Maine Road was many things to many City fans.

Obviously, it was a spiritual home for thousands, but high-tech it most certainly wasn’t.

It’s easy to take for granted the comforts of the Etihad Stadium and what a slick operation is in process on each and every match day.

READ: City DNA: 'Love will tear us apart...'

READ: City DNA: The history of the Poznan

The digital screen at the Etihad is very much state-of-the-art, with match replays, graphics, features and live links, ensuring City fans get the very best technology to enhance their match day experience.

But it wasn’t always so.

Case in point, the North Stand scoreboard. It would be unfair to say that the Blues lagged behind in specific areas because back in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, scoreboards inside English stadiums were pretty basic.

 


                        NORTH  STAND: In its heyday
NORTH STAND: In its heyday

 

Whereas US sports events has state-of-the-art electronic boards – New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League spring to mind – scoreboards in the English leagues were functional and little more.

Maine Road’s scoreboard was housed at the back of the North Stand and was installed when the old Scoreboard End terrace was demolished and rebuilt as a covered all-seater stand.

Compared to the old ABC method of relaying scores from other games (at half-time and full-time), it was a sizeable leap forward.

The ABC method involved a score for each letter that corresponded with the list of matches in the match programme.

'A' might be 1-0 with the corresponding programme fixture being Arsenal v Wolves and so on.

The new, slender, black 90-foot electronic scoreboard cost £11,000 and while it was hardly all-singing, all dancing – it could hum a tune and was definitely progress.

It would proudly display goal-scorers during the game, the score of the match in progress and, of course, the winning 'Golden Goal' numbers winning four-digit code based on the exact time of the first goal.

As time went on, the North Stand scoreboard gradually deteriorated.

Bulbs blew making it hard to read and  ‘City 2 W$£*es 1’ would occasionally be typical of the electrics going haywire, but the more eccentric it became, the more the City fans loved it.

It soldiered on for maybe 15 years or more before it was switched off for good towards the end of the 1980s.

A newer, garish bit equally limited scoreboard was placed in the left corner of the Kippax but it lacked the personality of its predecessor. 

 


                        VERSION 2: Oh, brother...
VERSION 2: Oh, brother...

 

For many, old faithful had gone to sleep because it remained in situ for several more years, and there was always the hope it might spark back into life on its own to announce one final Golden Goal code, long after the competition had ended.

It would have been nice…

 

WATCH: City DNA #18: The King of the Kippax

 

This iconic images was taken by photographer Kevin Cummins, who has captured many similar images of City life over the years.

One of the few North Stand scoreboard images still in existence, Cummins recalled: "The Club rang me in to take a photo of Maine Road under snow.

"It was shot in January or February, I think. We saved the ground shots for the following Christmas programme cover, but while we were doing the photos, then-Junior Blues secretary, Roger Reade, put some stuff on the scoreboard that he thought we could use too.

"I’ve got a print somewhere where it reads: ‘photos by kind courtesy Kevin Cummins’. My name on the scoreboard in lights. A dream come true.”

Whatever became of the scoreboard when the Maine Road gates were closed for good in 2003 and the old ground demolished is unknown.

Perhaps it still exists somewhere and is supplying limited, eccentric information to an entirely different audience… well, we can hope.