It was the 14th of November 1959 and Manchester City played Chelsea in a Division One both struggled in back then. No surprise that it was a draw, 1-1 but the match is also saw the introduction of Mr Dependable, Alan Oakes.
Cousin of another City legend he may well be but Alan became a City legend in his own right and was unfortunate not to have made the England side on a regular basis. However there was a certain Mr Moore at West Ham and, well I don't have to tell you how the history went.
Oakes started that game in 1959 barely past his seventeenth birthday and would stay at City that length again. He left City in 1976 with his final appearence coming as substitute in a derby game at Old Trafford, which we would lose 2-0. However during the years from his debut to that game Alan would break records with City, becoming top in appearances and netting himself six winners medals which also put him at the top of that particular league with regards City.
Oakes was the engine of pretty much every side he played in and had a wonderful left peg. By the time the lad was 23 he had already appeared almost 250 times for City and had a Second Division Champions medal to boot.
In the Championship side of 1967/68 he only missed the solitary game, a 5-1 win against Fulham. This was actually at the point at which City first topped the table that season. City ended up beating Newcastle on the last day of the season to claim the title that year and set City and Oakes on to more silverware. The next season they followed the League win up with an FA Cup win and a year on from that was the European and League Cup double.
With close to seven hundred appearances for City and 34 goals Alan Oakes bowed out for the final time at the end of the 1975/76 season. He scored his last league goal for City in a 3-0 win against West Ham before a week later scoring a goal in the 4-0 League Cup Semi Final win against Middlesbrough and eventually picking up one final medal with City before departing and eventually becoming Player-Manager at Chester. Class endures and while at Chester he went on to turn out for the Seals over 200 times and took them to the FA Cup fifth round twice in a four year period. He would only be there for a short time, six years in fact, before firing him due to poor League form. oakes went on to Port vale and even played at age 41 due to their team being depleted.
Everyone who met and knew Alan loved him. Don Revie and Bill Shankly were admirers of him as were people outside the sport. A true athlete who kept himself to himself and didn't get into shouting matches with the officials like todays lads probably helped.
Written By: PA Cityboy (www.facebook.com/pacityboy)