St. Mark’s Church, Clowes Street, West Gorton consecrated by the Bishop of Manchester on 30th November. A few days later the Rev. Arthur Connell was inducted.
St. Mark’s Cricket Club known to have played several games. Some evidence exists to suggest the cricket side was created in 1868, possibly earlier. The cricket team later added a football section.
The cricketers formed a football team, with the support and guidance of William Beastow. St. Mark’s (West Gorton) Football Club played on waste ground near the church, and their first opponents were the Baptist Church from Macclesfield (2-1 defeat with 12 players each!).
Seven seasons of name and ground changes culminated in the club renaming itself Ardwick AFC and finding a more permanent base between Hyde Road and Bennett Street in Ardwick. The club turned professional and paid existing player Jack Hodgetts 5 shillings per week.
Ardwick played Newton Heath at Belle Vue in a floodlit charity match to raise money for the Hyde Colliery disaster fund.
On 4th October Ardwick defeat Liverpool Stanley 12-0 at Hyde Road in the club’s first F.A. Cup match.
Ardwick defeated Newton Heath 1-0, with a 7th minute goal from influential captain Davie Weir, in the Manchester Cup final. They also applied to join the Football League, as did Newton Heath. Both Manchester sides were rejected in favour of Stoke and Darwen. Instead Ardwick joined the Football Alliance.
Ardwick, wearing their customary ‘Cambridge Blue’ (the colour may have been adopted by the club in the 1880s, though there’s no actual proof), finished 7th out of 12 clubs in the Alliance and won the Manchester Cup for the second year running by defeating League side Bolton 4-1. The Football League was extended with the Alliance, in effect, becoming the Second Division.
The Blues beat Bootle 7-0 at Hyde Road to put Ardwick at the top of the very first 2nd Division table. They ended the season 5th out of 12, and were already established as Manchester’s biggest crowd pullers.
Financial problems beset Ardwick and after a dismal 2nd League season (they finished 13th out of 15 in Division Two) the club collapsed. In April Manchester City F.C. was formed by the bulk of the Ardwick committee. They wanted to create a club for all Mancunians to support and their ambition helped the club gain election to the League. The legendary Billy Meredith was signed and made his debut against Newcastle on 27th October.
9th in Division Two. City Didn’t bother to enter the F.A. Cup in 1894/5 and withdrew from their October 1895 qualifying round game with Oswaldtwistle.
2nd in Division Two, but failed to gain promotion via the Test Matches (similar to play-offs).
6th in Division Two. Defeated 6-0 by Preston in First Round of F.A. Cup in January.
Narrowly missed out on the final year of the Test Matches, finishing 3rd. Reached the 2nd round of the Cup but were defeated 1-0 at Bolton.
Won the 2nd Division title on 56 points and, alongside 2nd placed Glossop North End, became the first side to gain automatic promotion. Lost 3-2 to Small Heath in the 1st round of the Cup.
First Division One game ended in a 4-3 defeat at Blackburn, while the 1st Hyde Road Division One match ended 4-0 to the Blues.
The first game of the new century was a friendly with Division Two’s Newton Heath (Manchester United’s original name). City won the match 2-1 before a Hyde Road crowd of 7,000.
The first League game of the century was a no score draw at Derby County. The Blues finished their first season in Division One 7th out of 18. They lost 3-0 to Aston Villa in a 1st round Cup replay. In September 1900 future Prime Minister AJ Balfour attended Hyde Road.
11th in Division One. Once again couldn’t pass the 1st round of the Cup (West Brom won 1-0!)
Relegated to Division Two, but managed to reach the 2nd round of the Cup (losing to Forest 2-0!). Former Celtic player Tom Maley became the club’s 4th secretary-manager during the close season.
Welsh international and key City defender Di Jones gashed his knee in the annual public practice match in August, within a week he was dead. The wound had turned septic.
Champions of Division 2 for the 2nd time. Top score was Billy Gillespie with 30 goals.
Despite previous cup form, City won the F.A. Cup beating Bolton 1-0 via a Billy Meredith first half goal at Crystal Palace. Narrowly missed out on the League & Cup double, finishing 2nd to Sheffield Wednesday.
