earning our spurs
Fifteen wins in succession and 21 games without defeat – in a season that will remembered for many things, City’s consistency has elevated us to the top of the Premier League in style.
Our 4-1 win at Liverpool was sublime and long overdue – whether than is the end of the Anfield jinx or not, we’ll have to wait and see, but what a performance.
Tottenham at home is never easy and in recent years, they’ve had a habit of being party-poopers when they play City.
There was all the VAR controversy from the Champions League quarter-final a few years back and then we had that last minute Gabriel Jesus ‘winner’ ruled out the season after.
With Son and Harry Kane, they’ll be a real threat to our winning streak, but the one thing is these games are rarely dull.
On to this edition of our digital programme and, as always, you’ll find Pep’s notes, Buzzer’s column and a historical look at Spurs v City over the years.
We have a Harry Kane feature plus Kev Cummins shares some fantastic pictures of Gazza and Jose Mourinho.
All that plus Marc Riley and Andy Dibble’s Dream XI.
Enjoy the read!
Hello everyone and a warm welcome to the Etihad Stadium to regular visitor Jose Mourinho and his Tottenham staff.
The two teams have already met once this season and we will be seeing more of each other soon when we play in the Carabao Cup final but tonight the focus is all on the three points on offer in the Premier League.
We know Spurs have an amazing amount of talent in their side and a super experienced manager in Jose. They were the last team to beat us so we also understand well the kind of threat and challenge they will pose this evening.
Since that night in London, we have been excellent in most games and our FA Cup victory at Swansea in midweek took us to 15 wins in succession - which beats a record set by Preston North End and Arsenal.
The last three of those wins all came away from home and included the 4-1 success at Liverpool last weekend.
Liverpool remains one of the best teams I have seen in my life and they were able to make an incredible run at home - destroying teams for two or three seasons without one defeat. To win at Anfield in such convincing fashion was a great effort and another step to where we want to be on May 23.
Records are, of course, nice to look back at when you have finished the season or even when your career is over, but right now they are not important except to show everyone how special these City players are.
What the guys have done since November 21 is quite remarkable. The determination, the drive, the willingness to learn new ideas and try to perfect them has been so good to watch. The players deserve so much credit.
The way we are playing and our consistency over a long period of time through a punishing schedule has been impressive. Players have come into the side and gone out of the side but still we are producing winning performances that have taken us to the top of the league, through the early rounds to the quarter finals of the FA Cup, the group stages of the UEFA Champions League and to the Carabao Cup final for the fourth time in succession.
Our philosophy has not changed from the start of the season and our mindset has not, either. We are just thinking of the next game and then the next one. The whole squad has played its part in this great run of victories and mental toughness has been another big plus.
This evening Spurs will pose another big challenge as we try to turn 15 wins into a 16th and our fans know we will be giving it everything we have.
Stay safe and enjoy the game.
Our Club Ambassador's column
We come into today’s game in superb form...
To win 15 games in succession is incredible and to remain unbeaten in 21 – especially this season – is testament to a very special manager and group of players.
Our win at Anfield last weekend was breath-taking.
The first half was a battle to gain the upper hand and a chance to work out the tactics, but after that, we blew Liverpool away and left with a fully deserved 4-1 win.
It’s been a while since we won there and what a great way to do it.
The way Pep rotates the squad and every player does a great job when they play is fantastic – I think Pep is a genius.
I admire everything this team, manager and the coaching staff have done for the past 12 months.
Each week I say how hard it is to play in an empty stadium and each week it feels a bit harder. I think we’re all a bit fed up with lockdown life and though we need to keep following the rules and advice we are given, it is tough.
The players are performers and they need an audience to feed off – just like being in the theatre.
We’ve been lucky that most of our games have been live on TV, but it’s not the same.
Fans just want to go to the match again, see their mates and just enjoy being out again. Hopefully, the vaccinations are going to make all the difference and having people back in stadiums again can’t come quickly enough.
Today, we face a Spurs team who have been impressive this season.
I think they actually play better away from home than when they play at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
In Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, they have a forward line that can trouble any side, but I’m tipping us to keep our run going.
And to think we have Sergio and Kevin De Bruyne to come back as well…
Stay safe and enjoy the game.
THE SEASON SO FAR
When Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the only goal of the opening day home defeat to Everton, Spurs fans must have wondered what the new season had in store.
