Joe Mercer’s 70s heroes rocked Vienna as they lifted the Cup Winners’ Cup… Pep Guardiola’s men can take inspiration from that famous night as Man City aim to conquer the Europe once again
- Man City tasted European glory on a famous night in Vienna 53 years ago
- They are now looking to win back Europe against Inter Milan
- Pep Guardiola’s side can take inspiration from this famous victory in 1970
Nathan Ake can hold his own on the piano and has been known to produce odd performances at the grassroots during European trips with Manchester City.
Ake was keen to master a new skill in the first lockdown when football stopped and has an impressive ear. What the Dutchman probably doesn’t know is that there is a certain musical staging history when it comes to City overseas.
The scenes inside a Vienna hotel at this time 53 years ago weren’t quite as stylish. Francis Lee climbed onto a piano, played by head scout Harry Godwin, and sang to a jubilant traveling party dressed only in his underpants.
City won the Cup Winners’ Cup earlier in the night, beating Poland’s Gornik Zabrze in dangerous conditions – commentator Barry Davies said they were ‘splashing in puddles’ as the Praterstadion looked like a bog. “The spectators are very wet, there is no cover in this stadium,” Davies said as Gornik struggled to move the ball in search of a late equaliser.
Maybe that’s why Lee’s clothes were missing. Or maybe not. The 2-1 win, secured by Neil Young and then Lee’s penalty, was meant to mark the start of the club’s charge on the continent, but it never materialized. “Lee, with a good quick run from the bowler… it’s kind of luck, the power took him through the legs,” Davies said.
Nathan Ake is known at Man City for his skills off and on the pitch as he can play the piano at a high level.
Ake’s piano playing recalls City’s last triumph in Europe when they won the Cup Winners’ Cup under Joe Mercer (pictured) in 1970 in the musical city of Vienna
The majority of City’s 4,000 traveling supporters – a record for an English club at the time – ended up on the pitch, with their heroes first accidentally handing over the losers’ medals.
The rest of the 1970s saw a gradual decline, with manager Joe Mercer leaving amid a feud with his assistant, the gregarious Malcolm Allison. Allison, a genius trainer of his generation only lasted two years as Mercer’s successor. There were fleeting banter with winning another league title, but a decade later City began to bounce between the top two divisions.
Any idea of conquering Europe was long gone. Allison had, when lifting the Division One crown in 1968, declared that she would “destroy” her opponents overseas, but that never materialized in a series of incidents that some say will would also be shown under Pep Guardiola on occasion.
The Cup Winners’ Cup was to be savored. The third UEFA competition at the time, but still silverware. The legacy of Lee, Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee at Maine Road in winning all three domestic trophies as well as their triumph in Europe is why the trio will have a statue unveiled outside the Etihad Stadium later this year .
This season’s kit, a tribute to Bell after his death in 2021, will have its final race in Istanbul on Saturday under the proud gaze of the Kippax king’s family.
Mike Summerbee (pictured), Francis Lee and Colin Bell will all receive statues outside the Etihad Stadium later this year
Pep Guardiola’s side could take inspiration from the heroes of the 70s as they aim to complete a historic treble on Saturday by winning the Champions League for the first time.
Summerbee sadly missed the Vienna final through injury, with City giving the winger every chance to prove his fitness. George Heslop, a defender, was brought in to do work on the mercurial Wlodzimierz Lubanski.
Bell had launched a comeback on Schalke in the semi-finals, combining twice with Alan Oakes to set up Young in a second leg that began with City mischievously turning up the heat in Schalke’s dressing room, as reported by the author Simon Curtis in City in Europe.
After losing 1-0 in Germany, with a dog invading the pitch, City hammered them 5-1 down Maine Road. The late Mike Doyle, paternal grandfather of current City midfielder Tommy, scored the opener. Doyle’s maternal grandfather, Glyn Pardoe, also started.
And then it was a night in Vienna. City became the first English side to lift a domestic and European trophy in the same season – winning the League Cup at Wembley – another clue as to why their version of the Holy Trinity will be immortalized in the months to come. come. Presumably, Lee wears clothes.
JON BELL, SON OF COLIN BELL, WAITING FOR SATURDAY’S FINAL
As my adult life grew increasingly busy juggling hospital shifts with my wife and caring for our children, football provided me with valuable time in the company of my father. , away from daily distractions.
It doesn’t matter that the stand in which we were seated bears his name. We had the same bond as any other father and son, and we shared the triumphs and failures of our beloved team. Thankfully, there have been many more triumphs over his past decade.
Dad left a huge void when he died in January 2021. I was reluctant to return to the Etihad without him and was ready to take a break to accept the loss. There was no such disruption as Manchester City stepped up and made sure we were included. There have been many public and private gestures from the club that have been built on genuine empathy and respect for its endearing legacy.
There is now a new person sitting in my father’s place, between me and Tony Book – my mother. At 74, she enjoys social contact and is a valued member of the City family. She often speaks of the warmth of our President, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, when he greets her and is very heartened by the many tributes, culminating in the unveiling of a statue of dad, Francis Lee, and Mike Summerbee later this year.
Khaldoon spoke to us with great enthusiasm about this season’s retro jersey, dedicated to dad. My seven year old son recently returned home with immense pride after showing a United supporter the image of ‘The King’ inside his shirt and receiving a kind remark about his Pops. Our biggest fear at the start of the season was the risk of underperforming Pep’s exacting standards.
I’ll be sitting with my mum in Istanbul as City guests as we watch the team emerge wearing ‘The King’ shirt for the last time, hoping to see current No.8 Ilkay Gundogan , lifting the Champions League trophy. It will be an emotional experience. Dad would be proud that our club is progressing, that new heroes are born and that my mom is by my side.