Manchester City have no history…oh really?

‘You don’t have any history…’ is one of the most ‘popular’ taunts  levelled  at Manchester City since Sheikh Mansour took control  in 2008.

It’s a ridiculous criticism spat out by illogical, bone-headed, super shallow individuals who support City’s rivals – an assertion based on a dual foundation of pride in their own club’s past achievements, but more significantly, a fear of City’s future achievements.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines HISTORY  as follows:

History n. pl- -ries  1. (record or account of) past events & developments 2.  study of these 3. record of someone’s past…

The septic sneers that have abounded since City won the FA Cup in 2011 and the Premier League title in 2012, speak volumes of those spewing their misguided bile in the direction of the incumbents of the Etihad Stadium.

Bert - City's greatest ever goalkeeper has a special place in City's history

Bert – City’s greatest ever goalkeeper has a special place in City’s history

It oozes envy and jealousy of what is to come for City, as well as perpetuating a sense of  City’s detractors living in the past and feasting off former glories.When these types of so-called ‘fans’ bleat about a lack of history they reveal their true colours as their insincerity and ignorance screams ‘ GLORYHUNTER’! When they speak of history they mean winning things.

When a Manchester City fan refers to history they relate to decades of  disappointment and under achievement. They do so in a fashion that transforms abject capitulation in the face of adversity into a perverse badge of honour.

THE Manchester City book - if you only ever have one book on City make it this one.

THE Manchester City book – if you only ever have one book on City make it this one.

Those that ‘…were there when we were sh*t…’ i.e. standing on the terraces at Lincoln, Wycombe and York, grab the moral high ground now that Manchester City are back in vogue.

The old guard treat a new generation of City fans with a degree of suspicion and contempt, especially when the social media networks whir into negative kneejerk reactionary mode after an unexpected City reversal or draw.

Be be they old or new, jubilant or jaundiced, glass half full or glass half empty – they are ALL City fans and, as such, all should have an interest in a publication that offers irrefutable proof that Manchester City does indeed have a long history – some illustrious, some not –  but nonetheless, intriguing and addictive if you’re a True Blue.

Entitled ‘Manchester – The City Years’ and written by highly respected City author and historian, Gary James, this football treasure chest is THE definitive book for anyone wanting to chart the highs and lows, and lower still, of  ‘The best team in the land and all the world…’

Produced in the wake of that glorious Sunday afternoon on May 13th  2012 , when Sergio banished the derogatory term ‘Typical City’ to the dustbin,  Gary spent an astonishing  25 years researching the fortunes – and misfortunes – of City from the mid-18th century right through to the pulsating heart-stopping climax of that never-to-be equalled, title winning crescendo.

Well covered - Author Gary James goes into meticulous detail

Well covered – Author Gary James goes into meticulous detail

It’s a compliment rather than a criticism when I say it isn’t bedtime reading, but only on the basis that at more than 600 pages long and in a comparatively small font, it’d probably be wrist breaking if lying in slumber before slipping off into the land of Zzzzzz’s.

What it is is the most comprehensive commentary, awash with facts, figures and analysis that tells the reader EVERYTHING worth knowing about Manchester City Football Club.

It’s a history (there’s that word again) that goes hand in glove with the origins of the City of Manchester itself. Not Trafford, not Salford, not London not Malaysia no – MANCHESTER.

Gary’s incredibly meticulous research and eye for detail has this scribe in veritable awe. It’s a tome that, quite rightly, is the jewel in the crown of any Manchester City book collection – mine included.Having purchased the book I contacted Gary on Twitter and, as Read But Never Red began to gain credibility in the world of football blogs, I promised to write and publish a review.

To my pleasant surprise, Gary seemed to think a Read But Never Red review was worth having…but it’s taken a while to go from front to back! It’s a hefty volume – literally – but a giant of a book –metaphorically.

Back to the future - City's best is yet to come...

Back to the future – City’s best is yet to come…

We’ve still to have all the fun of the fireworks on November 5th, so it might seem a tad premature to start talking about Christmas wish and gift lists, BUT if you’re a true blue you must have this book.

Equally, if you’ve only recently gravitated to the blue side of Manchester in the wake of the Sheikh’s shake-up of City’s football destiny, then buy it and get up to scratch with everything you never knew about everything Sky Blue.


Manchester – The City Years – written by Gary James & published by JAMES WARD

Follow Gary on twitter: @garyjameswriter or


By David Walker @djwskyblu


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I am voting in @TheFBAs for @djwskyblu as the Best #Male Football Blog


  1. October 13, 2013  9:15 pm by mick Reply

    as a city fan this is the kind of article i detest,its as if your trying to have to prove we have a history.In my case it really does fall on deaf ears,not worth talking about certainly not worth writing about.

