City v United: Tueart sings the Blues' praises
- 26 April 2012 14:32
- Posted by Peter Ferguson
Former derby hero Dennis Tueart believes the Blues look just right to shape their title destiny at the Etihad Stadium on Monday night.
Tueart's name is etched into derby folklore - he made his debut against the Reds in their relegation season and fired a 35-second opener in a 4-0 win on the way to League Cup glory.
Now the player famed for his spectacular overhead strike at Wembley in 1976 senses that the time is right for the back-to-form Blues to kick on from last season's FA Cup victory.
Tueart said: "I'm genuinely excited. We're at home, and the team Roberto's picking includes most of the players who were in the side when we were buzzing earlier in the season.
"Silva has come alive again and Yaya Toure is back. The last two games have not been the biggest test Tevez could face, but football is nine-tenths confidence, and he'll have that.
"All the players are going to be flying high, and the stadium will be rocking. I'm working at Knowsley Hall that night but I'll probably hear the roar from Merseyside."
Derby drama figured high in Dennis' City career after the Geordie who won the Cup with Sunderland joined City in March 1974 and was plunged straight into a high-octane Maine Road debut.
He said: "I signed on Monday and played on Wednesday. Clive Thomas, the referee, took us off before half time - Mike Doyle and Lou Macari squared up to each other, and Thomas sent them off.
"We said 'Clive, it's a Manchester derby, this is normal'. Mike and Lou didn't want to go, so he took us all off. Of course, we came back on for the second half with ten men. It ended 0-0.
"My next derby was the one where Denis Law scored at Old Trafford. I only realised the other day that I played pretty well, I saw it for the first time on Youtube!
"It was abandoned late on, lots of United fans ran on to the pitch. But it didn't affect the outcome, and I was used to fans running on in the north-east to celebrate goals."
No doubting his favourite derby memory though: "On the way to Wembley in 1976 we beat United 4-0 and I scored the quickest goal in derby history. It was a great team performance, marred by a serious injury to Colin Bell.
"That night I went into town with my wife for a late bite to eat, walked into the restaurant and got a standing ovation. That's when I realised what the derby means to our fans."