Manchester: The City Years

Johnny Hart

Johnny Hart

Born: Golbourne, 8th June 1928

1st April 1973 - 22nd October 1973

Johnny Hart never really wanted to be City’s manager: “I enjoyed being a ‘number two’, and I loved all my time as a coach. I’d loved my playing career and I felt as if Maine Road was my home. When I came to the end of my playing career I’d already started to get involved with coaching. I liked being a second in command. Management was different. I didn’t really want the job, but if I’d have turned it down I’d probably have been moved on. It wasn’t a job I craved at all.”

“It just wasn’t the role for me. I’m quite a shy person really, and I guess management just wasn’t for me. The players were terrific – I had a fantastic squad and they all wanted to play for me. Denis Law arrived back and I was very happy with the players and their motivation, but I just didn’t want the role, and it all got to me. I became quite ill.”

Hart had been an office boy with the Club during the war and then became a player until retirement in May 1963. An unfortunate series of injuries restricted his first team appearances to 178. Nevertheless he was still an important member of McDowall's side and was unlucky to miss out on Wembley in 1955 through injury.

He was a popular member of City’s backroom staff during the sixties and early seventies and, following Allison's departure, he became the surprise choice as manager. Unfortunately Hart’s health deteriorated during his first few months in charge and he stood down after only six months.

The feeling of most supporters was that the City Board had taken what seemed the easy option when they appointed him, and that the directors should have sought a more experienced professional.

After leaving the manager's post, Hart spent some time recuperating before finding employment at the builders Faircloughs. He still continued to attend City’s games and remains a popular member of the Former Players’ Association.

His sons Nigel and Paul also became footballers, and Paul himself became a football manager.

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.