    • October 13, 2013  11:57 pm by David Walker Reply

      But obviously worth reading about, criticising and decrying? How strange that ' a city fan...' you don't see any worth in a book that informs, educates and entertains City fans on the history of the club. Your prerogative Mick...however strange it may be.

  2. October 13, 2013  9:21 pm by Mark Shaw Reply

    There is a difference between arrogance and ignorance as there is between history and achievement, a fact that seems lost on our neighbours when they trot out the old "You haven't got a history" blurb. And it's rather comical when you consider that the majority of the neanderthals that say it are the newer generation of rags that aren't even aware of their own history!

    • October 13, 2013  11:58 pm by David Walker Reply

      That made me smile Mark - a mischievous, but nonetheless, more than likely true observation. Thanks buddy.

  3. October 13, 2013  9:43 pm by Andy Devereux Reply

    Cheers David for the nod towards what sounds like a must read for any Blue,i'll look forward to it.

    • October 13, 2013  11:44 pm by David Walker Reply

      I promise you I am not on commission! No, it's a great read that Gary has put together - I bang out the blogs but this the Sistine Chapel of #MCFC scribings.

  4. October 13, 2013  9:47 pm by Fifthcolumnblue Reply

    Just need to find a stocking big enough to fit it in!

    • October 13, 2013  11:44 pm by David Walker Reply

      Tight's gusset - works everytime!

  5. October 13, 2013  11:00 pm by Martin Lawlor Reply

    I have this book,and I can't put it down,it's well written,full of facts,and is a must for any Blue looking for more knowledge of our history.

    • October 13, 2013  11:45 pm by David Walker Reply

      It's a big old book - betcha your arm bloody aches after a while!

  6. October 14, 2013  2:04 am by craig stephens Reply

    what makes me laugh is OUR history is out there for all to see including winning major trophies 4 years before traffords finest 41 years before Merseyside finest and 61 years before Chelsea. all of which is wrote in history but seems to be forgotten by the owners of the rags [news corp sky sports] and their associated press but is now being noticed in a big way by the world media which makes sky look like complete muppets. I will drop a hint to my kids about the book for chribo sounds like a great read onwards and upwards for manchesters very own.

    • October 15, 2013  2:43 pm by DAVID WALKER Reply

      Gary James has done a cracking job - you won't be disappointed.

  7. October 14, 2013  7:46 am by Josh Cannon Reply

    Lovely piece David. Find it laughable how today history somehow means how many trophies you've won. Always enjoy putting the rags down with a quick definition!

    • October 14, 2013  3:07 pm by David Walker Reply

      Even if City do become regular silverware winners we can only hope that we never lose sight of our origins and how we've toughed out decade after decade after decade.

  8. October 14, 2013  11:15 am by BlueWolf1894 Reply

    From 1894 to 1992 (the year football actually started), City won a title or a cup once every 5.4 seasons that they played in.

    Wonder how much we could have won, if we actually had some history?

    • October 14, 2013  3:08 pm by David Walker Reply

      Interesting stats Mike - makes you wonder...

  9. October 14, 2013  2:10 pm by Gary James Reply

    Thanks for an excellent review. Also, thanks to all those who have commented and, naturally, to everyone who has bought the book or intends to. It really is appreciated. Thanks again.

    • October 14, 2013  3:12 pm by David Walker Reply

      My pleasure Gary - thoroughly merited for all your meticulous research and a pretty damn fine read. FYI I have posted a link to this review and a quick overview comment on the Amazon website, where I note you have a unanimous 5-Star rating. Excellent and superby sourced MCFC bible.

  10. October 14, 2013  9:14 pm by Alan Rainford Reply

    I know City have a long history, but the mid-18th Century - wow, really?

    • October 15, 2013  1:13 pm by BlueWolf1894 Reply

      Yes, the mid 18th century. St. Mark's prior to the formation of a football club, had ran a relatively successful local cricket team for many years. Whilst not City or football, it was the precursor to the formation of such, because there was a history of sport within the church for the local community.

  11. October 15, 2013  1:36 pm by Guvnor Reply

    Remember the History, look forward to the future now. Onwards & Upwards: Our Blue Moon is Rising faster than anyone thought.

    • October 15, 2013  2:42 pm by DAVID WALKER Reply

      Too right Guvnor, too frickin right!

  12. October 15, 2013  6:55 pm by Mole Rocks Reply

    Well as ever David you've got my attention. I shall be putting this on my Christmas wish list for sure.

    I shall avoid reading it in bed, wouldn't want to break my wrist by holding it wrong!! (Sure you were talking about reading?)

    Perhaps it's the way my brain is wired, but I think "The Future" will be the section I'll look forward to most.

    • October 16, 2013  12:29 am by David Walker Reply

      Really Mr Mole Rocks we don't do double entendres on RBNR - we should do more! Superb book for everything to do with MCFC - Amazon probably best buy.

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