2. Aug, 2021


Youtube is amazing, oh yes I've many happy hours avoiding the delights of Love Island and The Repair Shop on YT

During one of my frequent visits I stumbled upon CITY! a documentary following Manchester City during the turbulent 1980/81 season. Ah, you see these fly on the wall accounts of the beautiful game existed long before Amazon Prime saw the light of day.

Sadly the glory days of the late Sixties and early Seventies have departed when the Granada TV camera crew pitch up. Between 1968 and 1970 the boys in Sky Blue won the League Championship, FA Cup, League Cup and the Cup Winners Cup. A swashbuckling side managed by the wily Joe Mercer and the ambitious Malcolm Allison.

But the days of wine roses ended when Mercer and Allison fell out. Genial Joe departed for Coventry City while Big Mal took sole control. Star players Francis Lee and Mike Summerbee were sold. City nosedived after a promising start and Allison was sacked. Colin Bell sustained a serious injury in 1975 and was never the same player. There was a brief swansong when City defeated Newcastle United 2-1 to lift the League Cup in 1976 and a year later Tony Book's side were First Division runners up to Liverpool.

But in 1980 the club were in a sorry state. The returning Malcom Allison was fighting a relegation battle despite been handed a hefty transfer kitty. A series of big money signings failed to buck the downward trend. Most famously Big Mal shelled out £1 Million on Wolves midfielder Steve Daley. Daley failed to reproduce his form in the Old Gold and flopped. In later years Allison claimed City chairman Peter Swales had signed Daley without his consent. These claims may hold true. During the documentary we see the two men chewing the fat following a home defeat by Liverpool. Swales suggests that re-signing Asa Hartford would herald an upturn in fortunes. This is met with distain from the cigar puffing manager. Little wonder the pair soon parted company after a 1-0 defeat at Leeds. Malcolm's reaction is more Melvyn Bragg then Jimmy Hill. Enjoy!

There have been many legends in the illustrious history of Manchester City alas Peter Swales is not one of them. In his 20 years at the helm City won that solitary 76 League Cup. Despite a constant revolving door to the Managers' office. Ten brave souls tried and failed to bring back the good times.

John Bond was amongst them. We actually see the Norwich City's manager been interviewed for the job following Allison's sacking in CITY! Swales watches on as his fellow directors interrogate Bond. "We are not Norwich City you know, you are in the big time here." adds a director in a Scottish accent. Whereupon several thousand TV's are switched off in Norfolk. Swales body language is fascinating he flicks a discarded bear matt up and down. Here we are hopefully bringing in a Maine Road messiah and the chairman is practicing his party piece.

But JB has done enough and is handed the job, the cover photo shows Bond been unveiled as Manchester City manager. Three days later Bond meets the players. After the usual pleasantries Bond askes his new charges to address him as Boss. Not because I am "high and mighty", he says in a lyrical East Anglican accent, but because.

"My name is John and we have a lot of John's about the place (his assistant manager is also named John). So if are staying in a hotel and you shout John. It might cause some confusion."

You can't argue with that, particularly if you are indeed named John. Pity no manager was ever named Rudyard. I say. Mocking aside Bond's arrival had the desired effect. City climbed away from danger and embarked on a famous FA Cup run.

On the way they to Wembley they hammer Crystal Palace 4-0. A Palace side managed by Malcolm Allison. Ever the showman before kick off Big Mal blows kisses to the City fans.