CITY LIVE ON UK TV
Manchester City must be truly camera-shy as their record in front of the TV cameras is quite abysmal. This document covers the sorry record of every game City have played in front of a 'live' UK television audience. If you know of any matches not mentioned on this page or have any reminiscences of these games that you'd iike to share, please contact me at the address shown at the foot of the page.
Date Opponents Result Competition (TV Company) ============= =================== ====== ================================= Sat 07 May 1955 Newcastle Utd. (W) L 1-3 FA Cup Final (BBC) Sat 05 May 1956 Birmingham City (W) W 3-1 FA Cup Final (BBC) Sat 26 Apr 1969 Leicester City (W) W 1-0 FA Cup Final (BBC) Sat 09 May 1981 Tottenham H. (W) D 1-1 FA Cup Final (BBC) Thu 14 May 1981 Tottenham H. (W) L 2-3 FA Cup Final Replay (BBC) Fri 04 May 1984 Chelsea (H) L 0-2 Canon League Division 2 (BBC) Sun 26 Oct 1986 Manchester Utd. (H) D 1-1 Today League Division 1 (BBC?) Sun 13 Mar 1988 Liverpool (H) L 0-4 FA Cup Quarter-Final (ITV?) Sun 22 Oct 1989 Aston Villa (H) L 0-2 Barclays League Division 1 (ITV) Sun 17 Dec 1989 Everton (A) D 0-0 Barclays League Division 1 (ITV) Sun 01 Apr 1990 Aston Villa (A) W 2-1 Barclays League Division 1 (ITV) Sun 11 Nov 1990 Leeds United (H) L 2-3 Barclays League Division 1 (ITV) Sun 13 Jan 1991 Everton (A) L 0-2 Barclays League Division 1 (ITV) Sun 15 Mar 1992 Southampton (H) L 0-1 Barclays League Division 1 (ITV) Mon 17 Aug 1992 QPR (H) D 1-1 FA Premier League (BSkyB) Sun 20 Sep 1992 Chelsea (H) L 0-1 FA Premier League (BSkyB) Mon 28 Sep 1992 Arsenal (A) L 0-1 FA Premier League (BSkyB) Sun 06 Dec 1992 Manchester Utd. (A) L 1-2 FA Premier League (BSkyB) Wed 13 Jan 1993 Reading (A) W 4-0 FA Cup 3rd Round Replay (BSkyB) Sun 07 Mar 1993 Tottenham H. (H) L 2-4 FA Cup Quarter-Final (BBC) Fri 09 Apr 1993 Sheffield Utd. (A) D 1-1 FA Premier League (BSkyB) Sun 18 Apr 1993 Aston Villa (A) L 1-3 FA Premier League (BSkyB) Mon 20 Sep 1993 Wimbledon (A) L 0-1 FA Carling Premiership (BSkyB) Mon 04 Oct 1993 Oldham Athletic (H) D 1-1 FA Carling Premiership (BSkyB) Mon 01 Nov 1993 West Ham United (A) L 1-3 FA Carling Premiership (BSkyB) Sun 07 Nov 1993 Manchester Utd. (H) L 2-3 FA Carling Premiership (BSkyB) Mon 22 Nov 1993 Chelsea (A) D 0-0 FA Carling Premiership (BSkyB) Sat 29 Jan 1994 Cardiff City (A) L 0-1 FA Cup 4th Round (BBC Wales) Sat 23 Apr 1994 Manchester Utd. (A) L 0-2 FA Carling Premiership (BSkyB) Thu 10 Nov 1994 Manchester Utd. (A) L 0-5 FA Carling Premiership (BSkyB) Sun 20 Nov 1994 Leicester City (A) W 1-0 FA Carling Premiership (BSkyB) Mon 12 Dec 1994 Arsenal (H) L 1-2 FA Carling Premiership (BSkyB) Mon 26 Dec 1994 Blackburn Rov. (H) L 1-3 FA Carling Premiership (BSkyB) Sun 19 Feb 1995 Newcastle Utd. (A) L 1-3 FA Cup 5th Round (BSkyB) Mon 17 Apr 1995 Blackburn Rov. (A) W 3-2 FA Carling Premiership (BSkyB) Sun 10 Sep 1995 Arsenal (H) L 0-1 FA Carling Premiership (BSkyB) Mon 18 Dec 1995 Nottm. Forest (H) D 1-1 FA Carling Premiership (BSkyB) Tue 26 Dec 1995 Blackburn Rov. (A) L 2-0 FA Carling Premiership (BSkyB) Sun 18 Feb 1996 Manchester Utd. (A) L 2-1 FA Cup 5th Round (BBC) Fri 16 Aug 1996 Ipswich Town (H) W 1-0 Nationwide League Division 1 (BSkyB) Sun 27 Oct 1996 Wolves (H) L 0-1 Nationwide League Division 1 (BSkyB) Sun 01 Dec 1996 Wolves (A) L 3-0 Nationwide League Division 1 (ITV some regions) Sun 02 Feb 1997 Oxford United (A) W 1-4 Nationwide League Division 1 (ITV some regions) Fri 22 Aug 1997 Tranmere Rovers (H) D 1-1 Nationwide League Division 1 (BSkyB) Tue 26 Aug 1997 Blackpool (H) W 1-0* Coca Cola Cup 1st Round 2nd Leg (BSkyB) Fri 12 Sep 1997 Bury (A) D 1-1 Nationwide League Division 1 (BSkyB) Sun 26 Oct 1997 QPR (A) L 2-0 Nationwide League Division 1 (BSkyB) Fri 07 Nov 1997 Huddersfield T. (H) L 0-1 Nationwide League Division 1 (BSkyB) Sun 25 Jan 1998 West Ham United (H) L 1-2 FA Cup 4th Round (ITV) Fri 17 Apr 1998 Middlesbrough (A) L 1-0 Nationwide League Division 1 (BSkyB) Sun 03 May 1998 Stoke City (A) W 2-5 Nationwide League Division 1 (BSkyB) Fri 14 Aug 1998 Fulham (A) L 3-0 Nationwide League Division 2 (BSkyB) Wed 19 Aug 1998 Notts County (H) W 7-1 Worthington Cup 1st Round 2nd Leg Fri 13 Nov 1998 Halifax Town (H) W 3-0 FA Cup 1st Round (BSkyB) Fri 04 Dec 1998 Darlington (A) D 1-1 FA Cup 2nd Round (BSkyB) Fri 29 Jan 1999 Stoke City (A) W 0-1 Nationwide League Division 2 (BSkyB) Sat 20 Mar 1999 Colchester Utd. (A) W 0-1 Nationwide League Division 2 (BSkyB - pay per view) Sat 01 May 1999 Bristol Rovers (A) D 2-2 Nationwide League Division 2 (BSkyB - pay per view) Sun 30 May 1999 Gillingham (W) D 2-2^ Nationwide League Division 2 Play-Off Final (BSkyB) Sun 08 Aug 1999 Wolves (H) L 0-1 Nationwide League Division 1 (BSkyB) Tue 21 Sep 1999 Southampton (A) L 4-3% Worthington Cup 2nd Round 2nd Leg (BSkyB) Sun 26 Sep 1999 Ipswich Town (A) L 2-1 Nationwide League Division 1 (BSkyB) Tue 19 Oct 1999 Birmingham City (A) W 0-1 Nationwide League Division 1 (BSkyB) Fri 03 Dec 1999 Wolves (A) L 4-1 Nationwide League Division 1 (BSkyB) Sun 26 Dec 1999 West Brom (A) W 0-2 Nationwide League Division 1 (BSkyB) Sun 09 Jan 2000 Leeds United (H) L 2-5 FA Cup 4th Round (BSkyB) Sun 16 Jan 2000 Fulham (H) W 4-0 Nationwide League Division 1 (BSkyB) Fri 18 Feb 2000 Huddersfield T. (A) D 1-1 Nationwide League Division 1 (BSkyB) Sun 19 Mar 2000 Charlton Ath. (H) D 1-1 Nationwide League Division 1 (BSkyB) Fri 28 Apr 2000 Birmingham City (H) W 1-0 Nationwide League Division 1 (BSkyB) (H) Home (A) Away (W) Wembley * Result 1-1 on aggregate, City lost 4-2 on penalties. ^ City won 3-1 on penalties. % First Leg 0-0. Score after 90 minutes: 3-3. Southampton won 4-3 after extra time.
