Manchester City v Newcastle 1977/78

Newcastle home 1977 to 78 prog
Newcastle home 1977 to 78 ticket

CITY 4 NEWCASTLE UNITED 0

League Division 1

26th December 1977

Attendance 45,811

scorers Tueart 3, Kidd

Ref A McDonald

City Corrigan, Clements, Donachie, Booth, Watson, Power, Barnes, Owen, Kidd, Hartford, Tueart – used sub Bell

Bell had been named as substitute. Manager Tony Book: “My plan had been to give him a twenty minute run at the end of the match, but an injury to Paul Power forced my hand. It wasn’t planned the way it happened? Bell came on at half-time to a tremendous ovation. City fan Chris Ryder followed Bell‘s progress and return closely: “l was at the match when Colin made his comeback, but I also remember well hearing about his rehabilitation, over what seemed an eternity, via the Manchester Evening News and the BBC. For over a year we had updates along the lines of ‘here’s Colin running’; ‘Colin’s now doing weights’; ‘Colin now in the Gym’ etc.  “He remains the best all round player at club level I ever saw and probably ever will. I sweated with him all through his comeback campaign and was nervous with excitement when I heard the rumour that he might be on the bench for this match. “If my memory serves me well, he came on as sub as the team came out for the second half. I even think he was ‘held back’ so that he arrived on the pitch when all the other players had already arrived. “The reception was unbelievable. The crowd rose as one and the noise, applause and the overall warmth of the feeling being aimed at the great man sent shivers up my back, I still get a similar feeling writing about it. “The second half was a blur and I have a lasting memory of Colin almost gliding across the turf like a hovercraft, being cheered to the rafters every time he got near the ball. I know I should remember this but didn’t he almost score and every one went mad?” Another supporter, Dave Lyons, also remembers the day well: “My own special hero was always Colin the King. After numerous attempts on his life, on the field, usually by United defenders, I won’t name names but I’ll throw the words Burns and Buchan into the frame, our Colin was well and truly knackered, but with a desperate fanaticism he refused to accept the inevitable. After something like one and a half years of rehabilitation and relapses due to pushing himself so hard, Colin made the bench for the home game against the Magpies during 1977. “After emigrating in 1973 I have not been able to see my beloved Blues as often as I’d have liked through the years, but I count myself privileged to have been on the Kippax that day. There weren’t any cups to be won, or championships, nor promotion or relegation issues to be settled. I’ve been to all sorts of football Valhallas but nothing came near to the atmosphere within Maine Road that day. Colin Bell took the field and everyone in the ground was choked, l smuggled away a tear because I honestly thought l’d seen the last of him gracing one of our arenas. “Somebody ran on the field to plant a crown on his blonde locks and he nervously and modestly removed it, Mike Summerbee would have worn it through the rest of the game if we had bestowed such an honour on him! Colin struggled through the second half and gave the ball more often to a Geordie than a Blue, but we dldn’t care, we were in blue heaven and we were hysterically happy just to see Colin on the ball again, regardless of what he did with it. immense applause went up every time he touched the ball. Newcastle obviously felt the whole event was heavily loaded against them and they succumbed more to the atmosphere than to the play. City inevitably won that day and Colin’s days were numbered on the field, it proved impossible to regain a level of fitness that he’d have been content with. “For me it was a pure gold event which l’Il treasure forever.” The City Chairman at the time was Peter Swales and, in the mid 1990s, he recalled how great the atmosphere was that night: “It was certainly the best ovation I’ve ever seen given to any player in any game. I’ve seen most of the England games over the last twenty years and all of City’s. I’ve certainly seen plenty ot tremendous occasions, players getting hat-tricks, United getting beat 5-1, but the Bell reception was far and away the best I’ve ever heard a player get. Bell was the best, no question.” Hat-trick hero Dennis Tueart also remembered the ovation for Bell: “I’ve never known a noise like it in all my life! The crowd gave him a standing ovation and he hadn’t even touched the ball. l’ve never seen a guy work as hard to get back. It was a phenomenal amount ot work and he definitely deserved that ovation.” Although this game had little bearing on City’s overall position in the League, it will always remain an important moment in the history of the club and of Maine Boad.  ‘THE MAINE MATCH’ AN ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN THE CITY PROGRAMME 24TH AUGUST 2002

Newcastle home 1977 to 78 bell actiona

 That day I came on as substitute and I could not believe the atmosphere. The whole ground, including the Newcastle fans, stood and applauded and chanted my name. I was at the Halifax Supporters Club a month ago and I mentioned the game and almost every person in the room talked of the day and how emotional they got. There were at least two dozen people in the room who said they were crying when I came on. Grown men admitted it and I was deeply touched. On the day you could feel that emotion. I don’t believe I did anything of note in the game. I was a passenger, but everyone tells me it was great seeing me there and for me it was and will always be my number one game, and my number one memory of playing football. An excert from an Interview with Colin Bell by Gary James Publshed in the City programme 2nd February 2005

Paul Power jokes I was the player who made way for Colin Bell for his comeback… I came off as Colin prepared to come on and I thought the standing ovation was for me coming off! I miss read that didn’t I?

One thought on “Manchester City v Newcastle 1977/78

  1. i was at that game. was ten years old. had never seen bell play before but i knew something was special when he came on. i remember the place going mental.

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