NEWSLETTER #1969

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MAN CITY INFO VIA THE ALPS “McVittee!” (1969)

Created in 1994, MCIVTA is the longest running unofficial Manchester City related web site and e-newsletter in existence.

ISSUE DATE: Saturday 17th January 2015

NEXT GAME: Arsenal, Etihad Stadium, Sunday 18th January, (16:00 GMT)

———-
WELCOME

It’s been an important week in City’s season. Whilst it was disappointing to surrender the lead (again) in the draw at Everton, Goodison is never an easy place to go to, so a point is not a bad result in the scheme of things. The two point gap to leaders Chelsea is not insurmountable, and judging by the whining that is coming out of West London, Chelsea are more worried about us than the other way round!

Wilfried Bony has finalised his £25m (rising to £28 with conditions) move from Swansea, signing a four and a half year contract, and he is a very popular signing. The top goal scorer in the Premier League 2014 is as strong as an ox, holds the ball well, and at 6 feet tall, is very good in the air. His goal for Swansea against us this season where he showed great chest control and superb technique to calmly score with a terrific volley left a great impression. Indeed, he played very well that day. He is not particularly quick but he has proved to be a very consistent player, with very intelligent movement and passing skills. I also like the way that he drops deep into midfield to make space for himself. Like any striker, he will miss chances from time to time (he missed a stack of chances in Swansea’s defeat to Tottenham earlier this season which could have turned defeat into a victory). His goal scoring record is excellent, though, and speaks for itself he knows our league!
well:

Pld Gls
Sparta Prague 59 22
Vitesse Arnhem 65 46
Swansea City 54 25

His attitude is very mature and he is a dedicated professional, so all the signs are good. The only obvious drawback is that he might not be able to play for us until mid February, but our strikers are returning to fitness at the right time to provide competition and more depth.

Not so good news is that Samir Nasri is out for up to a month with a calf injury, and Edin Dzeko is a slight doubt for Sunday’s clash with Arsenal but Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero should be fit. We have done very well without this pair of key players during their injury layoffs, but we need them back in the team now, and their return is very welcome indeed. Our team and defence in particular is crying out for Sir Vinny’s leadership, quality and assertiveness, and the attack needs that extra pace, clinical finishing and all round qualities of Sergio Aguero. Let’s hope they both stay fit.

Tonight we have a very special issue for you. We open up with a report of the Everton game from John Burfield. Any of you who has read King of the Kippax over the years, will be familiar with John’s wonderful, acerbically witty column which has been one of its many highlights. Talking of KotK, Dave Wallace has a new edition due out on Sunday (please see below for details).

We have had a wonderful response to our appeal for your memories of the late 1960s/early 70s City team, and there are some real gems for your delectation. I hope you enjoy this as much as I have enjoyed reading it. The only drawback is that they make me even more envious of those of you saw that great team in the flesh. Keep them coming (please see my ad at the end of this issue).

Martin Hunt has kindly shared a “WHY BLUE?” for us in his own thoroughly enjoyable style. Anyone care to share theirs too?

Thanks very much for all your contributions. Please keep them coming.

Come on City.

Phil Banerjee
Editor
———–

MATCH REPORT: EVERTON 1 MANCHESTER CITY 1

Goodison Park: the ground that time forgot. Built in the late 15th century when the average British male was 4ft 9′, with the seats bolted onto wooden terraces, sufficient leg room for double amputees only, pillars to restrict your view, and best of all if you happen to be sat at the back of the lower tier of the Bullens Road Stand, the angle of the overhang from the upper tier is such that you can’t see the far side of the pitch. We got the occasional glimpse of Jesus Navas’ feet every now and then, but his head was well and truly cut off – as if you’d let your gran take photos at a wedding after one sherry too many.

To add to the sense of time warp then, on arriving at the ground a police announcement informed the City fans that a hoarding of some sort on said stand had come loose in the howling wind and kick off might be delayed. In the end repairs were evidently effected just in time for the 3pm start, but it was clear that the weather was going to impact on events on the field to some degree nonetheless.

In the first half, City, attacking the Gwladys Street End, played into the face of a gusting North Westerly and for the 8th game in a row without a recognised forward on the pitch. Aguero had made the bench, but although Dzeko had been declared fit by the manager in the Friday pre-match press conference, there was no sign of him in the match day squad, and no sign either of ‘Jack of all trades’, James Milner, reported to be nursing a niggle, which meant that attacking midfielder Stevan Jovetic was again pressed into service as a false number 9.

