Monday, March 10, 2014

Is 'City Women' the most spectacular own goal since Jamie Pollock's?

This one has to be filed in the 'What were they thinking?' folder.

In order to mark International Women's Day on Saturday, the club launched a new section on the official site, City Woman.

Bizarrely, the new section contained no mention of the football team it was named after. Instead, it was filled with 1950s-style recipes and fitness tips, plus a chance to win tickets for every woman's favourite band, One Direction.

Rather like the women's clothing at the online club shop (example left) the club's marketing people seem to have a "one size fits all" approach to women fans.

City Woman immediately got a pasting on Twitter. Lifelong City supporter Ann Marie Carty condemned it as "sexist & condescending", while Arsenal fan Kelly Wood called it "disgusting" and "patronizing". She continued: "Listen up @Arsenal…don’t you dare even think about it, you hear".


























But most puzzling was the choice of debut columnist, Angela Epstein, who penned the not-entirely-popular article on women and tattoos.

Aside from being a right-wing polemicist (in 2009 she boasted about becoming the UK's first ID Card holder), Epstein also writes click-bait articles for the Daily Mail, with headlines such as OK, I admit it - we Northern women simply don't have a clue how to dress and Why it's every wife's duty to make other men fancy her.

As City fan Jill R pointed out on her blog, Epstein is a divisive figure who regularly voices her hostility to feminists, whom she once characterised as "grumpy women in bad clothes who spend their days in a state of agitation about whether it’s right to let girls play with dolls".

Which doesn't exactly fit with the whole #together thing. As a female poster on Bluemoon pointed out:
"I feel like this is not only degrading toward all female footy supporters but also toward the club. If they want to talk about fitness and different workout things target it to all supporters, being physically active is important for all people. Eating healthy is important for all people. Health and fitness could probably be put together with CITC as a new outreach to ALL people." 
On the same thread, a female City fan of 45 years standing wrote:
"I don't need a separate section - and they certainly seem to have picked the wrong person to 'edit' it. I'm a proud feminist because I think feminism is about letting everyone, male and female, be who they want to be and not be defined by some ancient constraints."
Indeed, the reason female fans visit mcfc.co.uk is precisely the same as their male counterparts. In fact, as this picture from the Wigan match suggests, City fans of both sexes have more than just one thing in common.

Clunge, as I discovered today, is a slang word for a vagina

































As well as an interest in football and sex, male and female City fans also share a strong dislike of crappy lifestyle articles.

The club should have got that message in 2012, when the ManC magazine folded after 17 years. Its corpse was picked over in this Bluemoon thread, which describes how a "great wee publication" mutated into a "truly awful" lifestyle-and-City magazine, filled with "video game reviews, recipes and adverts for crazy high priced clothes".

But I don't want this article to turn into too much of a moan (though to get a final one in, running a story about the City women's team headlined 'Blues suffer double injury blow' three days before the League Cup final was not exactly clever).

In fact, in this new era of multi-million pound signing, trophies and even, of late, "Wembley fatigue", I find it strangely reassuring that at least one part of the club remains forever in 1990s 'Cups for cock-ups' mode.

Oh, and here is that Pollock moment from 1998. Lest we forget.


~ As part of my scientific research for this piece, I asked my fiancee what she would have in a City women's section. "Pictures of Aguero and Silva wearing nothing but tool-belts," was her reply. I've emailed her suggestion to the club, arguing that it's less degrading then making Vincent Kompany flog dodgy foreign exchange trading packages (more on that here, below the article of City and Chelseas's spending).

When football was a Man's Game

One of the themes of my new book is the way early football was promoted by Victorian social reformers as a way of making young men more "manly". In fact, the notion that football was the exclusive preserve of men became so ingrained that when the first women's football match took place in Manchester, in 1881, it sparked riots.

The 218-page paperback, A Man's Game, took me three years to research and two more to write. It reveals significant new evidence about City's formative years, and rejects the claim that the club was founded in order to tackle "scuttling" and social deprivation.

The book also reveals why City's forerunner, Gorton Association, wore a Maltese Cross on their shirts - and names every person on the iconic 1884-85 team photo.