Hyde Road staged the 1905 F.A. Cup semi-final between Newcastle and Sheffield Wednesday. The Blues finished 3rd (2 points behind champions Newcastle). Aston Villa’s Alec Leake accused Billy Meredith of attempting to bribe him to throw the Villa-City match on 29/4/05. Leake also threw dirt at City’s Sandy Turnbull who retaliated by sticking 2 fingers up to the Villa man. A full-scale enquiry was ordered.
City ended 1905-6 in 5th place and then were mortified when the findings of the investigations following the 1905 Villa match resulted in the F.A. identifying financial irregularities at the club. 17 players, including virtually all the first team squad, were banned and fined; Directors Allison and Davies were suspended for 7 months; and manager Tom Maley and chairman W. Forrest were banned from English football sine die.
When new manager Harry Newbould joined City in July he had only 11 players available. The club was virtually dead. Despite the problems, City won the first Division One Manchester derby 3-0 at Hyde Rd on 1/12/06. New ‘keeper Walter Smith was the star man that day.
Manchester United made heroes of Billy Meredith, Herbert Burgess, Sandy Turnbull, and Jimmy Bannister - the key City players forced out of Hyde Road. They were transferred to the Reds in December 1906. Most Blues were happy as it was seen as a good way to ensure the players remained in Manchester. It also helped City’s then poor relations establish themselves as a force. Within 4 years Meredith & Co. had helped the Reds win their first honours – 2 Championships & the F.A. Cup.
Newbould’s Blues managed to finish 3rd with ‘keeper Walter Smith becoming the first City man to be an ever-present in all 44 League and Cup matches.
Inconsistency dogged Newbould’s side, culminating in relegation at the end of 1908-9 on goal average. Bradford City were the team that survived by defeating Manchester United 1-0.
City won the Second Division title – their 3rd since 1899 – with a relatively consistent season. 23 victories, 8 draws, and only 7 defeats. Star man was George Dorsett who was top scorer with 13 goals. His brother Joe joined City in August 1910.
Major ground improvements at Hyde Road resulted in 3 multi-span roofs being erected. This allowed the Blues to boast they provided cover for over 35,000, and had all 4 sides of the ground covered. The directors were quick to point out that Old Trafford, opened in February 1910, only provided cover for about a quarter of City’s figure.
City played a leading role in the establishment of the Central League. Director W.A. Wilkinson chaired many of the initial meetings.
Goalkeeper Jim Goodchild signed in December. He stayed with City until August 1927 and was a firm favourite with the fans.
The football world was stunned when United manager Ernest Mangnall – the man responsible for bringing the Reds their first successes and for the move to Old Trafford - announced he was leaving the Reds for the Blues. His final game in charge was the Old Trafford derby, played after he announced he was leaving. City won 1-0 and the Umpire newspaper summed it up nicely: “United speeded their manager rejoicing with 2 points to his new club.”
The cup-tie with Sunderland in February at Hyde Road was abandoned after crowd control difficulties. Many people were crushed. The official crowd was 41,709 but an estimate of 50,000 seems more believable, particularly as many ticket holders were locked out. Manager Ernest Mangnall was held responsible for the organisation of the day, with the Daily Dispatch claiming that he should always ‘ensure mounted police are available to control the huge crowds that watch the City club’.
City encouraged their players to join the armed forces and fight in the Great War. In addition, players and officials agreed to give 5% of their wages to the Price of Wales’ Fund.
The Blues ended the 1914-15 season 5th, only 3 points behind champions Everton (interestingly Everton were also champions in the last season before WWII). For 1915 until 1919 regional football was organised.
City win the Lancashire Section of the wartime Football League – which comprised of all the Lancastrian teams of the period plus Stoke - and the Subsidiary Tournament (southern section) which followed. The southern section comprised of City, United, Oldham, Everton, Liverpool, and Stockport, with the other Lancastrian teams featuring in another section.
Billy Meredith returned to City, making his second debut in the 11/3/16 1-1 draw with Liverpool. A week later he scored his first Blue goal since 1905 as City drew 1-1 at Everton.
In May Sandy Turnbull, cup winner in 1904, was killed while serving with the Manchester regiment in the trenches at Arras.
