1997–98 Manchester City F.C. season

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Manchester City
1997–98 season
Chairman Francis Lee
David Bernstein
Manager Frank Clark (until 17 February)
Joe Royle (from 18 February)
Stadium Maine Road
First Division 22nd
FA Cup Fourth round
League Cup First round
Top goalscorer League:
Paul Dickov (9)

All:
Paul Dickov (9)
Highest home attendance 32,040 – (25 April vs Queens Park Rangers, First Division)
Lowest home attendance 12,563 – (12 August vs Blackpool, League Cup first round)

The 1997–98 season was Manchester City's second in the First Division following relegation from the Premier League in 1995–96. The 1996–97 season had been a turbulent one; Five different managers took charge of the team over the course of the season (three permanent appointments and two caretakers), including Steve Coppell, who resigned after just 32 days as manager.[1] Frank Clark became manager on 30 December 1997 and form improved, but the fourteenth-place finish was the lowest in club history.[2]

Despite speculation that linked him with a transfer, 1996–97 Player of the Season Georgi Kinkladze stayed at the club, and signed a three-year contract that made him the highest-paid player in Manchester City's history.[3] The highest profile signing was striker Lee Bradbury, who joined from Portsmouth for a club record £3 million.[4] Defender Tony Vaughan arrived from Ipswich Town. His transfer free was decided by tribunal and set at £1.35 million, more than double City's valuation.[5] The club also signed Dutch midfielder Gerard Wiekens from BV Veendam for £500,000.[6] Wiekens had agreed to join the club in March, but the move only took place once the previous season had finished.[7] Departing was Peter Beagrie, sold to Bradford City for £200,000.[8] In an early-season interview with the Sunday Times, Frank Clark bemoaned the difficulty of reducing the size of his squad, which contained 40 senior professionals: "This squad is too big, but a lot of the players are on good contracts which other clubs won't match. You can't blame them for staying." "We've got around 12 very good youngsters whose potential is really encouraging, but they can't get a reserve-team game. Because we've got to fill the reserves with senior pros needing match practice or players we're trying to sell, the youngsters' development is held up."[9]

Off the field, the club introduced a new badge, and changed the colour of the home shirt to a much deeper shade termed "laser blue". The new kit was made by Kappa; this ended a 63-year association with Umbro.[10]

In its preview of the forthcoming season, The Times listed bookmakers odds that put Manchester City as 6/1 joint second favourites to win the division.[11]

Team kit[edit]

Home
Away
Third

League[edit]

The league campaign started with a home match against Portsmouth. Bradbury, Vaughan and Wiekens all made their debuts. The match finished 2–2, with a debut goal for Wiekens.[12] The first away match was a trip to Sunderland, a match that was the first competitive fixture at the Stadium of Light. City lost 3–1 to a team spearheaded by their former striker Niall Quinn. Jason van Blerk made his debut in the match, having signed on a free transfer in the run-up to the fixture.[13] The first league win did not arrive until the fifth match, when Nottingham Forest were beaten at the City Ground.[14] Three games later City's second win of the season was emphatic, 6–0 at home to Swindon Town.

Lee Bradbury cracked a vertebra at the start of October, and coupled with an injury to Uwe Rösler, City were left with few options in attack.[12] The team scored just one goal in October. A succession of reserve strikers were tried; Barry Conlon, Chris Greenacre, Ray Kelly and Gerry Creaney all saw their first action of the season.[12] The situation was exacerbated in late October when Kinkladze crashed his Ferrari, sustaining a back injury that required 30 stitches and caused him to miss two matches.[15] By November City lay in the relegation zone with just 3 wins from 16 matches.[16] A home defeat to Huddersfield Town led to open rebellion amongst the club's supporters. On the tenth anniversary of a match in which the same opposition were beaten 10–1, Manchester City succumbed to a defeat that was last-placed club Huddersfield's first away win of the season.[17] Choruses of "You're not fit to wear the shirt" rang out during the match.[18] Afterward two thousand supporters held a demonstration demanding the resignation of chairman Francis Lee.[19] The season hit a new low with 3-1 away defeat to local rivals Stockport County who were having the best season in their history. The club picked up enough wins here and there to at least stay out of the relegation zone, but then a horrific run of form after Christmas saw the club dumped to the bottom of the table following a 2-1 loss to Ipswich Town in February. This proved the end of the road for Clark, who was sacked later that day and replaced by Joe Royle, who had been out of the game since resigning as Everton manager a year prior.

A run of three wins from Royle's first four matches seemed to get things back on track for City, but then the club's form slumped again, and most damagingly they lost virtually all of their matches against the other teams involved in the relegation struggle. Francis Lee finally resigned during this poor run-in, with David Bernstein replacing him as chairman, and a failure to beat Queens Park Rangers in their penultimate match effectively ended their survival hopes, leaving then needing to beat Stoke City while hoping that both Port Vale and Portsmouth failed to win their own final matches. In the end, while City were at least able to end the season on a high by beating Stoke, both Port Vale and Portsmouth won that day, sending City into the third tier for the first time in their history.

