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Season 2013/14

City Blogger: City youth burned so bright…

  • 05 November 2013 15:37
  • Posted by @djwskyblu

It's time for the next City Blogger piece courtesy of David Walker - the man behind the excellent Read But Never Red blog.

It may be Bonfire Night tonight, but there’s a firecracker of an evening coming up a week from now – one that celebrates a sparkling success that lit up some of Manchester City’s darkest days.

Relegation was no stranger to City during the 1980s as the club yo-yoed between the top two tiers of English football. Financial self destruction, an alarming capacity to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and an ability to shoot themselves in the foot (both left & right) saw the Sky Blues in a slump, overshadowed by the Trafford Reds.

But 1986 saw light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Youthful exuberance and raw talent intervened to illuminate proceedings as City’s young guns won the prestigious FA Youth Cup for the first time.

Now, 27-years on, the surviving members of the side (bar one), which famously overcame Manchester United 3-1 over two legs, are having a reunion to mark the publication of ‘Teenage Kicks’ – a book to warm the hearts of all City fans.

Lovingly and painstakingly put together by co-authors and lifelong City supporters, Phill Gatenby and Andrew Waldon, the well crafted tome is the catalyst for what promises to be a glorious trip down memory lane for past City favourites such as Paul Lake, Ian Brightwell, David White, Paul Moulden and Steve Redmond.

The ‘Famous Five’ will get together with their former cup-winning teammates, along with ex-Youth Team Manager Tony Book and Assistant Manager, Glyn Pardoe, at the Houldsworth Working Mens Club in Reddish, Stockport, next Tuesday night (12th November).

The occasion will also be the setting of the righting of a wrong perpetrated against a member of the team, as well as the awarding of some long delayed silverware…all will be revealed on the night.

Three posters autographed by the 13 surviving members of the winning squad including Andy Hinchcliffe, David Boyd, John Clarke, Steve Crompton, Steve Macauley, Steve Mills, Ian Scott and Andy Thackeray, plus the Book-Pardoe management team and the authors of the book, will be raffled to raise funds for Paul Lake’s sponsored charity – Jump Start.

Signed City memorabilia, both past and present, will also be available to buy on the night. Tickets are like rocking horse droppings and a 300 strong sell-out is assured, with the event being co-hosted by BBC Manchester’s Ian Cheeseman and broadcaster/journalist Susan Bookbinder – both true blues.

It’ll be especially poignant and emotional for Susan because her younger brother, John Bookbinder, a mercurial left winger in the ‘Class of ‘86’, died from mouth cancer in 2006, aged 37.

Back in the Eighties, John’s name was somehow missed off the original picture caption of the team’s dressing room celebrations, with skipper Steve Redmond holding the trophy aloft.

For decades, John could justifiably lay claim to being City’s fabled ‘Invisible Man.’ Authors, Phill and Andrew have now corrected history and accorded him due recognition albeit, tragically, posthumously.

The book guides the reader on the pre-amble to the exhilarating Youth Cup-winning odyssey, the aftermath and the wildly fluctuating fortunes of the 14-strong squad, as their careers progressed or simply petered out.

It depicts how young players would be given ‘character building’ duties such as cleaning toilets, sweeping terraces and painting dressing room walls, e.g. the school of hard knocks type of man management.

This contrasts with the modern day holistic approach where members of City’s Elite Development Squad benefit from sports science, attend college, undertake ambassadorial duties, visit schools and hospitals, coach youngsters, develop ‘life skills’ and embrace self discipline, both on and off, the field.

Teenage Kicks is highly recommended (Empire Publications www.empire-uk.com written by Phill Gatenby & Andrew Waldon RRP £10.95).

And if you can’t get along to Reddish next Tuesday night you should be able to catch a flavour here at www.mcfc.co.uk. via City TV.

(David’s Read But Never Red is through to the Final of the Football Blogging Awards 2013. It’s the only Manchester City blog in the Best #Male category and faces stern competition from rival Manchester United and Arsenal bloggers. You can vote for @djwskyblu before November 17th. For full details visit http://www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/ )

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