CITY 4 MANCHESTER UNITED 0
League Cup 4th Round
12th November 1975
scorers Tueart(1 & 28), Hartford(14), Royle(79)
Ref Jack Taylor
Asa Hartford gave a world class midfield performance as Manchester City bresthtakingly turned on the League Cup Power.
It was a dazzling flashback to the vintage years when the champagne Blues were at their rampaging best as they tore Manchester United to shreds.
City not only beat United 4-0, they massacred ’em, to reach the quarter finals for the second time in three years.
Yet it was victory achieved at considerable odds for the Blues who lost Colin Bell after just five minutes.
A goal after just 35 seconds by Dennis Tueart gave the Blues the flying start they wanted and it owes much to the character and spirit moulded in the side that they were able to overcome the blow to Bell, who will be out of action for a month.
It was a tackle by United skipper Martin Buchan that floored Bell, leaving him crippled with torn thigh muscles that needed an immediate operation to ease internal bleeding.
Yet it was from that moment when Bell was carried off on a stretcher that Hartford took the game by the scruff of the neck to provide a display never seen at Maine Road in years.
I single out Hartford only because his contribution stood out head and shoulders as he hit 40 yard passes that hit the target with radar precision. His short ball game too was exemplary providing the vital link between defence and attack that saw City turn in their most blistering all around display in years.
ASA MAKES IT 2-0
The only time City looked in trouble was in the anxious minutes they played without Bell while the damage was fully assessed. But once Tommy Booth came on, City recovered their composure.
… While Hartford walked off with man-of-the-match honours, Tueart was not far behind. What a pity Don Revie could not see his demonstration of polished wing play and finishing, where he lived up to his pre-match boast of making it a personal derby to remember by scoring twice.
… Mike Doyle was the driving force in defence, where Joe Corrigan had another magnificent match. And the polished contribution from veteran Alan Oakes was one more salient factor in a display that must leave the Blues hot favourites for a Wembley return
PETER GARDNER WRITING FOR THE MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS
JOE ROYLE MAKES IT 4-0
… I always enjoyed playing under floodlights and there was a tremendous atmosphere as we ran out and prepared to get underway. Within a minute we were ahead, with Dennis Tueart scoring the goal, United were rattled as we pressed forward for a second goal. I received a pass through the centre circle from Dennis.
I was in the old fashioned inside right position as I made my way towards United’s goal at the Platt Lane end of the ground, I’d run about ten to fifteen yards into space, as things opened up for me because the United players had been drawn towards Dennis. I had a bit of space in front of me and I was preparing to shoot.
Paddy Roche was in goal and the pitch was a bit bobbly, as many surfaces were at that time of year. In the back of my mind I was thinking that I might have a shot, as Paddy wasn’t the best of goalkeepers. At that stage, I didn’t really feel I had much of a choice, apart from having a crack at goal. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a player coming across in front of me and I decided I had three options. I pidked the wrong one.
The first option was to take a shot, if the ball sat up in the right position. The second was to increase my forward pace and try to go away from the player. The third choice was to stop, drag the ball back, let him go across me and then I’d go on clear, towards goal. I selected the last one.
I dragged it back, which left me balanced on my right leg, with all six studs in the ground. I could now see that it was Martin Buchan who was challenging me. His tackled smacked me just below the knee, in the right leg, which had my full weight on it.
It felt like my leg had been screwed into the ground. My knee bent backwards bursting blood vessels in the bottom of my thigh and in the top of my calf. All the ligaments in my knee were torn. Within seconds the knee was just a bag of blood. I knew straight away that it was a bad injury.
It wasn’t the pain that bothered me the most as I was being carried off by our physio Freddie Griffiths and his assistant Roy Bailey, it was fearing how bad the injury was. I shouted up to Freddie, “They’ve friggin hurt me Fred”. Within 30 seconds my knee had swollen to the size of a football.
Very soon I was in an ambulance on the way to hospital, where I was to stay for several days. My leg was black and blue from the hip joint right down to my ankle, I was quite generally unwell too, not just from the injury but also the shock to my system. I was told by the doctors that the trauma was similar to that suffered by someone involved in a serious car crash.
… Perhaps with today’s surgical techniques my treatment would have been different, but that kind of expertise simply didn’t exist at the time.
The first operation I had was to remove the congealed blood . After surgery, they immobilised my leg, which in hindsight was probably a mistake.
I believe that if I’d kept bending the leg and been able to mobilise at an earlier stage it would have helped the healing process. To have it in a straight legged position meant everything just congealed even more inside the knee. It was as if the joint had been super glued. When the plaster was eventually removed, I couldn’t even bend my knee.
JOE CORRIGAN TALKS ABOUT COLIN BELLS INJURY …I was right in line with Colin as he burst towards the reds’ goal with typical determination. I saw Martin Buchan scythe him down with what looked to me like a disgusting challenge, as Colin pushed the ball to go past him. Right away we all knew it was serious and everyone was devastated.
Colin was taken straight to hospital, where I was told that a syringe used to drain the blood behind the knee blew the needle out of the joint such was the pressure in his leg
Adapted from Big Joe: The Joe Corrigan Story by Joe Corrigan and David Clayton