FA Cup[edit]

Manchester City entered the FA Cup in the third round, the starting point for all clubs in the top two divisions. Drawn at home to fellow First Division club Bradford City, Manchester City won 2–0.[20] Another home tie followed in the fourth round, against Premier League club West Ham United. City trailed 1–0 at half time, but a solo goal from Georgi Kinkladze levelled the score. A penalty gave City the chance to take the lead, but Uwe Rösler's kick went high over the crossbar.[21] Two minutes later, former City player Steve Lomas scored for West Ham.[22] City lost 2–1 and exited the competition.

Date Round Opponents H / A Venue Result

F – A

Scorers Attendance
3 January 1998 Third round Bradford City H Maine Road 2 – 0 Brown, Rösler 23,686
25 January 1998 Fourth round West Ham United H Maine Road 1 – 2 Kinkladze 26,495

League Cup[edit]

Manchester City entered the League Cup in the first round for the first time. In previous years, the club's league position had been sufficient to gain a bye into the second round. Blackpool were the opposition in the first round, for which ties were played over two legs. In the first leg, at Bloomfield Road, City lost 1–0.[23] The return leg was chosen for live television coverage.[24] Kevin Horlock scored with two minutes of normal time remaining to make the score 1–1 on aggregate and take the tie to extra time.[25] No goals were scored in extra time, so the result was decided by a penalty shootout. Horlock and Bradbury's kicks missed, and Blackpool won the shootout 4–2.[26]

Date Round Opponents H / A Venue Result

F – A

Scorers Attendance
12 August 1997 First round first leg Blackpool A Bloomfield Road 0 – 1 8,084
26 August 1997 First round second leg Blackpool H Maine Road 1 – 0 (aet, 2 – 4 pens) Horlock 12,563

Squad[edit]

Appearances for competitive matches only, substitute appearances in brackets
Source:[27]

Pos. Name Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
League FA Cup League Cup Total
GK Wales Margetson, MartynMartyn Margetson 28 0 0 0 2 0 30 0
GK Northern Ireland Wright, TommyTommy Wright 18 0 2 0 0 0 20 0
DF England Beesley, PaulPaul Beesley 4 (3) 0 0 0 0 0 4 (3) 0
DF England Brightwell, IanIan Brightwell 19 (2) 0 2 0 2 0 23 (2) 0
DF England Briscoe, LeeLee Briscoe 5 1 0 0 0 0 5 1
DF England Crooks, LeeLee Crooks 3 (2) 0 0 0 0 0 3 (2) 0
DF England Edghill, RichardRichard Edghill 36 0 1 0 0 0 37 0
DF England Jobson, RichardRichard Jobson 6 1 0 0 0 0 6 1
DF England Kernaghan, AlanAlan Kernaghan 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 0
DF England Morley, DaveDave Morley 1 (2) 1 0 0 0 0 1 (2) 0
DF Georgia (country) Shelia, MurtazMurtaz Shelia 12 2 2 0 0 0 14 2
DF Wales Symons, KitKit Symons 42 2 1 0 1 0 44 2
DF Georgia (country) Tskhadadze, KakhaberKakhaber Tskhadadze 10 1 0 0 0 0 10 1
DF Australia van Blerk, JasonJason van Blerk 10 (9) 0 0 (1) 0 0 (1) 0 10 (11) 0
DF England Vaughan, TonyTony Vaughan 19 1 0 0 2 0 21 1
DF/MF Netherlands Wiekens, GerardGerard Wiekens 35 (2) 5 1 0 2 0 38 (2) 5
MF England Beardsley, PeterPeter Beardsley 5 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 5 (1) 0
MF England Bishop, IanIan Bishop 4 (2) 0 0 0 0 0 4 (2) 0
MF England Brannan, GedGed Brannan 27 (5) 3 1 0 2 0 32 (5) 3
MF England Brown, MichaelMichael Brown 18 (8) 0 0 0 1 0 18 (8) 0
MF England Heaney, NeilNeil Heaney 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
MF Northern Ireland Horlock, KevinKevin Horlock 25 5 0 0 2 1 27 6
MF Georgia (country) Kinkladze, GeorgiGeorgi Kinkladze 29 (1) 4 2 1 2 0 33 (1) 5
MF Republic of Ireland McGoldrick, EddieEddie McGoldrick 6 (1) 0 0 0 0 (1) 0 6 (2) 0
MF Scotland Pollock, JamieJamie Pollock 8 1 0 0 0 0 8 1
MF Republic of Ireland Scully, TonyTony Scully 1 (8) 0 0 0 0 0 1 (8) 0
MF England Summerbee, NickyNicky Summerbee 4 (5) 0 0 0 2 0 6 (5) 0
MF Northern Ireland Whitley, JeffJeff Whitley 14 (3) 1 1 0 0 0 15 (3) 1
MF Northern Ireland Whitley, JimJim Whitley 17 (2) 0 1 (1) 0 0 0 18 (3) 0
FW England Bradbury, LeeLee Bradbury 23 (4) 7 0 0 2 0 25 (4) 7
FW Scotland Creaney, GerryGerry Creaney 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
FW Republic of Ireland Conlon, BarryBarry Conlon 1 (6) 0 0 0 0 0 1 (6) 0
FW Scotland Dickov, PaulPaul Dickov 21 (9) 9 2 0 0 (1) 0 23 (10) 9
FW Bermuda Goater, ShaunShaun Goater 7 3 0 0 0 0 7 3
FW England Greenacre, ChrisChris Greenacre 2 (1) 0 0 (1) 0 0 0 2 (2) 0
FW Republic of Ireland Kelly, RayRay Kelly 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
FW Germany Rösler, UweUwe Rösler 23 (6) 6 2 1 2 0 27 (6) 7
FW England Russell, CraigCraig Russell 17 (7) 1 2 0 0 0 19 (7) 1