Courtesy of the unpredictability of the fixture list computer, Everton were the first real traditional ‘big’ team we’d faced since our striking injury crisis began, and although they’d been on a poor run of form, there were still enough decent players (Barklay, Naismith, Lukaku, Baines, Coleman, Barry) in their starting line up to leave the travelling Blues wondering if we would be able to impose our passing game – and particularly in the absence of the missing Ya Ya – to quite the same extent as we’d managed against West Brom and Crystal Palace, or whether Jovetic would cut an isolated and ineffective presence up front.

Well for the first 45 minutes certainly, those fears were completely assuaged as City mastered possession superbly in such difficult blustery conditions. The mercurial David Silva orchestrated attack after attack, Samir Nasri, as always, ran around with the ball glued to the end of his right foot, and up front the much criticised Stevan Jovetic had an excellent game, holding the ball up well and enabling his midfield colleagues to push up alongside him. Alas the only problem, and it’s been a perennial one this season, was that we couldn’t put the ball in the net. The three players mentioned above are all sublimely talented, but all equally cursed with the tendency to over-elaborate, always wanting to incorporate one more back heel or reverse pass when the shot is virtually begging to be taken. As a result City ended up spurning a host of chances, the worst of the lot being Jesus Navas’ cross shot from 8 yards that he scuffed wide of the far post after being expertly played i!
n by Silva, and instead of going in at the break 3 or 4 goals to the good, the game remained scoreless. Indeed had Joe Hart not saved superbly, Schmeichel ‘starfish’ style, from Lukaku right on half time (Coleman rattling the crossbar with the rebound), virtually Everton’s only meaningful attack to that point, we could even have found ourselves behind at the interval.

The 2nd half began then with another scare, as Lukaku again jinked past the isolated Mangala and, this time on his favoured left peg, rifled in a low cross shot that saw Hart produce another smart save low down to his left.

City then reassumed brief control for a 10 minute period, but the game was becoming increasingly stretched, and as Zabaleta and Clichy joined in our attacks, so Everton began to exploit the space down the channels behind them, often hitting the ball long toward the powerful Lukaku. The big Belgian youngster had been expertly dealt with by Mangala in the first half, as he’d laboured away centrally and ineffectively with his back to goal, but now pulling wide to run at the exposed City centre halves he was a different proposition.

In the 66th minute, the travelling fans got the moment they’d been waiting for, Sergio Aguero entering the field of play after a 6 week absence through injury, with Stevan Jovetic perhaps unfortunate to be the one to make way, although he’d been undeniably less effective after the break than before it.

In the 74th minute though, we finally got the breakthrough our overall superiority had merited. Zabaleta dispossessed Lukaku with a superb sliding tackle on the edge of our box and regaining his feet worked the ball wide to Navas, who accelerated away on the counter, before feeding Nasri, who cut it back to Silva waiting by the penalty spot. The Spaniard’s left footed shot deflected off a lunging defender up over the advancing keeper, with Fernandinho first to the hanging ball to nod it over the line from close range. Everton’s raging appeals variously for offside against the little Brazilian and for an innocuous ball to hand by Zabaleta as he executed his tackle at the start of the move, were both equally desperate.

The big question then was could we hang on for a deserved win. The answer regrettably was ‘no’. Referee Martin Atkinson had infuriated the City players and fans all afternoon by awarding Everton a string of free kicks for innocuous looking challenges, and yet another such soft decision went the home team’s way in the 78th minute. Perhaps Pablo Zabaleta should shoulder some of the blame for continually trying to get a leg in front of his opponents and thereby inviting dives and falls, when he really has no need to, but the general consensus was that Atkinson might as well have donned an Everton jersey and had done.

Inevitably Baines was going to get his delivery right eventually and so it proved, a flat fast ball whipped into the near post that any one of three Everton players could have glanced home, so leaden footed was the City defensive line’s response. Joe Hart copped for some criticism for rushing out and flapping away well short of Naismith, the scorer, but the City keeper’s rationale that the Everton player’s header would have gone in anyway was hard to counter. The plain fact is that with Kompany and Kolarov on the bench, Dzeko and Toure absent, and Jovetic withdrawn, the City team is very short on inches and habitually vulnerable to set pieces, and perhaps Hart over compensated.

Thereafter, as the rain lashed down and the temperature dropped even further, Everton were marginally the more threatening team, but the full time stats of City having mustered 18 shots to the home side’s 10, and having enjoyed 62% possession, confirmed that we were right to have regarded the 1-1 final score as 2 points dropped rather than the 1 gained.

Markings:

Hart – 6. Two superb saves from Lukaku on the one hand, but a hapless flap for the Everton equaliser on the other.

Zabaleta – 6. Usual robust, all action, display, but when there’s a whistle happy buffoon like Atkinson in charge, he really does need to learn to adjust his game and stop diving in for the ball. The number of unnecessary free kicks he concedes in dangerous positions is becoming a real issue.