Live television coverage of football matches was rare until the football authorities realised how much money could be made by selling TV rights, so 'live' appearances were restricted to FA Cup Finals.
Saturday 7th May 1955: Newcastle United, Wembley, Lost 1-3
I've only the vaguest memories of this match. City went one down to the quickest goal ever scored in a Cup Final, Jackie Milburn scoring within one minute. Jimmy Meadows was one of a succession of players to suffer serious injury in a Cup Final: Bert Trautmann (1956), Ray Wood (1957) Roy Dwight (1959) and a couple before these, so City played much of the match with 10 men.
George Hannah, who played for Newcastle in this game, played 131 games for City between 1958 and 1964. He joined City from Notts County and left for Lincoln.Roger Haigh (R.Haigh@man1204.wins.icl.co.uk)
Saturday 5th May 1956: Birmingham City, Wembley, Won 3-1
Brief highlights of this game are included on the video Manchester City's Greatest FA Cup Victories.
I've slightly better memories of this one. The Haigh family still hadn't acquired a TV set but it was easy enough to find a friend who was watching the match.
This time City scored early through Joe Hayes. Birmingham equalised but Jack Dyson and Bobby Johnson wrapped it up with two goals in three minutes in the middle of the second half. The match was memorable for the injury to Bert Trautmann. Bert was kicked while diving at a Brum forward's feet and broke his neck in the process. He wouldn't leave the field and Dave Ewing spent the last 15 minutes protecting his goalkeeper.Roger Haigh (R.Haigh@man1204.wins.icl.co.uk)
Saturday 26th April 1969: Leicester City, Wembley, Won 1-0
Brief highlights of this game are included on the video Manchester City's Greatest FA Cup Victories.
No TV memories of this one, I was there behind the goal where Neil Young scored the only goal of the game. It was a typical City match with lots of possession but not the goals to match. City's team was at full strength and was probably the strongest eleven that City put on the field during the Mercer period. Andy Lochhead caused more than one moment of concern but City kept a clean sheet and Tony Book collected the Cup. Peter Shilton played in goal for Leicester - he's still going strong at the end of 94/95.Roger Haigh (R.Haigh@man1204.wins.icl.co.uk)
City played in a number of important matches during the late sixties and seventies which might have been expected to be televised 'live' but for various reasons, were not. For instance, the European Cup-Winners' Cup Final (29/4/70) would have been live but for the fact that the FA Cup Final Replay between Leeds and Chelsea at Old Trafford was played on the same night. There was also the League Cup Final (28/2/76 - our last trophy!) which was only shown as highlights the following day.
The eighties were a turbulent period for City after the 'second coming' of Malcolm Allison nearly bankrupted the club. John Bond took over from Allison in the 1980/81 season and inspired a remarkable turnaround in City's fortunes, leading them from the bottom of the league to a comfortable mid-table position, the semi-finals of the League Cup and two Wembley appearances against Tottenham Hotspur in the centenary Cup Final and Replay. However, the magic eventually wore off and City were relegated at the end of the 1982/83 season. The following season, the Football League was sponsored for the first time and 'live' league matches were shown by the BBC on a regular basis. Naturally they concentrated on the 1st Division, so City's four seasons in Division 2 during the mid-eighties limited their appearances to a mere handful during the course of the decade.
Saturday 9th May 1981: Tottenham Hotspur, Wembley, Drew 1-1
I lived in South Africa from 1981-1986. The first year was spent in Cape Town where I played for a football club called Meadowridge. I don't know if it is the same elsewhere in the world but in SA there is nobody more patriotic than a Pommie ex-pat. The FA Cup final is an extra special occasion.
We watched the game between City and Spurs at the clubhouse. The day started with a football match between City and Spurs fans. The ref was Arsenal, so we won with a penalty in the last 5 minutes. We then went on to have a braai (barbie for our Aussies) washed down with copious quantities of Castle lager.
There were 2 TVs in the club pointing away from each other so that opposite fans could sit on either side of the room. After a heartrendering rendition of God Save the Queen (yes, we even stood up), the match started.
Full time came and we filled our drinks and waited for extra time. In those days television was shared between English and Afrikaans speaking people. Even so, we thought the commentator was taking the piss, when he said "We now take you over to Cape town for an exciting Wrestling tag match." We watched on in horror as the Afrikaaners' answer to big daddy came into the ring.
I ran outside to the car and tuned into world service, where for half an hour we tried to interpret the crackling and fading voice of Denis Law. At one stage there was either a roar from the crowd or the reception suddenly improved. As Denis seemed to get excited, I assumed City had scored and passed this information on to an inebriated group of football fans in the club house. Within seconds scuffles broke out until someone mentioned false alarm.
SABC was innundated with calls and from then on they promised to show the whole of the FA Cup final.Kevin Duckworth (email@example.com)
I'd emigrated to Australia in 1973 but still followed City as keenly as possible at such a distance. In the late seventies the ABC showed Match of the Day while the three commercial channels picked up various regional ITV offerings. I probably saw more City matches on TV than I would if I had stopped in the UK.
The first match was a midnight kick-off in Brisbane. One of my wife's friends commented "It's a late start, why don't they play in the afternoon like they do here?"
There was much publicity as the 100th Cup Final and the match was fitting for the occasion. Tommy Hutchinson secured a place in the record books with a goal for each side, not the first time it had been done in a Cup Final. The first goal was a diving header, the second a deflection off his shoulder which left Corrigan stranded.Roger Haigh (R.Haigh@man1204.wins.icl.co.uk)
Thursday 14th May 1981: Tottenham Hotspur, Wembley, Lost 3-2
The replay was a 4.30am kick off in Australia - only the devoted football fans around at that time. Another cracking match with memorable moments. Steve MacKenzie's goal for City should have been the one to be replayed in years to come but unfortunately Ricky Villa beat most of the City team before scoring the winner. That goal won the Cup Final goal-of-all-time vote in the run up to the '95 Final.
The BBC video of the final has both matches on it so represents good value for money at a tenner.