But that proved to be the only low point of September, with Spurs beating Lokomotiv Plovdiv 2-1 in the Europa League a few days later.
Spurs' first Premier League win then followed, with a Son Heung-Min virtuoso display during a 5-2 win at Southampton.
Son grabbed four goals that day with Harry Kane getting the other in an impressive display of attacking power by Jose Mourinho's side.
A 3-1 Europa qualifying win over Shkendija and a 1-1 draw with Newcastle followed by a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup rounded off a busy September.
Then, Spurs went goal crazy in October.
It began with a 7-2 Europa League play-off win against Maccabi Haifa before a stunning 6-1 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Premier League with Kane and Son both scoring twice.
And Spurs were at it again against West Ham a few days later, racing into a 3-0 lead after just 16 minutes – but to Mourinho's chagrin, the Hammers scored three goals in the last 12 minutes to draw 3-3!
But 16 goals in three games suggested Spurs were a genuine force to be reckoned with.
A 3-0 win over LASK got the Europa League group stages off to a good beginning and Son's late winner at Burnley continued their bright start, and though they would lose 1-0 to Royal Antwerp in the Europa League, is had still been an excellent October.
November would be even better.
Spurs started the month with a 2-1 win over Brighton and then won 3-1 away to Ludogorets in the EL.
Harry Kane's late winner at The Hawthorns secured a 1-0 win over West Brom and then Mourinho's side took on City where goals from Son and Lo Celso were enough to win 2-0 - our last defeat, in fact - and a win that put Tottenham top of the table, while City languished in 11th, some eight points behind.
A 4-0 home win over Ludogorets and a 0-0 draw at Chelsea ended a near-perfect month for the North London outfit.
December started with a 3-3 draw with LASK followed by a 2-0 derby win against Arsenal.
A 2-0 victory over Royal Antwerp ensured Spurs won their EL Group J and qualified for the Round of 32.
But just one point out of their next three took the wind out of Spurs' sails - a 1-1 draw with Palace and losses to Liverpool (2-1) and at home to Leicester (2-0_ saw Mourinho's side drop to fifth.
Stoke were next, and a 3-1 win at the Britannia Stadium put Spurs in the Carabao Cup semi-finals with a 1-1 Premier League draw at Wolves concluding 2020.
Tottenham won their first three games of 2021, beating Leeds 3-0 and then securing a Carabao Cup final spot with City after beating Brentford 2-0.
Non-League Marine were then brushed aside 5-0 in the FA Cup, but a 1-1 draw with Fulham was a disappointment for Spurs fans, given the Cottagers' league position.
Sheffield United were next up, with Spurs winning 3-1 at Bramall Lane and following that with a 4-1 FA Cup success at Wycombe.
Goals aplenty for Mourinho's side!
But then three defeats in a row - losses to Liverpool and Brighton ended January on a low note and a 1-0 defeat at home to Chelsea started February. off in equally poor fashion.
Spurs then returned to winning ways with a 2-0 win over West Brom, but arrive at the Etihad after a thrilling 5-4 FA Cup defeat to Everton.
They are eighth currently in the table with a 22 point swing in City's favour since that defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 21 games ago - but they remain a dangerous side who can score goals.. Lots of them.
CITY V spurs:
City and Spurs have met 162 times in all competitions and there is a perfect symmetry to the facts and figures...
Both teams have won 63 matches each with 36 games drawn. That’s about as equal as it can get!
The teams didn’t meet until 1909 and from the off, this fixture was rarely dull with Spurs winning 4-3 at Hyde Road.
The first league meeting would be the following season – a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane with City winning the return 2-1.
Honours were fairly even between 1910-1920 and Spurs’ first visit to Maine Road ended with a 1-0 win for the Blues.
Indeed, it would be 1952 before Spurs did beat City at Maine Road – their 10th attempt, no less.
In 1957, City beat Spurs 5-1 at Maine Road and Spurs won the return 5-1 at White Hart Lane. The first meeting of the following campaign again ended in 5-1 win for City!
And the Blues thrashed the great Spurs side that won the title in 1961, beating the defending champions 6-2 in 1962.
And who could forget the famous ‘Ballet on Ice’ when City beat Spurs 4-1 on a snowy Maine Road pitch on the way to winning the title?
In fact, from 1967 to 1979, City dominated the fixture, losing just twice in 24 games (15 wins, seven draws) which included a 5-0 romp at Maine Road and a superb Peter Barnes goal.
