CITY 4 MIDDLESBROUGH 0
League Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg
21st January 1976
scorers Keegan(5), Oakes(10), Barnes(46), Royle(89)
Ref John Gow
Middlesbrough Platt, craggs, Cooper, Souness, Boam, Maddren, Murdoch, Brine, Hickton, Mills, Armstrong – used sub McAndrew
Ged Keegan opens the scoring with a glorious header
An article in the City programme 7th February 1976 by Alan Thompson of the Daily Express
TO TELL the truth I am a little disappointed with Mike Doyle. I played a magnificent part in getting Manchester City to Wembley once more, and a bottle of champagne hardly seems adequate reward for the hard work I put into deciding that Middlesbrough would win the League Cup semi-final. A Magnum, perhaps .. .
For, when Mike Doyle read my forecast in the “Daily Express” on the morning of the match, a grey day immediately turned into one of sunshine.
He has the impression that I am the world’s worst tipster, and I must admit that perhaps there is some evidence in my record to suggest this to be so.
But I do try. After weighing up all the pros and cons I honestly thought that Middlesbrough would at least hold on to the one goal advantage. I did not think that City depleted as they were, with key players missing for an infinite variety of reasons-could turn on the type of scintillating performance necessary.
Yet scintillate they did-which tends to support the Doyle Theory at the expense of the Thompson Ego. You seen, he believes that every time I tip City to lose an important match they always win and though I hate admitting it he seems to be right. Hence the champagne. Earlier this season, Mike had joked that he would buy a bottle if City reached the Final and I tipped against them, and while I had forgotten the incident, Mike had not. And for what little I received after he had finished pouring it on the dressing room floor I am truly grateful.
To be serious for a moment, wasn’t it a magnificent, blood-warming win? A match in which boys blossomed and grew to manhood in 90 minutes. It is a pity that they are not all likely to play at Wembley, but they can swallow that disappointment in the knowledge that they will have plenty of opportunity in the future, because City seem set fair on a course of some success over the next decade or so.
The crowd also played an important part in the rout of Middlesbrough … and rout it was. I don’t believe all this managerial stuff about the crowd being worth a goal start (else such as Liverpool would never lose). But I do believe that noise is music in the ears of a footballer. And you all certainly made the right noises.
It is not for me-in this column at any rate-to single out individuals for special praise. I will attack that subject from the other angle and pass the opinion that every member of the side played his part superbly. My congratulations to all the players for this was a team win and Manchester City are back at Wembley on merit. How they wilI fare in the Final is the subject for another day. Writing “long range” as it were with the match still some weeks away, I am not in a position to decide yet upon which team the Black Hand of Thompson will finally fall. A great deal can happen in football between now and then and I have my reputation to consider.
You wil I have to wait until the morning of the match for my final verdict,but at this stage l will say that Newcastle have some very, very good Cup-fighting footballers. That ought to be worth a half of bitter, Mike.