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for his exceptional book Barça: "[Rosell and his group's] idea was that this kind of football, the Barça style, was outdated.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 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 
                                   ( price £9.96 + £2.75 P&P)
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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,

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.                                 

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