Clichy – 7. Continued his recent run of good form. Quietly efficient both offensively and defensively.

Dimichelis – 6. Solid, but toiled against Lukaku in the 2nd half.

Mangala – 6. Excellent 1st half, but allowed Lukaku to run the ball past him in dangerous areas two or three times in the 2nd. It should be remembered though that City play a high risk game at the back, with the full backs frequently pushing forward and precious little cover for the centre halves.

Fernando – 8. One of his best games for City so far. Had the overhyped Barklay in his pocket, and made any number of strong tackles and interceptions. Anchored the midfield well.

Fernandinho – 6. Scored the goal and improved after the break, but gave the ball away cheaply on countless occasions in the 1st half.

Silva – 8. At the heart of everything good that we did.

Nasri – 7. Enabled us to monopolise possession for much of the game, but there wasn’t as much meaningful end product as from his Spanish compatriot.

Navas – 6. A player who frustrates supporters on a regular basis. On the plus side he worked extremely hard, kept Baines pinned back, didn’t shirk any challenges and seldom gave away possession. However, as usual on the counterattack he suffered from Darius Vassell syndrome, turning back or cutting inside at the first sign of a defender, instead of pinning back his ears and flying at them, and as always the number of crosses he lashed straight into the ankles of the nearest defender was phenomenal.

Jovetic – 7. Did a good job in the 1st half, holding the ball up in tight situations to give the side a platform, far more effectively than in previous games, and there was one glorious nutmeg on Coleman (I think) to treasure as well. Faded after the break, but still unlucky to be hooked.

Subs:
Aguero – 6. Looked understandably rusty, but great to see him back.
Lampard – 6. Did little of consequence in his brief cameo.
Kolarov – (not on field long enough)

John Burfield

jb003b5048 AT blueyonder.co.uk

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————
1968
In the 1967/8 season, at 17-years old, I was already a dyed in the wool
City fan.

I lived off Claremont Road Rusholme. My mum had been secretary of the local
supporters’ club branch (meetings held in the Lord Lyon on Claremont Road).
My Dad had watched City in the thirties and told my twin brother and me
stories of Peter Doherty, Eric Brook, Freddie Tilson, Tommy Johnson, Frank
Swift and Co. To him the 1968 team was not as good. Eventually he accepted
that they were as good! But he wouldn’t accept that they were better!

My first ever first team game was in 1959 when City played Burnley in the last game of the season. Burnley won 2-1 and took the First Division
championship. The attendance was 63,000 at Maine Road, including me and my
brother.

In the following years City’s fortunes generally ebbed and we were
relegated to Division 2 in 1963 (conceding 102 goals along the way!). There
were a few bright points in that time though. From the Platt Lane End
terraces (standing in those days) I saw Denis Law play in a blue shirt in
1960/61 season and he was electric, making and scoring goals with aplomb*.*
He scored 21 goals in 44 appearances. His best period in my view because he
played in a pretty limited team then, compared with his rag days, as
demonstrated by his 7 goals against Luton Town in an FA Cup tie and still
being on the losing side! We were 6-1 up when the game was abandoned with
20 mins to go and his 6 goals didn’t count. And “Typical City” lost the
re-arranged game 3-1, Law scoring our goal.

Slowly City began to re-emerge and recruited players like Peter Dobing,
Jimmy Murray and Derek Kevan and hope began to grow. Then in ’65/66 season
Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison arrived and suddenly we had a half decent
side incl. players like Johnny Crossan and George Heslop in addition to
Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee. We won the Second Division championship (The
1-0 midweek victory at Rotherham had secured promotion – Colin Bell the
scorer) and took eventual FA Cup winners Everton to a second 6th round
replay. This was success at last!

Homegrown players, Neil Young (debut 1961) David Connor (debut 1964), Mike
Doyle (debut 1965), Glyn Pardoe (debut 1962) Alan Oakes (debut 1959) Harry
Dowd (debut 1961) began to flourish.

Our first season back in the First Division (’66/’67) was a struggle but we
survived in mid-table with the help of the presence of Tony Book (debut
first match of 1966 season).

For the 1968 team the final pieces of the jigsaw were the signings in 1967
of Tony Coleman, Ken Mulhearn and more significantly Franny Lee.

Watching the ’68 team was exhilarating after the relative mediocrity of
previous years. The ball was moved quickly and there was generally plenty
of pace in the game. One noticeable difference is that compared with
today’s team possession football was not a reality and the opposition had
the ball as much as City and unexpected results occurred. For the record
the final stats were

Plyd Won Drew Lost For Agst Pts
42 26 6 10 86 43 58 (2 points for a win)

Straight away you see that we played 4 more games (Easter was a crucial
period when games were played on Good Friday, the next day (Saturday) and
Easter Monday) and that we lost 10 games and that the goal difference was a
respectable 43 and a goal average of exactly 2.

