game we attended was the 2020 League Cup final (some City fans did of course attend the 1-0 FA Cup victory at Sheffield Wednesday on March 4 and the Old Trafford derby of March 8).

In the period between our last ‘live’ match and the 2021 League Cup final we had to sit at home watching City’s games played in empty stadia or, occasionally, at grounds with a small number of fans in but never with any ordinary City fans in. Former City star Mike Summerbee, the club’s ambassador, would often be seen, masked-up, at games when TV camera crews recognised him and it was always nice to know there was at least one person steeped in MCFC history there.

When the announcement came that the delayed League Cup Final (it was postponed until April in the hope that fans could attend) was to have up to 8,000 fans at Wembley there were then several dilemmas for fans. This was to be a test event and almost 2,000 tickets were to be issued to each competing club, which fans would have to pay for, and 4,000 would be given away to residents around Wembley and some NHS staff. 

Many fans felt it was unfair that Wembley residents would be given tickets (each could apply to bring a guest too) while fans paid and there were the usual concerns about balance of support – would the fact that tickets were to be given to local residents benefit Spurs for example? 

Most fans had no issue with NHS staff being given tickets with some Blues suggesting that NHS staff (and other key workers) who were season ticket holders of the two clubs should be offered the tickets. Lots of other suggestions were made plus, of course, some fans felt it would only be appropriate to attend a major game like this when ALL fans would be allowed back, though that still seemed some way off in April 2021.

To attend the final Manchester City used their loyalty points system and cup scheme as usual but then there was an added layer where fans had to live in certain postcodes: M, SK, BL, OL, WA, WN, PR, FY, BB, LA, CH, CW, BD, HD and HX​ and Greater London. In addition we had to have covid tests in the build-up to the final, including a lateral flow test that had to be performed at a test centre after 1.30pm on the Saturday before Sunday’s final. 

This was difficult for many to arrange as, for example, some of the councils within the postcodes allowed did not have test sites available at weekend. Some booked to have tests close to Wembley, which caused some logistical issues on cup final day, and others had to travel in to Manchester on the Saturday. Inevitably, some did not get negative tests back in time and missed out.

Those lucky enough to get hold of tickets also had to state their method of travel with a limited number of car parking spaces meaning that option simply was not available for some fans. Specific coach and train travel was set up but the costs were prohibitive for some. Others pointed out their concern that once the trains arrived at Euston (or Watford) there would still be a need to travel to the stadium itself. To some this negated the need for travel on specific trains or coaches, but of course the conditions had been imposed by the Government and footballing authorities, not by the competing clubs.

At the stadium on match day the surrounding area seemed full of shoppers trying to pick up a bargain at the retail store but fans seemed few and far between. The photo above (Wembley Way looking towards the stadium) was taken about one hour before kick off. This would normally be packed at this time.

Close to the stadium the Wembley Way ramps that used to carry people up to the stadium have been demolished and a series of steps have been erected instead. Fans had to show their lateral flow test results, tickets, and photographic ID before being allowed up the steps to the stadium. They had to queue at these checkpoints and then, once they’d been allowed through they could make their way up to the stadium turnstiles. They were discouraged from waiting outside the stadium and were encouraged to go to the turnstile.

In previous years drinks had been allowed into the stadium if they were in plastic bottles and the lids were removed. This year no drinks, not even water, were allowed in the stadium, but staff did allow fans to carry in plastic bottles (without lids) as there were water fountains inside (typically positioned near the disabled toilets) and these could be filled up there. This is well worth remembering if you need to have drinks for medical purposes but do not want to pay Wembley’s expensive prices.

In the stadium bars and catering outlets were open as usual and while there was a considerably smaller number of fans within the concourse area, social distancing was not particularly in evidence. Having said that all fans had been tested but supporters were unclear whether Wembley staff, security, stewards and so on had been tested. 

In the bowl of the stadium all fans had been positioned in the same stand plus the corners. This was the stand containing the Royal Box and directly opposite the TV cameras. The cynic would suggest that this demonstrated, as always, that some think the TV spectacle is more important than those in the stadium. Surely congestion in the toilets and other areas could have been eased had fans been spaced out in a wider area, or even if they’d have chosen blocks around the stadium with perhaps Spurs fans on one side or end and City in the opposite stand? If it’s pure safety then that would be the logical thing to do.

In the seats we were positioned predominantly in alternate seats with the row behind and in front of us following a pattern which was supposed to mean that there would be no one directly in front or behind of you. As some fans were in groups/families who had travelled together they sometimes moved next to others in their group on the same row – officially we were told that wasn’t allowed but inevitably it happened (we all wanted to be next to the people we’d gone to the game with and didn’t want the seat gap) and no one tried to stop it. 

During the game stewards regularly reminded fans that they had to wear face masks throughout – from the moment we had shown our test results and tickets through to leaving the stadium after the presentations we had to be masked up. Of course, when eating or drinking masks were lowered.

Throughout our time in the bowl of the stadium fans would be moving along the rows to their places, and so social distancing was not possible at those times.

After the game we were free to leave en masse if we wanted. As City won the cup most City fans stayed for the presentations and left at various points during the celebrations, meaning there wasn’t a crush to get out. Spurs fans seemed more keen to leave of course, but whether this caused any issues I do not know. Presumably, social distancing is impossible to manage when an entire section chooses to leave at the same time.

If you were one of the lucky ones who had managed to get a car parking space it was refreshing to travel away from Wembley without the huge traffic jams we normally experience. There were roadworks and a few problems on the motorway but nothing like normal.

So, that was the general experience of attending as a Manchester City fan at the first game we’ve been allowed to attend as City fans in over a year. It’s not the story of the game but I hope it gives an idea as to how the crowd management happened.