It was 47 years ago, March to be precise, that Manchester City were in the Second Division, looking for promotion and failing. City were stuck in the rut and really not good at all. Attendance figures prove that with the highest home gate only just above the 22,000 mark. This was before Joe and Malcolm came, before Bell, Lee and Summerbee and before our mini revolution. This was however an important day as it saw a young, United hating 18 year old by the name of Mike Doyle.
Only Joe Corrigan has played in more derby games for City than the true blue hero Doyle. He was an intergral part of the City side that dominated under Mercer and Alison and was handy for the odd goal also. In fact he scored a cool 40 goals in his over 550 appearances for the club and possibly non was more important than the equaliser in the 1970 Final.
Some people talk of players shedding blood for the cause. If anyone makes that statement true it would be Mike Doyle who really did give his all for City, never shirking from a tackle and hating as much as the fans to lose against United, something he only did seven times in 24 games. His blood was blue of that there was no doubt and even after being sold to Stoke he continued to play at a high level and once retired from football he would regularly attend City games.
Unfortunately Mike died last year after a much publicised battle with Alcoholism in June 2011. He did get to see his beloved City lift the first major trophy since he led the team up the steps at Wembley in 1976 as Captain of the League Cup winners. He had attended the Sporting Chance Clinic and had given up drinking for a short period but the damage was done and despite several weeks of treatment at Tameside General his liver failed on him and he past.
His book, 'Blue Blood: The Mike Doyle Story' was released in February 2003 and is a reworking of his original autobiography 'My Team'. It is the Mike Doyle story in the only way Mike could tell it, honestly and with heart on sleeve. For those who saw him play there will be no doubt in their mind that he was blue through and through and they idolized the tough tackling, trash talking defender. They could relate to his dislike of United and everything they stood for while he really did live up to the famous banner, before it was a banner.
Published by The Bluecoat Press, 'Blue Blood The Mike Doyle Story' is a must read for every City fan, whether it is just to relive the glory moments we got to witness or just learn more about the man who sadly is no longer with us.