Thursday, 16 September 2010

JIM'S COLUMN 11.9.10

Today is the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 disaster in New York when over 3,000 people lost their lives when terrorists flew airplanes into the Twin Towers in Manhattan.

Geoff Wakelin tells me he is giving away his sister-in-law at her wedding today. He and the groom are both ardent City fans - Geoff watched my first City game 53 years ago when Ray Straw scored the winning goal – but he doesn’t say which game!

He was preparing his speech for the wedding reception and wanted to know whether City have ever played and won in any year on September 11th.

They have played 18 league games on that fateful day plus two League Cup ties, one of which, at Peterborough, was on the evening of the awful events in 2001. I remember that night very well – everyone was numb from watching the tragedy unfold in Manhattan on television and the game seemed very insignificant after the goings-on across the Atlantic. Gordon Strachan had been sacked two days earlier and Roland Nilsson and Richard Money were in charge of a City team desperate for a result for the new management team. The game sparked into life in the last two minutes of the ninety minutes when first Magnus Hedman punched a corner into his own net to make it 2-1 to Posh, then with 10 seconds left on the clock Lee Carsley hit a right-foot drive from just inside the penalty area to level the scores and take the tie to extra time. There were no further goals in the extra thirty minutes and the game went to a penalty shoot-out. City won the shoot-out 4-2 but not before Hedman crowned a miserable night by failing to score City’s fourth penalty to clinch the tie. His weak shot straight into the goalkeeper’s hands meant Lee Carsley had to send the Posh keeper the wrong way to secure the victory.

Looking at the list of previous games on this day, it is 34 years since City last won on 11 September. They beat Norwich 2-0 with goals from Mick Ferguson (his fourth in four games) and a Duncan Forbes own-goal. A disappointing game was watched by only 12,948, City’s smallest home gate for over 10 years.

A more memorable game was in 1999 when a strong Leeds side came from behind twice to win 4-3 at Highfield Road. Proving what famous football writer Brian Glanville calls the immutable law of the ex, Gary McAllister scored a penalty for City against his former club before Darren Huckerby netted for Leeds. Huckerby had left City just weeks earlier for £6m but would be a flop at Elland Road scoring just two goals in 40 appearances. John Aloisi and Youssef Chippo were City’s other scorers whilst Lee Bowyer, Ian Harte (penalty) and Michael Bridges netted for Leeds.

Sep 11 1919 h Leeds C L 0-4 1919-20 League
Sep 11 1920 a Blackpool L 0-4 1920-21 League
Sep 11 1926 h Charlton Ath W 1-0 1926-27 League
Sep 11 1937 a Bury W 2-0 1937-38 League
Sep 11 1946 a Newcastle U L 1-3 1946-47 League
Sep 11 1948 h Bradford PA W 2-0 1948-49 League
Sep 11 1950 h Birmingham W 3-1 1950-51 League
Sep 11 1952 a Northampton L 1-3 1952-53 League
Sep 11 1954 a Torquay U W 2-1 1954-55 League
Sep 11 1962 a Watford L 1-6 1962-63 League
Sep 11 1965 a Bristol City D 1-1 1965-66 League
Sep 11 1971 h Nottm Forest D 1-1 1971-72 League
Sep 11 1973 h Man. City W 2-1 1973-74 League
Sep 11 1976 h Norwich C W 2-0 1976-77 League
Sep 11 1982 h Arsenal L 0-2 1982-83 League
Sep 11 1993 a Aston Villa D 0-0 1993-94 League
Sep 11 1999 h Leeds U L 3-4 1999-00 League
Sep 11 2001 a Peterborough W 2-2* 2001-02 League Cup
Sep 11 2002 h Colchester U W 3-0 2002-03 League Cup
Sep 11 2004 a Leeds U L 0-3 2004-05 League

* City won 4-2 on penalties, after extra time.

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