Hyde Road was used for stabling at times during the war.
The end of the war came too late for the Football League to resume, but a final season of regional football was performed. After 4 seasons of regional wartime football Eli Fletcher had made most wartime appearances for the Blues (133), closely followed by Jim Goodchild (130). United’s Billy Meredith had appeared 107 times for City. Top scorer – by a margin of 50 goals – was Horace Barnes with 73 goals from 73 games.
The first Football League match following the war ended 3-3 with Sheffield United at Hyde Road on 30/8/19.
All round amateur sportsman Max Woosnam made his debut on New Year’s day. Three years later he captained City for the first match at Maine Road.
King George V visited Hyde Road for City’s 2-1 defeat of Liverpool. It was the first time a reigning monarch had attended a provincial football ground. He was said to be delighted with the result – well, he did have blue blood!
City finished 2nd to Burnley in Division One.
Incredible plans to build a stadium capable of holding 120,000 at a site near Moss Side were announced. The 16¼ acre site, adjacent to a relatively minor street called Maine Road, cost £5,500. The builders Robert McAlpine worked with architect Charles Swain to design and build a stadium in 2 phases. The first phase opened in 1923.
Manager Ernest Mangnall was said to be chiefly responsible for the plan. It should be noted he was also responsible for United’s decision to build Old Trafford about 14 years earlier.
Maine Road with an estimated capacity of 90,000 was opened by councillor Cundiff, the Lord Mayor of Manchester. Horace Barnes scored the first goal at the stadium after approximately 68 minutes. Sheffield United were defeated 2-1 before a crowd of 56,993
49 year old Billy Meredith returned to City, making his 3rd Blue debut in the F.A. Cup 3rd round at Brighton. The Blues won 5-1 with Meredith claiming one of the goals – one fumbled in by the goalkeeper - as his own.
The next round proved the worth of Maine Road with a crowd of 76,166 paying £4,909 to see Meredith & Co. take on Cardiff. The game ended goal-less, but City won the replay, giving Meredith his first City semi-final appearance since 1904. Sadly, a 2-0 defeat by Newcastle ended the possibility of Meredith making a fairytale appearance at the 2 year old Wembley Stadium.
In May, for no obvious reason the City directors refused to renew Ernest Mangnall’s contract.
Former Oldham Athletic manager David Ashworth led the Blues to 10th place in 1924/5. Unusually for the period Ashworth had insisted on a ‘get-out’ clause in his contract with Oldham which allowed him to leave if ‘a better post’ came along. Is that where Howard Kendall got the idea from?
In January, City defeat United 6-1 at Old Trafford to record the highest derby victory of all time. In March they beat them again, this time it was 3-0 at Bramall Lane in the F.A. Cup semi-final. Unfortunately Bolton beat the Blues 1-0 in the final at Wembley, and then a week later City were relegated. Ashworth had resigned in November 1925, and Chairman Albert Alexander took control of team affairs until the last few days of the season. 1925/6 was a typical City season!
City missed promotion by the narrowest goal average margin of all time – City’s average was 1.7705; promoted Portsmouth’s was 1.7755. Another goal would have done.
An average crowd of approximately 37,300 watched the Blues win the Second Division championship. This was the largest average in the entire Football League. Not bad for a Second Division side.
Ernie Toseland made his debut in the 2-1 defeat of Bury on 20/4/29. He went on to make 409 appearances.
Tommy Johnson, star player for a decade, was sold to Everton for £6,000 much to the annoyance of City’s large support. During his career he had broken all City’s goalscoring records. Today he remains 2nd highest overall goalscorer with 166 goals from 354 appearances, and his 38 goals in 1928-9 remain the highest in a season.
Billy Dale made his debut on Boxing Day 1931 after joining City from 2nd Division Manchester United.
The Blues lose 1-0 to a Cliff Bastin goal for Arsenal in the F.A. Cup semi-final at Villa Park.
A Dixie Dean & Tommy Johnson inspired Everton defeated City 3-0 in the 1933 Cup final. The final was notable for other reasons – the players wore numbers for the first time (Everton were 1-11, City were 12-22), City wore red and white for the first time in a final.
