Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Setubal is a scruffy little fishing port twenty miles south of Lisbon, where – on a good day – you can inhale the smoke of the barbecues and wait for the grilled sea bream to arrive fresh out of the sea and onto your plate. On a bad day the funk from the paper mills south of the ship building sinks carries all these pleasant aromas away and replaces it with a curtain of mist that smells like Brian Kidd’s socks. It was in this town in 1981 that the late great Malcolm Allison landed. The one and only City manager to gain a European trophy spent time in Portugal resurrecting his career after his disastrous second coming to Maine Road in 1979.  Having won Sporting Lisbon the double, he fell foul of the dreaded drink, and drifted to this small town to revive both the local club’s fortunes and his own.
Big Mal in the bath at Crystal Palace: soap suds +2 up front

Allison was a man of loose morals but tight, well drilled football principles. He took City all the way to a rain drenched Cup Winners’ Cup Final in the Prater Stadium in Vienna with a brand of football based on his upbringing at West Ham’s school of pass and move, plus his own hankering for the delicious diagonal patterns of the magnificent Magyars from Honved in the 1950s. Allison was one of the first to enthuse about the Hungarian national team that would some time later come to Wembley in their old fashioned kit and lightweight “carpet slippers” to wipe the floor so comprehensively with Billy Wright’s tittering England troops that it fair brought tears to the eyes.

You can read the rest of this article on ESPNs Manchester City page, here

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