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Looking back: Manchester City

Filed: Thursday, 24th September 2009
By: Staff Writer

Join KUMB.com for a new regular feature as we take a look back at a game from days gone by against our forthcoming opponents.

Gianfranco Zola faces an arduous task when he takes his West Ham team - who have now lost three on the bounce - to high-flying Manchester City on Monday evening. The Citizens, beaten in controversial circumstances in the Manchester derby last weekend will no doubt be keen to make amends for their 4-3 defeat.

Of course City are now considered to be one the richest football clubs in the world following the 2008 takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group. But it wasn't always that way, as our look back to a Division One fixture from the early 1970s reveals...

West Ham Utd v Manchester City
Football League Division One
Saturday 17th March 1973
Programme: 5p

Hammers Editorial

The Editorial that greeted readers of the Manchester City programme - the 40th programme produced by Helliar & Sons in the 1972/73 season - revealed how proposals to extend relegation from and promotion to Division One to four teams had been mooted by league bigwigs.

"A concensus of opinion indicates that this has improved prospects of being passed, although it required a three-quarters majority," read the Editorial. "It is certain however that if the amendment goes through then the old adage that '36 points keeps you in the First Division' will probably be outdated, and that the current relegation worries' among the bottom nine clubs or so could well extend to those immediately above them."

This of course was back in the days when top flight teams played 42 league games per season, with two points for a win.

Elsewhere it is noted that the Football Association have confirmed that the 1973/74 season will not begin until 1st September - three weeks later than usual. One reason given for this is low 'early season gates', due to 'alternative attractions' (your guess is as good as mine although one suspects this refers to the growing abundance of cheap foreign summer holidays at the time).

Top flight football in August began in 1919 with the end of the First World War and a return to full league programmes. Prior to that, the season had began in either October (1882-1885) or September (1885-1919). These days of course, the Premier League generally begins on the second weekend of August - despite its member clubs playing 38 league games per season instead of 42.

Other News

In the days before email and the web were available in every home it was often the case that new signings were announced in the match day programme. Three such names that signed prior to this fixture were goalkeeper Mervyn Day (first pro contract), Ted MacDougall (Man Utd) and Bertie Lutton (Brighton).

Lutton initially joined the Hammers on a month's loan with view to a permanent 12,000 deal (later completed). He went on to become only the second Irish player to be capped whilst at West Ham (Alex McCartney being the first nearly 70 years earlier). Day went on to become an FA Cup-winning first-choice goalkeeper and many years later, Alan Curbishley's deputy manager. MacDougall was sent packing just months after moving to East London following an infamous punch-up with Billy Bonds.

* John McDowell and Tommy Taylor both received congratulations for their appearance in the England under-23's 1-0 win over Czechoslavakia at Villa Park. It was the fourth time both McDowell and Taylor had featured for the now defunct under 23 team.

* West Ham's match day programme was voted third best Division One programme (behind Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion) by the British Programme Club. It was voted joint best in the 5p category along with Chelsea.

What the Papers Said

In reference to West Ham's goalless draw at Bramall Lane a week before ...

"The only memorable moments in a forgettable game were Alan Woodward's double penalty-miss, or, if you like, Bobby Ferguson's double penalty-save" - Keith Macklin, Sunday People

"This was a tedious affair with clean-cut chances as rare as moments of pure football" -Henry Bevington, Daily Telegraph

"West Ham had nothing to worry about, and worried about nothing" - Bill Mallinson, Daily Mail

About our Visitors

City went into this game in 12th spot with the Hammers three places above them (Division One consisting then of 22 teams) having just been dumped out of the FA Cup by eventual winners Sunderland. An up and down season had seen the Blues grab notable wins over Derby (4-0) and Man Utd (3-0) whilst a seven goal thriller at Maine Road had seen them beat West Ham by the odd goal in the corresponding fixture. However some demoralising defeats on their travels - 4-1 at Birmingham and 5-1 hidings at both Stoke and Wolves - had left them firmly entrenched in mid-table.

Three to Fear

1. Rodney Marsh: talented midfielder who learned his trade at Fulham before becoming a cult hero at Queens Park Rangers. Joined City in a 200,000 switch during the 1971/72 season.

2. Franny Lee: one of the first professional footballers to be accused of diving on a regular basis, Lee scored over 200 goals in a career in which he won League titles with botrh City and Derby, who he was to join in 1974. Spent seven years at Maine Road.

3. Joe Corrigan: a former England keeper, Corrigan spent 16 years as a player with City. He will however be most fondly remembered by Hammers fans for conceding a wonder goal by Ronnie Boyce three years before this fixture (Boyce sending a Corrigan goal kick straight back over the 'keeper's head from the halfway line).

Line Ups

West Ham Utd: Ferguson, McDowell, Lampard, Bonds, Taylor, Moore (c), Best, Lock, MacDougall, Brooking, Robson (sub: Holland).

Manchester City: Corrigan, Book, Donachie, Doyle, Booth, Jeffries, Summerbee, Bell (c), Whelan, Lee, Oakes (sub: Carrodus).


Ronald Charles Crabb: our man in black is described as a former Royal Marine who became a fully qualified league referee in 1970. Crabb, a serving prison officer from Exeter previously officiated a West Ham fixture in 1971 (Sheffield Utd). Amusingly perhaps, one of his two assistants was named A.C.Lines.

The Game

Following a goalless first half new signing Ted McDowell notched his first goal since Christmas on the hour mark to put the Hammers ahead. Seven minutes later the lead was doubled by 'Pop' Robson who converted from close range after some excellent work by substitute Patsy Holland.

City gave themselves a fighing chance of grabbing a late point when they reduced the deficit five minutes from time; Mike Doyle converting a Frank Carrodus cross. However the Blues were to go home disappointed as the Hammers grabbed their first win (and goals) in four games - a vicotry that lifted Ron Greenwood's side into seventh spot.

Final Score

West Ham United 2 Manchester City 1 (Attendance: 29,370)

* Did you attend this match? Leave us your memories in the Comments box below.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

Your Comments

by Bert Troutman (MCFC)
05:34PM 24th Sep 2009
''City fan here. Enjoyed the article a lot. Great deal of time for West Ham, my dad is a Hammer.

Hope you finish a point behind us. Zola's doing an extremely admirable job and it will by no means be comfortable for us on Monday, even with our home form. You're well capable of coming here and unsettling our defence, especially if Cole's playing.

Should make for a good game. Two sides that play the right way. Bellamy's recent form should add a little more spice to events.

Good luck, lads (from Tuesday onwards, like!)''

by Cleveleys Blue (MCFC)
04:37PM 24th Sep 2009
''Thanks boys, excellent article! I remember the game very well, and I can see that ball flying over smoky Joe's head too.

See you Monday night. We have a welcome for you!''

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