Today, as we remember our last game at Maine Road on this day in 2003, we chart our football journey at our grand old ground, decade by decade.

By Jonathan Smith


Manchester City played at our new Moss Side home for the first time on 25 August 1923.

Leaving the far less grand surroundings of Hyde Road a few months earlier, a crowd of 56,993 set a new club attendance record as we beat Sheffield United 2-1.

Managed by Ernest Magnall, legendary all-round sportsman Max Woosnam captained the Blues while the Lord Mayor of Manchester was in attendance and met the teams before kick-off.

The following season more than 76,000 fans turned up for an FA Cup fourth round clash with Cardiff on our way to the semi-finals with 49-year-old star Billy Meredith returning to play for the Club.

After relegation in 1926 we missed out on a quick return in a remarkable final game of the season at Maine Road. Level on points with Portsmouth, we beat bottom-of-the-table Bradford 8-0 but missed out on promotion on goal average by just a single goal.

But we returned the following season, with an average attendance of 37,300 – higher than any other club in the country.


Crowds continued to increase and in 1934, 84,569 people were at Maine Road for the sixth round FA Cup game against Stoke – still an English record outside Wembley. Eric Brook scored the only goal and we went onto reach the final although we were beaten there by Portsmouth.

The Platt Lane was extended and there was close to 80,000 the following season in February when we drew with eventual champions Arsenal 1-1.

But we were finally crowned champions for the first time in 1936/37 scoring 106 goals and remaining unbeaten at Maine Road all season with the title clinched in our final game when we beat Sheffield Wednesday 4-1.

Unfortunately we were relegated the following season and remain the only English champions in history to ever be relegated.


City were a second division club when war broke out and the Football League was suspended although there was still football played at Maine Road with City playing in the northern division.

On 16 October 1943, around 60,000 saw England beat Scotland 8-0 with Tommy Lawton scoring four goals while Frank Swift was in goal and future manager Joe Mercer played a wing half. The two countries played each other at Maine Road again in August 1946 to raise funds for the victims of Bolton’s Burnden Park stadium disaster five months earlier.

The only two official England internationals played at Maine Road were in this decade – a 3-0 British Home Championship win over Wales in November 1946 and a World Cup qualifier against Ireland in November 1949 which finished 9-2.

Substantial damage to Old Trafford also meant that Manchester United played their home games at Maine Road. However, City would never allow United usage of the home team changing room when the two teams met.

The FA Cup restarted in 1945/46 with games played over two legs and in the fourth round, City were beaten 8-2 by Bradford Park Avenue in a second leg, which is our record home defeat.

A full football programme was restarted the following season and City were promoted as champions before establishing ourselves in the top-flight.

In November 1949, former German paratrooper Bert Trautmann made his debut in a 4-0 win over Birmingham despite protests at the ground.


Floodlights were installed in 1953 and the first time they were used was for a friendly with Scottish side Hearts that City won 6-3.

It also meant that Manchester United would return for three games as Old Trafford could not be used for European Cup games with 75,000 in attendance for the first round game against Borussia Dortmund.

More changes were made to the stadium three years later when a roof was put on the Popular Side which was renamed the Kippax and became an iconic terrace for decades.

Success came away from Maine Road with triumphs in the FA Cup but the side provided plenty of entertainment, particularly in the 1957/58 season when City scored 104 goals and conceded 100.

But the following season went right down to the wire with a 3-1 win over Leicester City on the final day meaning we avoided relegation.


The start of the decade was difficult and after flirting with relegation, we finally went down in 1963 after a controversial derby with both teams fighting to stay up. Former City striker Denis Law scored a disputed penalty and Paddy Crerand punched winger David Wagstaffe in the tunnel.

Benches were installed in the Platt Lane end in 1963 meaning Maine Road had more seats than any other club ground in the country.

