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Frank Swift: Mr December

December 1933 saw the legend Frank Swift make his debut for Manchester City, a day before his 20th birthday. The young Swift was selected in goal ahead of Nicholls who had let in 8 in the previous game against Wolves. He, in turn, had only been placed in goal for that one game as Number one choice Langford left the club. 

Swift, let in four on his debut but would keep his place for the remainder of the season. From that time until the outbreak of World War 2 he would put in over 200 appearances for the Blues, missing just one League game. He had sat out the FA Cup Final in 1933 as City lost to Everton but was back at Wembley a year later as City played in and won the 1934 FA Cup Final against Portsmouth in what was a great end to his debut season. The emotion and relief the young goalkeeper felt at the final whistle was overwhelming for the 6ft 2ins, 13st man who fainted between the posts!

Swift would go on to play for England and won the majority of his 19 caps before the begining of the World War Two. Like many of the players of that era he lost the majority of his best playing days because of the war and it is only speculation where he and City could have gone too had they had an uninterrupted run at things. 

While on England duties he was in goal for the 8-0 win against Scotland, a game held at Maine Road. Then in May 1948 he captained the national side and in doing so became the first goalkeeper to do so. Frank would retire from football in September 1949, despite attempts from the board to convince him to stay on. It wouldn’t be too long before a German paratrooper dropped into Maine Road and supporters today still debate as to which of these two were the best. 

After retiring Swift first tried entering the catering world but was unsuccessful and that was when he decided to try journalism. He worked for the News of the World, covering United games and it was one of these assignments that saw him taken from us. 

February 1958, just six weeks after celebrating his 44th birthday, coming home with the United team from a European venture their plane crashed on a ice covered Munich runway.

Blue Moon Over Manchester

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