Current Man City Squad Out to Emulate The Team of 1967

Manchester City made a statement of intent when they beat bitter local rivals Manchester United 6-1 recently and in the wake of that result, the football world has suddenly acknowledged that Man City are serious contenders for the Premier League title. This article looks back at the last City side to win the league, back in 1967 and asks whether the current squad is capable of emulating that achievement some 45 years.

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With the English football world still reeling following Manchester City’s 6-1 thrashing over local rivals, Manchester United at Old Trafford recently, a result that put the “blue half of Manchester” in the driving seat to win the Premier League title and in doing so will no doubt have reminded older football fans of the great Manchester City team of 1967-8 that finished top of Division One (or now known as the Premier League).

That season in fact, ‘City’ had only been back in Division One for one year after being promoted two seasons earlier. Manager, Joe Mercer and his assistant Malcolm Allison, who guided them to that promotion from Division Two, were in their third full season in control at Maine Road and although their first season back in the top flight was inauspicious, Mercer in particular knew that he had the makings of a very good team on his hands.

They had in fact finished mid-table in their first season and were not amongst the favourites to win the league title in their second. However, Mercer bought a certain Francis Lee for a club record of £60,000 from Bolton in October 1967 and it was after he arrived at Maine Road that City’s surge up the table began. 

An eleven match unbeaten run followed Lee’s arrival, during which time the now famous Manchester City trinity of Lee, Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee was born. It was these three players in particular that drove the side to their eventual pinnacle. It was also during this unbeaten run that City were described by BBC commentator, Kenneth Wolstenholme as the most exciting team in England, after they played magnificently on a snow covered frozen Maine Road pitch defeating a Spurs side by 4-1. The win put them just one point behind United at the top of the table.

Although the team were rocked by a couple of defeats over the Christmas period; both inflicted by WBA, a second run of seven games undefeated, put them ‘bang’ there again. A defeat by Leeds followed but City bounced straight back, defeating United by 3-1 at Old Trafford, in front of 63,000 fans who saw Bell and Lee amongst the scorers. The win put City back on top of the table.

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