Tuesday 29 January 2019

007 maine road manchester city

Date of First Visit: 29th January 1969


ATTENDANCE 60,844 (4,000 Toon fans)


A'd played 'the wag' from school to watch this one az it was a Wednesday neet game and heeded for Morden Street in the Haymarket, where the supporters club busses used to leave from.

Then horror! upon horror!----aa spotted a gadgie who looked remarkably like one of mee school teachers caalled Mr Burdon, waalkin' towards iz alang Porcy Street!!!---az he got nearer and nearer aa realised that it actually---WAS HIM!!!

In a state of 'blind panic' aa ran into the nearby 'tool sheds' that used to be in Morden Street (now Eldon Gardens cark park) to avoid him seein' iz and stayed there until he'd passed by!
To make sure he'd gone aa stood on a netty seat on mee tip-toes and peared oot of the tiny frosted glass windows which owerlooked the street and waited there 'til the busses torned up! (aa wasn't takin' any chances!)

Luckily!--he hadn't 'clocked iz', so when the busses arrived aa sneaked oot with mee coat collar torned up and wooly Toon hat pulled doon to mee eyebrows and hid at the back of the bus to avoid detection!---PHEW!---it was a 'close caall', but DUTY CAALLED!
If aa remember correctly there were aboot ten busses gannin doon and the convoy crossed the Tyne Bridge at 'high noon bells' precisely!

Mee forst visit to Maine Road was aalso mee forst ever away cup tie to see 'the lads', AND! (incidentleee!) it was aalso the forst time that a'd 'played the wag' from school to watch them!

Maine Road was built smack bang in the middle of a hoosin' estate in Moss Side and was suroonded by 'Coronation Street style' terraced hooses with thick smoke belchin' from their chimney tops.

Cobbled streets added to the 'ancient look' and there was an 'aad biddy' in a pinny on hor hands 'n' knees scrubbin' hor front door step just ower the road from the main stand entrance, as the crowds decended on the groond from aall directions.

Shih had an 'Ena Sharples style' hairnet on hor heed, alang with the obligatory curlers in hor hair az was the 'fashion' in them days, to complete 'The Coronation Street effect'! 
(Moss Side iz a bit different theeze days, with drug related gang violence and shootings, an everyday occurrence!---how times change!)

('Battle-axe Ena' would never had allowed it!)

Once inside, the groond looked quite impressive as it had cover on three sides with the anly uncovered part bein' the end that we were in behind one of the goals.
The 'City end' unusually was actually on the 'side' facin' the main stand and this was naan as 'The Kippax' which was a huge standin' terrace which ran the full length of the pitch.

The one thing that sticks oot in mee mind aboot these cup ties, was an aad wifey with bleached blonde hair who was dressed from heed to toe in City's colours ringin' a geet big bells in both cup games!
It was aalreet listenin' to it for a few seconds---but she just kept on!---and on!---and on!, ringin' the bloody thing non stop!---to the great annoyance of meesel and the rest of the Toon fans!
(Aa put mee hands ower mee lugs but it still made ne difference!)

In the forst game at St James' fower days orlier, which ended goalles, the fans in The Leazes End (who had a very 'dry' sense of humour!) started chantin'---"UNCLEAN!--UNCLEAN!", very time she rang the bell, and it had iz in stitches, aa can tell yiz! (In the middle ages anyone who had typhoid, cholora or the plague, had to gan roond ringin' a bell, shoutin' "UNCLEAN!", tih warn people that they were comin', so that they could scarper, SHARPish!)

At the replay shih was in front of the main stand next to the players tunnel and as soon as the game started shih was 'at it' again!
On closer inspection with mee 'mincers' it looked like one of them school bells that the teachers would ring when 'play time' was ower!
And for a split second aa stood still (as yi had ti de when the teacher rang the bell!) but suddenly remembered exactly where aa was and started jumpin' aboot with the rest of the Toon fans who were givin' their City counterparts a rendition of 'The Blaydon Races' to droon the noise of the bell oot! (for a couple of minutes at least!)

Anyway!---Man City were current league champions (havin' won the league at Newcasel the previous May!) and the class difference between the clubs would prove too much for us (alang with that F*****' bell!) as wor strikeforce of 'Wyn the Leap' and 'Pop' Robson were kept at bay by the City defence.
(Man City's team, by the way included 'one' Colin 'BELL'!---would you believe!)

City were clear favorites to win the replay with odds of 14/1 to win the cup, while Newcasel were comparative ootsiders at 33/1
Toon manager 'Smokin' Joe Harvey had taken his squad to Blackpool the day before to prepare for the game, but there was controversy surroondin' his players. His squad consisted of the 12 players who had faced City in the forst game (includin' sub Dave Elliott) plus Geoff Allen as a resorve.

Recent signin' Arthur Horsfield had been taken alang aalthough he wasn't elegible to play. In those days players had to be registered with a club for 14 days before they were able to play in an FA Cup tie and he didn't qualify. Nevertheless!---'Smokin' Joe' took him alang to make him feel part of the club and to get to naa his new team mates.

The forst game had been aall ticket, but City hadn't been able to sell their full allocation. Nevertheless, 57,944 mostly screamin' Geordies had crammed into St James' to see the game.
This figure was even exceeded at Maine Road where the attendance was 60,884 which included aroond 4,000 Geordies.
This meant that a total of---"er!"---(hang on a minute while aa gan and get mee calculator!)---118,838 fans had passed through the tornstiles to attend the two games! (not bad---"eh!")

Both sides seemed rather norvous durin' the openin' exchanges, aalthough City seemed less effected. Yet it was The Toon who went closest forst when Pop Robson flashed an 18yard shot that went just ower the bar.
But it was the Mancs who opened the scorin' forst after just six minutes play when Neil Young fired past McFaul in the Toon goal to a huge 'din' from the home crowd and (or course!) a huge 'ding' from 'that' bell!
The Toon shud have equalised when a lang high shot from Pop Robson hit the bar from close in.

The Magpies were made to pay for that miss when City increased their lead in the 69th minute when Booby Owen stabbed the baall home (the bell soonded louder than ever!) and wor 'Wembley dream' was ower!  

"Oh whey!"---a thought, as we heeded back to wor coaches----"At least we divvint have to listen to that F*****' BELL anymore!" ("Er!"---for another season at least!)

Footnote: Man City went on to win the FA Cup at Wembley that year---while Newcasel were left to gan for their aan 'cup glory' in Europe in the shape of The Inter Cities Fairs Cup!

Fink (the mad-sad groundhopper!)

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