Bert Trautmann retired and on 15 April 1964, he ended his career with a testimonial in front of a crowd of around 47,000, as a combined City and United XI that included Bobby Charlton and Denis Law, played against an International XI featuring Tom Finney, Stanley Matthews and Jimmy Armfield.

Joe Mercer and Malcom Allison arrived at City in 1965 and City were promoted as champions as the good times returned.

In 1967/68, City were crowned champions once again with a famous victory dubbed the Ballet on Ice against Tottenham setting up the belief that they could win it, and seven on the trot to finish the season was crucial.

It provided us with our first entry into European competition the following season, however it was short-lived, as we suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of Turkish champions Fenerbahce in the first round but we finished the season as FA Cup winners again.


Ground improvements continued with the Scoreboard End demolished and replaced by the North Stand at the start of the decade.

There were some famous European nights in the decade starting with our run to lifting the European Cup Winners’ Cup, when we beat German side Schalke 5-1 in the semi-finals. Italian giants Juventus and AC Milan were also vanquished on famous nights at Maine Road.

City were four points clear in March of the 1971/72 season but ended up fourth with many claiming the arrival of the flamboyant Rodney Marsh disrupted the squad.

The 1973/74 season was one of transition with legends Mike Summerbee and Francis Lee leaving and the following season Colin Bell was badly injured in a League Cup victory over Manchester United.

He made an emotional return in front of 45,000 on Boxing Day 1977 in a 4-0 win over Newcastle which he described as one of his greatest football memories. We went close to winning the title that season, finishing just a point behind champions Liverpool.


A rollercoaster decade began with the longest home winless run at Maine Road which started on 26 December 1979 and lasted until 7 April 1980.

Under our newly-built barrel roof over the Main Stand, the following season saw memorable matches on the way to the FA Cup final with victories over Norwich City and a midweek win over Everton.

City were top of Division One after three games of the 1982/83 season but we fell into the bottom three on the final game with a 1-0 defeat to Luton Town whose boss David Pleat danced across the pitch after the final whistle.

Promotion was secured two seasons later with a sensational 5-1 victory over Charlton Athletic but a return lasted only two campaigns.

1987 saw our biggest ever win at Maine Road when we demolished Huddersfield Town 10-1 but a worst ever run of home defeats – five in the space of six weeks – meant promotion had to wait a little bit longer.

It looked like it would happen in our final home game of the 1988/89 season when, needing a win, we led Bournemouth 3-0 at half-time. With comedian Eddie Large giving a half-time team talk, we somehow drew 3-3 although got the point we needed a week later.

Back in the top-flight, we secured our highest-ever Maine Road derby win with a 5-1 win over Alex Ferguson’s United, dubbed the Maine Road Massacre.


Under Howard Kendall and Peter Reid, City had a resurgence finishing fifth in successive seasons at the start of the decade.

We played our first Premier League game and the first Monday night match on Sky TV on 17 August 1992 – a 1-1 draw with QPR.

The terraced Kippax was demolished in 1994 as stadiums around the country were made all-seater.

Away from football, City fans Oasis became the biggest rock band in the world and played an iconic gig at Maine Road in April 1996.

Unfortunately it came after City were relegated and it was to get worse as dropped into the third tier for the first time in our history.

Despite that, we maintained one of the highest averages attendances in the country as we gained promotion with our final home game of the season a nerve-jangling 1-0 victory over Wigan in the play-off semi-finals.


A second promotion back to the Premier League followed although we would only stick around for one season.

Joe Royle was replaced by Kevin Keegan and City bounced back with thrilling football and 19 home wins in a season which remains a club record.

Our final season at Maine Road saw us finish in the top half of the table although we lost our final two home games without scoring with 1-0 defeats to West Ham and Southampton in our last-ever match.

The final City goalscorer was Marc-Vivien Foe in the 3-0 win over Sunderland in April.

But it was the last game that was memorable with fans in tears as they said goodbye to Maine Road for the final time.