It’s a special day today for City legend Dennis Tueart.

Our wonderful former winger joined the club on this day 50 years ago in 1974.

He went on to make 275 appearances for City, scoring 109 goals, with his most memorable moment coming in the 1976 League Cup Final as his astonishing overhead kick ensured we took the trophy back to Manchester at the expense of Newcastle, who had released him as a youngster.

Today, to mark his special milestone, he tells us about ‘My Maine Memories’.


City 4-0 Manchester United, November 1975

Without question, it’s the League Cup fifth round tie where we played Manchester United at Maine Road and beat them 4-0 on the way to winning the trophy.

It was a fantastic all-round team performance, and the atmosphere was just tremendous. It was only, I think, my second year at the club and the derby games were always so important.

And playing under the Maine Road lights on a midweek winter’s evening made it even more special.

It’s worth remembering, too, that was a really good United side.

Their manager Tommy Docherty had rebuilt the side after relegation in 1974 and they had so many top players like Steve Coppell, Stuart Pearson and Lou Macari, so they were a really good team at the time.

But we weren’t bad either! It was it was a fabulous team performance.

I managed to score after just 35 seconds, Asa Hartford then got the second goal, and I got our third just before half time.

So to come in at half time 3-0 up was tremendous and Joe Royle then scored our fourth to make it even better for us.

That night after the game I watched the highlights in the players’ lounge with my wife and we arranged to go for to dinner to a restaurant in Manchester.

We didn’t get there until a bit later after watching the game. And as my wife and I walked into the restaurant, we got a standing ovation.

That just brought home to me and made me realise the importance of Manchester derbies and what they meant to the whole City support.


Asa Hartford, Dave Watson, Joe Royle

I have selected a fantastic trio - Asa, Dave and Joe.

They were the sort of the new broom that Tony Book brought in to help take the club and the team, to the next level during that mid-70s period.

They were three superb players and I’ll tell you what Asa, Dave and Joe also were - they were winners. They really wanted to be a success.

They really wanted to win, and I would, also put guys such as Willie Donachie and Colin Bell into that category as well though sadly that terrible knee injury meant Colin was injured in his prime.

That was the fulcrum of the next excellent team at Main Road, and obviously Peter Barnes joined that after Mike Summerbee and Rodney Marsh had left, so you could see the new green shoots of the next successful City team were developing.

That’s what that group of people had. They had this inbuilt desire to win, to be successful. And that’s for me is why we play football. To win.


1977/78 white away kit with red and black sash

Obviously, the blue strip that we wore in that mid 70s period was fantastic.

But the one most significant to me was the away white shirt with the red and black stripe sash that we wore between 1976 and 1978.

In August 1977, not long before I left to join New York Cosmos, we played Aston Villa away and I got a hat-trick in it.

My first goal was an overhead kick while for the third one, they were pushing us back and then we broke away and I was one-on-one with Villa keeper Jimmy Rimmer who used to play for Manchester United and I chipped him from the edge of the box.

It was a really memorable game for me but also had a bit of extra significance when I came to sign for the Cosmos the following January.

In order to get to get my visa I had to go down to the American embassy in Grosvenor Square in London.

And what you had to do back then was you had to take some proof that you were of a quality in your profession that the Americans didn’t possess themselves.

So, what I did, I took press cuttings from that game.

The American Embassy said ‘show us your credentials’ and I showed them all these cuttings from my hat-trick for City at Villa!


First goal - City 4-0 Manchester United, November 1975

That has to be my first in that 4-0 Manchester United League Cup game from 1975 because I scored after 35 seconds.

And until Ilkay Gundogan scored for City in the FA Cup final last season my goal stood as the fastest ever derby goal.
You can’t get much quicker than 35 seconds, can you?

What scoring so early on also did was it just gave the team a big lift and belief. And when Asa Hartford scored, like, after 20 odd minutes and I got the third goal just before half time we knew we were really flying there being 3-0 up at half time.

It was a real, real team performance and a special night.


That would have to be whenever we played a midweek night game at Maine Road, especially in the winter.

On those nights you could literally feel the backing of the City fans - it was as if they were wrapped all around you.

You sort of lived with them because when Maine Road was full, especially like that night against United in 1975, you had 52,000 packed into the ground with 18,000 alone standing in the Kippax.

On nights like that you just knew they were really ready for it. They were really up for it.

And when we took our positions ahead of kick-off and I went across to take my position on the wing, on the far side, I’d walk very slowly across and keep my head down as I could feel the emotion building up.

