1960/61 SEASON REVIEW
City brought in two signings in the Summer of 1960, Jackie Plenderleith joined from Hibernian for a fee quoted as in excess of £10,000 and Barrie Betts came in for £8,000 from Stockport County. Ronnie Phoenix who had been at Maine Road for 10 years but only played 50 games moved away from Maine Road, joining Rochdale on a free transfer.
The Blues won a pre-season friendly 4-3 at St Mirren before their first league game, which saw a 2-2 draw against Nottingham Forest at The City Ground.
At Maine Road City got off to a winning start against League Champions Burnley with a 2-1 victory.
Not many games in August are abandoned due to bad weather, however in the Manchester derby at Maine Road with United drawing 2-2 in front of a crowd of over 50,000, what was described by the Guardian as a typhoon swept through Moss Side and the game was abandoned after 56 minutes as the pitch became waterlogged.
The Blues kept on track at Turf Moor as they beat Burnley 3-1, then at Maine Road drew 0-0 against Arsenal, and 1-1 against Sheffield Wednesday to sit in 5th place in Division 1 after five games.
City continued their unbeaten start to the season at St James’ Park with a 3-1 win over Newcastle. However the first defeat came at Hillsborough, 3-1 to Sheffield Wednesday, but back at Maine Road the Blues won again, beating Cardiff 4-2, however away from home City lost again 6-3 at West Brom.
City’s good home form continued with a 2-1 victory over Birmingham, before an impressive 1-1 draw at leaders Tottenham.
City were still 5th in the league after beating Leicester 3-1 at Maine Road. As The Blues played their first game in the new cup competition, the League Cup, City beat Stockport 3-0 at Maine Road.
Back in the league City lost again on their travels losing 4-2 at Everton, however at home they won again 4-0 against Blackburn. The board were then persuaded to spend £17,500 on St Mirren’s Gerry Baker, who would be the first American to play for City.
After a fair start to the season the Blues then went into freefall losing seven games on the trot; first they lost 3-1 at Bolton, then were beaten 2-1 at Maine Road by West Ham, then a visit to Stamford Bridge ended in a 6-3 mauling by Chelsea.
The Blues then were knocked out of the League Cup on a quagmire of a pitch at Fratton Park as Portsmouth won 2-0.
In the league City were leaking too many goals as they were beaten 5-1 at Aston Villa , lost 4-2 at home to Wolves and 2-1 to Nottingham Forest also at Maine Road.
Christmas Eve proved to be a temporary oasis for the Blues as they beat Fulham 3-2 at Maine Road to move up to 15th in division 1, however in the return game at Craven Cottage Fulham beat City 1-0 and The Blues lost again on New Years Eve at Old Trafford, losing 5-1 to United in the Manchester derby.
In the 3rd Round of the FA Cup City earned a replay at Ninian Park, drawing 1-1 against Cardiff . In the replay at a treacherously icebound Maine Road, Cardiff took the tie to a second replay in a 0-0 draw.
Back in the league City lost again but it was a nine goal thriller at Highbury as Arsenal won 5-4.
The saga of City’s FA Cup tie against Cardiff finally came to an end after extra time in a 2nd replay clash at Highbury with the Blues triumphant in a 2-0 win.
Back in the league and on a pudding of a Maine Road pitch The Blues drew 3-3 against Newcastle.
One of the great football trivia questions is “which player scored six goals in an FA Cup game and his team still got knocked out” well the answer is Denis Law and it happened in City’s FA Cup 4th round tie at a rain-sodden Kenilworth Road. The Blues were beaing Luton 6-2, Law having scored a double hat-trick, when in the 69th minute Mr Tuck, the referee, decided the pitch was just too waterlogged and abandoned the game.
Four days later the teams met again in the re-arranged tie at Luton and although Denis Law scored again, City were cruelly beaten 3-1 and were out of the cup.
in the League City scored three goals in a league game for the third time in succession, drawing 3-3 at Cardiff , and then they scored three again this time at Maine Road in a 3-0 win over West Brom .
The Blues then played a friendly at Huddersfield where they were beaten 5-2.
The endless torrential rain in Manchester had turned Maine Road’s pitch into a quagmire and in a game which really should not have taken place league leaders Tottenham beat City 1-0 on another stormy day on Moss Side.
City lost again at home, 3-1 to Manchester United , before beating Everton 2-1. again at Maine Road.
Two further defeats followed 4-1 at Blackburn and 3-2 at Birmingham to leave City fourth from bottom of Division 1 with ten games left to play.
A 0-0 draw at home to Bolton, just a place above the Blues, and a 3-2 defeat at home to bottom of the table Preston, heightened relegation concerns as City slid 3rd from bottom just one point off the basement of division 1, and with a further defeat, 1-0 at Wolves The blues were now equal bottom of the league with three other clubs all on 27 points with seven games left to play.
A 1-1 draw at Deepdale saw both City and Preston move on to 28 points with Newcastle, with blackpool on 27.
A much needed 2-1 win at home to Chelsea lifted City out of the bottom three, they kept the gap with 1-1 draws at West Ham and at home to relegation threatened Blackpool .
City finally secured another season on Division 1 in their last home game of the season as they beat Aston Villa 4-1.
With the pressure off City went on to win 2-1 at Leicester and draw 3-3 in the last game of the season at Blackpool . The Blues finished the season in 13th place on 37 points.
City went on an end of season tour of West Germany and Austria they lost 3-2 to Steirischer , then beat Wacker Innsbruck 4-1, and finished with a game against Torino which was abandoned with the scores at 1-1