Spurs got their revenge in the Centenary FA Cup final, winning the replay 3-2 after drawing 1-1 five days before.
Between 1992 and 1993, Spurs won six games in a row – their best run in this fixture yet and won 10 out of 13 meetings between 1992 and 2003, drawing twice and losing once.
And from 2004 to 2007, Spurs racked up another eight successive wins, lost 2-1 in 2008 and then won the next five, so 13 wins out of 14 meetings ended in defeat for City – they had firmly established themselves as a team we didn’t enjoying playing against.
But from 2011 to 2014, City enjoyed two 5-1 wins at White Hart Lane and a 6-0 victory at the Etihad,.
With White Hart Lane being rebuilt, City also won back-to-back wins at Wembley – Spurs’ temporary home – but in 2019, Spurs won the first meeting at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – a 1-0 Champions League victory before a controversial second leg ended 4-3 to City at the Etihad and Spurs progressed to the semis on away goals.
And in 2020, Spurs won both meetings 2-0, so historically speaking, it’s honours very much even...
KEVIN CUMMINS COLUMN:
ADVENTURES WITH JOSE & GAZZA
Today, I’m featuring photo sessions I’ve done with Tottenham Hotspur manager, Jose Mourinho and a Tottenham legend, Paul Gascoigne.
I was going to do a piece about Gazza and Gary Lineker, but the only photo I have of Lineker is one I took of him on the train last season, when he sat opposite me on the way up to a match.
One Gazza photo was taken when he recorded ‘Fog on the Tyne’ or ‘Fag on my Tie’ as he kept calling it in the studio. I was commissioned by Gazza’s management to record this moment for posterity. It felt like I’d been in the studio for around two days. In reality it was less than an hour.
A footballer in a recording studio is a very unnatural fit. I’ve been fortunate - or unfortunate - enough to spend time with players when they’ve been recording their tournament records or FA Cup final records. I photographed the England team a couple of times too. Once I was trying to get a photo of Peter Reid and Tony Adams together. Reidy said, “I’ll just get my cans.” I handed him a pair of headphones telling him he could just wear those, but he wandered off and came back grinning, with four cans of Guinness.
The other photo of Gazza was taken when he was part of a film, from director of 24 Hour Party People, Michael Winterbottom. We were doing the crowd shots at a Newcastle game, but it was fairly difficult for Winterbottom. Every time he tried filming Gazza - who was supposed to look like he was concentrating on the match - he just turned to the camera and grinned. I could see another long day ahead.
The photos of Jose were taken when he was at Manchester United. He was living at The Lowry Hotel and I was quite excited to note that The Lowry gave him a ‘Welcome to Manchester’ pack, which included my book of Manchester musicians: Looking Through the Light in the Pouring Rain. I thought maybe he’d want me to sign it for him. I was introduced by the PR who said, “This is Kevin Cummins, you have his book in your hotel room". Jose looked at me and shrugged, saying, “ I don’t have any books in my hotel room." I could see another long day ahead...
Premier League Stats
Squad number: 10
Hit woodwork: 24
Headed goals: 25
Right-foot goals: 96
Left-foot goals: 34
Penalties scored: 23
Free-kicks scored: 1
On target: 380
Shooting accuracy: 45%
Yellow cards: 27
Red cards: 0
Clubs: Spurs, Leyton Orient (Loan, Millwall (loan), Norwich City (loan), Leicester City (loan)
International caps: (England): 51
International goals: 32
Club career appearances (all comps): 383
Club career goals (all comps): 225
City and Spurs have had many high profile names play for both over the years...
Let’s start with the most obvious – Kyle Walker – Kyle joined City in 2017 after eight years at White Hart Lane.
He played 229 games for Spurs and has made 166 appearances for City to date.
Joe Hart became something of a modern-day legend for City during 10 years at the Etihad where he made 348 appearances.
He would play for Torino, West Ham and Burnley before joining Spurs in 2020 and he has so far made nine starts.
Emmanuel Adebayor took the unusual route of Arsenal to City and then Real Madrid before joining Spurs.
He stayed for 18 months with the Blues and stayed for four years at White Hart Lane, making 113 appearances, and scored 42 goals.
Michael Brown eventually found his way to Spurs.
A City youth team graduate, he made more than 100 appearances while at Maine Road and would stay with Spurs from 2003 to 2006, playing 64 times.