Eric Brook scored a wonder goal before 84,569 (to this day the largest in the provinces, and the highest for any club fixture) at Maine Road in the 6th round victory over Stoke. 2 weeks earlier the Hillsborough record crowd of 72,841 had watched City and Wednesday. A great deal of crushing and at least one death – the body was taken past Frank Swift and the others as they made their way through the tunnel – raised a few concerns over safety. Though it would be a further 60 years before another Hillsborough disaster caused a major rethink.
In April City defeated Portsmouth 2-1 to lift the F.A. Cup. Fred Tilson scored both City’s goals. At the final whistle the 20 year old goalkeeper Frank Swift fainted.
The Blues finished fourth with Manager Wilf Wild turning City into one of the strongest clubs of the period. A Maine Road crowd of 79,491 watched the crunch match with eventual champions Arsenal on 23/2/35. It ended 1-1.
City’s great captain Sam Cowan was transferred to Bradford City in October for £2,000. He remains the only man to appear in 3 City F.A. Cup finals (1926, 1933, and 1934).
Arguably the greatest Irish player of all time Peter Doherty arrived at Maine Road for £10,000. He made his debut in a 3-1 defeat by Preston, although he admitted it wasn’t his best performance by a long way. Preston’s wily Bill Shankly managed to win almost every battle, nevertheless Doherty was to prove one of City’s greatest acquisitions.
With 30 goals from Doherty, City win their first League Championship. One of the best results of the 1936-7 season was the 2-0 victory over perennial challengers Arsenal on 10/4/37. A crowd of 76,000 – some 13,000 more than the Manchester derby – enjoyed goals from Toseland and Doherty.
In August, a Manchester Liners ship was named ‘Manchester City’ in honour of City’s success.
Dear old unpredictable City were relegated a mere 12 months after winning the title. They also reached the 6th round of the F.A. Cup.
The Blues ended the last season before WWII in 5th place.
Many players joined the forces, while others performed other important wartime roles. Jackie Bray and Peter Doherty became PT instructors for a period, while Frank Swift became a special constable. Apparently he became so confused directing traffic at one point that he felt it was better to walk away and leave the vehicles to sort themselves out.
Guest players were commonplace as regional leagues were set up. United’s Harry McShane, the father of actor Ian McShane, guested in 23 games during 1940-41 – he even scored against United in 1 match.
The wartime regional leagues became extremely complicated with clubs being allowed to pick how many games they wanted to play post-Christmas, so long as they featured in 18 or more. City only managed 17 in the post-Christmas league as a result of Blackpool withdrawing from a couple of fixtures. As a result the Blues were not placed despite gathering 19 points from 17 fixtures.
In July, former Blue Mick Hamill died in tragic and mysterious circumstances. His body was found in a river.
In October Maine Road hosted a thrilling 8-0 international victory by England over Scotland. Joe Mercer claimed it was the greatest game he had played in. Frank Swift was the England ‘keeper.
On New Year’s Day City were defeated 7-1 by Bury at Maine Road. Jimmy Heale scored for the Blues.
City’s worst run of the war period saw the Blues finish 47th out of 60 clubs in the post-Christmas North Regional League.
The F.A. Cup was re-instated for the 1945-6 season. Games were played on a 2-legged basis. After defeating Barrow City beat Bradford Park Avenue 3-1 in the 4th round first leg, then lost 8-2 at Maine Road in the return – City’s record home defeat.
George Smith scored all City’s goals in the 5-1 victory over Newport on 14th June (the latest finish to a season). The Blues won the Second Division title by 4 points.
A crowd of 71,960 watched City draw 1-1 with United ‘away’ at Maine Road on 7th April. The Reds were using Maine Road following war damage to Old Trafford. A crowd of 78,000 had watched City’s home derby 6 months earlier.
City’s average attendance was 40,187.
Frank Swift retired at the end of the 1948-9 season. Unfortunately his replacement, Alec Thurlow, was taken seriously ill with tuberculosis (he died in 1956 at the age of 34). Eventually, Swift agreed to fill in until the Blues found a suitable replacement.
In November former German Prisoner of War Bernhard Trautmann made his debut despite protests from some supporters.
