City Blogger Mike Devlin - Manchester City FC

Accessibility links

Access other Manchester City products


Continue to

Continue to
city blogger
Season 2013/14

City Blogger: Rule 34

  • 18 March 2014 10:50
  • Posted by @BlueWolf1894

Everything looks very rosy these days, but that has not always been the case, as most of you are well aware. There have been many happenings and events in and around Manchester City that have almost destroyed the club we love.

Many of you may point to the late 1990s when we dropped into the third tier of football, and whilst you would have a point, there have been many other things before and after that could have led to our demise …

John Wardle, for example, should be credited at every opportunity for loaning the club money to keep paying players during the 2000s; without him, who knows what could have happened. But perhaps you knew this. But maybe not the following.

The late 1960s were very good to us – we essentially won everything there was to win – but that period of immense success would never have happened had Frank Johnson, City’s vice-Chairman, gotten his way a couple of years earlier. He wanted the club to merge with Manchester United.

You may now go and find your loved ones, I can wait.

You’re back? Good. Oh, he also wanted Maine Road to be demolished, and we’d play at Old Trafford instead. You may now return to the arms of your loved ones once more.

Naturally fans and shareholders were, shall we say, ‘not best pleased’, and demanded everyone on the Board resign, with a new plan being put in place, which essentially amounted to ‘playing better’, ‘winning stuff’, and ‘beating Frank Johnson every Wednesday evening’. Who said the fans don’t know what’s best?

Keith Curle almost bankrupted the club in 1992. It wasn’t his wages or his transfer fee that almost did it; it was an agreement made with Wimbledon FC. Every time Curle pulled on an England jersey, tens of thousands of pounds were to be paid by City to his former club. Thankfully, the English national side were positively horrific at the 1992 Euros in Sweden, and didn’t even make it out of the group stage. Curle was never seen at an International level again, and not a single penny more was paid.

The FA themselves attempted to destroy us; twice in fact. Ten years after the formation of Manchester City the club won the FA Cup. Other clubs were not amused by this young little upstart of a club gate-crashing their party. The FA deemed that we were obviously up to no good, and gave our books a good seeing to, eventually discovering that we had paid a couple of players more than the maximum £10 signing on fee. Our punishment? A fine of £250, and Hyde Road ordered to be closed for two games, with one of the players suspended for a season, three directors banned for three years, the finance director banned for life, and the club mascot taken round the back and given a good kicking.

In the final game of the 1904-05 season we played and were beaten by Aston Villa 3-2. After the match, Villa players violently attacked City players, and so the club reported them to the FA.

Their response? City was charged with over-paying players across the board, and a total of seventeen current and former players, plus directors, were suspended for almost a year, and fines of over £1,000 were issued. Two seasons, two massive fines, and virtually the entire squad and board suspended or banned. That’s just wonderful, that is. We survived though. Just. But in 1954, Manchester City almost started WW3.

Because of the popularity of Bert Trautmann in his homeland, we were invited on a playing tour of West Germany, by the German FA, to help them in preparation for the World Cup in Switzerland (which, incidentally, they went on to win). The final ‘friendly’ ended up with Bill McAdams being sent off, and the City squad in a full-blown fight with the opposition and the local Polizei. In the crowd that day were many British Armed Forces personnel who were stationed there (remember, this was just nine years after WW2 had ended), who were left wondering as to whether they should jump in and help our lads. Now, if they had done so … We were never beaten on that tour, by the way. Manchester City: World Champions 1954.

You may wish to file all of the above under the heading of “Typical City”, but that’s not really what that tag means. You should instead be calling it “Rule 34”. Let me explain:


If something bad has ever happened at a football club, it has also happened at Manchester City.


If something bad has yet to happen at Manchester City, no doubt they're working on it.

Manchester City: Masters of Rule 34. But let’s hope that is well and truly in our past.

Like this? Share it.

This site uses cookies. By clicking allow you are agreeing to our use of cookies.