Clive Allen enjoyed a brief but incredible spell with Spurs, scoring 49 goals in all competitions during the 1986/87 season during a two-year stay at White Hart Lane.
The journeyman striker had two years at City, becoming a huge crowd favourite at Maine Road before falling out with manager Peter Reid.
Paul Stewart had established himself at City before Spurs lodged a sizeable bid for his services.
The former Blackpool striker had one excellent campaign at Maine Road, scoring 26 goals in 51 matches before moving to North London in a £1.7m move and staying with Spurs for four years.
Vedran Corluka had one season with City on 2007/08 before surprisingly moving to Spurs where he would make 109 appearances in just over three seasons.
And Paul Walsh was another popular ex-Spurs player with City fans.
He spent five years at White Hart Lane between 1987 and 1992 and arrived at City for a couple of years in 1993, forging an exciting striker partnership with Uwe Rosler.
Clive Wilson graduated through City’s youth system and was part of the first team from 1979 to 1987, making more than 100 starts.
The skilful midfielder-turned left-back would later join Chelsea and QPR before spending five years at White Hart Lane.
Finally in this list, Neil McNab spent four years with Spurs between 1974 and 1978.
He arrived at Maine Road in 1983 and went on to skipper the Blues during a seven-year stay during which he made close to 250 appearances.
There are others including Bobby Mimms and Chris Jones, but this our chosen 10.
Here’s to bright blue skies…
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Your wellness, our priority
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We’ve introduced additional deep cleaning measures that focus on the surfaces that are touched most often. That includes our check-in counters, toilets, seats, and entertainment screens, so you can feel comfortable knowing that we disinfect every touchpoint of your journey more regularly.
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Our mascot for today...
Name: Juliette Handby
Juliette says: “My dad’s side of the family are all City fans going back as far as we know and my dad’s first match was in 1979, he remembers his grandad taking him. My mum and her family are all United fans though!
"My favourite match was when we beat Watford 6-0 in the FA Cup final - although last weekend’s match against Liverpool was pretty special.
"My favourite players are Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne but I like Phil Foden too because he was born in Stockport like me.
"I hope City win the Premier League again this year and the Champions League, too.
"Come on City!!!”
MARC'S NEW Q&A SERIES FOR BLUES FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE
NEXT UP, BERYL CLARK...
In the firing-line on this occasion is my old mate Beryl Clark. And when I say ‘old’ (and I don’t mean this disrespectfully) this fanatical Blue is now a magnificent 84 years ‘old’. Having said that, she leaves me at the starting post when it comes to being ‘on the ball’…pardon the pun.
I met Beryl via my wife Trace who signed up to a great local charity called Cyril Flint Befrienders which operates out of Urmston these days and (as you’d expect) pairs up people who have some spare time on their hands (and let’s be honest - these days - who hasn’t?) with those in need of company.
What with both Trace and Beryl being big City supporters, they naturally hit it off immediately… and Trace’s mate became my mate, too.
Beryl is great.
The following interview I did with her gives us youngsters (I’m a mere 59 years old) a great insight into what it was like being a member of the Blue Army some 75 years ago…and it’s not often you can say that!
Over to you Beryl!
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF GOING TO A FOOTBALL MATCH?
When I was about 11, I was in a gang of children and we used to play football in the Kippax car park until 3/4 time when they used to open the gates to let people out and we all streamed in!
The stewards didn't mind - they were very good. They used to let us go down to the front of the stand over by the wall. So, it was only the last quarter of the game that we saw - but it was free. We all lived near Maine Road and none of our families had a lot of money so it was nice.
Slowly but surely as I got older one of my ‘big’ days was when I first actually paid to get in to see a whole match! I think it was all of thruppence! I went in the ‘Children’s and Ladies’ entrance.
The nice thing about the Kippax stand was it was so friendly. You got to know people. Even though it was standing, you had your own place and woe-betide anyone who stood there.
Then I started going with my brother (who is a United supporter) and then with my dad when he came back from the War.
WHAT IS THE MOST PECULIAR OR MEMORABLE THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU AT A MATCH?
Somebody pinched my hat. You always went with your little hat, scarf and your rattle and it was in the days when both sets of supporters could mix. There was none of the segregation. So - somebody pinched my hat! So, I turned round to see who’d done it… and the outcome was that I got a date that night!! It was his way of chatting me up!
WHICH TEAM ARE YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE OPPONENTS - AND WHY?
