Friday 31 August 2012

She Bangs the Drums (1988-1992)

This is the fourth of five posts on the history of Manchester between 1976 and 1996. Each four year period will be covered by a song from the NME's top 10(/100) tracks of the last 60 years'Love Will Tear Us Apart' (1976-1980)'Blue Monday' (1980-1984), 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' (1984-1988), 'She Bangs the Drums' (1988-1992) and 'Wonderwall' (1992-1996).

Of the great Manchester United team who would go on to win the FA Cup in 1994, the players who began the 1988-1989 season included Mark Hughes (who'd made his United debut in 1983), Steve Bruce and Brian McClair (who'd both joined the club in 1987). The fourth, Lee Sharpe, made his debut on 24th September 1988 in a 2-0 win against West Ham. The summer of 1988 later became known as 'the second summer of love' as ecstasy and acid house arrived at Manchester nightclub the Hacienda. [The summer of 1989 is also included within this term.] The Stone Roses released 'Elephant Stone' in October 1988. The following month, Happy Mondays released their second album 'Bummed,' which featured breakthrough track 'Wrote for Luck.' On 30th January 1989, New Order released their fifth album 'Technique,' which contained the single 'Round and Round.In March 1989, A Guy Called Gerald's single 'Voodoo Ray' reached number 12 in the UK. On 15th April, English football was again the scene of tragedy as 94 Liverpool fans died after a crush at Hillborough Stadium in Sheffield (the death toll later rose to 96).

In around April/May 1989 the Stone Roses released their self-titled debut album, which contained several stand-out tracks, including 'I Wanna Be Adored,' 'She Bangs the Drums,' 'Waterfall,' 'Made of Stone' and 'I Am the Resurrection.' On a dramatic last day of the football season, 26th May 1989, Arsenal beat title favourites Liverpool 0-2 with a crucial last minute goal from Michael Thomas to win the league on goal difference. Manchester United finished a disappointing 11th in the league (having been runners-up the previous season) as Mark Hughes won the PFA Player of the Year Award. Manchester City won promotion from Division Two after finishing second. United were the second best-supported team in terms of average home attendance (36,488), behind Liverpool for a second successive season (38,574), with City now sixth (23,500). United made two important signings in the summer: Gary Pallister from Middlesborough for £2,300,000 on 29th August and Paul Ince from West Ham for £1,000,000 on 14th September.

On 14th July 1989, a 16-year-old from Staffordshire collapsed and died after taking ecstasy at the Hacienda - the UK's first ecstasy-related death. The next day Simply Red topped the US singles chart for a second time with 'If You Don't Know Me By Now.' The Stone Roses played a landmark gig at Blackpool's Empress Ballroom on 12th August. On 9th November, borderpoints along the Berlin Wall were opened to refugees for the first time leading to a peaceful revolution which for many marked the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. On 13th November, the Stone Roses released 'Fools Gold' which led to an appearance on Top of the Pops with the Happy Mondays also performing 'Hallelujah' on the same episode. On 4th December, Electronic (the supergroup featuring Bernard Sumner, Johnny Marr and Neil Tennant) released 'Getting Away With It' on Factory Records.

1990 saw the release of the Ruthless Rap Assassins' 'And It Wasn't A Dream,' a reflection on the disappointing reality of life as a black immigrant in the UK by Britain's best rap group (from Hulme). On 29th January, the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough Disaster was published, making recommendations that all first and second division football stadiums should be all-seated. On 11th February, the militant anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela was released after serving 27 years in prison, a key turning-point in the history of South Africa. On 31st March, there were violent scuffles with the police during the huge anti-poll tax riots in central London attended by around 200,000 demonstrators. On 9th April, Happy Mondays released their biggest-selling single 'Step On' which reached number 5 in the UK (and was even fairly successful in the US). On 14th May, the Charlatans released 'The Only One I Know' which reached number 9. Another disappointing season for Manchester United saw them finish 13th, one place ahead of Manchester City. United regained their status as the most-supported club in terms of average home attendance (39,077) ahead of second-place Liverpool (36,589) and fifth-place City (27,975).

