Manchester City: The Mercer-Allison Years

Manchester City: The Mercer-Allison Years

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Manchester City’s first home game of 1964-65 was a resounding success – a 6-0 win over Leyton Orient. But by the time Swindon Town arrived at Maine Road in January 1965, City’s fortunes had taken an alarming tumble. At Easter, manager George Poyser resigned and the rest of the season City were managerless as they finished 11th. In July 1965, City announced their new man: Joe Mercer, former England, Everton and Arsenal wing-half who had been out of the game for 12 months after suffering a stroke while managing Aston Villa.Mercer needed a younger man to work with the players on the training pitch and he chose Malcolm Allison, the former West Ham defender who had himself suffered bad health, his playing career ended when he lost a lung to TB.No-one in their wildest dreams could imagine the success these two would bring to Maine Road. Within 12 months City had won the championship of the Second Division. Two years later they were league champions of England and by 1971 had added the FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup-winners’ Cup.This, then is the story of the most successful period in Manchester City’s history. With the personal recollections of skipper Tony Book, prolific scorer Neil Young and Malcolm Allison himself, the events of that remarkable period are retold here. Events which not only gave City supporters such wonderful times but also endeared City to football fans up and down the country as they wondered at the style of play created by Genial Joe and Big Mal.

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