Even though we lost 10 games the defence was pretty good conceding roughly
one goal a game and the attack scored an average 2 per game. If you convert
the wins to 3points for comparison with the season just gone the total
would have been 84 as compared with 86 from 38 games. The biggest
difference is the number of goals scored 86 v 102 in 4 fewer games. Goals
against are similar 43 v 37

Even though we became champions in 1968 it was still a roller coaster ride
until the end. As teenagers we were carried on a wave of youthful optimism
but not really expecting the outcome that was to come. The team started the
season slowly but finished strongly (sound familiar) winning the last 4
games. When we won 1-0 against Sheff W, 2-0 against Everton, 3-1 against Spurs. It was pre-ordained that we would score 4 against Newcastle and we did!

Two matches stand out for me (it could be three with the 4-1 home win in
the snow against Spurs, but that was mid-season and not as pivotal – but
what a great performance that was).

The first was the derby match at the swamp which we won 3-1. To this day I
can still hear the “zipping” noise of the ball as it ran down the net when
Colin Bell scored the equaliser before half time. I was standing only 10 or
so steps back from the goal in the scoreboard end. It was a brilliant
performance by City who, according to everybody, were going to be lambs to
the slaughter and the setback of a goal by Best within 5 minutes seemed to
confirm it. But after that City bossed the rest of the game and ran out
easy winners. Our Champions challenge was still alive.

The second was the final game at Newcastle. My brother and my mate went up
on the coach and as I recall it was not an all-ticket match and the ground
wasn’t segregated. We just wanted to get in and we ended up in the Leazes
end amongst the hardcore Newcastle fans. But then there were thousands of
City fans in all parts of the ground and whilst there was trouble, generally it all settled down when the match kicked-off. City went immediately on the attack and scored twice (Summerbee then Young), but after each goal equalised soon after. It was such an open end to end game, but City played with the freedom and confidence they had been showing all
season and without any fear of losing. You just felt that they would always
score enough goals to win. In the second half they were much more dominant
and Nelly got his second before Franny Lee made it 4-2. At that point we
knew we were home. The late 3rd by Newcastle was a mere hiccup. I enclose a
Youtube video of the goals from the game.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYsWjFXNU0o

(If you are interested, there are also some other Youtube vintage clips of
City in action, mainly against the rags, on offer when you follow the above
link which are worth seeing)

The heaving masses of City fans began to celebrate. It was impossible to
get on to the pitch from where we were but it was sheer joy. Our coach
driver instead of heading back to Manchester took us to Sunderland’s Roker
Park where the whole coachload managed to get in the Black Cats social
club. The Sunderland fans were happy because we had beaten the Toon and
they had beaten the rags. It was an evening of singing football songs and
drinking bottles of Newcy Brown. On the way home we hung our City banner
(also carried into the ground) out of the back window of the coach, which
was really an emergency exit, to let the passing neighbourhoods and cars on
the road see who we were!! What a glorious day and all at the age of 17.
And more glory was to follow.

I feel really lucky to have been able to see two glorious chapters of
City’s history, made all the sweeter by the barren years we have all
endured.

I have to say that it was a joy to watch City in the ’60s and early ’70s
but feel that back then we somehow pulled the rug from under our own feet
and underachieved when we were poised to be a consistent force in top
flight football. The ambitions of Peter Swales and Malcolm Allison
eventually put paid to it. With the present set up I have far more
confidence that success will be sustained.

Can we compare the 1968 team to today’s? I don’t think it is possible, the
time gap is too great. Football somehow has become much more complicated.
Just look at the number of people involved in the warm-up on the pitch
before the start of a game! In 1968 teams warmed up in the dressing room.
Whilst there were some serious injuries back then, there never seemed to be
that many player absences (see 1968 stats below) whereas today all teams
seem to have players out for long periods for what look like innocuous
injuries (many self-inflicted stretches and twists and falls) The game is
faster today and the players are finely tuned athletes but somehow less
robust.

Could the 1968 team give the 2014 team a game? I think so but I think they
would lose, though it would be close. They would enjoy the good surfaces,
but I feel they would lack the stamina in the end and playing keep-ball
would be foreign to them. The 1968 team was all about attack at pace, but
players like Bell, Lee and Summerbee would be right at home taking the 2014
team on as would Mike Doyle. But when you think of players like YaYa,
Aguero and Silva, I think the 1968 team would struggle to deal with them.
Positional playing in 1968 was much more rigid whereas today the players
swap roles much more or support each other more. This flexibility would be
hard to cope with. There! I said it was not possible to compare the two
eras but I seem to have done just that!

