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City DNA #72: Dennis Tueart's Wembley wonder goal...

A Wembley Cup-winning wonder goal against the hometown club who had rejected you as a youngster.

It sounds the stuff of dreams – but for City legend Dennis Tueart, the fairy-tale was to be writ large as his slice of individual genius served up one of the most iconic goals ever seen at the home of English football.

The occasion was the 1976 League Cup final which pitted Tueart’s City against Newcastle United.

Already a Wembley winner with Sunderland, having been part of the Wearsiders team who shocked Leeds to win the 1973 FA Cup, Dennis was back at the Twin Towers just three years later as part of a vibrant, exciting City side assembled by Tony Book.

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The 100,000 fans shoe-horned beneath the Twin Towers that late February Sunday afternoon had already been treated to a spectacular early City opener from teenage winger Peter Barnes before the Magpies drew level through former Manchester United star Alan Gowling.

With the game poised on a knife-edge, it looked like it would require a touch of magic to tilt the balance of power.

A minute into the second half, Tueart seized the initiative with a moment of individual brilliance that was to go down in City and Wembley folklore.

At first there appeared to be little danger for Newcastle as City full-back Willie Donachie whipped in a cross from the left.

Even when the ball was met by Tommy Booth’s header, at the back of the box, there was little inkling of what was to come.

But as the ball looped into the heart of the Newcastle penalty area, Tueart embarked on his moment of individual brilliance, launching a perfectly-timed and executed overhead kick.

The ball powered past helpless Newcastle keeper Mike Mahoney into the right-hand corner of the net to secure City the prize of League Cup glory.

What gave the goal and achievement even added lustre was the fact that our 1976 League Cup triumph would prove to be our last piece of silverware for 35 long years – until the Club's latest golden era was ushered in by our 2011 FA Cup final triumph.

It’s a moment in time that, if anything, has grown in stature in the ensuing decades.

And when reflecting back, Tueart talks with justifiable pride about what remains one of the greatest goals in City’s rich and storied history.

“An overhead kick to win a cup final against your hometown club who had rejected you as a schoolboy – it had all of the Roy of the Rovers elements,” Dennis recalled.

“It was already an extra special occasion for me as I had been a Newcastle supporter in my schooldays and played for Newcastle Schoolboys, so it was unusual and even more special to play against my hometown team.

“So those four elements: playing against my hometown, helping to win a major trophy for the club, winning it for the supporters, and my team-mates and managing to score a winner at Wembley in spectacular fashion, they all meant so much and added to the sense of occasion.

“And, yes, there was a little element of revenge too. I was born and bred in Newcastle and they rejected me when I was 15.”

The former City great, who would later become a director at the Club, also revealed how he initially feared he was in the wrong position when his big moment arrived.

“I thought I’d gone too far into the box,” the England international reflected. “I used to gamble on the ball dropping to me from one of the big centre-halves or centre forwards.

“Tommy headed the ball back and you don’t really think about it – you just adjust your body into a position to try and get something onto it.”

Tueart managed all that and more to send the travelling City fans into raptures – as he conducted his very own Rhapsody in Blue.

Ironically however the match winner was concerned that he may miss out on receiving his winners medal.

“If you look back at the pictures, you can see that I swapped shirts with Alan Kennedy, who was playing for Newcastle at the time,” Dennis explained..

“I was the last player up to collect my winners’ tankard, as it was back then, and the person giving them out wasn't going to give it to me because they thought I was a Newcastle player!”

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