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City A to Z: M is for...?

Our compendium of ‘M’s in our latest A-Z can only start in one place…

Maine Road

City first played at Maine Road in 1923 after leaving Hyde Road and its limited capacity. Designed by local architect Charles Swain, the original plan was for the ground to match Wembley and hold 90,000 spectators – ‘a stadium fit for Manchester’s premier club’ as stated by officials at the time.

The opening game in August 1923 introduced the fans to this huge arena and many were in awe of its size.

With only the Main Stand’s 10,000 seats covered, the rest of the ground was open terracing.

Buoyed on by a record crowd of 56,993, the Blues beat Sheffield United 2–1 with goals from Tom Johnson and Horace Barnes.

The ‘popular side’, later known as the Kippax, had a flagpole positioned roughly level with the halfway line at the very back of the terracing. Before each home game, a member of staff would proudly raise the club flag with ‘City FC’ on and then lower it after the match had ended.

Surprisingly, City have only once gone an entire League season at Maine Road without defeat when the club went up as Second Division Champions in the 1965–66 campaign.

Maine Road has seen various changes over the years but was famed for its terrace, the Kippax, where most City fans gathered to frighten the life out of opponents – and the occasional home player!

The various stands – the North Stand (formerly the Scoreboard End), Platt Lane and the Main Stand and the new Kippax Stand – were all developed at different stages over a number of years, giving the stadium an unusual and unique look.

the emotional attachment of the City faithful who have bared their souls to the concrete and steel that made up Maine Road, they were fully behind the change to the Etihad Stadium in 2003.

After 80 years, the time was right to move on, but Maine Road will remain in each fan’s heart for many years to come.

Goals from the last season at Maine Road


Joe Mercer

The best City boss of all-time?

In 1965, when Manchester City offered Joe Mercer the opportunity to wake a sleeping giant, he grabbed the chance with both hands.

His first move was to bring young coach Malcolm Allison to City as his assistant and though the pair were as alike as chalk and cheese, they would prove the perfect managerial team and as good as any in the history of English football.

Within a year, Mercer’s new-look City side had won the Division Two title, and two years later the Blues were crowned Champions of England for only the second time, winning the First Division with style and panache.

The trophies just kept on coming.

The FA Cup in 1969, the League Cup in 1970 and later that same season, the first and only European trophy City have won – the Cup-Winners’ Cup – was brought proudly back to Manchester by Mercer and his talented troops.

Five trophies in five years – the City fans were in their own blue heaven.

Malcolm Allison was involved in some bitter arguments with the City board and in 1970 he very nearly was sacked, but, with Joe Mercer’s backing, Allison remained at the club.

After seven years as number two, Allison manipulated events that led to Mercer leaving his position and eventually joining Coventry City in 1972.

Allison believed he deserved a chance to call the shots himself and though nobody would have denied him the chance, many were upset by the events leading to Mercer’s departure.

After many long years at Coventry, Joe retired to his beloved Merseyside and died in August 1990.

A legendary and much-loved figure to all Manchester City fans and a lovely, caring man who tried to put a smile back on the face of the game, the world of football lost one of its greatest sons when Genial Joe passed away.

Testimonials for Joe when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009


Rodney Marsh

Rodney Marsh had the City fans eating out of his hand for much of his time at the club with his mercurial talents and trickery.

In a period packed with personalities and stars, his sublime skills and invention shone brightly and he went on to play 142 times for the Blues, scoring on 46 occasions.

A falling-out with boss Tony Book led to him being dropped from the first team and he was transfer-listed for being accused of not giving 100 per cent – something he vehemently denied.

Marsh almost moved to Anderlecht during November 1975 after the two clubs agreed a fee but he decided the language could be a problem and stayed at Maine Road.

He finally ended his City career by moving to Tampa Bay Rowdies several months later, in 1976.

He continued to sparkle throughout his career and, in his brief time at Fulham with George Best, the football was exhibitionism and showmanship of the highest calibre.

Billy Meredith

Billy Meredith may have played for City for the first time more than hundred years ago but his legend lives on to this day.

Meredith is ranked by many alongside the great Sir Stanley Matthews in stature and was a magnet for football fans and the media in his day.

Bandy-legged and invariably chewing a toothpick, Meredith was a fantastic player and the scourge of many an Edwardian defender.

The immensely talented right winger could pinpoint a cross for a forward or cut inside and lash the ball home himself if the mood took him.

With 151 goals for the club, he is among the all-time top scorers for City.

He also won 22 Welsh caps as a City player and holds the record for being the oldest footballer to turn out for the Blues.

He was aged just 120 days short of his 50th birthday in his last game for the club – a 2–0 defeat to Newcastle United in an FA Cup semi-final.

Who have we missed? Get in touch with your ‘M’s and help us with our list of ‘n’s for tomorrow. Tweet us with your suggestions @MCFC.

A is for Aguero, Argentina and Ardwick

B is for Balotelli, Ballet on Ice and Berkovic

C is for Corrigan, Cricket and Curle

D is for Doyle, Dowd and Dzeko

E for Elano, Elvis the Eagle and Eriksson

F is for Flitcroft, Floodlights and Foe

G is for Goater, Gibson, Golden Goal

H is for Hart, Horlock and Huddersfield

I for Immel, Iheanacho and Ireland

J is for Johnstone, James and Jihai

K is for Kinky, Kippax, Keegan and Kennedy

L is for Lake, Lee and Lescott

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