Player profiles 1968

Harry Dowd (Gkpr) small but agile- a crowd favourite. Injured early in the
season and his place went to Ken Mulhearn

Ken Mulhearn (Gkpr) Bit of a smoothie but can’t recall any real howlers
during the season. Did well to come from Stockport County straight into
what would be the championship winning side

Tony Book (Right back) Great tackler. Always looking to link up with
Summerbee down the right wing. Sometimes lacked pace. Good man to be
captain.

Glyn Pardoe (Left back) Moved to left back from his earlier and to a large
extent unsuccessful forward position and was a revelation especially as he
was right footed playing on the left. He became a tenacious tackler and had
the ability to slide into the tackle and come out with the ball and be back
on his feet at the same time. He read the game well.

Mike Doyle (Right half) Great in the air, Great in the tackle. Good on the
ball. Never say die. City legend

George Heslop (Centre Half) Looked like a pub player but superb in the
centre of the defence. Won most things in the air. Not great on the ball
but usually found a blue shirt.

Alan Oakes (Left half) Mr Dependable. Mr Versatile. Great club servant. 564
appearances. Linked up well with cousin Glyn Pardoe. Had a pile-driver of a
shot and scored a reasonable amount. Could have had more.

Mike Summerbee (Right wing) Great pace down the wing and excellent crosser
of the ball. Scored his share of goals. Spent some time as number nine
where his one touch control and turns in the same movement from goal kicks
were brilliant and took him instantly past defenders. Good in the air and
hard as nails. Not afraid to get stuck in and mix it. Not intimidated by
agricultural full backs.

Colin Bell (Inside Right) What can you say. A footballing aristocrat. He
had everything and could win a match on his own.

Franny Lee (Centre Forward) When he arrived he gave City a new dimension.
He was so direct and packed a bullet shot. Another tough nut. He ran at
defences and won penalties and was accused of diving. Some may have been
marginal decisions but his directness drew clumsy challenges. You will not
see many, if any, better penalty takers. Quite happy to take on three or
four defenders. When he had the ball near the penalty area, he always
looked like he would score.

Neil “Nelly” Young (Inside left) City apprentice. Skinny and tall but not
good in the air. Sweet left foot. Scored lots of goals. Could be
intimidated. Didn’t like tackling and rarely tracked back but he was loved
by City fans. Not usually mentioned in the same breath as Bell Lee and
Summerbee. Something of an unsung hero, but feared by opponents because of
his shooting ability. Gracefully skilful. Occasionally played left wing and
could put over a good cross.

Tony Coleman (Left wing) Pretty much unknown when signed from Doncaster
Rovers. Provided balance to the forward line. Great crosser of the ball and
a tenacious player if sometimes fiery tempered. Weighed in with a few goals.

One thing I like to point out to people who comment how few English players
we have today in the City squad is that all of the players in the 1968
Champions team were eligible to play for England. Other teams of that era
had Welsh Irish and Scots in their teams so they had “foreign” players all
those years ago and we didn’t!

Another interesting point is that there was no such thing as rotation. The
first team squad was smaller and most of the above mentioned players played
most of the games, despite playing regularly on poor quality pitches
(compared with the “manicured lawns” of today’s game) and despite a much
more physical game back then compared with today.

For the record

Harry Dowd 7 apps
Ken Mulhearn 35 apps
Tony Book 42 apps
Glyn Pardoe 41 apps
Mike Doyle 35 apps
George Heslop 42 apps
Alan Oakes 42 apps
Mike Summerbee 41 apps
Colin Bell 35 apps
Francis Lee 31 apps (all matches after signing Oct 1967)
Neil Young 37 apps
Tony Coleman 38 apps

The 2011/12 season certainly felt like the 1967/8 season with its ups and
downs. City were 200/1 to win the league in 1967/8 (I wish I could go back
in time and place a bet!) and in 2011/12 we were probably long odds as
well. The football in both seasons was exciting and the last few games
followed the same pattern of must win games. The rags were our closest
rivals in both cases. The patterns were so similar that it felt like it was
our destiny to win in 2012, even when we had an 8 point deficit with 6
matches to go and then 2-1 down with 5 minutes to go. We kept the faith and
we were rewarded courtesy of those never-to-be-forgotten extra-time minutes

I didn’t set out to write this much [Ed: I won’t be alone in saying I’m so glad you did!], but I hope people feel it is has been worth reading [Ed: It certainly has], what is, a very personal view. Any factual errors are mine.