You can read some of the reviews lower down the page.


Buy direct through the publisher for £9.75 + £2.75 P&P via the BuyNow button 
                                   (Amazon.co.uk price £10.25 + £2.75 P&P)
                                                                                           
                      Copies purchased through Buy Now are signed by the author
                                      & will be dispatched by 1st class post  





                     UK Customers
                     
             
    
  Also available at Amazon.co.uk

        Worldwide customers  h
                   Amazon.com
       or Amazon's Createspace









                                          Reviews                                        


MCFC Official Programme

"An essential purchase for any fan interested in the early days of association football in Manchester.

Old Newspaper clippings and Ordnance Survey maps from the 19th century provide a glimpse into the past, with Keenan's considered commentary and analysis adding fascinating insights into the formation of the club, and even the naming of Maine Road".


New light on an Old Subject 
Emeritus Professor Steve Rigby (Manchester University School of History)

Andrew Keenan manages to unearth a mass of new material about the origins of the club and offers a number of important and original interpretations of City's genesis, in particular challenging familiar views about the part played by St Mark's church, West
Gorton, in the club's formation.

Keenan locates the development of football in Victorian Manchester in the wider context of the city's political and social history but his background in journalism means that the book never becomes dry or overly academic even though it is based on original research into the primary sources.
(Steve's two-page review is in the current issue of King of the Kippax, available here.)

Brilliantly Researched & Well Worth A Read
Lee Hayes (co-owner, ManCityFans.net)

This book is not just for fans of Manchester City, anybody with an interest in the history of the beautiful game will find it to be a brilliant and interesting read.

The amount of research that has gone into the book is staggering, and is backed up with evidence such as newspaper cuttings and old maps. As well as introducing new evidence on some aspects of City's history italso challenges important information such as how and when the club actually came into existence.

If you think you know all about the history of MCFC, read this book and I guarantee you will learn something new.

Great Read
Jon Camden (assistant headteacher and history teacher)

I love social history and I love football and if, like me, you do you'll love this book. A Man's Game is an extremely well researched, interesting read. Keenan successfully weaves the story of the origins of Manchester City with the wider social history of Lancashire and Manchester to produce a fresh, fast paced, and fascinating account
of the beginnings of Association Football in the North West. Sex, religion, politics and football: a winning combination.

 I read this relatively short book cover to cover in a few hours and found it hard to put down. And no, you don't have to be a die-hard City fan to appreciate it, I'm a South London Palace fan, this book has a broad appeal to anyone interested in the history of football.

An Original, Well-Researched and Engaging Read
Michael Marriott (history graduate, Exeter University)

'A Man's Game' ... skilfully weaves the club's history in to Manchester's rich socio-religious past. The author is not afraid to slaughter sacred cows; the book reveals shocking truths about Arthur Connell, one of the Eithad's historical heroes.

What is most notable, however, is the way in which the author substantiates his arguments with an impressive array of original contemporary sources; newspapers, correspondence and photographs are all used to better illustrate his points. It is through this fastidious research that Andrew Keenan succeeds in providing a more nuanced and sophisticated history of Manchester City Football Club.                               

Monday, March 3, 2014

The picture that speaks 1,000 words

There's something quite special about this League Cup victory for fans of a certain generation, those of us who were children the last time we lifted the trophy in 1976.

While not as exhilarating as the recent FA Cup win and League triumph, in some respects it is more moving and more profound.

As the starting point to 35 trophy-less years that mocked us from a banner at Old Trafford, the League Cup trophy almost became a symbol of our lost hopes and broken dreams.

And I can't think of a more poignant image to encapsulate those broken dreams than this one.

Click on the image to enlarge 























It was taken outside Maine Road around the start of the 1977-78 season, as part of a series about City on BBC TV's top rated news and current affairs show, Nationwide.

And it is a picture of a club brimming with confidence.

