Wednesday, March 21, 2012

English Leagues the 70s: Manchester City Chelsea Division One 1978 1979

20 January 1979
Main Road,

Attendance: 31,876
Referee: Mike G Peck

 Never at any time during the nine long months of the 1978-79 season did it seem remotely likely that Chelsea could avoid another relegation experience. One bad result followed another with depressing regularity and when Shellito resigned in December the position was once again one of desperation. By appointing the legendary Danny Blanchflower, the famous Irish international and captain of the Spurs 'double' side, as his successor, the directors took a gamble. Since his playing career ended in 1963 be bad been out of the game and working as a sports journalist. He simply loved football. He was a theorist who would expound his ideas to many an enthralled audience who might, or might not, he able to follow his reasoning. Certainly his players at Chelsea never responded to his rhetoric, or fully understood where he was trying to take them. Players moved out. Some like Bill Garner were pensioned off, others brought in cash to fill up the empty coffers, among them Steve Wicks and Kenny Swain who threw in their lot with Derby County and Aston Villa respectively. Blanchflower's recruits included Duncan McKenzie, a mercurial figure and brilliant artist with the ball, and Kamonn Bannon a Scottish half-back from Heart of Midlothian who, sadly, never settled into the Knglish game. And with Bonetti's 21-year Chelsea career finally over, his successor was the Yugoslav keeper Petar Borota. Brilliant one day, awful the next. Never consistent, he loved to entertain the crowd with his unique brand of showmanship and clowning. The Chelsea fans took him to their hearts, prepared to overlook his blunders and frequent disasters. Meanwhile, Chelsea managed a mere five League victories and their total of 20 points was a new, and unwanted club 'record'.

At City, Brian Kidd started the 1978-79 season in fine form with three goals in three games. The dependable Mike Doyle had moved on and was replaced by the £350,000 record signing Paul Futcher, from Luton. In November, Polish World Cup captain Kaziu Deyna signed from Legia Warsaw, for, according to Peter Swales, 'A small amount of cash, some typewriters and medical equipment. It was a strange signing! City had most success in the UEFA Cup that term. Drawn away in the first round first leg, Dave Watson scored a valuable away goal in a 1-1 draw with FC Twente Enschede. City won a tight return leg 3-2 for a 4-3 aggregate score. In round two, the Blues beat the Belgian side Standard Liege 4-0, a scoreline that could have been much closer had it not been for three goals in the last five minutes. Although Liege won 2-0 two weeks later, City had done enough to progress to a third round meeting with Italian giants AC Milan. Thick fog postponed the first game in the San Siro; instead of a Wednesday night, the game was played on a Thursday afternoon, and this reduced the noise level considerably for the home support. Amazingly Brian Kidd and Paul Power gave City a 2-0 lead and were on the verge of being the first British side ever to beat Milan at home. Milan then began to play their best football and had the ball in City's net five times. Fortunately for the Blues only two of them stood, the others all being ruled out for offside. The 2-2 was terrific for City and they also had the advantage of what could be crucial away goals. In the end away goals never entered the equation. Milan were overrun by the Blues in the return leg at Maine Road with goals from Booth, Hartford and Kidd (all in the first half) sealing a 3-0 victory. Since the days of Mercer and Allison when City had been the dominant force in Manchester football, the nearest they'd come since was in 1976-77 when they narrowly missed out on the title to Liverpool. In the words of Peter Swales, 'It was now time for the final push'. His plan was revealed in January when Malcolm Allison returned to the club as 'Coaching Overlord', primarily to work alongside manager Tony Book. Unfortunately it was a plan destined for failure and would eventually cost both men their jobs and the club a lot more into the bargain. Having been knocked out of the League Cup (albeit in the fifth round) by Southampton, the first indication of things to come was in an embarrassing fourth round FA Cup defeat at Shrewsbury - then of Division 3. Inconsistent league form followed and City finished 15th, their lowest position for 11 seasons, or put another way, their first season back after promotion from Division 2 in 1966-67. The UEFA Cup was the only way of securing a trophy, and in the quarter-final, played in March, City had the misfortune to be drawn against the strongest side in the tournament, Borussia Monchengladbach. A goal from Mike Channon in the first leg at Maine Road was later ruled out by a German equaliser which gave Monchengladbach the upper hand for the return leg. Eighteen year-old Nicky Reid made his debut in the first leg, the first of many shock changes Allison would make during his second spell at Maine Road. Reid played well enough to retain his place for the return leg, but unfortunately the Germans ran out 3-1 winners. City's late consolation goal was scored by Deyna and it is the club's last goal in Europe to date.

Manchester City  Corrigan, Donachie, Power, Owen, Booth (R Futcher 35), P Futcher, Channon, Deyna, Kidd, Hartford, Barnes
Scorers Power 1st, P Futcher 38 Manager Tony Book
Chelsea  1 Peter Bonetti, 2 Graham Wilkins, 3 David Stride, 4 Ron Harris, 5 Micky Droy, 6 Steve Wicks, 7 Garry Stanley, 8 Duncan McKenzie, 9 Peter Osgood, 10 Tommy Langley, 11 Clive Walker
Scorers McKenzie 2nd, Osgood 75, Walker 79 Manager Danny Blanchflower

Codec H264, Mkv
Bitrate 1200
Sound 128 kbps
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