Tony Reilly

a.reilly1 AT ntlworld.com

————
Back to 1968
The editor has asked for contributions from anyone who was present in 1968 when City gloriously won the 1st Division championship. I have vivid memories of it so here goes:

I had just returned to England after 12 years abroad to attend the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and my first priority was to go to Maine Road and Old Trafford to compare City and United. After a few games I formed the opinion that City were more cohesive as a team unit than United. It seemed to me that United were playing like a collection of individual prima donnas basking in the limelight of being the champions and the mass hysterical support that they received. Nobody would have predicted then that City would emerge above their bitter rivals. The City team was almost 100% English and was by and large assembled by Malcolm Allison, as I understand it. Here are my memories of each individual:

Goalkeeper: Kenny Mulhearn (with Harry Dowd the reserve). A competent, handsome man but not as spectacular as our present incumbent.

Right back and captain: Tony Book. Was brought by Malcolm from Plymouth, where they had become well acquainted due to Allison once being manager there. He was already in his early thirties at that stage but I don’t think he ever missed a game that season.

Left back: Glyn Pardoe. From Winsford in the Cheshire countryside. He had a very sturdy physique and the fans used to chant “the mighty Glyn” after a pop song “You ain’t seen nothing like the mighty Quin” that was on the airways at that time.

Centre half: George Heslop. He got some flak from a friend of mine who referred to him as a “carthorse” whenever he made a mistake.

Right half: Mike Doyle. Perhaps the most dynamic player in the team who covered a lot of ground to make scything tackles on opponents. Another friend referred him as a “one man hatchet squad”. He also came forward and scored a few goals from time to time.

Left half: Alan Oakes. Cousin of Glyn and another popular player.

Outside right: Mike Summerbee. Was arguably the most charismatic member of the team. He had an uncanny ability to hug the touchline with the ball seemingly tied to his bootlaces and find a way passed defenders to deliver a nicely judged centre (remember the goal in the 1969 FA cup final ?). City fans on the Kippax used to chant “sha la la la Summerbee” and the United fans would drown them out with a louder chant of “who the f****** hell is he ?”

Inside right: Colin Bell. The most famous player, and was shrewdly spotted by Malcolm playing for Bury. Scored some really spectacular goals from about 30 yards out, the most memorable being the one at Old Trafford in March contributing towards City’s 3-1 victory.

Centre forward: Francis Lee. Short and stocky, he would just put his head down and drive through opposing defences.

Inside left: Neil Young. Local lad coming through the youth team and stayed with City for most (if not all) of his playing career. Had a powerful left foot and I remember one game when he let fly from the left touchline and the ball ended spectacularly in the net.

Left wing: Tony Coleman. Was the fly in the ointment for Malcolm because of his undisciplined lifestyle. The two had reportedly come to blows in a nightclub on one occasion.

The most memorable games for me were: (1) the ‘ballet on ice’ in December when Spurs were defeated 4-1 with the Maine Road field looking like an ice rink and the snow falling continuously; (2) the 3-1 defeat of United at Old Trafford in March; (3) the grand finale (last and deciding game of the season) in Newcastle when City won a pulsating ding-dong game 4-3, with United losing 2-1 at home to Sunderland. A few weeks later United went to Wembley to win their first European cup final. I was pleased for them but I hope it won’t be too long before City win it as well, although I suspect it is a more difficult achievement in the present time than then.

Philip van Gass
philipvangass at yahoo.co.uk

———–
COMMERCIAL BREAK, 1968 STYLE

Your recent comment about the 1968 team set me thinking and I could write for ages on the subject (maybe next time.) However, it also reminded me of an embarrassing event that happened about that time.

I was playing for a pub team from Hadfield, The Commercial I think. We had a good side but I made the mistake of telling everyone that I had played in goal at school and if ever our keeper was unavailable I would step in.
One Sunday morning we turned up to play a weak team and found them short of numbers. Maybe my team thought they could see what I was made of in goal and I was volunteered to play for the other side who still only had nine men. It finished 11-0 but that wasn’t the worst of it.

At the end of the season who should be there to give out the club prizes but Joe Corrigan, my hero. When I was introduced to Joe my ‘mates’ took high delight in telling him I was a goalie who had let in 11.

Now I am as tall as Joe and he looked me up and down and then in the eye and with a disbelieving catch in his voice just said ‘WHAT were you doing?’ I was speechless. I just shrugged and blushed and went to sit at the back of the room. As you might imagine I was never asked to stand in as keeper and luckily we never turned up against a side that was short again. Maybe word had gone round that the Commercial were always willing to help out in such circumstances.