After starting the previous season as League Cup holders, we ended it in second place in the League, just one point behind champions Liverpool. A solid financial foundation was also being laid. In 1977-78 City had a record 23,000 season ticket holders - the highest in the country and an increase of 8,000 in just two seasons. The club's development fund was awash with cash after being one of the first to take advantage of new lottery laws, while new supporters' clubs were opening at an expanding rate. Most importantly, the recently-formed Junior Blues was not only dominating Manchester youth football, but had become the envy of clubs both home and abroad.

United, on the other hand, were still attempting to repair the damage caused by the departure of a legendary manager, one that had resulted in them being relegated in 1974.  In 1976-77 City had finished four places above them, while the following season the gap had grown to six places.

Not only were we finally poised to overtake United again, but a period of sustained glory seemed to be just round the corner.

But then...

There's a lot going on in this picture. The first thing that grabbed my eyes were Tony Book's extraordinary Disco Pants. Then there's the cleaning lady hiding behind her mop (her son later told me that she didn't think she deserved to be in the picture so deliberately obscured her face).

But then I spot something even stranger. It's the sight of City coaches Dave Ewing and Bill Taylor standing behind Peter Swales with their initials emblazoned on their trackshirts.

Initials that spell the word DEBT.

It's almost as though the ghosts of City future had materialised with a grim warning of impending doom.

By 1983 City were broke, in the Second Division, and in crisis. The extent of the financial problems were revealed in the superb autobiography of chief scout Ken Barnes, who is standing on the far right of the picture. He recalls newly-appointed manager Billy McNeill popping into his office at Maine Road for a chat. 

“Ken, they’re telling me that there’s nothing at all in the pot,” McNeill began.

“You’ve picked a wrong time to come to me for sympathy, Bill,” Barnes replied. “I’ve just had my fuckin’ phone cut off.”

Which begs the question, why did it go so horribly wrong?

Let's take a look at the front of this photo again.





















Pictured on the left is Ian Niven, a huge City fan and owner of City pub the Fletcher's Arms who, along with fellow director Chris Muir, was the driving force behind the success of the Junior Blues. Next to him is vice-chairman Simon Cussons, the managing director of the Cussons soap company, who was bringing new marketing ideas to City. Next is finance director John Humphreys, the managing director of shirt supplier Umbro. He was an astute businessman who once ensured that every team in the 1966 World Cup wore Umbro shirts. And just as astute was the man beside him, Robert Harris, the chairman of Great Universal Stores, who was renowned as a fierce negotiator.

Add to that the wise heads of directors Sidney Rose (a surgeon who helped upgrade City's medical facilities) and Eric Alexander, son of legendary chairman Albert Alexander, and you're looking at a pretty formidable board.

Swales too brought his own gifts to the boardroom, most notably his influence within the FA and an ability for raising City's profile in the media. The strength of the board was also keeping his love of a gamble in check (Swales often used to liken himself to the Cincinnati Kid).

However, the positioning of the directors in the picture is significant. Although this board had a good blend of experience and enthusiasm, it was also made up of two factions. Simply put, there was an old guard and a new guard. Niven, Cussons and Muir had all joined the board thanks to a takeover plot orchestrated by Malcolm Allison earlier that decade. In 1977 the group - dubbed the "Malcolm Allison fan club" - were joined on the board by Michael Horwich, another "fan club" member who had once got Allison off a drink-driving charge on a technicality.

The divided board is best illustrated by this picture, taken the same season.














The names in the caption are actually in the wrong order. On the left of the table are the "old guard" of Eric Alexander (nearest camera), John Humphreys, Robert Harris and the recently departed Sidney Rose. Sitting on the right are the opposing faction of Ian Niven (nearest camera), Chris Muir, Michael Horwich and Simon Cussons.

And in between the two deadlocked groups was Peter Swales, who at that time owned around 28% of the club's shares. Then, in February 1979, came the unexpected death of finance director John Humphreys, aged just 49. Humphreys was not replaced, and after his responsibilities were passed to Cussons, Swales was free to embark on a spending spree that was the ultimate cause of our failures over the next three decades.

But in the madness of the transfer spending that took place between 1979 and 1982, there was one vitally needed expense that wasn't catered for.

Amazingly, City at this time didn't have their own training ground.