Apparantly City had the opportunity to sign Villa and Ardiles before they joined Spurs. The opportunity was spurned - good one PJ!!!Roger Haigh (R.Haigh@man1204.wins.icl.co.uk)
Friday 4th May 1984: Chelsea, Maine Road, Lost 0-2
This was one of the first 2nd Division games ever to be screened 'live', going out to the nation from 7:15pm on a Friday evening on BBC1. When the match was selected in March of that year, it looked possible that the game might decide the outcome of the 2nd Division Championship but City's form took a downturn after that and we ended up finishing fifth whilst Chelsea went on to take the title. From what I remember it was a rather poor game which Chelsea deservedly won 2-0 with goals by Pat Nevin and Kerry Dixon. I remember there was quite a lot of aggro in the streets around the ground after the game but I was blissfully unaware of it as I walked back into town with a Chelsea fan (living in Sheffield) who wanted to know the way to Piccadilly Station. Incidentally, there was a feature in the programme on one of our "stars of the future", a certain John Beresford, now a regular at left back with Newcastle. If only...Paul Howarth (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sunday 26th October 1986: Manchester United, Maine Road, Drew 1-1
This, the 109th Manchester league derby, was the first to be televised 'live'. According to The Pride of Manchester it was "anything but a television spectacular and the arm-chair viewer was subjected to a gritty and uninspiring game between two struggling teams."
I was Back from Oz by now, but for some unknown reason I wasn't at the match. The crowd was only 32,000 so it wasn't a sell-out. Mick McCarthy scored a classic Centre Half's header from a corner to secure a point for the Blues. City had signed Grealish and Gidman just before this game and there were hopes of a repeat of the success of Gow and MacDonald (who played in similar positions) a few years earlier. No such luck on that score.Roger Haigh (R.Haigh@man1204.wins.icl.co.uk)
Sunday 13th March 1988: Liverpool, Maine Road, Lost 0-4
I think ITV covered it (I've got it on tape somewhere in its entirety), since it's not featured on BBC's The Mighty Reds tape of that amazing season. I didn't go to the game myself, but I do know of a group of southern-based Reds who went with the London Branch of the Supporters' Club. Not only was the coach delayed about 15 minutes but when it arrived the lads realised the coach driver had taken them to Old Trafford by mistake! They weren't best pleased and ended up missing virtually the entire first half. I'm almost certain that Houghton scored the first from a Barnes cross, then Craig Johnston (playing because Aldo was injured) was brought down for Beardo to convert the penalty. Following that Craggs himself scored and Barnsey wrapped it up with a typically solo extravaganza.
Liverpool went on to lose to Wimbledon in the Final.Thanks to Gaz Kendall (G.Kendall@liverpool.ac.uk) and Donie Collins (email@example.com) from the Liverpool FC Mailing List.
City fielded six of the 1986 youth team against an immensely powerful Liverpool team which had dominated English football in a way which even the Rags can only dream about. Men against boys sums up this match.Roger Haigh (R.Haigh@man1204.wins.icl.co.uk)
Sunday 22nd October 1989: Aston Villa, Maine Road, Lost 0-2
This game was shown 'live' in the Granada and Central TV areas only. Viewers in other areas were the lucky ones.
We'd acquired Mr Personality, Mel Machin, by now. This match was one of his tactical masterpieces, unmatched even by Brian Horton. Tricky Trev went for an early bath after a scuffle with a Villa player. The substitutes for the match were Clive Allen and Justin Fashanu, not the best balanced selection. For the last part of the match the subs replaced Ian Bishop and Ian Brightwell so City played 4-1-4 with Lake battling alone in midfield with Allen, Fashanu, White and Oldfield all fighting to play centre forward. Needless to say the eccentric tactics were less than successful. Machin lasted six more weeks before the inevitable chop.Roger Haigh (R.Haigh@man1204.wins.icl.co.uk)
Sunday 17th December 1989: Everton, Goodison Park, Drew 0-0
This game was the first of Howard Kendall's reign at City, although he had seen the side lose 2-1 at Southampton the week before. It also marked the City débuts of former Evertonians Alan Harper & Peter Reid and the relegation of fans' favourite Ian Bishop to the substitutes' bench in favour of Gary Megson.
The early nineties were a period of consolidation for City as they sought to maintain their status in the top division. The first season after promotion was a battle against relegation; despite the 5-1 victory over United in September 1989, City struggled and Mel Machin was sacked as City's manager at the start of December, to be replaced by Howard Kendall. Kendall did a professional job, disposing of many of the fans' favourites and bringing in a number of players he'd worked with at Everton. City secured their First Division safety with three matches to spare (finishing 14th), though the turning point was the televised victory at Villa Park 4 games earlier. The following season saw a continuation of the improvement under Kendall, even after his departure for Everton in November 1990. Peter Reid was the popular choice as Kendall's replacement and he led City to a finish in 5th place, their best finish since 1977/78 and the first time City had finished above United since that same season. Another fifth place finish was secured the following season, the last before the start of the FA Premier League, though these high placings were more to do with the relatively poor state of English football than City's brilliance. ITV had the contract with the Football League for television rights but only screened about 20 'live' games per season, usually concentrating on the teams right at the top of the league. Despite City's relatively high placing, only four matches were screened 'live' between January 1990 and the start of the FA Premier League in August 1992.
Sunday 1st April 1990: Aston Villa, Villa Park, Won 2-1
Villa were challenging for the title and City were battling against relegation. You'd never have guessed it as City came from behind to thoroughly outplay Villa and record their first away win of the season.
Sunday 11th November 1990: Leeds United, Maine Road, Lost 2-3
This was the first game after Howard Kendall's departure for Everton and Peter Reid was caretaker manager. Most City fans wanted the appointment to be made permanent and made their point with banners and chants throughout the game. City were awarded two penalties; one was scored by Mark Ward but the other one was the worst penalty I can ever remember seeing, Alan Harper hitting it several yards over the bar. I'm still convinced that Gordon Strachan's winning goal was offside but the television replays were inconclusive. The Leeds fans damaged a substantial amount of the bench seating in the old Platt Lane Stand during and after the game; maybe they should have been invited back at the end of the season to finish the job, prior to the construction of the Umbro Stand in its place?Paul Howarth (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sunday 13th January 1991: Everton, Goodison Park, Lost 2-0
In City's first game against Everton since Howard Kendall's defection, the Everton manager was the target for a torrent of abuse from the visiting supporters. Future City star Peter Beagrie scored with a great volley and Clive Allen was unlucky to have a superbly struck overhead kick ruled out as the ball was adjudged to have gone out of play before it was crossed to him.
Sunday 15th March 1992: Southampton, Maine Road, Lost 0-1
Before the game City were 4th from top and Southampton were 4th from bottom so this looked like a home banker. However, the Saints maintained their record of never having conceded a goal in a live televised match (which started with the 1976 FA Cup Final against Manchester United) and grabbed a winner through Iain Dowie. It was a dreadful match and it was no surprise that City were not selected for 'live' television coverage again in 1991/92.
The was the inaugral season of the FA Premier League, which also heralded the arrival of satellite TV company BSkyB on the 'live' English football scene. BSkyB and the BBC paid £304 million for the right to screen 60 Premier League games a season for five years, good news for Spurs' chairman Alan Sugar who helped to negotiate the deal; his electronics company Amstrad sold a lot of satellite TV receiving equipment as a result. The deal also brought about the return of the popular Match of the Day highlights programme on Saturday evenings and one 'live' game each per round of the FA Cup for the BBC and BSkyB. The contract allowed the TV companies to move fixtures around to suit their schedules, which resulted in games being played on Monday evenings as well as Saturdays and Sundays, a very unpopular move with travelling fans. To BSkyB's credit, they showed a much wider variety of matches instead of concentrating exclusively on the top clubs, which resulted in a significant increase in the number of City matches broadcast 'live'.