Many felt that Alex Ferguson had been close to losing his job when Mark Robins scored the only goal in a 3rd round FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest on 7th January. United went on to win the competition after beating Crystal Palace in a final replay on 17th May with a goal from left-back Lee Martin after experienced goalkeeper Jim Leighton had been sensationally dropped for Les Sealey (making only his third appearance for the club). This bought Ferguson some time but United had already won the FA Cup in 1977, 1983 and 1985, and the main aim was still to win one of the big European trophies and/or the league. On 21st May, New Order released their official England World Cup song 'World in Motion' (their only number one single). On 27th May, the Stone Roses played a huge gig at Spike Island in Widnes. On 1st July, England beat Cameron 3-2 after extra time to progress to the semi-finals where they would play West Germany. The next day, Stone Roses released 'One Love.' On 4th July, England were knocked out of the World Cup on penalties after a 1-1 draw with West GermanyOn 18th August, Irish full-back Denis Irwin made his Manchester United debut in the Charity Shield after a £625,000 move from Oldham Athletic.

On 18th September 1990, Manchester finished 4th in the bidding to host the 1996 Olympics (behind Melbourne, Toronto, Athens and eventual winners Atlanta). On 22nd November, Margaret Thatcher resigned as prime minister after 11 years when it became clear that she wouldn't survive beat challenger Michael Heseltine in a second ballot. She was soon replaced by mild-mannered cricket-lover John Major. On 27th November, Happy Mondays released their third album 'Thrills n Pills and Bellyaches' which contained tracks such as 'Kinky Afro' and 'God's Cop' (about the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, James Anderton, a Christian fundamentalist who saw AIDS as a punishment for gays, prostitutes and drug addicts). Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 led to the joint US/British/Saudi Operation Desert Storm in Iraq (supported by a broad international coalition) in January/February 1991. Again Britain's involement in a war generated support for a new Conservative prime minister despite the fact that the UK was in another severe recession. In February, 808 State's 'In Yer Face' reached number 9 then in March, the Mock Turtles' 'Can You Dig It?' reached number 18 and James' re-released 'Sit Down' reached number 2. On 8th April, the FA announced plans for a 'Super League' of 18 clubs to replace the First Division, which was welcome news for the bigger clubs.

Ryan Giggs made his full debut for United on 4th May 1991, scoring against rivals City in the Manchester derby (or at least claiming a goal which may have come off defender Colin Hendry). City enjoyed their best season in the league since 1978, finishing fifth - one place ahead of United, who were again the best-supported club in the league in terms of average home attendance (43,218), ahead of Arsenal in second (36,864) and City in sixth (27,874). On 15th May 1991, United played Barcelona in the final of the European Cup Winners' Cup at Feyenoord's stadium in Rotterdam. Two goals from Mark Hughes against his former club were enough as United won 2-1 and an Alex Ferguson team won the tournament for second time (Aberdeen in 1983 having been the first), notably with an all British-and-Irish team. Mark Hughes won PFA Player of the Year for a second time and Lee Sharpe won PFA Young Player of the Year. On 26th May, USSR right-winger Andrei Kanchelskis signed from Shakhtar Donetsk for £650,000 (to replace Mike Phelan); on 8th August, England right-back Paul Parker signed from QPR for £2,000,000 (allowing Denis Irwin to move to left-back, replacing Clayton Blackmore). With Danish keeper Peter Schmeichel, who signed from Brondby for £505,000 (replacing Les Sealey), United now had a starting line-up capable of mounting a strong challenge for the league: Schmeichel; Parker, Irwin, Bruce, Pallister; Sharpe/Giggs, Kanchelskis, Robson; Ince; Hughes, McClair. All except Robson would be part of the 1994 FA Cup winning side.

