Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe undermining of a city - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The undermining of a city - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The undermining of a city


Manchester United have made an art of undermining their cross-city rivals and their success.

The rivalry between Manchester City and Manchester United is without doubt one of most recognised in world football. It almost goes without saying that the successes of both clubs are somewhat contrasting. It is for that reason that, for the most part, this rivalry has been based from uncommon stand points and unequal success. Of course, for United, transcending city successes hasn’t been difficult. Rarely a season goes by without United winning something but the Red Devils have turned outshining their inner city counter parts in something of an art form.

The red side of Manchester have an insatiable appetite for success, with a trophy cabinet and history to warrant this hunger. Whilst for the Blues, their history and expectations are unpredictable and indifferent with often inconsistent results. This may now change with the investment of Sheikh Mansour, but even when City have managed some success, in whatever shape or form, United have always surpassed them and gone one better.

It all started 1956 – City finished 4th in the First Division that season, but their success would come in the FA Cup. While United were sensationally bundled out of the competition 4-0 at Bristol Rovers of Division Two, City made their second successive final, this time ending up the victors with a 3-1 win against Birmingham. The final will be remembered for City’s German goalkeeper, Bert Trautmann, who defied medical odds by playing most of the match with a broken neck.

On the other side of town a certain (Sir) Matt Busby – a former Manchester City player – was beginning to piece together the side that was to be known as his ‘babes’. The season didn’t start well for United, losing four matches by November. They then only lost a further three games to the end of the season, eventually totalling 60 points to win the First Division title for the fourth time and the second time in two years. United’s 11-point winning margin equalled the record set in the 19th century and was never matched again under two points for a win.

So, whilst the infamy of City’s FA Cup win would live long in the memory, United’s record-breaking league victory was something extra special. Especially when you consider the average age of the squad was just 23 and included the likes of Duncan Edwards, Dennis Viollet, Jackie Blanchflower and top goal scorer, Tommy Taylor (25).

Unfortunately for United the ecstasy of winning the league two seasons running would soon turn to tragedy. On 6th February 1958, after beating Red Star Belgrade 5-4 on aggregate to reach the semi-final of the European Cup, the plane the squad were travelling in along with several journalists crashed shortly after taking-off from Munich-Riem airport, killing 23 people. The squad Busby worked so hard to develop had been decimated in an instant.

Remarkably, despite the tragic events in Munich, they still managed to finish second in the league the following season. By this time Busby’s squad was in a transitional stage but it wouldn’t be long before more success came their way.

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Peter Mannion

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