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Happy Birthday Big Mal

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Along with the birthday card available for all fans to sign at the City Experience (museum & tour) until 2pm this afternoon mcfc.co.uk has spoken to Gary James for his memories of one of the Blues' most popular Managers.

So to commemorate Malcolm Allison's 80th birthday, City Experience Manager and Manchester City historian, Gary has given us just a few of the favourite Big Mal Moments.

See how many you can remember:

  • When he walked up to the Stretford End, held four fingers up as his prediction of the scoreline, before sitting back to watch City beat Utd 4-1 (12/12/70 at Old Trafford, possibly been exaggerated a bit over the years, but players and fans there claim it happened).

  • His role in persuading the coaches and managers of other clubs that Bury's Colin Bell (1966) was a poor player just so that he could keep the price low enough for City to buy our most gifted player.

  • When he was asked in 1979, on his return to City, how he felt to be City's coach again he responded: "I'm not just a coach, I'm a scientist and like all good scientists I make things work!"

  • After he received a lot of criticism for saying City would terrorise Europe (after winning League in 1968) he responded in 1970 after winning the European Cup Winners Cup by saying: "I said we'd terrorise Europe, I just didn't say which year."

  • At Manchester United's 1964-65 Championship dinner he gave Matt Busby's son, Sandy, a prediction which turned out to be pretty accurate: "Your father has got a 20 year start, but I'll pass him in three."

  • After winning the Championship at Newcastle in 1968, Malcolm shocked City fans by climbing out of the team coach on the journey back and then danced in and out of the traffic jam, celebrating City's success with the fans.

  • When, at the end of season friendly with Bury (1967-68 - the Championship trophy was presented that night), he put on a City shirt, came on as substitute, and had a goal disallowed while the fans chanted: "Allison For England".

  • The 1933 FA Cup final (City V Everton) - in 1996 Allison told Gary James that as a five-year-old boy he sat listening to that cup final on the radio and that from that point on he became a Manchester City supporter.

  • Finally, the 1981 Granada TV documentary "City" - the documentary covered Allison's final period as City manager and also the early part of John Bond's reign. After Allison had been dismissed by City he returned as manager of Crystal Palace and the documentary shows him running on the pitch, towards the Kippax, and receiving a fantastic reception. Despite how his second reign ended, the love of both Allison for City and fans for him was clear.

Happy Birthday Malcolm from everybody at Manchester City Football Club.

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