Philip Walker

Bjpwalker AT btinternet.com

————
TALES OF ’68

Believe it or not where I stood in the Kippax around the time of the 1968 championship winning team not everyone had Bell, Lee, Doyle and Summerbee as their favourite players. Some of us took a delight in Tony Coleman and he had his own chant. I am sure I saw his debut away to Leeds and I remember a few lads who were really peed off when Spider Mellor was shipped out one summer. What was good around that time was winning the second division title at home I think on a Wednesday evening against Southampton in ‘ 66 then consolidating our position the next season and watching the team progress through to the title in ’68. I went to Leeds away in the Cup around ’66 or so when we were a second division team only to lose to a Jackie Charlton header. That gave me lots of hope considering Leeds were one of the big teams at the time. Also George Heslop was another player who had his supporters. He came from Everton reserves I think. Bell, Lee and Summerbee rolls off the tongue but Hes!
lop , Coleman and Dowd doesn’t. I have just finished reading an excellent book about the Summerbee family and Mike’s biggest contract was when he left City to play for Burnley. Different time but there are a couple of players from that era who would certainly get into the present team.

Another story from around the 1968 team. City would give youngsters a chance around that time and a few scored two goals on their debuts. Several years ago I was reading an article in a Dutch football magazine about Stan Bowles who almost broke through to a first team regular, dropped down the divisions and went on to play for England. It must have been a translation from an English publication. Well he went on to say he was earning more money running with a bunch of gangsters in Manchester called the Quality Street Gang than he did with City. As Allison said about him “I wish he would pass the bookies like he does a ball “.

Bob Price

Bob.price AT upcmail.nl

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CIRCA 1968…GREAT TEAM, GREAT MEMORIES

All that needs to said about that era is a list of the players:

Harry Dowd, probably would not be tall enough today but excellent then;
Tony Book, who would give a 30 year old a chance now, but an excellent captain and right back?
Glyn Pardoe, all that needs to be said is that he was one of two or three fullbacks who could keep George Best quiet regularly;
Mike Doyle, in those days every successful team needed a hard man, he was ours
George Heslop, worked well until… ;
Tommy Booth, a classy centre half and the FA Cup 1969 hero in the semi-final.
Alan Oakes, never capped by England – shameful;
Mike Summerbee, a brilliant outside right and the best corner taker in 45 years;
Colin Bell, a king;
Francis Lee, a great buy from Bolton with strength and a tremendous shot;
Neil Young, a classy left foot and the 1969 FA Cup winner;
Tony Coleman, eccentric but very good for two years;
Dave Connor, a reliable, play anywhere, substitute;

And

Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison, what a great team who transformed a second division side in to the most entertaining side imaginable, which also won trophies.

What great memories.

Brian Leigh
B.Leigh AT salford.ac.uk

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KING OF THE KIPPAX ISSUE 221

Pleased to announce that King Of The Kippax number 221, February 2015 is currently at the printers and should be in the outlets by the end of the week, and on sale on Sunday for the Arsenal and subsequent games. This means that on Sunday it will rain between 3 and 4pm of course!

This issue is the usual £3, is A4, 48 pages with a colour front(and back) cover showing Frank Lampard in his New York City kit with Mourinho looking pissed off, with the caption “New York CITY legend in waiting” we’re sure he’ll be worth waiting for!

This issue includes all the regulars plus features on Empty seats, last minute blues, grass roots football in crisis, English DNA philosophy, 2014 reviews, Roma, 59/60 City youth cup, Frank, Phil (Neville) it can also be purchased direct from (cheques to ) King of the Kippax, 25, Holdenbrook Close, Leigh, Lancs, WN7 2HL for £4.50 inc P and P.
regards

Dave and Sue Wallace.
dw001e8104 AT blueyonder.co.uk
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WHY BLUE – MARTIN HUNT
First the accolades: brilliant job by Phil Alcock in the face of adversity, look forward to hearing from him soon. Brilliant job by the stalwart Mr. Banerjee in keeping Mcvittee going (NB we all need to support his efforts!) and brilliant to hear from Ernie Barrow again. I was getting worried about the long silence.

Phil B has asked me why Blue? The flippant answer is; “Why breathe?” Wish I could leave it at that. Sadly, the truth is far less rosy.

I was only two when I saw Bert’s final. In truth, I saw very little and remember less. However, I do remember the horror and unbelievable heroics of seeing a keeper clearly injured and struggling in real pain. I remember losing interest in the game quickly (I was only two!) and I remember my dad telling me of his heroics. Obviously, received memory has blurred the whole incident, but I genuinely do remember being amazed at Bert at the actual time of his unreal heroics.

Now for the very hard confessional. I was raised in a deeply afflicted family. My dad was an avid Stretford fan (pre- Cayman Island, tax dodging days). He corrupted my brother for life., who shamefully went on to corrupt his very own daughter and then his grandsons! Hard to admit. In fact my niece is also my Goddaughter and besides being a fervent church supporter (something I do not share either), she shamelessly wears Satan on her chest and sees no shame! What is even more bizarre, is that we were all raised in Nottingham, of all places.

