1964/65 SEASON REVIEW
For City’s second campaign in Division 2 the short pre-season consisted of two games against Stoke the first on the Isle of Man where Stoke won 2-1 and the second City beat Stoke 3-0.
Following the board announcing losses of £18,796, Peter Donoghue a local Manchester businessman who had been buying up as many shares as possible and indeed had tried to complete a takeover bid, failed to secure a place on the board of directors even though he was now the second biggest personal shareholder in the club.
The only face to come in over the Summer was forward Barry Stobart who joined from Wolves, although Dave Bacuzzi who was signed late into the last campaign was also yet to make his debut.
City’s inconsistency certainly wasn’t going away for this season as they started with a 2-1 defeat against Charlton at the Valley before a sensational 6-0 victory over Orient at Maine Road. More off field activities continued as Alan Douglas stood down as Chairman and the Alexander family continued their association with the club as Albert Alexander Jr. took over the Chairman’s seat.
Back to the playing field and City then lost 2-0 at Maine Road against Northampton and in a quick return game against Orient, the O’s got revenge over the Citizens with a 4-3 win.
Back on course at Maine Road, Poyser’s team beat Portsmouth 2-0, but then lost at home by the same score to Norwich to earn just 4 points from a possible 12, not the start the fans had hoped for.
City were struggling to put two good results together as they won 1-0 at Swindon, they lost 4-1 at Norwich and then beat Derby 2-0 at Maine Road, where Roy Gratrix made his debut after his £8,000 move from Blackpool.
The League Cup saw 3rd Division Mansfield humiliate City 5-3 at Maine Road to knock the Blues out in the 2nd round. Poyser’s side then travelled to Swansea and were well beaten 3-0 to leave them in 15th position after ten games.
October started a little better with four points from three games, a 2-1 home win against Rotherham, a 1-0 defeat at Southampton and a 3-0 home win against Newcastle.
A setback at home to Huddersfield saw City lose 3-2 however a good 2-2 draw at Coventry was followed by a 2-0 win at Maine Road against Cardiff and then a 5-2 win at Preston to move City up the table to eleventh in Division 2, just seven points behind leaders Northampton after 17 games.
Barry Stobard had failed to settle at Maine Road, and returned to the Midlands, after playing just 14 games for City, when he joined Aston Villa in November for £22,000.
Another high scoring win followed as City beat Ipswich 4-0 at Maine Road, but they then slipped back down the league losing 3-2 at Plymouth and 4-2 at home to Bolton. And although the Blues won 1-0 at Middlesbrough their next home game against Charlton was postponed due to bad weather and then they lost again, 2-0 at Northampton as they entered the festive period.
A Christmas double header against Bury ended with a 0-0 draw at Maine Road on Boxing Day and two days later a 2-0 City win at Bury.
The new year brought a point in a 1-1 draw at Portsmouth, and then a sensational story broke in the press that two City directors had contacted Manchester United with a view to a merger of the two grounds. The story was firmly denied by City, they stated this drastic move has never been contemplated by anyone connected with the club… So far as Manchester City were concerned they had only recently completed construction of the new floodlighting system at a cost of £36,000 and were soon to embark on an ambitious scheme for a luxurious social club which will cost in the region of a further £60,000. So it would be plainly ridiculous for anyone to even hint at such a merger idea.
The pressure on City’s management went from bad to worse and with the prospect of getting away from the pressures of the league and possibly setting up a good cup run, instead they drew 1-1 at home to 3rd Division Shrewsbury in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup and then crashed out losing 3-1 in the replay at Shrewsbury.
The City fans showed their frustration by protesting with their feet as only 8,015 turned up for their next game at home to Swindon. This would be a record low League attendance for The Citizens, The Blues went down 2-1 and the sparse crowd vented their anger with demonstrations after the game.
In an attempt to boost the squad City paid Sunderland £40,000 for midfielder Johnny Crossan, his debut though ended in another defeat, 2-0 at Derby meant a winless January for the Blues, however they began February a little better as they beat Swansea 1-0 at Maine Road and drew 0-0 at Rotherham, City’s promotion hopes were now in tatters and indeed they were only six points from the bottom of the table with just a third of the season to go.
February’s good form continued as City beat Southampton 3-1 at Maine Road, but then lost 1-0 at Huddersfield.
Entering March and two draws 1-1 at Maine Road against Middlesbrough and 2-2 at Cardiff were followed by a 4-3 win at home to Preston, then a 4-1 defeat at Ipswich, a 2-1 win at home to Plymouth and a disatrous 4-0 mauling at Bolton, the fans were unhappy that with just five games left to play the best they could hope for was mid-table obscurity, rather than a chance at promotion they so desperately craved for.
The day before Good Friday Manager George Poyser was sacked along with coach Jimmy Meadows and with no-one at the helm City put up a lacklustre performance at Maine Road a day later and lost 2-0 against Crystal Palace in the first ever league meeting between the two sides.
The next day City drew 1-1 at home to Coventry and on Easter Monday they drew 1-1 again at Crystal Palace.
The penultimate game of the season ended in a 0-0 draw at Newcastle. And then the Maine Road crowd were treated to a 2-1 win over Charlton at Maine Road on the last day of the season, a season which ended with City managerless and attaining just eleventh place in Division 2.