Tag Archives: Man City

February 27th 1973

“Bak2 school” / “Nig came up in evng and we tried to construct up the Scalextric – didn’t work – Dad’s gonna try and make it work on Sat” / “Paid Martin S” / “Cup Sund 3 City 1”

I’ve written about my Scalextric kit before – in fact, over a year ago now.

I guess it was the kind of toy that got dragged out from under the bed only once in a while, so no surprise it got a yearly airing when Nig came around.

However, it would appear its lack of use had contributed to it not working properly. I obviously gave my Dad a project for the weekend as a result.

As City flew out of the cup, I paid Martin S for….. what (album) I wonder?


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February 7th 1973

“Cup City 2 Liv 0 (Colin, Tommy)” / “Arguverge > Argument (agane)” / “Went up Nigs in evng – lent him Phantasmagoria + borrowed family – Anyway – Quite Good really” / “Found out that I was 4th in TD with 60% although I haven’t dun homework for 3 months”

City for the cup… City for the Cup!

(Yes, my embarrassment at having to admit I was a teenage fan of Manchester City remains)

I had borrowed Nig’s copy of Family’s “Anyway” before, so maybe I decided to give it another chance? It’s certainly not amongst their best, although I’ve always had a soft spot for “Holding the Compass

No homework for 3 months and I come 4th in Technical Drawing? I either had natural aptitude for this subject back then….. or…. the school was crap.

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November 4th 1972

“City 4 County 0” / “didn’t do much all today except went over field for bonfire evening”

Bonfire night – or Guy Fawkes night – or Fireworks night- is a peculiarly British (and colonies) tradition

Somewhat weirdly, the fifth of November each year is awash with fireworks and bonfires to celebrate the anniversary of the foiling of the so-called Gunpowder Plot in 1605. This was a plot hatched by Guy Fawkes and a group of catholic co-conspirators to blow up the Houses of Parliament, the seat of British government.

Remember, remember the Fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot

So, in essence, the British public continue to celebrate a failed terrorist attack.

(If America set off fireworks every time there was an unsuccesful terrorist attack against it – at least according to what we are led to believe by the NSA – there wouldn’t be a dark night any day of the year!!)

The bonfire on the field would have been carefully built by the farmer and residents over a series of weeks, then topped with an effigy of Mr Fawkes – usually constructed from a pile of old clothes stuffed with straw and finished off with a paper bag upon which a face was badly drawn. Hats and other accessories were added before the effigy was carried to the top of the bonfire to ceremoniously burn.

It all sounds rather anarchistic doesn’t it?

In the ‘olde days’ children would build themselves Guy Fawkes effigies and then sit next to them on busy street corners, requesting cash from passers-by under the quaint auspice of “Penny for the Guy”

So, to sum up then….. political terrorism, anarchy and begging.

These days Bonfire night is still celebrated in Britain, but appears to have stretched itself to a full week or more of letting off fireworks in the street – or through your letterbox! Usually by ignorant teen morons with nothing better to do. That carefully constructed bonfire of yore would have been burned down early by the same morons and all attempts to have a gentle party on the field would have been disrupted similarly.

Having lived in the USA for the past decade I think I can safely state that the Americans (for all their other myriad of faults) definitely know how to celebrate things properly, and often with a sense of ‘wonderment’ for young kids.

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October 21st 1972

“city 4, west ham 3” / “started project – went to library in morning. got books on the civil war for project”

Here’s one to make my wife laugh.

Not that City squeaked by the Hammers but that, as a 14-year-old boy, I did a school project on the Civil War.

Go on, ask me anything you want about what I learned in 1972 about the Civil War.

However, given my commitment to national security and in keeping with my American residency I shall have to plead the fifth.


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September 23rd 1972

“Stoke 5, City 1 / Went up Gra’s in afternoon – saw his cassette player – Wow!”

Whilst City  get tromped on away from home I evidently suffer “tape player envy”

As I recall, Gra(ham) travelled quite a bit with his parents (was his Dad a pilot or something?) and during a recent family holiday to nowhere less swish than Hong Kong he had picked up this “wow” cassette player.

Naturally, I can remember scant little about it now, other than I seem to recall it was all silver and black, quite a large piece of kit – at least for a cassette player – and had loads of knobs and switches on it. At any rate, enough knobs and switches to turn a young boy’s head.

