The last side to win the League with a totally English team in 1968. After only 3 full seasons in charge Joe Mercer, alongside Malcolm Allison, had led Manchester City from the old second division to the pinnacle of English football. Although unfancied at the start of the season the 1967 arrival of Francis Lee, from Bolton Wanderers, galvanised the team and an unbeaten run saw City at the top of the league by the time of season’s final games. City were playing Newcastle away whilst nearest rivals, defending champions and neighbours, Manchester United hosted lowly Sunderland. After a 3 – 4 victory and a shock 1 – 2 defeat for United, City became Champions. However, even if United had beaten Sunderland and finished level on points, the title would still have gone to Maine Road due to goal difference, (then called Goal Average), something that would actually happen on the last day of the season 44 years later.

 

1. Tony Book: Turned professional for Plymouth aged 30 and joined City the following season for £17,000. He was made captain for the Championship season and became the most successful captain in the history of the club. He was made joint Footballer of the Year 1969 and later managed the club to League Cup final victory.
2. Ken Mulhearn: When Manchester City's first choice goalkeeper Harry Dowd sustained an injury, Mulhearn made his debut against United. He kept his place for the remainder of the season, winning a Championship medal.
3. Glyn Pardoe: City's youngest ever first team player at 15 years and 314 days old when he made his debut in 1962. The cousin of Alan Oakes, he played every position bar centre-half during his career. He missed out on the Mexico World Cup due to a broken leg in 1970 and only made limited appearances for the club there after.
4. Mike Doyle: Manchester born Doyle was City through-and-through. He was noted for his hatred of anything to do with United. He was a cultured but uncompromising wing-half.
5. George Heslop: Signed pre 1967 - 68 season from Everton for £20,000. A no-nonsense centre-half who scored his only ever League goal in the Championship winning season during a 3 - 1 victory at Old Trafford.
6. Alan Oakes: Holds Manchester City's all-time record for most appearances. A model professional and scorer of spectacular long-range goals with his trusty left boot. He played all but one match in the Championsgip winning season.
7. Colin Bell: Widely regarded as Manchester City's greatest ever player. He was nicknamed "Nijinski" after the famous race horse because of his stamina. However, his career was cut short due to a serious knee injury in December 1975. He made several come back attempts, most notably on Boxing Day 1977 against Newcastle, but never regained full mobility which forced premature retirement.
8. Francis Lee: Bought for a club record fee of £60,000 in October 1967 from Bolton Wanderers, he was described by Joe Mercer as "the final piece of the jigsaw". His 16 goals in 31 appearances played a crucial role in the push for the title. He holds the record for the greatest number of penalties scored in a season - 15.
9. Mike Sumerbee: Playing on the right wing, he was one of the most influential players in the Manchester City side which won four trophies in three seasons from 1968 - 70 season. He was a great crowd pleaser who could hold his own with the toughest of defenders, as he would often get his "retaliation" in first.
10. Neil Young: Cme through the junior ranks at City and was the top scorer with 20 goals in the Championship season.  A graceful player on the ball, he had a lethal left foot, scoring two of the four goals to clinch the title at Newcastle. He also scored the only goal in the FA Cup final the following season.
11. Tony Coleman: Played for 16 clubs in his 19 year career.  He was described by Allison as "a parole officer's nightmare!". His longest stay anywhere was at City where he made 83 appearances, scoring 12 goals. He insisted on having a tattoo removed before shaking hands with Princess Royal at the 1969 FA Cup final.
12. Joe Mercer OBE: Following a glittering playing career at Everton and Arsenal where he captained both teams, he entered football management. He suffered a stroke in 1964 and upon recovery was sacked by the Villa board despite having led them to a 2nd Division Championship and League Cup Final victory. Iin 1965 he joined Manchester City and in the space of 5 years the club had their most successful period to date, winning every domestic honour, as well as a the European Cup Winners' Cup. A boardroom coup in 1971 saw him usurped by the ambitious Allison. After a short spell as manager at Coventry in 1972 - 74, he took the role of "caretaker manager" for England after Sir Alf's resignation.

 

 

Last Full English Part 1

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