City were relegated in 21st place. Former player Les McDowall became manager in June. One of his first signings Roy Paul made his debut on 19th August in the 4-2 victory at Preston.
The Blues achieved promotion in second place. Bert Trautmann was the side’s only ever present. He was also becoming something of a hero to the City faithful.
McDowall’s City lacked consistency. They finished 15th in 1951-2, and started the following season with only 1 victory in the first 16 games.
City ended the season in 20th place, missing relegation by a point. Trautmann was the hero once again.
In October City beat Hearts 6-3 in the first floodlit match at Maine Road. The estimated cost of using the lights per game was a mere £3.
A slightly improved 17th place brought a little encouragement for the fans, but it had been another difficult season. 17 year old forward Joe Hayes had encouraged some supporters, while McDowall’s tactical brain started to see possibilities with a new style of play. It was later dubbed the Revie plan, but basically revolved around a deep lying centre forward. Revie himself hated it at first.
The Revie Plan helped the Blues finish 7th and reach the Cup Final. Newcastle defeated them 3-1. Don Revie was the Football Writers’ player of the year.
4th in Division One was followed with a second consecutive trip to Wembley. This time City defeated Birmingham City 3-1 with goals from Joe Hayes, Jack Dyson, and Bobby Johnstone. The Football Writers’ player of the year Bert Trautmann broke his neck in a collision some 14 minutes from the end of the match. He played on, not realising the seriousness of the situation.
Newcastle defeated City 5-4 in a topsy-turvy 3rd round Cup replay at Maine Rd. The Blues led 3-0 within 30 minutes, but in the 2nd half Newcastle fought back and levelled with only 5 minutes left. In extra time City made it 4-3, but Len White scored twice for the Geordies.
In February Frank Swift died in the Munich Air Disaster. He followed United into Europe as a reporter for the News of the World.
Bobby Johnstone moved to Hibernian after playing 138 games for the Blues. He netted in both mid-50s Cup finals. A 3-1 victory over Leicester on 29/4/59 preserved City’s Division One status and sent Joe Mercer’s Aston Villa into Division Two.
Denis Law marked his debut with a goal in a 4-3 defeat at Leeds on 19/3/60. A month later Colin Barlow scored a late winner against Preston to save the Blues from relegation.
Denis Law scored 6 in an abandoned F.A. Cup tie with Luton. He also scored in the replay, but City lost 2-1.
The opening day of the 1962-3 season brought a 8-1 thrashing at Wolves. Even City’s goal was scored by a Wolves player! The 1962-3 season was destined to be one of struggle.
A 1-1 draw in a heated and highly controversial Manchester derby helped relegate the Blues. New Red Denis Law scored a debatable penalty while in the tunnel at half time Pat Crerand hit City winger David Wagstaffe: “I clouted him one on the chin as the teams trooped into the tunnel…. I’d become riled with Wagstaffe and my Celtic temper boiled up.”
Harry Dowd became City’s first choice ‘keeper for much of 1963-4, however by the start of 1964-5 he and Alan Ogley took it in turns to fill Trautmann’s boots. The legendary German ‘keeper retired at the end of 1963-4. His testimonial was watched by over 48,000, with thousands more locked out.
After a mediocre season (City finished 11th in Division Two), Joe Mercer arrived as the club’s new manager. He quickly appointed a dynamic coach called Malcolm Allison, and the two tried to revive an ailing club.
Joe Mercer popped open the champagne to celebrate City’s Second Division championship. A Colin Bell goal at Rotherham had brought promotion.
A season of consolidation ended with City in 15th place. They had also reached the 6th round of the F.A. Cup, losing 1-0 to a powerful Leeds side.
On 9th October Francis Lee signed from Bolton. Mercer told him he was to be the final piece in City’s jigsaw.
Mercer & Allison’s team of entertainers won the League Championship in style. Neil Young was top scorer on 19 from 40 games, while ‘final piece’ Francis Lee had netted 16 from 31 matches. Allison said City were so good they’d be the first team to play on Mars.
Neil Young nets the only goal against Leicester at Wembley to bring the F.A. Cup back to Maine Road for the first time since 1956. Tony Book is voted joint Football Writers’ player of the year with Dave Mackay.