I remember Munich far more clearly (I was grown up by then). I remember my dad’s genuine grief and his regular updates. I remember sharing (to a far less degree) my brother’s grief and I was particularly upset about Tommy Taylor for some reason. I’d never seen any of them play, it all came from my dad. Tommy was not his beigest hero, nor his biggest sense of loss, but that is what I remember most. (Very odd how the 4 year old mind works).

I do remember that by the age of 5, I was thoroughly, whole-heartedly and forever sick to death of hearing about the Busby Babes, the club itself and everything about the Stretford Rangers. I became an ABU fan long before I found my real vocation in life.

I did not become a true blue for many years (at least 8!), but I was not deeply aligned to anyone else. I do remember visiting Nottingham Forest quite often with my dad and brother (he is 2.5 years older than me, another generation). I was never a Forest fan, but was lucky enough to see the great Stanley Matthews, amongst others. I vividly remember seeing the Blues there and (from my ubiquitous football cards) the vital fact that the centre Half (as they were in those days) Bill Leivers stood 6 2″ and weighed 15 stone (not entirely convinced of the accuracy of the memory, but certain of the weirdness). Undoubtedly, in my mind at the time, this made him superhuman and of such gigantic proportions that he was clearly invincible. He was the first hero that I was truly awe-struck to see play.

I know my first football shirt (at 9 years old) was sky blue with a white neck, but I cannot claim to be a devotee at the time. I had real affection in sequence for Everton, Sheffield United and Villa. Trace that line and there are two consistent features throughout (I freely admit that I was utterly oblivious of the fact until many, many years later). The first is me and my weird search for a religious home. The second is the unbelievable Joe Mercer.

Indeed, by the time he joined City (again, I had no conception at the time) I had become a firm, life-time Blue. I remember deciding to have my own team, consulting the newspapers, discovering the truth that my father had kept me aware of the scum and utterly unaware of the Blues, I remember seeing the unbelievable beauty of a Sky Blue kit (oddly, Coventry’s always did and always will look utterly odd, unconvincing and wrong, even though they took Joe after our greatest disgrace of all time). I remember announcing my firm and lifetime conviction to my dad (and brother, although he doesn’t matter). I was 11.

I could go on reminiscing, but there it is. I had shown tendencies, but struggled to find my way. However, in mitigation, I found my way. I did it entirely alone and (eerily) it aligned with the magnificent Joe Mercer, despite my being utterly unaware of this alignment until after the great man had actually died. My proudest possession is a letter from Joe, apologising that he could not attend my wedding due to some prior engagement (he had to adjudicate Man of the Match at a League Cup Final). I received that letter from my dad at the actual reception and for once, I was completely lost for words.

Martin Hunt
martinhuntctid AT gmail.com

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THE MID 60s AND BEYOND: WHAT ARE YOUR MEMORIES?

Following on from my appeal for contributions of City’s great 1968 side in issue 1968, I wish to extend the appeal to any memories from that great City side and that halcyon era. Perhaps we can extend that beyond with your thoughts and recollections of following City.

So, in the immediate future, if you have any memories of the mid 1960s onwards, the promotion year in 1966, the consolidation year of 1967, the afore mentioned 1968 title winning side, indeed 1969 FA Cup Winning season, and indeed 1970s Cup Winners’ Cup and League Cup Double winning season, we will include them in the forthcoming issues.

We already have a good response to the ’68 appeal, and I thank those Blues who have responded so far. Please, keep them coming.

As well as being of interest to all Blues, these are of personal interest to me too, as they were the years immediately before my family moved to the North West, thus (eventually!) creating a bond for me to our dear old Manchester City! Gary James has written excellent books about Joe Mercer and of course Manchester The City Years – a definitive history on City amongst other wonderfully written and illustrated books. Now we would love to read your memories of those times too. I know from correspondence with some of you, there are those of you who live in far corners of the world who have moved away and experienced those great times.

Of course any memories of City are always welcome, and it is always good to read your Why Blue contributions.

Phil Banerjee
editor@mcivta.com
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MCIVTA ADDRESSES

Articles (Phil Banerjee): editor@mcivta.com
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins): subscriptions@mcivta.City-fan.org
Technical problems (Paul Howarth): paul@City-fan.org

Publishing deadlines are, nominally, 6pm Monday and Thursday evenings by email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.
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DISCLAIMER

Any offers to buy, sell or exchange tickets are made at the risk of the parties involved. MCIVTA has no commercial or insurable interest in any offer and plays no part in any transaction or arrangement.

Offers are detailed purely for the convenience of our subscribers only.
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USEFUL LINKS

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Official Manchester City Supporters Club (http://www.mcfcsupportersclub.com)

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