Manchester City have won a European Trophy already of course, and it was secured with a victory some 49 Years ago today – on 29 April 1970.
This article may blow the minds of fans of some other football clubs because not only have Manchester City already won a major European Trophy but we did it 49 years ago! And of course they say we have no history!
Winning the FA Cup in 1969 meant that City qualified for the UEFA Cup Winners Cup Competition the following season. This would prove to be City’s second ever entry into Europe. Their first campaign had ended almost as quickly as it had begun. City won the First Division in 1967/68 so qualified for the European Cup but were knocked out in the First Round.
This second European campaign began much better as City beat Athletic Bilbao in the First Round with a 6-3 aggregate victory. We drew the first leg away from home 3-3 but won through with a 3-0 victory at Maine Road. This was our inaugural victory in European competition!
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The next round saw City run out 8-0 aggregate winners against Lierse of Belgium. In the away leg Frannie Lee scored a brace for the first time in his professional career.
The quarter finals were a much tighter affair but City eventually ran out 1-0 winners against Academica of Portugal. A 0:0 draw away in the first leg had set up City for a good chance to progress at home yet at Maine Road it was a tight affair and still 0:0 at 80 minutes, but then Tony Towers scored a scrappy goal to put City into the semi finals.
City were drawn against Schalke in the Semi Finals and again played the away leg first, this time losing 1-0 for their first loss in the competition. The return match was watched by over 46000 fans at Maine Road who witnessed City tearing the German side apart. Mike Doyle opened the scoring, Neil Young got a brace, Frannie Lee scored the 4th and the rout was finished by Colin Bell.
The victory meant that City were through to the ECWC Final to face Gornik Zabrze of Poland in Vienna on 29 April 1970. The only negative in the run up to the match was that Mike Summerbee had been ruled out through injury although he did make the substitutes bench. City started the match brightly and Neil Young opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a tap in after Frannie Lee’s shot was parried by the Gornik keeper.
Early in the second half the match was made safe as City notched a second. This was a penalty taken by Lee. The heavens opened and the rain fell making it increasingly difficult to play any coherent football. Gornik pulled a goal back but City saw the result out and secured their first major European trophy.
This win helped cement a golden period in the history of Manchester City. The European Cup Winners Cup was the fourth major trophy win for this side in three seasons. City were in fact the third English team to win the Cup Winners Cup after Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United.