City's fortunes began to decline in the 1992/93 season, the club finishing in 9th place although prior to the 5-2 defeat by Everton on the last day of the season City were 5th. City were beaten four times by Spurs, twice in the league, in the 3rd round of the Coca-Cola Cup at Maine Road and in the infamous FA Cup Quarter-Final, also at Maine Road. High point of the season was probably the 4-0 victory over champions Leeds United, which, unlike the similar result the previous season, was a fair reflection of the play.
Monday 17th August 1992: QPR, Maine Road, Drew 1-1
This was the first Premier League game ever to be screened live by Sky on a Monday night. Sky's first ever game was at Nottingham Forest the day before. There was lots of American-style razzmatazz with cheerleaders and dancing girls before the game, a band on the pitch at half time and fireworks afterwards. About 15 minutes before kick- off there was a skydiving & parachute display by, wait for it... the Red Devils! I wonder which bright spark thought of that? Anyway, none of these things went down very well with football fans that season and they're nowhere to be seen these days. As for the game, it finished 1-1 with City taking the lead in the first half through David White and QPR equalising after the break when Andy Sinton was given far too much room before he cracked the ball home from just outside the box. Quite a good game actually.Paul Howarth (email@example.com)
Sunday 20th September 1992: Chelsea, Maine Road, Lost 0-1
The only goal in this dour game came from Mick Harford on 40 minutes whilst Rick Holden was off the field having stitches in a facial wound after a collision with Terry Phelan.
Monday 28th September 1992: Arsenal, Highbury, Lost 1-0
Whilst the Arsenal fans were telling us we'd never get a job and we were telling them they'd never pay their mortgage, Ian Wright popped in the only goal of the game.
Sunday 6th December 1992: Manchester United, Old Trafford, Lost 2-1
Wednesday 13 January 1993: Reading, Elm Park, Won 0-4
BSkyB intended to show Bristol Rovers vs. Aston Villa but it was postponed, so they took the short trip down the M4 to Reading to show this game instead. Due to an accident on the M6, many City fans were late and missed Sheron's opening goal after only 3 minutes.
Sunday 7th March 1993: Tottenham Hotspur, Maine Road, Lost 2-4
The game should have been remembered as a pulsating cup tie which coincided with the opening of the Umbro Stand but will instead be infamous for the pitch invasion by a couple of hundred drunken City fans after Terry Phelan's solo consolation goal in the 87th minute. There was a 13 minute stoppage whilst horses were used to clear the pitch, following which the remaining few minutes were played out in a tense atmosphere. Teddy Sheringham missed a penalty (deliberately?) before the game eventually finished. Spurs had already knocked City out of the Coca-Cola Cup and went on to complete a league double later on that month.
Friday 9th April 1993: Sheffield United, Bramall Lane, Drew 1-1
In another appalling advert for City, we scraped a 1-1 draw on a dull Good Friday evening. City took the lead through a glorious own goal by John Pemberton who was trying to clear a David White cross, only for Brian Deane to equalise later on with a crisp 20-yarder.
Sunday 18th April 1993: Aston Villa, Villa Park, Lost 3-1
This was an occasion for City fans to really consider their feelings. Villa were fighting it out for the first Premier League championship with Manchester United; a win for City would almost certainly have handed the title to United. There was a distinct nervousness about Villa which even extended to the groundsmen; less than five minutes before kick-off, the goalposts at the North Stand end were in the wrong place! Some City fans had "Good Luck Villa" banners and the general mood amongst the travelling fans was cheery; we wouldn't be too bothered whichever side won. It was City who took the lead, Quinn heading in a Phelan centre via the crossbar. Tony Coton turned to the City fans behind him with his head in his hands, mock anguish on his face. Villa equalised early in the second half and were then awarded a penalty for a completely unnecessary handball by Keith Curle, which Garry Parker converted. The goal was cheered by about half of the City fans as well as the Villa fans! Villa never really looked comfortable and when Ray Houghton lobbed the third goal in 3 minutes from the end, it gave the scoreline a flattering look. United clinched the title the following weekend when Villa surprisingly lost at home to struggling Oldham Athletic, again 'live' on BSkyB.Paul Howarth (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The match against Sheffield United on Boxing Day 1992 (which City won 2-0 with a brace of goals from David White) was shown on BSkyB in place of their scheduled match (at Blackburn?) which had been postponed. The game was shown in its entirety from 5:00pm, two hours after kick-off.
This will probably be remembered as one of the most significant seasons in the club's history. Manager Peter Reid was sacked after only four games from which City had taken only 1 point, although the poor second half of the previous season must also have been a significant factor. The decision wasn't particularly unpopular as there had been an over-reliance on the long ball game over the past couple of seasons and things looked to be getting worse rather than better. What was unpopular though, was the way in which Reid and assistant manager Sam Ellis were sacked, with newly-appointed general manager John Maddock supposedly wielding the axe. This sparked the usual "Swales Out" protests against the chairman but these would have had their usual effect (i.e. none) if Francis Lee hadn't announced that he'd like to take a stake in the club. The incumbent board wanted none of it but the fans really had something to aim for now and a "Forward With Franny" campaign was started. Meanwhile, the Oxford United manager Brian Horton was recruited as Reid's replacement, David Moss replacing Ellis. Most City fans knew little about Horton, who was known as "Brian Who?" for a while. On the pitch, things started looking up when City won their first two matches under Horton, 3-1 away at fellow strugglers Swindon and 3-0 at home to QPR, a performance featuring good, passing football, a pleasant change.
However, a sequence of 5 'live' TV games between 20th September and 22nd November from which City picked up only 2 points kept City in deep relegation trouble; before their last game of the season at Hillsborough there was still a slight chance that City could go down. City went out of the Coca-Cola Cup in the 4th Round, losing a replay at home to First Division Nottingham Forest. Worse was to follow in the FA Cup, City losing against Second Division Cardiff City in the 4th Round at Ninian Park, a match televised 'live' by BBC Wales.
After a protracted takeover battle, Francis Lee finally became chairman early in February 1994. Attendances went up and the purse strings were slackened enough to finance the purchases of Uwe Rösler (initially on loan), Peter Beagrie and Paul Walsh before the transfer deadline. These players made a significant impact and it wouldn't be unfair to say that they kept City in the Premier League. Highlight of the season was the run of 3 straight victories over Aston Villa, Southampton and Newcastle during the Easter period, the low point being the 'live' televised derby defeat at Maine Road after City had led 2-0 at half time.
Monday 20th September 1993: Wimbledon, Selhurst Park, Lost 1-0
The game was notable for the débuts of Richard Edghill & Alan Kernaghan and also for the kick-off being delayed 10 minutes due to congestion at the turnstiles! It was also City's first defeat under Brian Horton.
Monday 4th October 1993: Oldham Athletic, Maine Road, Drew 1-1
City were lucky to get a point in this dour relegation battle with Mike Sheron's late equaliser after a fortunate rebound. Graeme Sharp gave Oldham the lead on 57 minutes after a deep cross which looked to be going out of play was recovered by Nick Henry(?).