In his autobiography, Please May I Have My Football Back, Alexander describes his efforts to rectify the problem. After an extensive fact-finding mission around Europe, he complied detailed plans for a new state-of-the-art training facility in Cheadle, which could have been built for around £400,000. 

The plans were never implemented. Instead, City moved into the goldfish bowl of the Council-owned Platt Lane complex, a place where passers-by could stand and hurl abuse at players as they trained.

The rest, as they say, is history.

But now, after beating a team in stripes from the North East thanks to a goal of wondrous beauty, it almost feels like we've come full circle. Except that all the obstacles to further success - the incompetent chairman, the divided board, the lack of adequate training facilities - have now been magically removed.

It's as though the footballing gods have decided they've had enough fun playing City on comedy mode and reset the game to 1976 - only this time they've given us maximum powers.


Buy my new book on City's origins

The 218-page paperback took me three years to research and two more to write and reveals significant new evidence about City's formative years.

A Man's Game also provides a social history of Victorian Manchester, examining how football was promoted by social reformers, with the aim of promoting a "Muscular" Christianity. It throws up many surprising finds, including the violent suicide of a St Mark's clergyman, a transvestite sex scandal and a lacrosse game involving Iroquois Indians.

It also solves the mystery of why Manchester City's forerunner, Gorton Association, wore a Maltese Cross on their shirts, tells the story of a women's football match that sparked riots, and reveals how the city almost hosted a rugby World Cup in 1880.

A Man's Game has been the bestselling City book on Amazon.co.uk recently. You can read some of the reviews lower down the page.


Buy direct through the publisher for £9.75 + £2.75 P&P via the BuyNow button 
                                   (Amazon.co.uk price £10.25 + £2.75 P&P)
                                                                                           
                      Copies purchased through Buy Now are signed by the author
                                      & will be dispatched by 1st class post  





                     UK Customers
                     
             
    
  Also available at Amazon.co.uk

        Worldwide customers  h
                   Amazon.com
       or Amazon's Createspace









                                          Reviews                                        


MCFC Official Programme

"An essential purchase for any fan interested in the early days of association football in Manchester.

Old Newspaper clippings and Ordnance Survey maps from the 19th century provide a glimpse into the past, with Keenan's considered commentary and analysis adding fascinating insights into the formation of the club, and even the naming of Maine Road".


New light on an Old Subject 
Emeritus Professor Steve Rigby (Manchester University School of History)

Andrew Keenan manages to unearth a mass of new material about the origins of the club and offers a number of important and original interpretations of City's genesis, in particular challenging familiar views about the part played by St Mark's church, West
Gorton, in the club's formation.

Keenan locates the development of football in Victorian Manchester in the wider context of the city's political and social history but his background in journalism means that the book never becomes dry or overly academic even though it is based on original research into the primary sources.
(Steve's two-page review is in the current issue of King of the Kippax, available here.)

Brilliantly Researched & Well Worth A Read
Lee Hayes (co-owner, ManCityFans.net)

This book is not just for fans of Manchester City, anybody with an interest in the history of the beautiful game will find it to be a brilliant and interesting read.

The amount of research that has gone into the book is staggering, and is backed up with evidence such as newspaper cuttings and old maps. As well as introducing new evidence on some aspects of City's history italso challenges important information such as how and when the club actually came into existence.

If you think you know all about the history of MCFC, read this book and I guarantee you will learn something new.

Great Read
Jon Camden (assistant headteacher and history teacher)

I love social history and I love football and if, like me, you do you'll love this book. A Man's Game is an extremely well researched, interesting read. Keenan successfully weaves the story of the origins of Manchester City with the wider social history of Lancashire and Manchester to produce a fresh, fast paced, and fascinating account
of the beginnings of Association Football in the North West. Sex, religion, politics and football: a winning combination.

 I read this relatively short book cover to cover in a few hours and found it hard to put down. And no, you don't have to be a die-hard City fan to appreciate it, I'm a South London Palace fan, this book has a broad appeal to anyone interested in the history of football.