City become the first English side to win a domestic and European trophy in the same season. The League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup proved City’s position as one of football’s greatest clubs.
A vicious boardroom battle threatened to split the club. Mercer and Allison ended up on opposite sides and the disruption ended City’s trophy winning days, although the Blues did reach the semi-final of the ECWC, losing to Chelsea.
Entertainer Rodney Marsh was signed for a record £200,000 in March. The side was disrupted to accommodate the player and the Blues ended the season 4th – one point behind champions Derby. The boardroom battles continued, although Altrincham businessman Peter Swales was trying to bring the factions together. General Manager Joe Mercer moved to Coventry in the summer feeling he had no real position at the club.
In March Manager Malcolm Allison left claiming he could no longer motivate the players. The Board chose former player John Hart as his successor.
On Friday 5th October ‘peacemaker’ Peter Swales became Chairman. In November Ron Saunders became Swales’ first managerial appointment.
Wolves beat City 2-1 in the League Cup Final on 3rd March. A week later Ron Saunders made his greatest signing, bringing Dennis Tueart to Maine Road from Sunderland.
At Easter Peter Swales sacked Ron Saunders as City’s League position worsened. Tony Book became City’s 4th manager in 13 months.
In the final game of the season Denis Law, who had returned to City on a free transfer from Tommy Docherty’s United, scored his last League goal in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford. It was a fairly significant goal.
Colin Bell, arguably City’s greatest player of all time, received a devastating injury in the 4th round League Cup tie with United. The Blues went on to win 4-0 but Bell would never again return to full fitness. It was a cruel blow.
Dennis Tueart’s spectacular overhead kick helped City achieve a 2-1 victory over Newcastle in the 1976 League Cup final. Young PFA player of the year Peter Barnes netted the other, while Joe Royle, who had scored in every round leading up to the final, had an effort disallowed.
The dearest season ticket for the 1976-7 season cost £29 if purchased before 30/4/76. A similar ticket at QPR or Arsenal would have cost around £60. £8 would buy an adult season ticket for the Kippax.
The Blues finish 2nd to near perennial champions Liverpool. City missed the title by a point.
City’s average attendance reached 41,687. The club’s highest official average attendance at the time (this has since been eclipsed by crowds at the City Of Manchester Stadium). The blues ended 1977-8 in 4th place.
Malcolm Allison returned to City as ‘coaching overlord’ to Tony Book. It wasn’t long before Allison made his mark on the squad.
In March Borussia Monchengladbach won 4-2 on aggregate in City’s last European tie of the century. Earlier the Blues had defeated FC Twente, Standard Liege, and AC Milan.
On 9th September Steve Daley became the most expensive footballer in Britain when City paid £1,450,277 to Wolves.
After selling stars Gary Owen, Peter Barnes, and Asa Hartford among others, Malcolm Allison was sacked in October. Peter Swales felt the club would be relegated. He appointed another flamboyant character, John Bond.
Bond’s City avoided relegation and reached the final of the 100th F.A. Cup. Tommy Hutchison netted both goals in a 1-1 draw, and in the replay Kevin Reeves scored a penalty and Steve MacKenzie netted an incredible goal, but it wasn’t enough. A Ricky Villa inspired Tottenham won 3-2.
Work started on City’s ambitious £6 million redevelopment of Maine Road. The idea was to build a replica of the North Stand at the Platt Lane end, and to replace both the Kippax and Main Stand roofs with white barrel-style affairs. In the end only the Main Stand roof was replaced, and even then it wasn’t completed - the 36 private boxes planned to be suspended from the roof were never built.
David Pleat jigged across Maine Road to his captain Brian Horton as his Luton side relegated City to Division Two.
Billy McNeill guided a bankrupt City to 4th place in Division Two.
Promotion to Division One was achieved in the last match of the season. David Phillips (2), Andy May, Paul Simpson, and Jim Melrose scored in the 5-1 thrashing of Charlton. Promotion was vital as City’s debts were reported to be £4 million with interest costing £1,000 a day.
Following disasters at Heysel and Bradford, City were ordered to make the 9,702 capacity Platt Lane Stand away fans only for the start of the 1985-6 season.
