My boyhood friend Kenny Moss supported City so I became a City fan too. I think Kenny used to go to matches which I really admired him for. Those were the days when Dave Ewing was scoring an own goal every week. Anyway, during the early part of the 1962/63 season I eventually went to Maine Road as an 11 year old and witnessed City get thrashed 6-1 by West Ham. Bert Trautmann was sent off and it was on the national news when I got back home to Langley at 6.00.
I have so many memories of Manchester City. Here are a few in the order that I think of them.
- The last day of the Kippax Stand was fantastic and it elevated my interest in City to a new level. Seeing the old players come onto the pitch choked me up, especially Mike Summerbee, who I loved in his playing days at Maine Road, I couldn’t stop myself crying for about 15 minutes, and me a tough Langley lad.
- My first really emotional moment at Maine Road was seeing my other favourite Johnny Crossan holding that 2nd Division trophy aloft in 1966. He may not have been a Gio Kinkladze but he was to me during my schooldays. I was always inside right at school, pretending to be either Crossan, Colin Bell or Bally.
- I know most City fans probably regret the appointment of Alan Ball to the City manager’s job but to me it was a dream come true. My favourite players when I was a kid were Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee, Alan Ball and Johnny Crossan. I became friendly with Bally before he joined City, because he was a frequent visitor to Jersey and he invited me to his office before the first game of the season against Spurs. That was really an exciting moment for me.
- Colin Bell’s comeback against Newcastle was unbelievable. The applause must have gone on for about 15 minutes. The tears of happiness that were shed during that time because their hero Colin Bell was back playing again must be one of the greatest moments in Man. City history. He was the best player ever to me.
- The 3-1 win at Old Trafford in 1968 was fantastic. We knew we were a good team but that result proved to everybody that we could be the best. Colin Bell’s shot would have hit me if the United net had not got in the way. You never forget these moments.
- The Tommy Booth goal at Villa Park in 1969 was another fabulous moment for City fans. I didn’t make the Cup Final because London was a long way for an 18 year old in those days. I watched the match at my home with about 5 pals and plenty of booze and a good win set us up for the evening.
- Newcastle in 1968 had everything. Goals going in at both ends. We didn’t know which way it would go but the news filtered through that United had lost and that made us Champions. We ran on to the pitch and nobody seemed to mind too much. Joe Mercer was on the radio saying what a great team we were. I got back to Manchester at about 11.00pm and was in the Twisted Wheel by 12.00. That will mean something to the older Mancunians. Crazy, wonderful day.
- Spurs in 1981 Cup Final. I thought we were the better team in the first match. We stayed over in London for the replay and a Tottenham fan broke my nose before the game. I was trying to get my mate’s flag off him that he had pinched. It was like Custer’s last stand. I had to charge the guy so at least he missed the match. A policeman was nearby and witnessed the whole thing and persuaded me to go down to Wembley station with him. I thought Steve McKenzie’s goal was better than Villa’s.
- I used to go to the matches in the 60’s with Les Saul and his nephew; we would stand in the Kippax, same spot every game, Noddle soup at half time. Mostly good results at home in those days. I liked Derek Kevan, Jimmy Murray and Matt Gray in my earliest days.
- Another great player was Dennis Tueart, he should have won 60 England caps. Whenever he had the ball he would go for goal. He scored a lot for a winger. I wish we had somebody like him around nowadays. Thanks to him we won the League Cup but that was another smashing side we had then.
- Denis Law’s back heal. That was special. Those were great days. I remember we had great fun getting off the special buses in Piccadilly in an effort to get about 20 Pink newspapers for the lads on the bus. We would jump off the bus and would hope we could catch the same bus before it left the next stop. We had about 45 seconds to persuade the paperseller to give us 20 Pinks very, very quickly otherwise we were landed with them and the bus was gone. These were the old type of bus remember. We could have been killed but we were young and if City had won we wanted to read about it.
- What a great feeling the final whistle was at the Bolton game at Maine Road last season, our first win of the season. What a feeling of relief.
- The sadness I felt when I heard Joe Mercer had died. The book that was written about him was really good. He was a truly great decent man. God bless him.
- The first home game at Maine Road in 1967 against the Champions, Liverpool. I thought we would get thrashed having just been promoted but a Colin Bell winner in the last few minutes sorted them out. What a thrill that was. I did love those night matches.
- The Blackburn 2 City 3 a couple of years ago. If a team can play like that how come we are in our present position? What a fabulous performance that was.
- The sadness I felt when it was reported that Mike Summerbee wanted a transfer in the mid-sixties.
- 3rd round FA Cup replay City 3 Blackpool 1 (1966). Crossan, Summerbee and Doyle scored, all great headers, especially Mike Doyle’s goal. Alan Ball never got a kick thanks to Dave Connor. Great atmosphere at the night matches in those days. The Kippax were really vocal. Smashing songs. Blaydon Races, I think that was the proper name, was my favourite. It started “His name was Colin Bell and he’s the leader of our team, the greatest football team the world has ever seen.” Great night that.
- The despair in 1983 being relegated. I felt that the team had let down the club and the great players like we had had at Maine Road since we were promoted in ’66.
- Leeds 1 City 0. 1967. This was a cup tie, I think. We completely dominated the game and Colin Bell missed 3 sitters. But this was also the game that proved to everybody that we could match the best and we would only get better after this game, which we did.
- Beating Liverpool a couple of years ago with a Gaudino goal. All my family attended this match; we met up with Mike Summerbee first, I had invited him to Jersey earlier in the year and he entertained the City fans one evening. I really enjoyed that day with my 2 brothers and our wives attending Maine Road for the first time.
Since I left Manchester in 1979 I have been a big fan but after that 1983 relegation it seemed to go down my priority list a little. I suppose this was inevitable after going to nearly every home match for seventeen years and my coming to Jersey. The eighties never really got going for me until Peter Reid’s two 5th spots put us back where we belong. However, that Tottenham 6th round tie set us on the slide again, which we have never recovered from.
I suppose the agony has gone on longer but the great moments I have had were worth the pain. I only wish that the younger fans see the same success one day.
All the best.
First printed in: MCIVTA Newsletter #260 on