#44 The Kippax: Maine Road’s crown jewel
Maine Road. City’s home from 1923-2003. A dilapidated, somewhat confused-looking stadium, but one that holds the fondest of memories for those who used to attend games there.
Its most famous stand was undoubtedly the Kippax, a terrace that ran the full length of the pitch, creating a din Noel Gallagher, a Kippax regular, once described as “deafening”. It was the epicentre of the Maine Road atmosphere; an intimidating wall of noise that made the lives of so many full-backs and wingers difficult in the extreme.
"The Kippax was basically a big shed,” Gallagher said. “It was very dark - there was no lighting and a really huge roof coming down low, so it was like looking at a television screen.
"Nowadays in football grounds fans tend not to sing a lot. But in the Seventies, it was deafening in the Kippax. It was like the sound coming out of a speaker.”
It was renamed the Kippax in 1956 when a roof was fitted. Originally called the Popular Side, its new moniker came from the street in Moss Side the stand backed on to.
The original Kippax was demolished more than 25 years ago. The Taylor Report, published after the Hillsborough Disaster, saw then-City chairman Francis Lee announce the decision to pull down the old standing terrace and replace it with a 10,000-seater construction. The need for safer football stadia had never been in sharper focus and City needed to move with the times.
On April 30, 1994, City played Chelsea at Maine Road and 20,000 packed on to the old Kippax for the very last time. It was a day of colour and celebration etched into the minds of all those who attended. The game ended 2-2, Paul Walsh and Uwe Rosler scoring for City, with the fans remaining behind after the final whistle to elongate their goodbye to a stand synonymous with Maine Road.
The new all-seater incarnation of the Kippax cost around £17 million to build and was initially the first part of a wider plan to redevelop the entire stadium. Nine years later, however, and City were on the move, leaving Moss Side for a new site in East Manchester built for the Commonwealth Games.
“It cost us about £17 million quid,” former chairman Francis Lee said. “The plan was to eventually continue it round the whole stadium in that shape but within about two years Sir John Hall told me you won’t have to build another one because you’re going to get the Commonwealth Games stadium, so it was our lucky day.”
Below is a selection of photographs taken by Kevin Cummins on the final day of the old Kippax on April 30 1994.
All photographs in this article are courtesy of Kevin Cummins. You can follow Kevin on Twitter @KCMANC