On 30th September 1991, Simply Red released their fourth album 'Stars,' which contained the tracks 'Something Got Me Started' and 'Stars.' It would go on to be the top-selling album in the UK for 1991 and 1992 (and the 13th biggest selling album of all time in the UK). On 24th February 1992, the Charlatans released 'Weirdo.' Labour leader Neil Kinnock appeared confident when he began his address to a pre-election rally in Sheffield on 1st April with the words: "We're alright! We're alright! We're alright!" On 9th April, the Conservatives were re-elected on a high turnout with a 21-seat majority. Although this was down (from 102 in 1987, 144 in 1983, 43 in 1979), it was still bitterly disappointing for Labour, who had won just 11,500,000 votes to the Conservatives' 14,000,000. Kinnock resigned as Labour leader after what was his second general election defeat. He was replaced by John Smith, who promoted rising stars Gordon Brown to Shadow Chancellor and Tony Blair to Shadow Home Secretary.

Manchester United were the best-supported team of the 1991-92 season in terms of average home attendance (44,984), ahead of second-place Liverpool (34,799) and seventh-place Manchester City (27,690). On 12th April 1992, United won the League Cup for the first time with a 1-0 victory over Nottingham Forest in the final. However they lost the next three games in the league itself, which meant that they would finish second, four points behind Leeds United, as City again finished a strong fifth. United had now gone 25 years without a league title - in which time Liverpool had won 11 to make it 18 in total (compared with United's total of just 7), meaning Ferguson's side would need to win the league 12 times to beat Liverpool's record. With this in mind perhaps the most significant aspect of the 1991-92 season was United's victory in the FA Youth Cup on 15th May, with a team that included Ryan Giggs (who had broken through to the first team, winning the PFA Young Player of the Year Award), Gary Neville, Nicky Butt and David Beckham.

Monday 27 August 2012

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (1984-1988)

This is the third of five posts on the history of Manchester between 1976 and 1996. Each four year period will be covered by a song from the NME's top 10(/100) tracks of the last 60 years'Love Will Tear Us Apart' (1976-1980), 'Blue Monday' (1980-1984), 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' (1984-1988), 'She Bangs the Drums' (1988-1992) and 'Wonderwall' (1992-1996).

The Miners Strike had been controversially called without a national ballot by Arthur Scargill, the leader of the NUM. After the 1981 Labour deputy leadership election and the 1983 general election, this was the be the last great battle between right and left. It's tempting to assume that the government and the police were on the right and the miners and the Labour opposition were on the left. But not all the miners wanted to go on strike and Labour leader Neil Kinnock (from a mining family himself) was left in a difficult position, not wanting to endorse the undemocratic actions of the NUM leadership. At Agecroft Colliery in Salford, the last in the Manchester area, only 120 out of 900 miners initially went on strike and flying pickets had to be sent from Yorkshire to prevent the men from working. Jim Lord, Agecroft's NUM secretary, said he has wanted to strike but the Lancashire had voted three to two against. As a result he was the victim of a violent intimidation campaign by those who had gone on strike and supported the strike action. James Anderton, the chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, said that mass picketing and street demonstrations were 'acts of terrorism' by an 'industrial mafia.'

Having sold Ray Wilkins to AC Milan, Manchester United needed someone to pair with Bryan Robson in central midfield. In August 1984, Gordon Strachan was bought from Aberdeen for £500,000. "The rain falls down on a humdrum town - this town has dragged you down..." were the typically cheery opening lines to the Smiths' new single 'William, It Was Really Nothing' released on 24th August (which reached number 17). In the early hours of 12th October, the IRA attempted to assassinate the entire British cabinet at the Grand Hotel in Brighton (which killed five people and injured many more). Margaret Thatcher gave a defiant speech the following day to the Conservative party conference, telling delegates that: "Democracy will prevail!" The Stone Roses played their first gig at the Moonlight Club in London just over a week afterwards, supporting Pete Townshend at an anti-heroin benefit. On 28th January 1985, the Smiths released their haunting 'How Soon Is Now?' with its opening lines: "I am the son and heir of a shyness that is criminally vulgar."