Monday 1st November 1993: West Ham United, Upton Park, Lost 3-1
A poor performance against a struggling Hammers side. This was City's second defeat under Brian Horton. Carl Griffiths came on for his début after an hour and earned City a penalty with a characteristically sharp interception of a back pass. With only 5 minutes to go it was too little, too late though.
Sunday 7th November 1993: Manchester United, Maine Road, Lost 2-3
A tale of two halves. City, playing a sweeper system, take a two-goal half-time lead through Niall Quinn but contrive to let three in during the second half for the third defeat of Brian Horton's City managership.
Monday 22nd November 1993: Chelsea, Stamford Bridge, Drew 0-0
Chelsea went into this game on the back of six straight defeats including a 1-0 loss at Maine Road in the Coca-Cola Cup, so they played an understandably defensive game on this bitterly cold Monday night. Neither side ever looked like scoring.
Saturday 29th January 1994: Cardiff City, Ninian Park, Lost 1-0
The game was shown 'live' on BBC Wales but could be received all over western England. Nathan Blake scored the winner and was subsequently transferred to Sheffield United but was unable to prevent them from being relegated.
Saturday 29th April 1994: Manchester United, Old Trafford, Lost 2-0
Cantona bags another brace of goals (one of which was offside) as we lose yet another derby.
After a strong finish to the previous season and a bright start to this one, things seemed to be looking up for City. However, a disastrous spell from before Christmas until Easter left the Blues deep in relegation trouble once again. There was also the humiliation of a record derby defeat in the first `live` TV appearance of the season in November. Fortunately, a couple of rare televised victories helped to keep the Blues up, most notably a well-deserved victory at champions-to-be Blackburn Rovers on Easter Monday, featuring an excellent performance by Mike Summerbee as one of the TV pundits!
Thursday 10th November 1994: Manchester United, Old Trafford, Lost 5-0
A disastrous result for the Blues as a rampant United side tear us apart. A match report is available for this game.
Sunday 20th November 1994: Leicester City, Filbert Street, Won 0-1
City finally recorded a win in a league match televised 'live' by BSkyB, Niall Quinn scoring the only goal of the game. This was Brian Little's last game in charge of the struggling Leicester side before he controversially moved on to Aston Villa. A match report is available for this game.
Monday 12th December 1994: Arsenal, Maine Road, Lost 1-2
Back to normal as City lose their unbeaten home record to a battling Arsenal side. A match report is available for this game.
Monday 26th December 1994: Blackburn Rovers, Maine Road, Lost 1-3
A match report is available for this game.
Sunday 19th February 1995: Newcastle United, St. James' Park, Lost 1-3
City played reasonably well but handed the game to the home side with some terrible defensive mistakes. A match report is available for this game.
Monday 17th April 1995: Blackburn Rovers, Ewood Park, Won 3-2
City came from behind twice to beat the champions-elect for a result as important for the Blues as it was surprising; a very similar performance to that at Villa Park in April 1990 gave City a deserved win. A match report is available for this game. Here's a view of the game from somebody who watched the game in a pub in the midlands, surrounded by people wanting a Blackburn victory to ensure that the title wouldn't be going to Old Trafford for the 3rd year running...
Maybe I need a few more attacks of bitter depression? I watched the game with the attitude of "eh? City are playing well... no, I won't get my hopes up; when are Blackburn going to score next?" At 1-1, some bloke who had just come into the pub asked the score so I told him and added that it looked a fairly even game. But this was drowned out by a big cheer from the group of Coventry and anti-Rag fans. 2-1. Right, I'll keep my mouth shut then, I thought. Decided it would be a formality in the 2nd half so I played the trivia machine (did quite well!) within earshot of the TV. Bugger me if we didn't score. Then I started getting nervous, hoping we could hold out for a point and I still couldn't watch. 3-2!!! followed by two close shouts for 4-2; I had to watch from here. 2 mins 29 secs into injury time and we hadn't conceded a late goal (or three) and no-one had been sent off and no-one injured beyond repair. Then I was thinking that Sky would say, "sorry, we counted the goals wrong." But no, 3 points well won from the champions-elect and on Sky!!.James Nash (JAMES59@mdx.ac.uk)
After a spell of two years constantly battling against relegation and with never-ending speculation over the future of manager Brian Horton, the axe finally fell at the end of the 1994/95 season. However, it soon became clear that big-name (or other) managers weren't exactly queueing up for the vacant Maine Road hot-seat and there was a delay of two months before a successor was named. The man chosen, Alan Ball, was not exactly the number one choice amongst the fans (and if rumours be true, amongst the board members). With very little time to prepare before the season started, perhaps it is hardly surprising that City made a poor start to the season, though as it turned out, it was a club record bad start, with another club record of eight consecutive league defeats thown in for good measure. One of these games was a televised 1-0 defeat at home to Arsenal, who scored the winner in the last minute following a disputed free kick award.
Things improved with a good run in November which lifted City out of the relegation zone for a while but the Blues never managed to open a significant gap between themselves and the bottom three. Two more televised matches in December resulted in only one point between them and in the end the third consecutive relegation battle ended in defeat. Parts of the final game against Liverpool were shown "live" on BSkyB when it became clear that Newcastle would not be able to overhaul Manchester United for the Championship on the last day. United went on to win the double by beating Liverpool in the F.A. Cup final; the 5th Round game at Old Trafford against City was also shown "live"; a controversial penalty award just before half time won City plenty of sympathy but unfortunately not the match.
Sunday 10th September 1995: Arsenal, Maine Road, Lost 0-1
City, bottom of the table with 1 point from 4 games, suffered their fourth defeat in a row after conceding a 90th minute goal from Ian Wright. It was a little harsh on the Blues, who had looked fairly comfortable at the back, with very few chances coming the way of either side in a dour match. A match report is available for this game.
Monday 18th December 1995: Nottingham Forest, Maine Road, Drew 1-1
With an impressive string of results and performances in November which lifted City out of the bottom three and won Alan Ball the Carling Manager of the Month award, City started the game confidently and took a deserved 16th minute lead through Uwe Rösler with his first Premiership goal since August. However, as in previous matches, City let the initiative slip and Forest equalised in the second half through Kevin Campbell; only some glaring misses by Jason Lee prevented Forest heading home with all three points. Overall, a disappointing City performance in which the experiment of playing Keith Curle in midfield must be regarded as unsuccessful. A match report is available for this game.
Tuesday 26th December 1995: Blackburn Rovers, Ewood Park, Lost 2-0
City slipped back into the bottom three as Blackburn recorded their seventh consecutive home league win with goals from Alan Shearer and David Batty (scoring his first ever goal for the club). A fair result on a bitterly cold night, though City were denied by the woodwork and on a number of occasions by good work from goalkeeper Tim Flowers. With only ten league goals from the first 20 matches of the season, the source of City's problems was clearly in the attacking department though. A match report is available for this game.
Sunday 18th February 1996: Manchester United, Old Trafford, Lost 2-1
Uwe Rösler delighted the 7,000 Blues gathered at the scoreboard end by chipping City into a deserved 12th-minute lead in this passionate derby encounter. City had the better of the first half hour and managed to stifle virtually all of United's attacking moves whilst causing plenty of problems for the United defence but the home side gradually came more into the game after that and with 6 minutes to go to half time, were awarded a highly controversial penalty. An innocuous-looking challenge by Frontzeck on Cantona as the ball soared high above their heads was the cause; Alan Hansen, commenting on TV, called the decision "a disgrace". Anyway, Cantona put away the penalty and United went on to dominate the rest of the match, the winner coming 13 minutes from time when Lee Sharpe converted Phil Neville's low cross. A match report is available for this game.