An Original, Well-Researched and Engaging Read
Michael Marriott (history graduate, Exeter University)

'A Man's Game' ... skilfully weaves the club's history in to Manchester's rich socio-religious past. The author is not afraid to slaughter sacred cows; the book reveals shocking truths about Arthur Connell, one of the Eithad's historical heroes.

What is most notable, however, is the way in which the author substantiates his arguments with an impressive array of original contemporary sources; newspapers, correspondence and photographs are all used to better illustrate his points. It is through this fastidious research that Andrew Keenan succeeds in providing a more nuanced and sophisticated history of Manchester City Football Club.                               

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
   
The first photo in the album, taken in January 1885, is one I've devoted a whole chapter to in my new book, A Man's Game: The Birth of Mancunian Football and the Origins of Manchester City FC.

The book names, for the first time, all the people on that photo, and reveals new evidence that explains why the players wore a Maltese Cross on their shirts.

A Man's Game has been the bestselling City book on Amazon.co.uk recently. You can read some of the reviews lower down the page.


Buy direct through the publisher for £9.75 + £2.75 P&P via the BuyNow button 
                                   (Amazon.co.uk price £9.83 + £2.75 P&P)
                                                                                           
                      Copies purchased through Buy Now are signed by the author
                                      & will be dispatched by 1st class post  





                     UK Customers
                     
             
    
  Also available at Amazon.co.uk

        Worldwide customers  h
                   Amazon.com
       or Amazon's Createspace









                                          Reviews                                        


MCFC Official Programme

"An essential purchase for any fan interested in the early days of association football in Manchester.

Old Newspaper clippings and Ordnance Survey maps from the 19th century provide a glimpse into the past, with Keenan's considered commentary and analysis adding fascinating insights into the formation of the club, and even the naming of Maine Road".


New light on an Old Subject 
Emeritus Professor Steve Rigby (Manchester University School of History)

Andrew Keenan manages to unearth a mass of new material about the origins of the club and offers a number of important and original interpretations of City's genesis, in particular challenging familiar views about the part played by St Mark's church, West
Gorton, in the club's formation.

Keenan locates the development of football in Victorian Manchester in the wider context of the city's political and social history but his background in journalism means that the book never becomes dry or overly academic even though it is based on original research into the primary sources.
(Steve's two-page review is in the current issue of King of the Kippax, available here.)

Brilliantly Researched & Well Worth A Read
Lee Hayes (co-owner, ManCityFans.net)

This book is not just for fans of Manchester City, anybody with an interest in the history of the beautiful game will find it to be a brilliant and interesting read.

The amount of research that has gone into the book is staggering, and is backed up with evidence such as newspaper cuttings and old maps. As well as introducing new evidence on some aspects of City's history italso challenges important information such as how and when the club actually came into existence.

If you think you know all about the history of MCFC, read this book and I guarantee you will learn something new.

Great Read
Jon Camden (assistant headteacher and history teacher)

I love social history and I love football and if, like me, you do you'll love this book. A Man's Game is an extremely well researched, interesting read. Keenan successfully weaves the story of the origins of Manchester City with the wider social history of Lancashire and Manchester to produce a fresh, fast paced, and fascinating account
of the beginnings of Association Football in the North West. Sex, religion, politics and football: a winning combination.

 I read this relatively short book cover to cover in a few hours and found it hard to put down. And no, you don't have to be a die-hard City fan to appreciate it, I'm a South London Palace fan, this book has a broad appeal to anyone interested in the history of football.

An Original, Well-Researched and Engaging Read
Michael Marriott (history graduate, Exeter University)

'A Man's Game' ... skilfully weaves the club's history in to Manchester's rich socio-religious past. The author is not afraid to slaughter sacred cows; the book reveals shocking truths about Arthur Connell, one of the Eithad's historical heroes.

What is most notable, however, is the way in which the author substantiates his arguments with an impressive array of original contemporary sources; newspapers, correspondence and photographs are all used to better illustrate his points. It is through this fastidious research that Andrew Keenan succeeds in providing a more nuanced and sophisticated history of Manchester City Football Club.                                 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

There's only one City

I love this front page.































Pretty soon, no matter where we are in the world, when someone asks us who we support, we'll just answer: "City".