The Smiths' second album 'Meat Is Murder' reached number 1 after its release on 11th February 1985. Simply Red had a global hit with their debut single 'Money's Too Tight To Mention' which reached number 13 after its UK release on 28th March. On 13th May, New Order released their third album 'Low-Life' which contained single 'The Perfect Kiss.' Manchester United finished fourth in the league and won the FA Cup on 18th May with Norman Whiteside scoring the only goal in extra-time against Everton (denying them a league/FA Cup/Cup Winners' Cup treble). Manchester City returned to the top flight after finishing third in the Second Division. United were still England's most well-supported club in terms of average home attendance (42,881), well ahead of second-place Liverpool (34,444) and eighth-place Manchester City (24,220). Mark Hughes won the award for PFA Player Young Player of the Year. But the 84-85 season will be remembered for the tragic Heysel Stadium disaster in which 39 Juventus fans died in a stampede, with the result that English clubs were banned from European football for five years.

In September 1985, the Stone Roses released their first single 'So Young' which they had recorded at Strawberry Studios in Stockport with Martin Hannett. On 1st October, Neil Kinnock delivered an epic speech to Labour party conference in which he denounced Liverpool City Council's rate-capping rebellion: "I'll tell you what happens with impossible promises. You start with far-fetched resolutions. They are then pickled into rigid dogma, a code, and you go through the years sticking to that, out-dated, misplaced, irrelevant to the real needs, and you end in the grotesque chaos of a Labour council - a Labour council! - hiring taxis to scuttle round a city handing out redundancy notices to its own workers." The speech is seen as a key moment in marking the shift of power from the hard-left to the soft-left within the Labour party. The Militant Tendency who had gained control of Liverpool Labour were later expelled.

The 1985-86 football season ended with Manchester United 4th and Manchester City 15th in the league. 22-year-old up-and-coming United striker Mark Hughes was sold to Barcelona for £2,000,000. United were still the top club in England in terms of average home attendance (46,321), ahead of Liverpool (35,271), Everton (32,227) and Man City (24,229). On 16th June 1986, the Smiths released their third album 'The Queen Is Dead' which reached number 2 and contained the track 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.' On 22nd June, England played Argentina in the quarter-final of the World Cup in Mexico City. The game is memorable for two goals scored by Diego Maradona in quick succession: one was later labelled 'the hand of God' and the other 'the goal of the century.' England lost 2-1.

Simply Red achieved a number 1 in the US with a re-worked version of 'Holding Back the Years' on 12th July. On 18th July, Manchester celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Sex Pistols' gigs at the Lesser Free Trade Hall with a 'Festival of the Tenth Summer' all-day concert at the G-Mex featuring the Fall, the Smiths, New Order, A Certain Ratio, Pete Shelley/Buzzcocks and John Cooper Clarke. On 8th August, a cross-channel Ferry was forced to turn back to Harwich after Manchester United and West Ham fans were involved in a mass brawl, which again brought football hooliganism under the spotlight. On 29th September, New Order released 'Bizarre Love Triangle.'

On 27th October 1986, the London Stock Exchange re-opened after having been computerised and opened up to foreign investors. The financial 'big bang' ushered in a new era of deregulated capitalism in which some people would become incredibly rich and market forces would increasingly be able to operate free of political control. On 6th November, with Manchester United second from bottom in the league, manager Ron Atkinson was sacked. His replacement, 34-year-old Alex Ferguson, had won the Cup Winners' Cup with Aberdeen in 1983. In April 1987 Happy Mondays released their debut album 'Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out)' on Factory Records, with its opening track 'Kuff Dam.' The Smiths released 'Sheila Take A Bow' on 13th April which was their joint most successful single (reaching number 10, the same position as 'Heaven Knows...' three years earlier).

