Manchester City and their 1970 unique all English “Lions of Vienna”

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Manchester City were FA Cup title holders and qualified for the 1970 European Cup Winners Cup, and while everyone made a point of the Celtic team winning the European Cup in 1967 only fielding Scottish players, few or no one made notice of the all English winners of Manchester City.

This is the last time an English team have won a major European title with only English players in the team. After this you would always have found a player from another home nation or a foreign country in the team.

When Manchester City won the 1969 FA Cup final it was also a team with only English players and with most of the same group of players that won this European Cup Winners Cup in 1970, strangely Sir Alf Ramsey did not include many of those players in the World Cup the same year.

Manchester City were on a strike of good seasons winning the league in 1968, and that squad of players you found the experienced Scot, Bobby Kennedy, who joined Grimsby in 1969 after playing 219 league games for The Blues from over a period of eight seasons.

A young a promising goalkeeper were on the rise as Joe Corrigan was introduced and had taken over from the more experienced Harry Dowd. Tony Book, the captain and a legendary figure of this special time in Man City history, were the preferred choice at right back. Tony Book never played for England, and did not join Man City until the age of 31, but not making age a talking point with his solid performances. Glyn Pardoe played in both finals as well, and at the time among the best left backs in English football, but strangely never capped at full level.

The team had a number of players that alternated in different positions and could play as the coach Joe Mercer decided. Some describe the line up of the day as a 5-3-2, others 4-4-3, but believed that a three men defense with Mike Doyle, George Heslop and Tommy Booth, let the full backs push forward.

Colin Bell, maybe the best player at Man City at the time, did have the number eight and seen in midfield together with Alan Oakes and Tony Towers. Towers a very young interesting talent at the time and still in his teens, Alan Oakes a club man with great experience. Oakes remained at the club for a number of more years, Towers was surprisingly given a chance to leave for Sunderland in 1974, being part of a transfer deal that did see the 1973 FA Cup heroes Dennis Tueart and Mike Horswill moving in.

Up front you found Francis Lee, a proven England international and the club legend Neil Young who both scored one goal each in this historic 2-1 European Cup Winners Cup win. Francis Lee and Colin Bell both were part of the England squad for the 1970 World Cup, but did not get any other players from the club with them.

Ian Bowyer came in from the bench replacing Mike Doyle who had to leave the field with an injury, with one of the best players at the club at the time Mike Summerbee missing the final, being named on the bench, but his swift return from injury made Mercer uncertain and he just gave the winger a place among the subs.

To see an all English line up is rare and very special, and from that day in 1970 no one has seen such a line-up winning a major trophy again. Some say that you cannot in these days really depend on such a set-up, but the bonding, the camaraderie and the easy way of getting all to push in the same direction and really be close might be a bit underestimated in the game of today.

Manchester City did also win the EFL Cup final in the year of 1970, but in that team you had Arthur Mann, a Scot, but he was not playing in the European final, due to fear of flying and he stayed at home and made it possible for Joe Mercer to field an all English team winning a major final.

England had until 1978 a block of foreign players, but sequentially introduced more and more players from abroad and with the Bosman rule coming into place, the dream of an all English team winning trophies looks totally unlikely at this moment in time.

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