Friday, 27 April 2012


What would Ernest Mangnall make of it all? A few quid, I have no doubt.

Far be it from me to tempt fate. I feel reluctant even to mention Monday's game, and my blood pressure will be at danger level as it kicks off and gets into full swing. There are far too many 'Super Sundays' and other such nonsense these days, so we are in danger of losing sight of the truly great moments in the game - those things which keep PelĂ© going. At least there have been some cracking games (in both the Premier League and Champions League) recently, so let's hope that continues into Monday night.

I've been looking at some stats around the derby, and they do make interesting reading. At home, we've won 23, Rags have 26, with a total of 24 draws. At theirs, the tally is slanted quite a bit more in their favour, with Rags wins totalling 32 against only 16 for us and 25 draws (league matches only), which gives the following totals: City 39, Rags 58, draws 49. Of course, they didn't play us at Old Trafford till 1910, and we didn't play them at Maine Road till 1925, while the whole 'payments to players' scandal in 1905 had a devastating effect on us for many years. If only we had held on to Billy Meredith before he reached my age (It really is true! Like Ripping Yarns, some of this stuff - you couldn't make it up) and came back again. Quite something also that their record attendance actually came at Maine Road. And then there was the fisticuffs between Stan Bowles and Brian Kidd during the glorious 1968 season. I can do no better than simply lifting a chunk of text from Wikipedia to finish off how that season went:

"In late April, after City won 1–0 against Sheffield Wednesday and title rivals United lost to West Bromwich Albion, City were in a position where winning their final three games would all but guarantee the championship. In the first of the three, a home match against Everton, City won 2–0 in a match featuring Tony Book's first league goal for the club. Next was Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. City took a 3–0 lead before half time, eventually winning 3–1.

"Going into the final match, City were level on points with neighbours United. Liverpool were three points behind, but had a game in hand, so could still win the title if both City and United faltered. City faced tenth-placed Newcastle United at St James' Park; United were at home to bottom-half Sunderland. Bookmakers made United slight favourites for the title. Mike Summerbee opened the scoring on 13 minutes, but Newcastle soon equalised. Neil Young made it 2–1, but again Newcastle equalized. A second strike by Young was disallowed for offside, and at half-time the score was 2–2. Straight after half-time Young scored again, and Francis Lee scored a fourth at 63 minutes. A late Newcastle goal set up a nervy finish, but City held on to win 4–3 and secure the title."

But. History is bunk, as we all know, and the only thing which need concern us is the future. You will have seen (if you were paying attention) that I have not been massively optimistic of late, and did indeed fear that we might not only see the Rags lift the title at the Eithad, but that we could even have lost 2nd spot just a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully, this being the unpredictable season it has though, nobody can say with any conviction what's going to happen over the next few days and weeks.

What a twat
What are my thoughts? Like Bobby, I feel that there won't be a glut of goals as there were back at the Sty. It's just a feeling I have, despite the fact that both defences are a little suspect at the minute, and despite the fact that both teams are currently playing (and play acting in some cases) some killer attacking stuff. I think we could well see some frayed tempers and some bookings. Mario's eligible again, god help us, and I wonder whether he will be involved. Part of me hopes he is, and part of me that he definitely is not.

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