And then when I got by the touchline, I’d look up and smile.

The fans would just erupt, and you knew they were with you. They were such special nights.


Tony Book and John Bond

For this one I’ve gone for two choices and selected both Tony Book and John Bond.

Tony was excellent because he was so straight to the point. There was no messing about with Tony. He was so determined as even when he was managing, he’d come and train with us.

He was still so fit, and he was still as aggressive and demanding. But then I would say I was always demanding of the manager because I wanted to be successful.

So, I wanted him to drive the team. If I felt there was something that he should be saying, he should be saying it.

Tony knew of my background as a centre forward when I was a young boy and that I had then played on both wings. And the best thing Tony said to me was before one game where he said: ‘Dennis. I want you to start wide and then go away and cause some trouble.”

So, he was saying to me, ‘Dennis, you know, I think you can do something here.’ So I’d start as if the opposition would think, ‘oh, he’s going to be wide, so better mark him.’ But then all of a sudden, if I could see somewhere where I thought I could get in, be it in midfield or off the front man in the box I could then go and do it.

Tony gave a trust in me and a free licence to go and cause a bit of trouble. And I think I did cause a bit of trouble!

When John came in, his training sessions were excellent. And what he did straight away was he recognised the team that we had in 90° and that we had too many kids. Because remember when I went to New York, we had a team of virtually full internationals.

When I came back because of all the trauma at the club at the time, it was like a creche. We had sold all our experienced players and I felt like I was a babysitter when I came back!
But when John came in, he recognised that straight away and he brought in Bobby McDonald, Gerry Gow and Tommy Hutchinson just to help balance the team with a bit of experience.

And then he recognised that I was better in the midfield area, so he played me in the midfield, like a number 10. And before I ruptured my achilles tendon, I had the best run in my career.

I scored about 10 or 12 goals in 18 games, so I had a decent run. So tactically and in terms of recognising the abilities of players he was very good.

So with Tony’s ability to man manage and then John Bond’s ability on the tactical side, it would make for a perfect combination.



It has to be the 1975/76 – the season when we won the League Cup.

We had a great balanced team, and we played some attractive football.

Peter Barnes had come to the fore, he was flying on the wing.

We had the combination of me, Joe Royle and Peter as frontmen with Asa Hartford in midfield and Alan Oakes holding the shape.

Obviously, Colin Bell sadly got injured in the November, but Tommy Booth slotted in there and he did a fantastic job. So we had a decent midfield and at the back we had Willie Donachie, Mike Doyle and Dave Watson, all tremendous players, plus young Ged Keegan who had got into the team at right back and he did a fabulous job for us.

And though people talk about teams, always the bottom line is not whether you’ve been a great team but if you have gone on to win something because in a footballer’s life that’s what you are looking for.

Always the question is ‘Did you win anything?’ because footballers and clubs need and, to a greater degree, the fans need that.

That team won something for us.

Newcastle had a great side back then and they thought they were going to win the League Cup and it was a great occasion.

The game was so end to end. We had chances, they had chances and each set of supporters applauded both teams at the end.

And, obviously for me it was an extra special occasion scoring the winning goal because it was against my hometown team who’d actually rejected me as a 15-year-old.


Manchester United

Well, the main opposition is Manchester United, no question.

It was always the game I looked forward to most in the season and always the one I looked out for as soon as the fixtures were announced.

And don’t forget there was a lot of local players in both teams when I was playing so we would bump into each other around town.

I lived around the corner in Sale from Alex Stepney, Stuart Pearson and Lou Macari and Paddy Crerand.

And the result of the derby shaped the rest of your week if not few weeks.

It becomes a badge of honour for quite a while, so it was such an important game for the fans as well as the players.


Liverpool, 1970s

I’m going to provide an obscure answer because I never felt that one individual player caused me problems.

But one team did because it was the Liverpool team in the 70s. What they had was a system of a 4-4-2 set up. It was so rigid, and the thing is when you got the ball on the flanks, you never really got a chance to get at the full back because their wide midfield players would be the first in your face.

So, they’d overload whenever the ball was on my side of the pitch.

They had a fantastic system and I always found that one the most difficult to play against. I never found difficulty with one individual player or individual defender, but that system was always so hard to play against.

They also had such quality players in those positions. I mean, it’s OK playing a system. But if the players that you’ve selected are uncomfortable with the system it won’t work.
We’ve all heard about the Boot Room discussions and the tactics that Liverpool had, and they were just a fantastic team. It was so rigid, but it was so natural for them.