Famous Names Who Have Vacated the City Hot Seat

by | Apr 22, 2018 | Football, Manchester

Manchester City manager George Poyser was sacked this week in 1965. iNostalgia recalls some of the famous names who’ve vacated the City hot seat over the years.

Life can get really tough when you’re a football manager. Sometimes you just want to go home, lay on a sun-lounger and relax with a pipe and a glass of beer.

That was George Poyser’s solution to getting fired as Manchester City manager after a string of poor results in April 1965.

He had just mowed the lawn and was enjoying a well-earned rest when the press called round. You can still see the mud on his shoes!

It was all a far cry from the media circus that engulfs football bosses when they get the axe nowadays.

Poyser had a good track record as a player and coach before the fateful 1964-5 season.

As a player in the 1930s he helped Brentford win the 1934-5 Second Division title, finishing five points clear of Bolton Wanderers and 11 points clear of Manchester United.

As a manager, he joined City in 1957 as assistant to Les McDowell after taking Notts County to the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

He replaced McDowell as manager in July 1963 after City’s relegation to the Second Division.

The following season ended with City in sixth place, although they enjoyed a good run in the League Cup.

They notched up wins over Carlisle United, Hull, Leeds and Notts County before going out to Stoke City 1-2 in the semi-final.

Sacked Manchester City manager George Poyser

George Poyser takes it easy at home after being sacked as City manager, April 1965

The following season, the Blues finished in 11th place and George had to go. He was replaced by one of City’s greatest managers – Joe Mercer.

Fast forward to April 1974 and Ron Saunders was feeling the pressure in the manager’s hot seat.

He was signed up as City coach in November 1973, five days after resigning as Norwich manager after a boardroom row.

For the second year running, Saunders took a team to the League Cup final – this time against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

But the Blues lost 2-1 and their league form was causing concern. City were just outside the relegation places on goal difference.

Saunders was dismissed three weeks before the end of the season – and joined Second Division Aston Villa just a month later.

Ron Saunders City manager

Ron Saunders, City manager from 1973 to 1974

By all accounts Malcolm Allison had a disastrous return to City in 1979. He was given money to spend by chairman Peter Swales, but upset the fans by selling popular players Peter Barnes, Gary Owen and Asa Hartford.

Malcolm Allison 1979 returns to Manchester City as team coach waving to photographers during the game against Leeds. 13th January 1979.

Steve Daley came in from Wolves for a British transfer record of £1.45 million, but proved to be an expensive flop.

City had a mediocre season, finishing 17th in the league with 37 points and going out of the FA Cup 0-1 to Fourth Division Halifax Town.

It was almost like history repeating itself a year later as City were dumped out of the 1979-80 FA Cup 2-0 by Third Division Shrewsbury . Our photo shows ‘keeper Joe Corrigan desperately trying to stem the tide.

Joe Corrigan battles in vain to keep Shrewsbury from the City goal, January 1979.

The fiery Allison left in 1980, but only after a verbal scrap with his successor John Bond.

Billy McNeill moved from Celtic to City in June 1983 and secured promotion to the First Division after two seasons in charge.

But things went downhill in September 1986 when McNeill quit City to become manager of fellow strugglers Aston Villa.

He became one of the few coaches to manage two relegated teams in one season as both City and Villa went down in May 1987. McNeill stood down as Villa manager and went back to Celtic.

Billy McNeill barks directions as City go 2-0 up against Sheffield United, April 1985.

His assistant Jimmy Frizzell took over at City but was sacked after the Blues were relegated. He returned to the club in 1994 as chief scout.

Frizzell had previously guided Oldham Athletic from Division Four to Division Two, achieving two promotions.

Jimmy Frizzell and Billy McNeill on the bench against Oldham, May 1985.

Former Oldham and Everton manager Joe Royle joined City in February 1998 when the club were deep in the relegation zone in Division One.

Unfortunately he couldn’t save City from the drop, but he ensured they bounced back to Division One through the play-offs the next season. A year later they were promoted to the Premiership.

Joe Royle is triumphant as City win promotion, May 1999.

Our photo shows Paul Dickov leading the celebrations in May 1999 as City beat Gillingham 4-3 on penalties in the Division Two play-offs. Manager Royle was delighted.

City spent one season back in the top flight. Royle was dismissed after the Blues were relegated in May 2001.

City beat Gillingham to gain promotion to Division One, May 1999.

Former England coach Sven Goran Eriksson was confirmed as City’s new manager in July 2007. Before the season started, he had already signed a string of players including Martin Petrov, Vedran Corluka and Gelson Fernandes.

Although he beat United in the league and City were in third place for a good part of the season, it was not enough. A thumping 8-1 loss to Middlesbrough on the last game of the season sealed Eriksson’s fate.

City finished in ninth place and Eriksson left by mutual consent with two years left on his contract.

Sven Goran Eriksson at a Manchester press conference, September 2003.

If you’d like to share your memories of City managers, please get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you