Manchester City fans have generally been a patient bunch over the years, having to spend much of the time watching their local rivals United lift trophy after trophy – much in the same way Everton and Tottenham supporters have been forced to exist in the shadows cast by the more successful Liverpool and Arsenal, respectively, during the past few decades.
But lately, City has been on the up and up, since ending 35 years without a trophy by winning the FA Cup in 2011. Since then, there have three Premier League successes in 2012-14-18, plus four victories in the League Cup. And there may well be more glory to celebrate before the current campaign has ended.
Going into the final few weeks of the season, City head the Premier League betting list, and are also favourites to win the Champions League and FA Cup.
Fifty Years Ago
But for those old enough to remember England’s World Cup victory of 1966, many may also recall that for a handful of seasons during the late 1960s and early 1970s, City were one of England’s most successful teams, winning four trophies in the space of three years.
Under manager Joe Mercer, and his larger-than-life assistant Malcolm Allison, the light blues could boast to having one of the best squads in English football. In addition to the renowned attacking talents of Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee and Francis Lee, they had a solid, respected, skipper in Tony Book, along with reliable defenders Glyn Pardoe and Mike Doyle.
The versatile Doyle could also play in midfield, while full-back Pardoe always claims had he not suffered a badly broken leg during a Manchester derby in December 1970, when only 24, he would have gone on to represent England at senior level.
And there was also local boy Neil Young, who never played for England but was one of the country’s top strikers at the time and scored the only goal of the 1969 FA Cup final.
So how were these trophies won?
League Championship (1968)
Going into the final day of the season, City and United were level on 56 points, with the former ahead on goal average (as were the rules back then). United were home to lowly Sunderland, while City travelled to Newcastle, who were 10th in the table. Newcastle had only lost once at home all season, so United – the reigning champions – were considered slim favourites to claim back-to-back titles.
But while United lost 2-1 at Old Trafford, City won a remarkable game at St James’ Park 4-3. Young scored twice, with one each from Summerbee and Lee, who made it 4-2 in the 63rd minute.
FA Cup (1969)
At Wembley, in front of 100,000 spectators which included a young Foxes fan Gary Lineker, City beat Leicester 1-0, thanks to Young’s 24th minute strike. They won four of their matches 1-0 that season, conceding just one goal in the process.
League Cup (1970)
On a terrible playing surface at Wembley, City came from behind to beat West Brom 2-1. Doyle equalised Jeff Astle’s early goal for the Baggies, and Pardoe pounced to snatch the winner in extra-time.
If you get the chance to view the goals on YouTube, you will see a limping Summerbee play a part in Doyle’s equaliser. He was immediately substituted, went to the after match celebration dinner, before ending the day in hospital, where it was discovered he had suffered a broken leg during the final. He missed the rest of the season, including the Cup-Winners’ Cup final.
European Cup-Winners’ Cup (1970)
City beat Polish club Gornik Zabrze 2-1 in Vienna, with first-half goals from Young and Lee – the latter from the penalty spot. In nine matches during the competition, City’s goal tally read 22-6.