The Football League had a new sponsor at the start of the 1996/97 season - the Nationwide Building Society. There was also a new £25 million TV deal with BSkyB and ITV which would lead to the satellite TV company showing games in the new Nationwide League "live". The first of these games was on Friday 16th August, the day before the rest of the country kicked off the season. City's game against Ipswich Town was the chosen one and for once City managed to keep their nerve - just.
Friday 16th August 1996: Ipswich Town, Maine Road, Won 1-0
City started the first ever game of the Nationwide League as favourites for the Championship and managed to secure three points courtesy of Georgi Kinkladze and Steve Lomas. Man of the Match Kinkladze jinked through two defenders and chipped a perfect cross for Lomas to head the only goal of the game. City had chances to wrap up the game before Michael Frontzeck was sent off in the 65th minute for a professional foul. City only just managed to hold on to the points as Ipswich tried to press home their man advantage, hitting the woodwork twice in the last few minutes. Not the most polished of performances by the Blues but entertaining enough for the TV audience and the surprisingly high 29,126 crowd packed into Maine Road. A match report is available for this game.
Sunday 27th October 1996: Wolverhampton Wanderers, Maine Road, Lost 0-1
By late October, City's status as promotion favourites was distant history. Alan Ball had been replaced as manager by Steve Coppell and this was the new man's second home game. City were mid-table and Wolves were 5th. City had a good home record and Wolves had a good away record. Something had to give. For most of the game, City looked the likely winners but were unable to capitalise on a number of chances; Wolves looked useful on the break and scored the only goal of the game with 13 minutes left. Kit Symons misjudged a punt upfield, allowing Steve Bull to nip in behind him and score with an excellent shot from the edge of the area. It was Bull's 280th goal for Wolves, making him the highest ever scorer amongst West Midlands clubs. A match report is available for this game.
Sunday 1st December 1996: Wolverhampton Wanderers, Molineux, Lost 3-0
At the start of December, City were in big trouble. Only fifth from the bottom of the league, Phil Neal was the man in charge following the shock resignation of Steve Coppell. Wolves hadn't won a home game in three months but quite convincingly put an end to that record with three second half goals after City had frustrated them in a goalless first half. Goalkeeper Martyn Margetson had been carried off after a first minute collision with captain Kit Symons; the first minute of the second half brought more calamity as his replacement Andy Dibble sliced a clearance to Robbie Dennison who was able to cross for Iwan Roberts to score. Roberts scored again 7 minutes later and the game was sewn up with a brilliant 25-yard effort from Dennison with 11 minutes to go. City had little to offer and looked good bets for relegation on this performance. A match report is available for this game.
Sunday 2nd February 1997: Oxford United, Manor Ground, Won 1-4
By the start of February City were on their fifth manager of the season, Frank Clark, and he had so far been unbeaten in his four games in charge. This run was extended to five games most emphatically as City, inspired by Gio Kinkladze, ran riot. The opening goal came after an uninspiring first 25 minutes to the game, Gilchrist heading a Kinkladze corner into his own goal under pressure from Rösler. Five minutes later Kinkladze scored the first of his two beauties and the Blues hit the bar twice before half time. City were well on top in the second half too and went further in front when Kinkladze ran half the length of the pitch before drilling home a low shot. Substitute Paul Moody pulled one back for the home side with 11 minutes left but City had the last word when Rösler tapped home with 2 minutes left to end his barren spell in front of goal. A match report is available for this game.
There were no changes to the TV contracts for the 1997/98 season, with both ITV and BSkyB having the rights to a number of games. City, having recovered well from an appalling start to the 1996/97 season, were amongst the favourites for promotion again and this was reflected by BSkyB choosing to screen the Blues live 5 times before Christmas.
Friday 22nd August 1997: Tranmere Rovers, Maine Road, Drew 1-1
After a poor start to the season again (despite an unbeaten pre-season with some impressive performances), City were hoping to score the first win of the season in front of the cameras against Tranmere. The Blues started strongly but didn't create many chances and as the first half went on, Martyn Margetson had to make a couple of excellent saves to keep City in the game. The breakthrough came 12 seconds into the second half when Kevin Horlock powered home a shot from 25 yards. Uwe Rösler missed a great chance to make it 2-0 before Tranmere equalised against the run of play, Lee Jones taking advantage of some slack marking to score in the 61st minute. Gio Kinkladze was man of the match again but couldn't inspire the side to score a winner. City were booed off the pitch at full time by fans exasperated as much by the style of play as by the result. A match report is available for this game.
Tuesday 26th August 1997: Blackpool, Maine Road, Won 1-0 (1-1 on aggregate; City lost 4-2 on penalties)
The Sky TV cameras were back at Maine Road, sensing an upset as City attempted to recover a one goal deficit from the first leg at Bloomfield Road. It certainly looked likely to occur during a first half in which Blackpool's robust approach caused the Blues no end of problems and with Gio Kinkladze rendered ineffective by some very close marking, City were bereft of ideas. However, City dominated the second half and spent most of it camped in the visitors' half. Even so, the Tangerines held out until two minutes before the end when Kevin Horlock struck a low shot home to level the tie. City had chances to win the game in extra time, most notably a Paul Dickov effort that was brilliantly saved by Steve Banks, but it wasn't to be and so there was the drama of a penalty shoot-out. Tony Ellis, Jason Van Blerk, Anton Rogan, Nicky Summerbee and Jason Lydiate all converted to make it 3-2 to Blackpool and then Kevin Horlock's effort was saved. Tony Butler then smacked his shot over the bar and City's Lee Bradbury miskicked his shot which went wide. Micky Mellon then scored to send Blackpool into the Second Round whilst the 2,500 visiting fans celebrated. A match report is available for this game.
Friday 12th September 1997: Bury, Gigg Lane, Drew 1-1
The inclement weather and presence of TV cameras didn't deter the fans who made this Bury's highest attendance for 17 years, and they witnessed an entertaining game too. Bury had the better of the goalless first half, though both sides had their chances to score. The second period was dominated by City, who should have gone ahead from the penalty spot after Gio Kinkladze had been brought down to end a glorious run. However, the Georgian's spot kick was poor and comfortably saved by Kiely in the Bury goal. The home side took the lead shortly afterwards, David Johnson taking advantage of a slip by Kevin Horlock to lob the ball over Martyn Margetson. City pressed for the equaliser which eventually came nine minutes from the end. Tony Scully swung over a corner and début boy David Morley glanced a header into the net to cap a memorable first senior game. A match report is available for this game.
Sunday 26th October 1997: QPR, Loftus Road, Lost 2-0
A match report is available for this game.
Friday 7th November 1997: Huddersfield Town, Maine Road, Lost 0-1
A match report is available for this game.
