Thursday, November 22, 2012


Season 1979-80 
Neil King remembers a classic defeat of Forest that left him unable to celebrate in time honoured style:

Manchester City 1 - 0  Nottingham Forest    

13th October 1979 : ko 15:00pm

"The fellow whose mischievous wit prompted him to send up City in a local newspaper advertisement, offering a set of "clockwork clowns" for sale at £5, must number among the world's biggest fools this morning" - Richard Bott, Sunday Express, 14/10/79 

 At the time, as a fresh faced 17 year old, I was living at a friends house in Reddish and was looking forward to the match ahead against "Old Bighead's" Forest. Our form to say the least at that time was "patchy". However my first decision of the day was to decide how I was getting to the game. There were no buses running; if memory serves me right they were on strike. A situation in those days that was not uncommon. I decided that i would walk to the game, after all Maine Road is not that far from Reddish! Remember I was 17 and naive. As it turned out I would not have the same predicament about getting home!
I think it took me about an hour and a half to walk to the match. I headed down Longford Road, onto Levenshulme and into Dickenson Road. The sights and sounds have not changed much to this day in that area. As multi-cultural then as it is now.
If I remember right Forest were flying at the time (they may even have been top?) and the match was a close affair.I had taken up my usual position in the Kippax near the back and close to the away fans. Then my day was about to take a turn for the better (and worse) with assistance from the late great Kazimierz Deyna. The Pole scored what turned out to be the winning goal and the crowd erupted. As one we leapt in the air celebrating but as I landed I stumbled on the steep Kippax steps. To say my ankle/leg hurt would be an understatement, but being young and foolish i decided I would not show my pain (too much!). For the remainder of the match I spent most of it trying to usher people away from pushing me, which for those familiar with the Kippax was easier said than done. 
The final whistle came and everyone headed for the exits, abusing the Forest fans on the way out obviously!
I remained where I was though as by now i could not even walk, and I sat on the Kippax steps. The police and stewards from those days would sweep across the stand moving fans away (and picking up the coins that had been thrown). They reached me and asked me to leave, I explained I could not as i had hurt my leg. Sympathy was not a strong point of the local Constabulary so it was left to 2 of my friends to carry me down the steps. We were told to go to the first aid point at the corner of the North Stand. My mates made sure i was ok and headed home. Ambulances, like the buses were also in short supply, and I was "transferred" to Manchester Royal in the back of a Police van. A splendid experience given that my foot was resting all  the way on the ridged floor of the van!
It transpired that I had actually broken my leg when Deyna scored. So I can say with pride " I broke my leg at Maine Road". As mentioned earlier, it took the decision on how to get home away. I was given a lift by the Greater Manchester Ambulance service.
One final thing, the crowd that day was over 41,000 and considering there was a bus strike 
(i think it was all over the Manchester area) was fantastic. In fact Brian Clough in the papers the following day said it was an amazing attendance. More proof we have the best fans in the World.
Neil King
Follow Neil on twitter - @cityneil51 


  1. Forest were the European champions, and would go on to defend their crown later that season against Hamburg (Kevin Keegan et al) in Madrid.

    If memory serves, Deyna scored the winner at the North Stand end, with a lovely drag back that left a defender sprawling, before thumping the ball past Peter Shilton.

    The season ended up as a grim struggle against relegation, which City just about survived, with the infamous FA Cup loss to Halifax, so this was one of the few bright spots.

  2. I remember not breaking a single bone whilst celebrating Deyna's winner v Middlesbrough in the previous midweek. I came through the full 90 minutes unscathed.

  3. Paul Hansper-CowgillNovember 23, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    I remember that season well: Forest stuffed Trafford 0-4 that year.


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