City Blogger: The Number 14
- 09 January 2014 16:21
- Posted by @vic_bird
In our latest blog entry, Victoria Gregory looks at the number 14 at the start of 2014...
When Fernandinho scored our first goal for 2014 after the 14th minute, I started to ponder the significance of the number fourteen to Manchester City.
Fourteen years ago, in the 1999-2000 season, we were playing in the First Division, following the nail-biting Second Division play-off final the previous season that saw us win on penalties against Gillingham.
During those dark days in the Second Division we dropped to 14th place after a draw with Notts County – our lowest ever position.
However, as we languished in “third-tier obscurity” we still averaged a home attendance at Maine Road of more than 28,000.
We finished 2000 with a promotion back into the Premier League after a five year absence.
Unfortunately, our fate was sealed in the penultimate game of the 2000-01 season when we lost away to Ipswich Town and we bounced back to the First Division.
Let’s just take a minute for those two paragraphs to sink in shall we: 14th place in the Second Division.
For those in our trenches who have a tendency to start complaining when we’re “only” one-nil up at half time, take a second to remember the time when we were playing away at Macclesfield Town, Wrexham and Luton Town.
"Digging a little deeper in the archives, the club was originally founded as St. Mark's (West Gorton) in 1880, and it was fourteen years later in 1894 that it took the name Manchester City Football Club."
...City Blogger: Victoria Bird...
In 1894 our highest home attendance was 14,000 versus Newton Heath.
We won 14 of the 30 games that season, which was the same as Burton Wanderers (who dissolved in 1901) and Woolwich Arsenal (who moved north of the Thames River in 1913, and dropped the “Woolwich” a year later).
One of my personal favourite players wore the number 14 shirt on more than one occasion in the 1993-94 season: Paul Lake (and if you haven’t read his book “I'm Not Really Here” yet, then you really should).
Lakey started his career at City with the number 11 shirt, and this sparked a conversation with my Dad about squad numbers.
Before replica kits were available and you could get your favourite player’s name and number on the back, and also when squads were smaller, the numbers related to the position a player played in and teams lined up one through eleven.
Number one was your goalie, two and three were fullbacks (right and left respectively); four, five and six were defenders; seven and eleven would be wingers; nine was typically a centre forward, with eights and tens inside forwards (effectively midfielders).
Except of course from 1966–1979 when Colin Bell was every number, and he sold the pies at Maine Road as well.
If we’re talking about players I won’t omit a mention for our current Number 14: Javi García.
A player who has withstood – in my opinion – an unnecessary amount of criticism from the terraces. Javi had a good game against West Ham in the Capital One Cup victory last night and continues to improve when playing in his natural position.
Keep it up Javi – and ignore the naysayers, there’s plenty of Blues who are backing you to succeed!
"The 14th year of the 21st century is the year of the Wooden Horse in the Chinese zodiac, which I’ve learned from the tinterwebs will be a time of fast victories, unexpected adventure and travel off the beaten path."
...City Blogger: Victoria Bird...
According to Chinese astrology it’s going to be a great year for those born in a horse year and there have only been 2 Wooden Horse years since the inception of Manchester City Football Club.
The last one was in 1954 and the one before that was – would you believe it – 1894.
Our stars are definitely aligning as we go from strength to strength but we can’t forget where we came from.
You can learn more about City’s history from #CityStories, the crowd sourced history of the club which is being written by our supporters.