Captain Paul Power took City to Wembley for the first Full Members’ Cup final. City lost a thrilling tie 5-4 to Chelsea. The attendance was 68,000 – 7,000 more than attended City’s first F.A. Cup final in 1904.
The Blues won the F.A. Youth Cup, beating Manchester United.
City were relegated to Division Two, despite the arrival of Paul Stewart and Imre Varadi.
On 7th November Huddersfield were beaten 10-1 in City’s largest League victory at Maine Road. David White, Tony Adcock, and Paul Stewart each netted a hat-trick, but the opening goal was scored by Neil McNab. Huddersfield’s consolation was a penalty netted by former Blue Andy May – the Huddersfield fans in the near empty Platt Lane Stand did a ‘Conga’ to celebrate!
In June Tottenham paid City £1.7 million for Paul Stewart.
Mel Machin’s side achieved promotion in a tense 1-1 draw at Bradford. Trevor Morley was the goal scoring hero.
On 23rd September, City beat United 5-1 in the 111th Manchester League derby match. Two months later Peter Swales sacked Mel Machin and after Joe Royle turned the club down, he appointed Howard Kendall. Shortly afterwards Kendall sold cult-figure Ian Bishop to West Ham.
In addition to signing several former Everton players, Howard Kendall purchased Niall Quinn during the 1989-90 season. It was an inspired signing.
Former manager Joe Mercer died in August on his 76th birthday.
Kendall resigned in November to return to his ‘first love’ Everton. Fans’ choice Peter Reid was appointed in his place.
Reid guided City to 5th place in Division One. The final game of the 1990-91 season saw City relegate Sunderland. Quinn scored twice in the 3-2 victory.
The Blues again finish 5th in Division One.
On 17th August City draw 1-1 with QPR in the first match of the new Premier League. This was also the first Monday Night League match shown live on Sky TV.
An embarrassing performance against Tottenham in the 6th round of the F.A. Cup leads to a Maine Road pitch invasion on 7th March. The game also marked the opening of the ‘UMBRO’, later appropriately named Platt Lane, Stand.
A disappointing start to the 1993-4 season prompted Peter Swales, via new general manager John Maddock, to sack Peter Reid. The season was only 13 days old. Demonstrations against the Chairman followed.
Brian Horton was appointed following the match with Coventry on 27/8. He was the 11th and last manager of Swales’ chairmanship.
In February after a long and difficult take-over Francis Lee became chairman.
On 30th April 1994 the terraced Kippax Stand witnessed its final match.
Brian Horton was dismissed after City finished 17th in 1994-5. In the summer Alan Ball was appointed manager.
On 15th July Georgiou Kinkladze arrived in a £2 million 3 year deal. Francis Lee, Jimmy Frizzell, and Colin Bell had all been impressed when they went to watch him.
City lose a controversial 5th round F.A. Cup tie at Old Trafford. With City 1-0 up and in total control of the match, United were awarded a highly debatable penalty. The Reds went on to win the tie.
Alan Ball’s City were relegated after the final game of the 1995-6 season. After several depressing performances at the start of the following season Ball was dismissed – during the game at Stoke he received abuse form both sets of fans. A managerial merry-go-round followed with Asa Hartford taking control (26/8 – 7/10); Steve Coppell formally appointed (7/10 – 8/11); Phil Neal filling in (8/11 – 29/12); before Frank Clark was appointed.
Clark’s side looked encouraging at times during 1996-7, however the Blues had dropped to 22nd place in Division One by November.
Paul Lake’s testimonial finally took place on Sunday 5th October. City drew 2-2 with United before 21,262.
Clark was dismissed and Joe Royle was appointed. Sadly his appointment came to late to save City from relegation to Division Two for the first time in their history.
A thrilling, if somewhat nerve-wracking, play-off final with Gillingham resulted in City gaining promotion to Division One via a penalty shoot out. A crowd of 76,935 witnessed Nicky Weaver and Paul Dickov become cult figures.
A second promotion followed as City returned to the Premiership in second place after a thrilling final match at Blackburn.