I also vaguely recall that Graham also picked up quite the number of dodgy ‘bootleg’ cassettes along with the player, more distinctly remembering that amongst them was Deep Purple’s “Concerto for Group and Orchestra” and “Fireball” albums.

I bet they sounded great on his “wow” cassette player.

The bastard.

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May 8th 1972

“derby county win football league div 1. Man City end up fourth”

So, ‘my’ team’s dream was shattered as the season came to a close, thanks mainly to a few crappy losses, but mostly as the result of a fan coming to see them play at Southampton.

I suppose that I must have been excited for a while…. only to have the team (as the saying goes) “clutch defeat from the jaws of victory” (Something I have become FAR more accustomed to as a Saints fan these days!)

If, and this is a big IF, I even got that excited? I believe I have mentioned before that my fascination for football back then was more to do with the intricacies of the statistics surrounding it than the beautiful game itself. I was, for want of a more perfect phrase, a “little football geek”.

My biggest joy each year was being given the latest issue of the Rothmans Football Yearbook, a two inch thick ‘tome’ covering the prior season. Every game across all the leagues, every scorer, every attendance figure & who officiated, along with a veritable cornucopia of news, trivia and nonsense.

Many other Christmas presents would immediately fall by the wayside as I would lay flat out on the floor, my head in the pages of my Rothmans poring over the contained minutiae. My Dad mentioned once that it was invariably the best couple of quid he spent every year. What did he mean by that?

In a TOTAL ‘fit of 36-years-too-late realisation’ I have genuinely just twigged that “Rothmans” must refer to the cigarette manufacturer/brand of the same name! This goes a long way to comprehending the utter naivety I carried around with me at the time.

They say that with age comes wisdom, but I suspect many of us would love to return to those times and indulge in such simple pleasures again. 

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April 1st 1972

“Man City 1 Stoke 2”

This entry is accompanied by an arrow with the word “tradgedy” (yes, that spelling… *sigh*) pointing to the scoreline.

Oh, and drawn fingers doing “the V’s” to Stoke.

Flicking the V’s – two fingers facing forward, thrusting up and down at your antagonist has long been a peculiarly-English gesture of abuse.

It is also used as a sign of defiance against authority. 

Or football referees. 

It is often accompanied by a rude verbal phrase, naturally ending in the common word “off”

If Man City’s Division 1 title hopes were close to being undermined, worse was to follow just a few days later….

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March 8th 1972 (1)

“City sign Rodney Marsh for an estimated fee of 200,000 pounds”

Rodney Marsh was something of a maverick football star in his prime. He’d been constantly hitting the back of the net for the past six years with Queen’s Park Rangers, having an enviable ratio of almost 1 goal every two appearances. He had also been picked for the England squad several in the previous year.

He was one of a handful of “media-worthy” footballers at that time (others include George Best and Stan Bowles), who became equally famous for their off-pitch antics (mainly drinking) as they did for their weekend ‘day jobs’

Volatile Manchester City manager Malcom Allison (himself a trend-setting attention grabber) signed Marsh from QPR for a (then) club record of £200,000. City were top of Division 1 when Marsh signed, so fans (like *sigh* me at the time) were cockahoop over this news, which almost seemed to guarantee us the title come the end of the season.

What City hadn’t counted on was a particular fan ‘hex’ which would occur several weeks later. Can you guess what it is?

Later in his career, Marsh would sadly become a mere shadow of himself, eventually appearing on TV as a bigoted and doggedly-opinionated football pundit. He was also a contestant on “I’m a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here” in 2007, a “Survivor”-type show which was a huge ratings hit in the UK. Apparently Marsh quickly proved himself to be a misogynist, and was one of the first people voted off by the public. There’s no doubting that I admired him in 1972, at the zenith of his career, but regard him as “a bit of a twat” these days.

Perhaps his biggest contribution to popular culture is a joke attributed to him. England team manager Sir Alf Ramsey once told him “I’ll be watching you for the first 45 minutes and if you don’t work harder I’ll pull you off at halftime“, to which Marsh allegedly replied: “Crikey, Alf, at Manchester City all we get is an orange and a cup of tea.

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