Transfers[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Buckley, Andy; Burgess, Richard (2000). Blue Moon Rising: The Fall and Rise of Manchester City. Bury: Milo. ISBN 0-9530847-4-4.  p. 132.
  2. ^ Baskcomb, Julian (ed.) (1997). Manchester City F.C. Official Handbook 1997-98. Leicester: Polar. p. 41. 
  3. ^ "Fergie's £15m for Fab Gab". Sunday Mirror. 18 May 1997. 
  4. ^ Manchester City F.C. Official Handbook 1997-98, p. 19.
  5. ^ a b "Football". Independent. 17 July 1997. 
  6. ^ Manchester City F.C. Official Handbook 1997-98, p. 33.
  7. ^ a b Adam Szreter (14 March 1997). "Merson to be out of action for six weeks". Independent. 
  8. ^ a b "Football Round-up". Independent. 3 July 1997. 
  9. ^ Louise Taylor (17 August 1997). "Clark attempting to rekindle City's lights". Sunday Times. 
  10. ^ James, Gary (2012). Manchester The City Years. Halifax: James Ward. pp. 454–5. ISBN 978-0-9558127-7-4. 
  11. ^ "Club-by-Club guide to the Nationwide League - First Division". The Times. 7 August 1997. 
  12. ^ a b c Buckley & Burgess, Blue Moon Rising, p. 145.
  13. ^ a b "Stockport chase Robins". Independent. 12 August 1997. 
  14. ^ John Lawson (4 September 1997). "Brannan double eases Clark woe". The Guardian. p. 22. 
  15. ^ Clayton, David (2005). Kinkladze: The Perfect 10?. Manchester: Parrs Wood Press. p. 113. ISBN 1-903158-60-5. 
  16. ^ "English Division One 1997-1998 : Table 09.11.1997". Statto organisation. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  17. ^ Derek Potter (8 November 1997). "Edwards volley sinks City". The Guardian. p. A12. 
  18. ^ David Maddock (8 November 1997). "Huddersfield add to City's gloom". The Times. 
  19. ^ Derick Allsop (8 November 1997). "City suffer another humiliation". Independent. 
  20. ^ "Clark's on the up n' up". Sunday Mirror. 4 January 1998. 
  21. ^ Ian Ross (26 January 1998). "Rosler boots a win into the air". The Guardian. p. A3. 
  22. ^ Ian Ross (26 January 1998). "Lomas returns to City with interest". The Times. 
  23. ^ "Unconvincing City slip up at Blackpool". Independent. 13 August 1997. 
  24. ^ "Manchester City 's Coca-Cola Cup first round second leg with Blackpool brought forward". Independent. 14 August 1997. 
  25. ^ Mark Pierson (27 August 1997). "Mellon on the spot to see Blackpool through". Independent. 
  26. ^ Ian Whittell (27 August 1997). "Kinkladze's injury adds to woe for City". The Times. 
  27. ^ James, Manchester City – The Complete Record, pp. 462–3.
  28. ^ "Football Round-Up". Independent. 20 April 1997. 
  29. ^ Alan Nixon (31 July 1997). "Kendall poised to offer £7m for Cole". Independent. 
  30. ^ Rupert Metcalf (16 August 1997). "Saints dispense with Van Gobbel". Independent. 
  31. ^ a b c d "On the move". Independent on Sunday. 15 March 1998. 
  32. ^ a b c "On the move". Independent on Sunday. 22 March 1998. 
  33. ^ a b c d e f g "Yesterday's deadline-day deals". Independent. 27 March 1998. 
  34. ^ "Spurs ponder action on Iversen". Independent. 12 September 1997. 
  35. ^ "Shearer set for New Year return". Guardian. 20 September 1997. p. 12. 
  36. ^ "On the move". Independent. 21 September 1997. 
  37. ^ Gordon Simpson (27 December 1997). "Back in line". Daily Record. 
  38. ^ "Pressure mounts for Waddle and his men". Lancashire County Publications. 5 January 1998. 
  39. ^ "Sidelines: Gers trade with Hearts flowers". Independent. 28 February 1998. 
  40. ^ Richard Burgess (16 March 1998). "Blues boss targets double swoop". Manchester Evening News.