Newsletter #1882

For those of you who are interested in the history of our club, tonight’s issue sees a wonderful contribution from Derek Styles who has followed up on David Smith’s recent contributions.

Derek was 12 years old in 1941 and provides some unique insight into the Blues during the war and the influence of the war years on balance of footballing in power in the city. Fascinating stuff and thank you Derek.

Derek’s article is the crowning glory on some lovely contributions, which I’ll not tell you more about but will sit back and watch you savour.

Next Game: Stoke City, Britannia Stadium, FA Cup 4th Round, 26 January 2013, 12.45


David Smith asks why were more of his contemporaries in his youth supporters of United rather than City. He suggests a “sympathy vote” following the Munich disaster. I believe that played a part but I also believe that the trend began much earlier, in the war years to be precise.

I first went to Maine Road to see City, my favourite club then, now and in between, in 1941 (I was 12 years old at the time) when United were also playing their home games there as Old Trafford had been damaged in an air raid.

As I have said in an earlier posting, nearly all of City’s players were in the armed forces and were serving overseas or “somewhere in the UK”.

Veteran wing half Jackie Bray and reserve full back Gordon Clark were the only Blues available on a regular basis and Wilfred Wild had to make up the team from whatever “guest” players turned up.

Contrast that with United where they had many players working in “reserved occupations” locally and who were released to play on Saturdays (the only day matches were allowed) as they were providing entertainment for war workers. They were able to field this team for every match: Breedon: Roughton and Redwood: Warner, Carey and Whalley; Bryant, Morris, Rowley, Pearson and Mitten (apologies to those who haven’t heard of 2-3-5!).

With such a regular XI, United were winning most of their matches and quite naturally, with such results, they began to attract the support of the non-committed and to win over the weaker City fans.

City did improve as the first teamers trickled back after the war and David Smith’s uncle, George, was a real breath of fresh air as he teamed up with Frank Swift, Bert Sproston, Sam Barkas, Les McDowall, Jimmy Heale and Peter Doherty. Billy Walsh and Maurice Dunkley had also come on the scene but some others did not return for one reason or another.

United continued at Maine Road after the war (for too long in my opinion) and they kept up their winning ways in the First Division; City were also winning well but they were in the Second Division and the top flight was the major attraction.

United, with ex-City Matt Busby as manager were also well ahead of City in matters of publicity and their fan-base continued to increase year by year. It was a while before City stopped the rot but we are on the up now and I am sure it must be near to 50-50 support in the school playgrounds today.

Derek Styles <deranne1(at)>


I too had communion every birthday at the Bell Waldron, but I never spoke to God. My eldest worked at the Blue camp for a while and once texted me that he had been chatting with Colin Bell; I replied “don’t talk to God, son. Just listen.”

My local for a long time was the Golden Lion in Withington. Ken Barnes was a regular and I loved chatting with him. I once got him to sign an old football card with him in his massive shorts. It caused much amusement. Asa often came in. Peter Barnes occasionally, but I felt he was too up himself, which I could never understand, his Dad letting him get like that.

Once I failed to persuade Mick Channon to come in (he was sat in his car waiting for Asa, who didn’t show). Worst of all was when Bill Taylor and Tony Book were at the bar and I knocked Tony’s brand new pint over his flash 3 piece suit. He didn’t bat an eye and refused to let me even replace the pint. What a gentleman. Still embarrassed though.

Martin Hunt <martinhuntctid(at)>


Mario Balotelli is going to AC Milan, no.
AC Milan are also talking to Kaka, Mario is taking things back to Italy, no.
City will not accept the total amount, it’s not enough, Mario has given up his mansion, .no.
AC Milan want to pay in 6 instalments, Mario seen at airport, no.

Mancini says Mario has a 3-year contract, and City only have 18 players.

Please go Mario Balotelli so that City have time to get a player that wants to help the club, without wanting attention to himself, mostly negative.

In truth, City want the money back that they have invested in Balotelli and AC Milan would like to have seen a better player; it is a risk they have to take.

Stay tuned and only believe in anything if and when it happens; the rest means nothing, just two sides trying to make a deal.

In Mancini I trust!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Much is written about footballers doing daft or bad things, but this is overblown by our media and footballers as a whole get a bad name. I know they are very well paid indeed, but I don’t think it is fair to label them as feckless and stupid as a whole. For instance in the last thirty years at City the vast majority of lads who have played for MCFC are decent lads, and I am sure that is the case in most clubs.

The perceived so-called wisdom is that good news doesn’t sell newspapers.

I want to take a little time out to tell you about the sportsmanship and humanity shown by Fulham’s Brede Hangeland during the game last Saturday.

Carlos Tévez played an inviting through ball towards the by-line for Pablo Zabaleta to chase onto and both he and Fulham’s Brede Hangeland stretched for it at the same time and they collided in one of those honest to goodness challenges but Zaba ended up accidentally kicking the studs in Hangeland’s boots.

If you’ve ever done that you’ll know how painful it is, and Zaba, who is certainly no play-actor, was clearly in a lot of pain. I noticed immediately from my seat in the Colin Bell Stand that Hangeland was immediately concerned about Zaba’s well-being, and on Match of The Day the footage showed a rather concerned Hangeland trying to ease his pain, giving his foot a good old rub!

I very much doubt the Norwegian defender took a shine to Zaba or has a foot fetish where Argentine international footballers are concerned! It was just one pro showing the best part of his nature.

Whilst many players would have done the same, it was such a heartening moment, nevertheless, Hangeland’s sincere concern was much to his credit.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


I will be in Manchester for the weekend 9/10th Feb. City are away; where is a Blue-friendly place to watch the match?

I live in Holland and noticed a lot of negative comments about Javi Garcia when he first came into the squad; at the time they were justified if a little short-sighted.

Portuguese football is a whole different game than the Premier League; have a bit of patience, give the guy a chance. There is already a big difference in the quality of his performances in the last few matches. I am admittedly watching the game on telly in Holland and my view is influenced by the cameras but I get to see the whole match and in my view his last few matches have been good.

Whatever we all think about Balotelli as a footballer, we should be grateful to him for drawing +/- 98% of Rag-loving anti-City publicity and in fact leaving the rest of the squad totally pressure-free.

I live in Alkmaar, Holland, home of AZ, my second love in football. In the supporters’ club there are various posters from matches in the club’s history. One of them is for a match against Manchester C (England) on August 13th. There is no year given, people knew what year it was when it was printed. From the date I assume that it was a friendly pre-season match; does anyone know anything about it? (ED – calling Mr Gary James?!)

Blue forever, Ian Nixon <i.nixon(at)>


23 January 2013

Arsenal               5 - 1  West Ham United       60,081

League table as at 15 January 2013

                    P  GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  23  27  56
 2 Manchester City 23  26  51
 3 Chelsea         23  25  45
 4 Tottenham H.    23  12  41
 5 Everton         23   9  38
 6 Arsenal         23  19  37
 7 Liverpool       23  12  34
 8 West Brom A.    23   1  34
 9 Swansea City    23   7  33
10 Stoke City      23  -5  29
11 Sunderland      23  -4  28
12 West Ham Utd    23  -7  27
13 Norwich City    23 -15  26
14 Fulham          23  -7  25
15 Southampton     23 -10  23
16 Newcastle Utd   23 -13  21
17 Aston Villa     23 -25  20
18 Reading         23 -15  19
19 Wigan Athletic  23 -18  19
20 QPR             23 -19  15

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1882