And they'll know exactly who we mean.


Press round-up

Couple of interesting pieces in yesterday's broadsheets. First is from the Guardian's Spanish football correspondent, Sid Lowe. Here's an extract about Soriano's time at Barcelona:

When Rijkaard was struggling in the first season, Sandro Rosell, then one of the vice-presidents, agitated to sack the Dutchman and sign Luiz Felipe Scolari, rejecting the style that now seems so entrenched. As Soriano told Graham Hunter for his exceptional book Barça: "[Rosell and his group's] idea was that this kind of football, the Barça style, was outdated. We lost [to Chelsea] and they said: 'You see? We should hire a Scolari-type manager and bigger, stronger players.' The magic we achieved was to say: 'No, that's not who we are. We play spectacular football and will not deviate.'"

Lowe also reveals that Soriano has a formula for success: (CxE)T. It means 'Commitment multiplied by balance to the power of talent'.

Maybe that was what Gullit meant when he talked about "CxE football"?

Over at the Telegraph, Oliver Brown offered a thoughtful account of City's transformation, which included this tit-bit:

There is a story at City of how, when former chief executive Garry Cook reported for his first day at the office, he asked where the human resources department was, only to be told: “We don’t have one.” Such duties rested, the incredulous Cook was informed, in the hands of “Pam from accounts”.
That chaos has given way, in just five years, to the slickest streamlining. Even the arrangement of Khaldoon Al-Mubarak’s ‘chairman’s lounge’, an über-deluxe set of suites inside the Colin Bell Stand, is meticulously configured by Natasha Mullany, City’s ‘head of protocol’.

'Head of protocol?' Blimey, we're getting posh, us. I now have an image of Ms Mullany patiently explaining to Negredo which one is the fish knife, before scurrying off to the next table to prevent Micah passing the port to his right.

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


After posting a picture gallery of historic team photos yesterday, 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
   
The first photo in the album, taken in January 1885, is one I've devoted a whole chapter to in my new book, A Man's Game: The Birth of Mancunian Football and the Origins of Manchester City FC.

The book names, for the first time, all the people on that photo, and reveals new evidence that explains why the players wore a Maltese Cross on their shirts.

A Man's Game has been the bestselling City book on Amazon.co.uk recently. You can read some of the reviews lower down the page.


Buy direct through the publisher for £9.75 + £2.75 P&P via the BuyNow button 
                                   (Amazon.co.uk price £9.96 + £2.75 P&P)
                                                                                           
                      Copies purchased through Buy Now are signed by the author
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                                          Reviews                                        


MCFC Official Programme

"An essential purchase for any fan interested in the early days of association football in Manchester.

Old Newspaper clippings and Ordnance Survey maps from the 19th century provide a glimpse into the past, with Keenan's considered commentary and analysis adding fascinating insights into the formation of the club, and even the naming of Maine Road".


New light on an Old Subject 
Emeritus Professor Steve Rigby (Manchester University School of History)

Andrew Keenan manages to unearth a mass of new material about the origins of the club and offers a number of important and original interpretations of City's genesis, in particular challenging familiar views about the part played by St Mark's church, West
Gorton, in the club's formation.

Keenan locates the development of football in Victorian Manchester in the wider context of the city's political and social history but his background in journalism means that the book never becomes dry or overly academic even though it is based on original research into the primary sources.
(Steve's two-page review is in the current issue of King of the Kippax, available here.)

Brilliantly Researched & Well Worth A Read
Lee Hayes (co-owner, ManCityFans.net)

This book is not just for fans of Manchester City, anybody with an interest in the history of the beautiful game will find it to be a brilliant and interesting read.

The amount of research that has gone into the book is staggering, and is backed up with evidence such as newspaper cuttings and old maps. As well as introducing new evidence on some aspects of City's history italso challenges important information such as how and when the club actually came into existence.

If you think you know all about the history of MCFC, read this book and I guarantee you will learn something new.

