1990/91 SEASON REVIEW
The Summer saw Howard Kendall bring in three new signings, the first was Neil Pointon from Everton, a deal that saw Andy Hinchcliffe moving to Goodison Park. City then paid Watford £1M for keeper Tony Coton and Middlesbrough £400,000 for Mark Brennan. Veteran keeper Paul Cooper was released and joined Stockport County.
The Blues pre-season began with a five match tour of Sweden where they scored an amazing 32 goals, beating Pitea 4-0, Burtrask 6-0, Vilhelmina 7-0, they then beat a Stockholm Select team 4-1 and then finished off with an 11-1 thrashing of Solleftea.
City returned for a match at Stockport and won 4-1 in Eric Webster’s testimonial.
On 10th August there was sad news as the death of Joe Mercer was announced, perhaps City’s greatest manager, had passed away on his 76th birthday.
The team were then off to Ireland where The Blues beat Shelbourne 4-1 and Cobh Ramblers 1-0.
Howard Kendall’s team ended their pre-season games in San Sebastián in Spain where they played in a triangular trophy, The Torneo Internacional Real Sociedad. City lost their first game 1-0 against Twente Enschede and then drew 1-1 against hosts Real Sociedad.
City began the season at White Hart Lane where a star studded Tottenham team which included Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker, said England stars were too much for the Blues and inficted a 3-1 defeat on the Citizens..
At Maine Road City beat Everton 1-0 and followed that up with another win, 2-1 against Aston Villa, a game more remembered for the injury that Paul Lake suffered, initially it was announced he would be back within six weeks, however after further scans it turned out to be a cruciate ligament injury which would effectively end his career.
Away from home City drew 1-1 at newly promoted Sheffield United. Back at Maine Road Howard Kendall’s side kept their 100% home success with a 2-1 win against Norwich.
The Blues were then unbeaten in three away games, drawing 1-1 at Chelsea and Wimbledon and sandwiched in between a good 4-0 win at Torquay in the 1st leg of a Rumbelows Cup 2nd round tie.
Defender Mark Seagraves then left the club, joining Bolton for £100,000.
The Blues couldn’t stop winning at home beating Coventry 2-0 and securing 5th position in the league after 8 games.
A 0-0 draw at Maine Road with Torquay secured a route to the third round of the Rumbelows Cup and then The Blues made it ten games unbeaten drawing 1-1 at Derby.
The first Manchester Derby of the season saw United come back from a 3-1 deficit to draw 3-3 in a thrilling match in front of an appreciative packed Kippax who must have been thinking that Kendall was the man they wanted in charge for many years to come, however amazingly within two weeks he had left the club and moved to Merseyside to manage Everton for a second time.
Before City had to look for a new manager they were knocked out of the Rumbelows Cup at Maine Road losing 2-1 to Arsenal, however back in the league it was ten games unbeaten as The Blues drew 1-1 at Sunderland.
It was then that Howard Kendall dropped the bombshell that he was leaving and going back to Goodison. Kendall described his relationship with Everton as a marriage and his time at City had just been an affair. Peter Reid then spurned Kendall’s attempts to prise him away from City and join Everton, instead the gritty 34 year old Midfielder took charge of City as Caretaker Manager for the next match at home to Leeds which The Blues lost 3-2.
Reid was a popular choice amongst the players and fans to takeover the role permanently and he did so a week later in a Player-manager role.
City then earned two creditable 2-2 away draws against Luton and Liverpool to keep them in a respectable sixth place in the League with a third of the season gone.
Out of favour, Clive Allen then slapped in a transfer request, stating “I have been told emphatically that there is no future for me at Maine Road… Peter Reid agrees that it is probably the best thing for my career… I must consider my future”. Despite this a first win under Peter Reid followed, a 2-1 home victory over QPR however Reid realised he was struggling in his dual role and so he brought in Sam Ellis as his number two and the wins continued as City beat Tottenham 2-1 in the league and then Middlesbrough by the same score in the Zenith Data Systems Cup, both games at Maine Road.
Andy Hill joined City on a three month loan from Bury.
Peter Reid’s luck ran out over the Christmas period as the Blues lost 2-0 at home to Crystal Palace and 2-1 at Southampton, however in the last match of 1990 City won 3-1 at Nottingham Forest.
New Years day saw 1-0 defeat against Arsenal at Maine Road and the in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup The Blues sidestepped a possible ‘banana skin’ as they beat 4th Division Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor.
City’s league form was deserting them as they lost their 4th game in the last 5 losing 2-0 at Everton and they slipped to 10th in Division 1.
Peter Reid rallied the troops and City got back on track beating Sheffield United 2-0 at Maine Road. They then played Sheffield United again three days later this time at Bramhall Lane in the Zenith Data Systems Cup and won again 2-0.
In the FA Cup The Blues moved into the fifth Round with a 2-1 win at Port Vale and then back in the league they beat Norwich 2-1 at Carrow Road, it was then a fifth win on the trot as The Blues beat Chelsea 2-1 at Maine Road.
The Blues’ season was then virtually ended in the next three games as Notts County knocked City out of the FA Cup winning 1-0, then City lost 2-0 at Leeds to exit the Zenith Data Systems Cup before losing 1-0 at QPR in the League to leave them in 8th position after 24 matches.
A 3-0 win at home to Luton boosted the City fans. However the Blues then lost 3-0 at Maine Road to title chasing Liverpool and drew 1-1 against Wimbledon also at Maine Road.
Peter Reid took the team away from the pressures of the League with a trip to Ireland where City beat Shamrock Rovers on penalties to win the Shamrock Rovers Challenge Cup.
Back in the League the break in Ireland seemed to have backfired as City lost 3-1 at Coventry to leave them in seventh position with nine games to play.
City then drew 3-3 at Maine Road against Southampton and then won 3-1 at Crystal Palace to move up to sixth place.
Two more wins followed 3-1 at home to Nottingham Forest and 2-1 at Leeds. City then drew 2-2 against Arsenal at Highbury, before beating Derby 2-1 at Maine Road and Aston Villa 5-1 at Villa Park.
After seven games unbeaten a trip to Old Trafford ended in defeat as Manchester United won 1-0. However it was a winning end to the season as City beat Sunderland 3-2 at Maine Road, to finish in a very creditable fifth position in the league.
City played an end of season game at Exeter for Steve Neville’s Testimonial.