Newcastle United …and Manchester United of course! It was a friendly rivalry between us and United in those days…but Newcastle? Hmm…they were a bit rough Newcastle, were. You always went to the game expecting a bit of a fisticuffs!
My brother was a United supporter, but my mam wouldn’t let me go to a match on my own, so he used to come to Maine Road with me and I used to go to their place with him.
I remember another time - it was just about the period when they started separating home supporters and away supporters. My son bought me a ticket for the derby at Old Trafford. Well - we’d not beat United for donkey’s years and I was stood with my son in one of the United stands and I’m the only City supporter in there amongst all the United lot… and we won 4-0 or 4-1…something like that. And of course, I’m there like “WAAAAAHHAAAYYYY!!!” and my son was saying “MAM!! MAM! YOU’LL GET US DUFFED UP HERE!” But segregation was new to me!
In those days we had City rosettes and United rosettes over the fireplace and whoever was on top would be the highest on the wall. Of course, United were always ‘up there’ and City ‘down there’…but that day I went home stuck the blue rosette up to the top.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST FAVOURITE MAN CITY TERRACE SONG OR CHANT - AND WHY?
We didn't seem to have many songs or chants in those days. One of the ones that was very forceful was: “2 -4-6-8 WHO DO WE APPRECIATE - C.I.T.Y. - CITEEEEEEE!”
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE CITY GAME YOU HAVE WITNESSED (“Agueroooooooooooo…” aside…)?
City went to Wembley one year (1955) and lost, and the 2nd year (1956) was when I was able to go. It was in the time when you used to collect tokens. I didn’t have enough of these tokens to get a ticket but I worked in a laboratory at the time, so we all got together and decided to collect tokens off friends and other supporters and in the end all of us managed to get tickets for the final.
We went down in a coach, got caught in a traffic jam and were running late. We got into Wembley just in time to hear everyone singing “Abide with Me…”. That was really something…. everyone used to sing in those days. With feeling.
As the game went on Bert (Trautmann) got injured. It was in the latter end of the game and I was stood at the back of the goals and Dave Ewing realised that Bert was hurt badly. Now Ewing was like a carthorse…he wasn’t what you’d call a dainty player…but he did his job. He worked like a trojan trying to shield Bert.
AND WE WON!
Afterwards I ended up climbing the statue of Eros (aka The Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain) in London which ended with the police politely asking me to climb down. Which I did…and was then escorted back to the coach.
My dad was a red-hot City supporter. And I remember when I got home in the early hours of the morning and was singing at the top of my voice “Who said City couldn’t win…?” waking everyone up. So, everyone came downstairs to see us, wanting to know about the game and everything. I kept quiet about the Police bit.
HAVE YOU EVER MET ONE OF YOUR MAN CITY HEROES… IF SO - WHO…AND HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE?
I did meet Peter Barnes who is obviously a City great…that was good, but it was his dad Ken who was in ‘my’ City team. I’d liked to have met Ken. No offence to Peter…obviously.
IF YOU COULD INVITE ANY MAN CITY PLAYER - PRESENT OR PAST - TO YOURS FOR TEA AND BISCUITS - WHO WOULD IT BE - AND WHY?
Bert Trautmann. He was fantastic. He was like a Kangaroo! He seemed to be able to get to any corner of the goals and always played his heart out. No messing about.
Initially some supporters didn’t take to him because he was a German prisoner of war…but I came in just as they were forgetting about that and just judged him by his football.
He was a nice man by all accounts. Oh, I would have loved to have met him.
WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT MAINE ROAD?
One thing that I remember about Maine Road - which you don’t have these days is the dark fogs we used to get! The smog! There was many a game where you were stood there and the only way you knew how the game was going on down the far end was by the cheering that was going on! And then they’d come down our end… ha!! And you’d go home with your face covered in soot and dirt.
I was also at the famous ‘Ballet on Ice’ against Spurs in December 1967. Really bad snow was forecast so they advertised on the radio for fans to go along to the ground with shovels, and all sorts and help clear the snow as best they could. They cleared the lines (that was a priority) and the goalmouth, and they went out and played! No messing.
I wouldn’t say it was a good match… but it was enjoyable!
WHO DO YOU THINK WOULD WIN IN AN ARM WRESTLING MATCH… BERT TRAUTMANN - OR KYLE WALKER?
Oh, I think Kyle Walker would win on that score…because Trautmann was too much of a Gentleman to win!!