Joe Royle’s Blues struggled to make an impact in the Premier League and were relegated at the end of the 2000-01 season. Kevin Keegan was appointed manager after Royle’s dismissal and quickly brought in Stuart Pearce as an experienced player and a key figure behind the scenes.
Keegan’s first season in charge ended with the Blues achieving promotion as Champions of Division One.
Maine Road’s last season ended with a defeat to Southampton, however there had been plenty of highlights during 2002-03, including City’s 3-1 victory in the last Maine Road derby match. The Blues also qualified for the UEFA Cup via the Fair Play League, and in August 2003 they played their first game at the City Of Manchester Stadium.
The 2003-4 season ended with City’s average attendance standing at 46,830. At the time this was City’s highest official average of all time.
Kevin Keegan resigned on 11th March 2005 and was replaced by former player Stuart Pearce. Initially, Pearce was appointed caretaker manager prior to City’s match at Tottenham on 19th March, but was given the job officially on the 12th May, three days before the last match of the season. Of the nine games played under Pearce that season, only the opening game against Spurs ended in defeat. Victory against Middlesbrough on the last day would have brought a UEFA Cup place but City could only manage a draw.
The Blues finished fifteenth in the Premier League and reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. Sadly, despite a goal from Kiki Musampa West Ham win 2-1. Earlier Micah Richards had made the headlines with a 94th minute equaliser against Aston Villa in the fifth round.
City were successful in their bid to host the UEFA Cup Final in 2008. Stuart Pearce left his position of manager, with Sven-Goran Eriksson appointed as his replacement. On 15th December the Blues established a 'top flight' record of nine straight home League wins at the start of the season
City won the FA Youth Cup with a two legged victory over Chelsea, much to the delight of Academy boss Jim Cassell. Sven-Goran Eriksson took City to ninth in the Premier League and qualification for the UEFA Cup (via the fair play league) but was replaced in the summer by Mark Hughes.
In an enthralling transfer deadline day City smashed the British transfer record when they signed Brazilian star Robinho. News of a takeover of the Club by the Abu Dhabi United group filtered through at the same time.
Mark Hughes’ City reached the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup – the best European performance by any City manager in his first season with the Club. Shortly after the season ended the Blues announced a new sponsorship deal with the airline Etihad and a new kit deal with Umbro, re-igniting a relationship that commenced prior to the 1934 FA Cup final.
In December, however, Hughes was sacked after a club record seven successive draws saw the Blues drop down the table. The Welshman is replaced as manager by Roberto Mancini, former manager of Inter Milan.
City reach the semi-finals of the Carling Cup, incredibly their first major semi-final since 1981, only to lose to United on aggregate. A brace from Carlos Tevez saw City the first leg 2-1, but lost the return 3-1 at Old Trafford. The club narrowly miss out on qualification for the Champion's League, ending the season in 5th place.
A busy summer in the transfer market sees the arrival of Mario Balotelli, Jérôme Boateng, David Silva, Yaya Toure, James Milner and Aleksandar Kolarov for a combined fee £118m.
City win the F.A. Cup for the first time since 1969, thanks to a Yaya Toure winner against Stoke at Wembley (Toure also scored the winner aginst United in the semi final at the same ground). In February Neil Young, scorer of the winning goal in 1969, passed away months after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The club also qualified for the UEFA Champions League, finishing the season in 3rd place after a last day 2-0 win away at Bolton.
August saw the arrival of Sergio Aguero for a club record £38m, after the Argentinian striker completed a switch from Atletico Madrid.
A dramatic finale to the season saw City clinch the league title for the first time in 44 years in the closing minutes of the final game. Needing a win against lowly QPR, City found themselves trailing 2-1 in the 90th minute. United, meanwhile, had just beaten Sunderland 1-0 and were already celebrating when Edin Dzeko and then, memorably, Sergio Aguero scored in injury time to clinch the title for City and spark wild celebrations at The Etihad.
A disappointing season saw City relinquish their league title with a whimper, despite finishing as runners-up for only the fourth time in our history. Failure to progress from the Champions League group for a second successive season saw pressure grow on manager Roberto Mancini, and defeat in the F.A. Cup Final to relegated Wigan Athletic effectively sealed his fate. The Italian was replaced as manager by Manuel Pellegrini, formerly of Malaga.