FA Cup glory: 1969
- 08 May 2013 14:49
- Posted by @mccarthy_mcfc
When Manchester City reached the FA Cup final in 1969, they were at the peak of the English game!
The Blues had won promotion to the First Division in 1966 and within two years manager Joe Mercer and his assistant Malcolm Allison had guided them to the league title in 1968.
With the defence of their crown proving slightly problematic the following season, the team turned their attention to FA Cup success.
Being a first division outfit, City entered the competition at the third round stage, starting their ultimately successful run against Luton Town.
Starting as they meant to go on, the Blues beat their third division opponents 1-0 to progress to the next round with Francis Lee scoring the only goal of the game.
Next up was a trip to Newcastle United in a tight affair which ended in a stalemate and meaning a replay would have to be staged at Maine Road.
Despite playing most of the re-match with ten men - after Mike Summerbee saw red - City emerged 2-0 winners against the Magpies.
Due to poor weather, the Blues’ fifth round tie against Blackburn Rovers was delayed several times before finally taking place at Ewood Park with City recording a comfortable 4-1 win.
Tottenham Hotspur were to provide the opposition for a sixth round clash at home in what proved to be a close contest and was described by Mike Doyle as the most difficult match of the entire cup run.
Francis Lee again proved the difference, his goal securing City’s place in a promising semi-final against Everton.
The game against the Toffees was played at Villa Park and once again, there was little to separate the two sides.
Despite Mike Doyle suffering an injury in the first half and missing 20 minutes of the action, City did dominate large spells of the game, but failed to capitalise on their chances.
With time running out, Neil Young forced a corner which he took himself finding teenager Tommy Booth who managed to convert and take City to the final for the seventh time where they would meet Leicester City.
City manager Joe Mercer named his team for the final several days in advance and the squad travelled south to set up a training camp in Weybridge.
With Leicester battling relegation, City who had won the league the previous year, went into the game as strong favourites. Tony Book, who had missed a lot of the season through injury, became the third oldest player to captain an FA Cup final side.
When the match finally got underway, Leicester played in a much more attacking fashion than the Blues had expected.
Early chances fell to both Tony Coleman and Neil Young, but neither was able to convert in the opening stages. However, City were to make their mark just moments later when Neil Young met Mike Summerbee’s cross and fired into Peter Shilton’s net.
In a nervy second half, chances fell to both sides, but 1-0 was the final score and City lifted their fourth FA Cup title in front of 16,000 travelling fans.
The team returned to Manchester the following evening and travelled in an open top bus from Wimslow to Manchester city centre. Thousands of people lined the route and many gathered in Albert Square where the parade finished.
The trophy was paraded around Maine Road before City’s game against West Ham just days later.
Assistant Manager Malcolm Allison was quoted at the time as saying: "Something big is coming to Manchester.”
"They call it greatness. Don't get me wrong. I say this with the pleasure and excitement of a coach who has suddenly seen the scope and depth of his men.”