It was good to see City win away midweek, and with it, the first three points of their Champions League campaign. A last minute penalty secured the win and, although boss Pellegrini said it was fortunate, it still gave us a much needed three points, made us the first English side to beat them on their own turf and now sets up a great double header with Sevilla.
It is back to the domestic scene for now though and, next up for City are Newcastle United. A side which has been struggling in recent seasons for reasons mainly off rather than on the pitch. They are a big club who haven’t lifted a trophy since the FA Cup win in 1955, when they beat a pre Joe Mercer, Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee City side 3-1.
First meeting all the way back on October 21st 1893 the two sides have met 177 times. Despite the recent run of results between the two mostly going City’s way, it is still Newcastle with the historical advantage. 71 wins compared to the 64 wins for City mean that City still have some catching up to do as far as that aspect is concerned.
Interestingly, with the exception of our first title win in 1936/37 when Newcastle were not in the top division, we have always played Newcastle, at our place, early. In the 1967/68 season we faced them, at Maine Road, on September 6th, the sixth league game of that season, and won 2-0. The next title win in 2011/12 we played them at the Etihad in November, and won 3-1. In 2013/14 it they were our opening game, one we comfortably handled 4-0.
Forty six years ago City would host Newcastle, at Maine Road, very close to the date it’s being played on this season. October 8 1969 was 46 years ago and resulted in a 2-1 City victory. It was only a matter if days after our second European game of that season and, although our League position would be considered unacceptable in current times, we did go on to lift that European trophy.
I had said earlier that historically Newcastle had the advantage over City and, while this is true, the recent history shows a decade of League wins for City. The last time Newcastle won in the League against City (and remember they did win in the Capital One Cup last season) was on their own ground on September 24th, 2005. You have to go back another five years to find the last time they won on City’s ground. It was so long ago that Maine Road was home and we were only a season or two back from the third tier of English football.
We do tend to share a good bit of history together too. I mentioned earlier that the last time they had won a trophy it was at our expense in the 1955 FA Cup Final. It was the same teams, only a different outcome, which secured our last trophy until recent seasons, in the League Cup. A 2-1 win, remembered for that Dennis Tueart overhead kick saw the City blue walk up the old Wembley steps for the very last time for a major trophy (unless you consider the Division 2 Play off winners trophy a major trophy!). We share not only history, but players too.
Peter Beardlsey is more associated with Newcastle United where he played close to 280 games in two spells and scored over 100 goals in the process rather than City where he played a handful of games and scored zero!
Other names who contributed to both sides would be Shay Given. A legend at Newcastle before becoming the number one at City for a couple of seasons. James Milner, Craig Bellamy, Sylvain Distin, Andy Cole and Steve Howey have all played for both clubs, making significant contributions to the blue cause. Bellamy and Milner are more recent names but Andy Cole should be remembered for that one season he was with us, creating a paper cut deadly attack partnership with Darius Vassell under the management of Stuart Pearce.
Pearce himself played 37 games for Newcastle after leaving Nottingham Forest, a game less than he played in the blue of City. Pearce will always be linked primarily by the wider footballing world as a Forest player but, for City fans, he should be remembered for forgetting to shake hands with the opposition manager in one of his first games, having goalkeeper David James play as a striker in the last minutes of the last game of the season and, of course, his lucky mascot, provided by his daughter, Beanie the horse, which sat in the technical area for a brief while.
Kevin Keegan is obviously remembered by both sets of fans but another manager for City used to play for Newcastle in his younger days. Frank Claaaghhk! Over 400 appearances for Newcastle from 1962 to 1975 he then became City manager toward the end of 1996. He was the fifth person to manage the side that season, and it hadn’t even got to Christmas yet such was the turmoil at City. Winning a third of the games wasn’t good enough and, with City facing relegation to the third tier, City called time on Clarks little under fourteen month stay.
In the late 1980's City had a Hungarian forward by the name of Imre Varadi. Twenty six goals in sixty five games was about the same goals to game ratio as he’d had in the early 1980's at Newcastle.
Lastly, on Saturday, give a little look at the Newcastle bench and one of their Assistant coaches. His name is Paul Simpson and, he started his playing career with City as a schoolboy in the early 1980's. In 1983 he made his debut in a 3-2 victory over Coventry City and would go on to make over 120 appearances for City. He was loaned out, for a brief time to an Irish side, along with John Beresford (another player who would go on to play for Newcastle) before returning. His debut goal came in a 3-1 loss at home to Sheffield Wednesday just over three decades ago.
Let me know the players you remember played for both sides, or interesting matches between the two sides.