I Remember When We Scored Ten
another one of the little football memoirs I wrote..
1987 was a year of contrasts. The Smiths had broken up rather unceremoniously, and last night people did dream that somebody loved them. New Order's True Faith was the video of the moment, and unfortunately Manchester City also got relegated to the old Division Two (as it was back then pre-1992). A year of contrasts also on the pitch during the 1987-88 season. City did okay but didn't get promoted, but undoubtedly one cold November day certainly brightened up me and many others too.
City were at home to Huddersfield Town, and for most it was just another home game to try and get more points on the board and see how we did. I wasn't expecting much, the form was reasonably good but as I got to Maine Road I just hoped that we would win and do ourselves justice, taking a nice safe spot in the Kippax so that I could celebrate without being crushed too much. It was quite cold too, and the sort of day that you knew would bring a chill around the terraced streets that forked off Yew Tree Road.
Anyhow, it's almost half an hour in an otherwise nondescript game, and Huddersfield got many people's vote for the worst away kit - ever. Yellow and back checkered squares (and bright yellow at that) with a big yellow square as part of the back so you could see the shirt numbers (no squad numbers, ah those were the days indeed). Anyway, Neil McNab cut in from the right and positively rifled a shot towards the corner, and it was 1-0. So pretty happy at that point obviously. And then it was 2-0, and 3-0, and all of a sudden as Paul Simpson played a tap in for David White it was 4-0 and four different scorers - all before half time. I was stunned. I didn't expect this but I was pretty happy really.
Second half gets underway and there's an air of anticipation around the ground, melting away the cold air that stagnated around with everyone's breath being visible. The gloves were on for the crowd but off for the players, definitely it was a case of see how much they could win by. Didn't have to wait long either for the fifth goal, nice move down the left and Tony Adcock put his second in, then another one from Paul Stewart, and then Adcock got his hat trick. And fell on his backside as he slipped during possibly the most rubbish hat trick celebration you'll ever see - I have the goals on DVD somewhere and showing that to any football fan just makes them smile. It does to me.
Paul Simpson and Andy Hinchcliffe had been terrorising the defences all game and a simple tap in for Paul Stewart made it 8-0, and still around ten minutes to go. I dared then to think in my head "could we score ten?" and when David White smashed home a rebound to make it 9-0 with a couple of minutes left, and the darkness descended around the ground, it just felt like an evening game that got better (even though it was a 3pm kick off). Huddersfield even had time to score a penalty thanks to Andy May (ironically he used to play for City in defence). Then, the piece de resistance. The outstanding Paul Simpson (how he never got Man of the Match was beyond me to be honest) threaded a gorgeous ball through, David White was on it, and he rounded the keeper and slotted it home in the dying seconds. Before the goal, the City fans chanted at full volume "we want ten!" and they got their wish, and so did I.
I went home in a complete daze thinking that it hadn't happened and that of course it had all been a dream - but when reality hit and the highlights were even on Granada TV that night, it was one of those moments that I could proudly say "I was there!"