It’s fair to say Manchester City entered the 1970s on something of a high.
Leicester had been defeated in the 1969 FA Cup Final a few months earlier and the team had qualified for the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison were at the helm with tried and tested skipper Tony Book leading the team on the pitch.
City legends Francis Lee, Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee graced a side that looked ripe for achievement.
And so it proved. The 1969-70 season turned out to be one of the most memorable in the club’s history.
It started slowly as City sat fourth in the table half way through the season. Then a run of only three wins from 18 games saw them slump to 10th place.
But the club’s form in the cup competitions was an entirely different matter.
iNostalgia takes up the story on March 7th 1970. City are at Wembley facing West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup Final. Our image shows West Brom defender Doug Fraser beating Francis Lee to the ball.
To reach Wembley, City beat arch-rivals Manchester United 4-3 on aggregate over two legs in a tense semi-final. The first leg played at Maine Road in front of 55,799 fans saw City win 2-1. The second leg at Old Trafford, with a crowd of 63,418, ended 2-2.
It was City’s first ever League Cup Final. Three days earlier they’d been in sunny Portugal playing Academica Coimbra in the Third Round of the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Wembley in March was a complete contrast with soggy clods of mud clinging to the players’ boots on a heavy pitch. There was even some snow!
West Brom scored in the sixth minute when Jeff Astle headed in a centre from Ray Wilson. City equalised 15 minutes into the second half when an unmarked Mike Doyle converted a corner kick that had involved Glyn Pardoe, Mike Summerbee and Colin Bell.
The game went into extra time. The winner came after 12 minutes when Lee chipped the ball forward to Bell. He then back-headed it to Pardoe who put it past West Brom ‘keeper John Osborne.
Tony Book went up the Wembley steps to collect the famous three-handled trophy. City had started the 1970s in style! Our photo shows Book proudly parading the cup to City fans.
One month later, on April 29th, City were playing in their second final of the year. This time it was the European Cup Winners’ Cup Final against the Polish side Gornik Zabrze in Vienna.
George Heslop stood in for the injured Mike Summerbee and Ian Bowyer was substitute. City opened the scoring in the 12th minute when Gornik ‘keeper Hubert Koska parried a thunderous shot from Lee straight into the path of Neil Young.
In the 23rd minute, Bowyer came on for the injured Mike Doyle and City changed tactics with Bell moving deeper. Twenty minutes later Young found himself with only Kostka to beat.
Kostka charged off his line and upended Young. The referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty which was put away by Lee.
Stanislaw Osilizio pulled one back for Gornik and the match ended 2-1 to City. They became the first English team to win both a European and domestic cup in the same season.
History was made for a very different reason on March 23rd 1974 when City lost 2-0 to Arsenal at Highbury. It was the first time a streaker was seen at an English football match.
John Taylor ran round the field stark naked until stopped by three policemen, who then somehow fitted him with a pair of trousers!
City had another shot at the League Cup when they played Wolves in the final at Wembley on March 2nd 1974. Kenny Hibbitt scored for Wolves in the 44th minute with Bell equalising in the 59th.
Five minutes before time, John Richards netted the winner for Wolves.
Two years later, City were back at Wembley for 1976 League Cup Final – this time against Newcastle United. Our image shows Peter Barnes bursting through a four-man wall of Newcastle defenders to open the scoring for City in the 11th minute.
Newcastle’s Alan Gowling replied in the 35th minute and the match went to half time.
Then, in the first minute of the second half, came a moment of pure magic for City. Fans, even now, mention it with awe.
It was Dennis Tueart’s overhead kick.
Willie Donachie sent the ball to the far post where Tommy Booth headed it across the goal area. Tueart, with his back to goal, then performed an overhead kick worthy of the great Pele.
The ball bounced past Newcastle ‘keeper Mike Mahoney and into the bottom left of the net.
City won 2-1 and Tony Book became the first person to win the League Cup as both a player and a manager.