Great Read
Jon Camden (assistant headteacher and history teacher)

I love social history and I love football and if, like me, you do you'll love this book. A Man's Game is an extremely well researched, interesting read. Keenan successfully weaves the story of the origins of Manchester City with the wider social history of Lancashire and Manchester to produce a fresh, fast paced, and fascinating account
of the beginnings of Association Football in the North West. Sex, religion, politics and football: a winning combination.

 I read this relatively short book cover to cover in a few hours and found it hard to put down. And no, you don't have to be a die-hard City fan to appreciate it, I'm a South London Palace fan, this book has a broad appeal to anyone interested in the history of football.

An Original, Well-Researched and Engaging Read
Michael Marriott (history graduate, Exeter University)

'A Man's Game' ... skilfully weaves the club's history in to Manchester's rich socio-religious past. The author is not afraid to slaughter sacred cows; the book reveals shocking truths about Arthur Connell, one of the Eithad's historical heroes.

What is most notable, however, is the way in which the author substantiates his arguments with an impressive array of original contemporary sources; newspapers, correspondence and photographs are all used to better illustrate his points. It is through this fastidious research that Andrew Keenan succeeds in providing a more nuanced and sophisticated history of Manchester City Football Club.                                 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Picture special: City squad photos 1884-85 to the present


I'm going to be creating a series of City picture galleries over the coming months, starting today with 113 team photos dating from 1884-85 to the present day.

Click here (or on the image below) to view the full picture gallery.

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

Saturday, February 15, 2014

How City's spending compares to Chelsea's

I really shouldn't respond to Jose Mourinho's trolling about Chelsea being a "little horse" compared to City, but after crunching a few numbers the comparative spend of the two clubs makes interesting reading.

Since Chelsea got rich, the club has spent nearly £2.1billion on wages and transfers. City have spent nearly £1.5billion over the same period.

That "little horse" has some appetite, it seems.

The figures below are from a variety of sources, including transfermarkt and thechels.co.uk. City's net transfer figures are from my own research. I'll be putting a full breakdown of City's transfer dealings on this site at a later date.


I came across another interesting set of statistics from the excellent Pay As You Play: The True Price of Success in the Premier League Era. The authors have weighted Premier League transfer deals to show what they would be worth in the current market.































It's worth noting that 14 of the 30 most expensive signings were made by Chelsea, while only two were made by City (though Tevez, who actually cost £47m, should be listed at the most expensive Premier League signing).


Your loss is their Gain


I know that the terms "trading loss" and "Manchester City" have now become synonymous, but the club are really taking things too far with its new partnership deal with Forex.com, who offer customers the chance to trade on foreign exchanges from the comfort of their living room.

  The worst Top Trumps card you'll ever see
The partnership was unveiled on the official website yesterday, with a bizarre video of Forex.com research director Kathleen Brooks attempting to persuade a bemused-looking Vincent Company that foreign exchange trading is just like football.

Except that is isn't. Not by a long chalk.

Betting on fluctuating currency prices is best left to highly-paid professionals, who use algorithms way beyond our (or their) understanding. These "trade from home" packages carry huge risks, and are often aimed at the desperate or the delusional. In the United States they are commonly sold through info-commercials at 2am, that are usually followed by a guy in green suit plastered with $ signs yelling: "Did you know the government is giving away FREE MONEY?!"

Forex.com is owned by New Jersey based Gain Capital Group. In October 2010 the National Futures Association fined the company $459,000 and ordered it to pay refunds to customers for engaging in "abusive margin, liquidation and price slippage practices that benefited Gain to the detriment of its customers".

The NFA also found that that Gain "failed to maintain records for certain unfilled orders, failed to adequately review the activities and promotional material of the firm's unregistered solicitors, and failed to supervise the firm's operations".

Mind you, there is one way that "trade from home" foreign exchange dealing is like football. As the website's disclaimer states: "Forex involves significant risk of loss". It goes on to say that "you should make sure you understand the risks involved, seeking independent advice if necessary".

As someone who spent almost a decade writing about personal finance for the Daily Mirror, my independent advice is to avoid foreign exchange trading like the plague.

On next week's MCFC.com: Pablo Zabaleta tells you how to get rich with multi-level marketing