Sunday 25th January 1998: West Ham United, Maine Road, Lost 1-2
City failed to reach the fifth round of the F.A. Cup for the first time in four years as a result of this defeat. The Blues started hesitantly and the Premiership visitors were the better side for the first half, taking the lead midway through the half with a good passing move and clinical finishing from Eyal Berkovic. City showed more composure and better organisation in the second period, and got back into the game through an excellent solo effort from Kinkladze, drifting past 3 defenders before knocking the ball in off the far post. City could then have taken the lead from the penalty spot but Uwe Rösler blazed the spot-kick over the bar. Three minutes later Steve Lomas capped an excellent display on his first return to Maine Road since joining the Hammers by rifling a low shot through a crowded penalty area for the winner. A match report is available for this game.
Friday 17th April 1998: Middlesbrough, Riverside Stadium, Lost 1-0
This was a big game for both sides, Boro needing the points to sustain their push for promotion and City being just one point outside the relegation places. The home side included England internationals Merson and Gascoigne and it was their quality that gave Boro the edge in a bruising first half where no quarter was asked nor given. Italian striker Branca hobbled off after 16 minutes but had already forced a tremandous save from Margetson. City looked to be holding on well until just two minutes before the break when Gascoigne crossed and Alun Armstrong, unmarked at the far post, rammed home the only goal of the game. In first half injury time the home side's captain Steve Vickers was sent off for assaulting Lee Bradbury but City were still unable to create any problems for the Boro defence. The second half was notable for the lack of responsibility that all the City players seemed to have when it came to attacking creativity. Uwe Rösler came on as an extra option but soon had to go off with concussion. Kit Symons was off the field for about 10 minutes having treatment after sustaining another nasty knock to the face, which didn't help either. Another poor TV performance. A match report is available for this game.
Sunday 3rd May 1998: Stoke City, Britannia Stadium, Won 2-5
It was the last game of the season and both sides were in the relegation zone needing a win to have any realistic chance of avoiding the drop. The importance of the game was reflected in the size of the crowd, the first sell-out at Stoke's new stadium. City started off very brightly, dominating possession with a very positive formation featuring three front players. Just when Stoke seemed to be pulling themselves into contention, the Blues took the lead. Goater chased a long ball out from defence, outpaced two defenders and lobbed the ball over the badly-positioned Southall in the Stoke goal. The lead was doubled just after the break when Dickov pounced on a loose ball after a good save by Southall from Goater's header. Thorne pulled one back for the Potters but before Stoke had finished celebrating Bradbury restored City's two-goal advantage with a well-placed header. Goater made it four before Thorne pulled another goal back but by the time Horlock made it 5 in injury time it was clear that results elsewhere would mean relegation for both clubs. Too little, too late from City who were facing Division 2 for the first time in the club's history. A match report is available for this game.
No changes to the TV contracts for the 1998/99 season, though the League Cup had new sponsors, the brewers Bass. As a result, the new competition was known as the Worthington Cup, and City, like last season, were chosen as one of the First Round games to be screened "live". The climax to the season was to be unforgettable, with the play-off final at Wembley producing incredible drama, but City's TV season got underway with the clash of Division Two's biggest clubs, Fulham and City, at Craven Cottage.
Friday 14th August 1998: Fulham, Craven Cottage, Lost 3-0
A match report is available for this game.
Wednesday 19th August 1998: Notts County, Maine Road, Won 7-1
A match report is available for this game.
Friday 13th November 1998: Halifax Town, Maine Road, Won 3-0
Friday 13th could have produced another banana skin for City to slip on as Halifax Town, 3rd Division leaders and conquerers of the Blues in that infamous 1980 tie, were the visitors to Maine Road for City's first ever FA Cup 1st Round match. However, it wasn't to be and in the end City ran out comfortable winners, with Craig Russell the unlikely hero. The Wearsider made his first start of the season and was on hand to give City the lead in the 7th minute. He then finished off a fine move in the 35th minute to double the lead. He turned provider for the 3rd goal, getting to the bye-line and whipping in a low cross which presented Shaun Goater with a tap-in in the second half. City were always in control and the scoreline was a fair reflection of the play. A match report is available for this game.
Friday 4th December 1998: Darlington, Feethams, Drew 1-1
City came close to going out of the FA Cup before the third round stage before substitute Paul Dickov's 77th-minute volley equalised former City trainee Gary Bennett's first half opener. It was a dour game on a chilly evening in which City dominated possession (particularly in the second half) but failed to make many chances. A match report is available for this game.
Friday 29th January 1999: Stoke City, Brittania Stadium, Won 0-1
A much-improved display from City, particularly in the first half when the Blues dominated and created several good chances. Gerard Wiekens scored the only goal of the game, brilliantly chesting down the ball and volleying home. City's life was made easier shortly before half time when Stoke's Phil Robinson was sent off for a violent challenge on Michael Brown. City should have had four or five goals by the end but had to be satisfied with just one. A match report is available for this game.
Saturday 20th March 1999: Colchester United, Layer Road, Won 0-1
Shaun Goater scored the first goal ever in a live pay-per-view game in the UK when he capitalised on a poor clearance from the U's goalkeeper, controlling the ball with his first touch and lobbing the ball into the goal with his second touch. In the end City had to work hard for the three points and had a lucky escape when the home side hit the post late on but overall the Blues were just about worth the win. A match report is available for this game.
Saturday 1st May 1999: Bristol Rovers, The Memorial Stadium, Drew 2-2
City cruised to a 2-0 lead with goals from Shaun Goater and Terry Cooke, the latter another of his free kick specials, but then contrived to let slip the lead in the last 7 minutes of the game. Firstly, Roberts raced clear onto a long punt upfield before scoring, and then a highly dubious penalty was awarded for a ball-to-hand incident involving Tony Vaughan. Jamie Cureton converted the spot kick to cap a memorable day for the Gasheads, whose local rivals Bristol City had been relegated earlier in the afternoon. A match report is available for this game.
Sunday 30th May 1999: Gillingham, Wembley Stadium, Drew 2-2 (City won 3-1 on penalties)
I guess this will be one of those occasions we'll tell our grandchildren about. I had a suspicion City might make it hard for us; I'd also felt for some time that we were going to do it, but at 2-0 down with only injury time remaining I have to admit I'd given up hope... who hadn't? The history books will record that the team, however, hadn't given up hope. From despair to elation in approximately 35 minutes; surely a record even by City standards!
In the absence of tickets, the four Blues plus guests (thanks for the moral support Clive!) who 'packed' the Beaver pub's big screen TV area had a nervous start to the afternoon's proceedings, not unlike the team. Perhaps it was too much to expect the ref to spot the handball that would have given us a penalty after 20 seconds, but for the first 20 minutes or so, we struggled to make much headway against the Gills' 5-man defence, and they were pushing us back though without creating many significant chances. We came into the game more as the half wore on, but seemed to be having trouble staying upright on the slippery surface (I presume there was some attention to the studs at half time as the problem was less obvious in the second half).
We continued to play the ball around in the second half but without really making much headway in the final third. Dicky was his usual tenacious self but along with Shaun G wasn't getting much change out their defence. The minutes ticked away, the beer continued to disappear and we wondered would we ever get the breakthrough? Then two goals in 5 minutes left our little crowd in stunned silence; another season of Division 2 footy loomed; our nearest game would be against Scunthorpe. When Horlock scored, it barely registered, a mere consolation goal (some consolation!) but as it turned out a crucial first step. The next was the decision by the ref to add another 5 minutes. Why, we couldn't figure out, but it gave us time, time for Dicky to come to the rescue some 4 minutes into that injury time. We saw it go in but we didn't believe it. Anything U****d can do we can do more dramatically! Cue scenes of unbridled joy in the Beaver; we may have been few in number but boy did we make a lot of noise!
