Manchester: The City Years

George Poyser

George Poyser

Born: Mansfield, 6th February 1910 Died: 30th January 1995

12th July 1963 - 1st April 1965

Although it was clear City needed a modern style of leader, in the mould of Cullis, Busby, or Mercer, the Board decided to promote McDowall’s assistant George Poyser to the manager’s chair. Poyser, over two years older than his predecessor, was clearly another office-bound manager. This may have worked well during the pre-war era, but by the 1960s this style was not appropriate. Nevertheless Poyser seemed to look forward to the challenge.

He had already been a manager with Dover Town and Notts County prior to joining City as assistant in 1957, and had managed to take County to the 1955 quarter-finals of the F.A. Cup, and he had also been a player most notably with Port Vale and as part of Brentford’s Second Division Championship side of 1934-35.

As City he was viewed as an exceptional scout and managed to find a number of talented players. This was perhaps his strongest skill area and perhaps if another man had been appointed instead of Poyser in 1963 it’s highly likely he would have continued to give City many years service in this role. Sadly, McDowall's departure caused the City Board to take the easy option and Poyser was given the difficult task of bringing promotion and resurrecting the Club’s fortunes.

It was a task he couldn’t succeed in, although his first season brought a League Cup semi-final place and a final position of 6th in the division. The League Cup run apart, Poyser’s reign was one of struggle, and on 16th January 1965 a record low Maine Road League crowd of 8,015 witnessed a 2-1 defeat to Swindon. It entered folklore as City’s lowest point in terms of support, but incredibly Poyser wasn't even at the ground. Instead he was away scouting – a role he seemed to love. Clearly, his absence had repercussions. At Easter, with form not improving and support remaining low (the highest crowd of the season was only 22,299 – the lowest ‘highest’ crowd since 1898), Poyser was dismissed.

From Easter until the end of the season City were managed by backroom staff, most notably 1934 FA Cup goalscorer Fred Tilson.

All history and statistical material has been produced based on the research and writing of Manchester football historian Gary James ( It is maintained by Ric Turner & Gary James. All text remains the copyright of the original contributors.

Gary's book, Manchester - the City Years: Tracing the Story of Manchester City from the 1860s to the Modern Day, is available to order on Amazon.