Friday, February 28, 2014

When City won the League Cup with eight youth team players

If you're looking for an illustration of how much the club has changed since the 1970s, the backgrounds of the City players from our last League Cup final appearance, in 1976, makes fascinating reading.

City started that game with seven players who had come up through the youth team, plus another who was the solitary substitute. Of those, five were born in Greater Manchester.

In fact, a preponderance of local talent was a consistent feature of City sides throughout the glory years of the late 1960s to the mid 1970s. Our 1969 FA Cup-winning side contained seven players who were either from the youth team or locally born, as did the 1970 League Cup winners (including the substitute). Our 1981 FA Cup finalists also had six youth team graduates in the starting line-up, plus one on the subs bench.

All of which stands in stark contrast to the City side from last season's FA Cup final, which contained no youth team graduates and only two English players, neither of whom were born within 70 miles of Manchester.

However, this piece is not going to be a lament to some long-lost golden age. For a start, the number of locally-born or nurtured players in the 1976 side was not even typical for its time. For instance, the Newcastle team we beat that day didn't have a single Newcastle-born player in their starting line-up, while the all-conquering Liverpool side of this era wasn't exactly a hotbed of home-grown talent.

But most interestingly, a look back further in time to City's other Cup successes shows just how unusual the make-up of the 1976 League Cup-winning side was.

The 1956 FA Cup winners, for instance, contained just three players from what is now Greater Manchester.

More strikingly, the 1934 FA Cup winners included just one Manchester-born player, Billy Dale - and he was signed from United.

Similarly, the 1904 FA Cup winners contained only two players from the Manchester area.

Judging from the photo, below, the team were a fearsome-looking bunch. You'll also notice that Sandy Turnbull (middle row, third from left) appears to be holding a dog. Turnbull is a fascinating figure, a 1900s Wayne Rooney who was renowned for his brutal centre-forward play.

I'm not sure why he's holding a dog in this picture, but it's probably because no-one wanted to tell him he couldn't.

Typical City.. Down to ten men for a team photo

After posting a picture gallery of historic team photos the other day, an eagle-eyed chap named Tim Humphreys noticed that this picture from 1987 only contained ten men.

My first thought was that notorious cheap-skate Peter Swales had decided that paying for a photographer was an unnecessary expense and had ordered one of the team to take it.

However, all was explained by Simon Curtis, from the excellent Down The Kippax Steps, and general expert on these matters. "I think you'll find Mark Seagraves is just out of picture to the left, eating one of the goalposts", he tweeted.

The picture gallery has 113 images from 1884-85 to the present.

Click on the image to view all 113 photos at Picassa Web Albums