Not surprisingly we went into extra time with our tails up; they were gutted and it showed. They hung on for thirty minutes as we laid siege to their goal but we couldn't get the third, so penalties it was. Cometh the hour, cometh the man! Step forward Nicky Weaver. Two saves, another blazed well wide, and Dicky's miss didn't matter. We went bananas and we were up!CTID, Geoff Donkin - Beverley Blue (Geoff@Donkin.Freeserve.Co.UK)
No changes to the TV contracts for the 1999/2000 season (at least none that affected City). City's opening game of the season was at home to Wolves, a team that had a habit of coming to Maine Road, soaking up lots of pressure, scoring a breakaway goal and winning 1-0. Would this change...?
Sunday 8th August 1999: Wolves, Maine Road, Lost 0-1
Wolves soaked up lots of pressure (the corner count was 14-0 in City's favour), scored a very good goal through Robbie Keane (sold a couple of weeks later to Coventry City for £6 million) and won the game 1-0. Nothing unusual there then! A match report is available for this game.
Tuesday 21st September 1999: Southampton, The Dell, Lost 4-3 (aet)
A thrilling cup tie that had it all - apart from a City win that is. The Blues took the lead through Paul Dickov early on but Southampton came back to take a 3-1 lead with a Jason Dodd penalty and two strikes from the edge of the area from Matthew Oakley. It looked to be all over but Shaun Goater struck twice and the Saints' Mark Hughes was sent off for elbowing Richard Edghill. Going into extra time it seemed City had the edge but Dean Richards struck an early blow for the home side and they managed to hang on for the victory. A match report is available for this game.
Sunday 26th September 1999: Ipswich Town, Portman Road, Lost 2-1
City went into this game on the back of 5 straight league wins, not having conceded a goal away in the league all season and needing a win to regain top spot in the table. However, it was Ipswich that improved their position in the table with a 2-1 win in a close game. Johnson opened the scoring for the home side with a good leap and a powerful header which Weaver got a hand to but couldn't keep out. Shortly into the second half Goater equalised when he managed to get on the end of a low cross by Paul Dickov. The winner came courtesy of a wicked deflection on a shot by Gary Croft who was making his début having just signed from Blackburn Rovers. A match report is available for this game.
Tuesday 19th October 1999: Birmingham City, St. Andrews, Won 0-1
In contrast to some of the earlier games in the season, City profited in a classic smash-and-grab raid. The home side had the majority of possession and indeed chances, particularly in a ten-minute period at the end of the first half when only Nicky Weaver and wayward finishing from Birmingham's Blues kept City in the game. In the second half City were under constant pressure but in a rare visit to the opposition half, Richard Jobson rose to head the only goal of the game from a Mark Kennedy cross. A match report is available for this game.
Friday 3rd December 1999: Wolverhampton Wanderers, Molineux, Lost 4-1
City were outplayed in all departments by a Wolves team making their best peformance of the season so far. A match report is available for this game.
Sunday 26th December 1999: West Bromwich Albion, The Hawthorns, Won 0-2
After an evenly-fought first half which remained goal-less, City took control early in the second half and took the lead through Danny Granville who cooly finished off after being put clear by Shaun Goater. Goater himself wrapped up the points near the end when he tucked away Tiatto's clever flick from Weaver's mis-hit clearance, a deserved away win for the Blues. A match report is available for this game.
Sunday 9th January 2000: Leeds United, Maine Road, Lost 2-5
City, leading the First Division at the time, got off to a perfect start when Shaun Goater, who was clearly offside, headed over Nigel Martyn to give the Blues the lead with the first attack of the game. Leeds, the Premiership leaders, came back straightaway though and drew level through Norwegian striker Eirik Bakke, though the shot took a deflection past the unsighted Weaver. The visitors' class was clearly showing but it was City that scored next in the 12th minute when Bishop hit a drive from the corner of the penalty area into the far corner. Once again the joy was shortlived though as Alan Smith scrambled home a second equaliser shortly after. Just before the break Harry Kewell scored at the far post to complete an excellent move and City never really looked like getting back into the game after that. Leeds added further goals from Bowyer and Kewell in the second half as they capitalised on the space at City's back as the Blues tried to haul themselves back into the game. A fair result overall, empahsizing the gulf in class between the top of the Nationwide League and the top of the Premiership. A match report is available for this game.
Sunday 16th January 2000: Fulham, Maine Road, Won 4-0
Overall the scoreline flattered City slightly, with Goater scoring the only goal of an evenly-fought first half at the end of a quick break. The turning point was the sending-off of the visiting captain Chris Coleman after around an hour of the game, for deliberate handball preventing a goalscoring opportunity. Fulham continued to chase the game and this led to space at the back which was exploited by City. Goater added a second with a flick over his shoulder in a goalmouth scramble and completed his hat-trick near the end by following up a blocked shot to head home. Kevin Horlock added a late penalty to complete the scoring. A match report is available for this game.
Friday 18th February 2000: Huddersfield Town, McAlpine Stadium, Drew 1-1
City were outplayed during the first half at a rain-sodden McAlpine Stadium but still managed to go into the break on level terms as Shaun Goater continued his great run of form with a opportunist strike in injury time to cancel out Wijnhard's 25-yarder. The second half was more even and decent chances were missed at both ends before the end. Overall, a disjointed performance and the loss of two points which resulted in the Blues dropping out of the top two places in the Fisrt Division for the first time in four months. A match report is available for this game.
Sunday 19th March 2000: Charlton Athletic, Maine Road, Drew 1-1
At the time it was decided to screen this game 'live', it looked like being a championship decider. By the time the match came around, Charlton were so far ahead that it was generally agreed they would win the title. City badly needed a result after a run of poor form, and looked like getting one after a bright opening. Bishop played the ball in to Goater, who hit a first-time volley over Kiely to give City the lead. Shortly before half time the visitors equalised when Robinson's long-range effort was deflected by Newton past a stranded Nicky Weaver. In the second half City piled on the pressure but couldn't get the ball in the net, whilst Charlton had a number of good chances when hitting the Blues on the break. Overall a good game for the neutrals and a fair result on the balance of chances created. A match report is available for this game.
Friday 28th April 2000: Birmingham City, Maine Road, Won 1-0
This was a really big match for City, who needed four points from the last two games (this one and a visit to Blackburn) to clinch promotion to the Premier League. Birmingham needed a point to be sure of a place in the play-offs. The atmosphere befitted the occasion, one of the loudest nights at Maine Road in recent years. Birmingham started the stronger, with good passing in midfield and the front pair of Furlong and Adebola looking dangerous. City gradually pulled themselves back into the game took the lead when Robert Taylor scrambled home a Kevin Horlock cross from a free kick. Taylor could have wrapped things up in the second half when he was one-on-one with the visitors' 'keeper but the chance went begging. Although the final moments of the match were tense, Birmingham actually posed less threat than in the first half, despite all the pressure they were applying. City's defence were outstanding and there was a pitch invasion at the end of the game by the City fans, confident of promotion despite the fact that another point was still needed unless Ipswich were to slip up at Charlton the following day. A match report is available for this game.
This page was compiled by Paul Howarth, email@example.com