My first vivid memory of MCFC was being taken to the corner of Kippax Street and Claremont Road, in 1934, to see City bring the F.A. Cup home. Even then City used Finglands coaches and Sam Cowan & Co. were all standing on the seats with the F.A. Cup held aloft. Hundreds of supporters, 99% of them wearing cloth caps, thronged the area. I wasn’t allowed to visit the Academy until the war years but going to Heald Place Junior School (just behind the new Kippax Stand) meant we were all Blues – no one had ever even heard of U****d. If there was a match going on mid-week a big cheer meant City had scored, so much to our teachers’ chagrin we all counted the cheers and paid little attention in class.
What thrills to be introduced to 3/4 time. Standing outside the ground, with the pensioners, trying to guess which door would be opened first, then up the steps and into the Kippax (which of course had no roof then).
I lived on Platt Lane. The crowds pre-war were enormous. Trams brought supporters to the game and they were all “stacked” along Platt Lane during the match. I have vivid memories of when I was a boy rushing the front door after the game to ask “what’s the score?”
Those were the days before floodlights so in winter games used to start at 2.00p.m.
Wartime football left many memories with lots of guest players. Team changes were carried around the perimeter of the ground by a young lad with a board, all written in chalk. Was Peter Doherty home on leave and going to play? You had to wait until the board boy reached your position to find out.
The fifties saw the Revie plan and the Marsden plan. Don Revie played deep centre forward and brought us two great years in ’55 and ’56. The Marsden plan was to play twin centre halves. Les McDowell, manager in the fifties, was way ahead of his time but we sank into the early sixties and relegation. The lowest crowd was against Swindon, just 8015 (I wasn’t actually there but it seems 30,000+ claim they were). The thrills of the Mercer – Allison era were exciting. The sheer artistry of the “ballet on ice” win over Spurs – those were great days. Then onto the ’80’s and ’90’s with more managers, coaches, physics, and trainers coming and going with little success.
But that wonderful day in 1934 when I first fell in love with my beloved Blues still evokes rich memories too deep for tears. And with the start of a new season there are great hopes for the future, a cup or two perhaps, but always the certainty of a lump in the throat when the crowd roar CITY, CITY, CITY, CITY.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #118 on
Sent in by: Neale Hayward-Shott