Manchester United ended their first season under Alex Ferguson 11th in the table as Manchester City were relegated after just two seasons in the top flight. United's average home attendance was now 50,594, still the best in England, well ahead of second-place Liverpool (36,286) and eighth-place City (21,922). The Stone Roses released 'Sally Cinnamon' in May 1987, their second single (their first as a four-piece - around a year after the departure of guitarist Andy Couzens) showed a marked difference from 'So Young.' Bassist Pete Garner left the band in June and was replaced by Mani, who played his first gig in November. Noel Gallagher has said that when he heard 'Sally Cinnamon' for the first time, he what his destiny was. On 11th June, Margaret Thatcher won her third general election with a reduced majority of 102 (down from 144 in 1983), still an impressive victory and a large mandate for further reforms.

On 20th July 1987, New Order released their biggest hit single so far: 'True Faith' reached number 4 in the charts. On 10th August, the Smiths released 'Girlfriend in a Coma' which, with a chart position of 13, was one of their more successful singles. But it was also one of their last - by the time the band released their fourth album 'Strangeways, Here We Come' on 28th September, they had split up. On 18th October, one of Britain's most influential bands (who had released four albums in four years) were the subject of a South Bank Show documentary. On Christmas Day, Coronation Street achieved its peak viewing figures as 26,000,000 (or 28.5m according to one source) tuned in to watch Hilda Ogden leave the Street.

On 15th February 1988, Morrissey released his debut single 'Suedehead' followed by the album 'Viva Hate' on 14th March, which he had been working on with Durutti Column guitarist Vini Reilly. In Alex Ferguson's first full season in charge of Manchester United, they finished second in the league (behind Liverpool who now had 17 league titles, which was ten more than United). Brian McClair had signed from Celtic in July 1987 for £8,500,000 and Steve Bruce had signed from Norwich in December 1987 for £800,000. At the end of the season Mark Hughes was re-signed from Barcelona for a club record £1,800,000. Manchester City finished 9th in the Second Division, their lowest league finish since 1965. Liverpool were now the most well-supported club in England in terms of average home attendances (39,582), just ahead of United (39,152). City were twelfth with 19,472. On 30th May, the Stone Roses supported James at an anti-Clause 28 benefit at the International I in Manchester. In the audience that night was a 16-year-old Liam Gallagher, who was inspired to start a band of his own.

Thursday 23 August 2012

Blue Monday (1980-1984)

This is the second of five posts on the history of Manchester between 1976 and 1996. Each four year period will be covered by a song from the NME's top 10(/100) tracks of the last 60 years: 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' (1976-1980), 'Blue Monday' (1980-1984), 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' (1984-1988), 'She Bangs the Drums' (1988-1992) and 'Wonderwall' (1992-1996).

Members of the close-knit Manchester music scene, particularly those associated with Joy Division and Factory Records, were still in shock at the death of singer Ian Curtis in May 1980. The band's second album 'Closer' was released on 18th July and reached number 6 in the UK. Its cover, again designed by Peter Saville, drew criticism for featuring a picture of a tomb, with the suggestion that the record label were cashing in on the singer's death (although Saville claims that the cover artwork had already been chosen before Curtis killed himself). Directly after Curtis' funeral the rest of the band did what they knew best and went back into the rehearsal rooms to write and practise new material, including the track 'Dreams Never End.' On 29th July, they played at the Beach Club in Manchester with Bernard Sumner taking over lead vocal duties. Afterwards they settled on the name New Order and played in New York for the first time in September. Gillian Gilbert (the drummer's girlfriend) joined on keyboards in October.

On 10th October 1980 Margaret Thatcher, who had been prime minister for just over a year, delivered a speech to the Conservative Party conference in which she responded to claims that the government should turn back from such a strict adherence to monetarist economic policies: 'To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning!' On 10th November, left-winger Michael Foot became leader of the Labour Party at the relatively old age of 67. At around the same time, Manchester city council declared itself a 'nuclear-free' zone.

In December 1980, New Order played an important gig in Rotterdam, where Mike Pickering was responsible for booking bands. A friend of the band's manager Rob Gretton since the pair had met following Manchester City away in the mid-70s, Pickering was later invited back to Manchester to become the music policy director for a new nightclub, the Hacienda. In January 1981, with Labour being seen to have shifted to the left, the 'Gang of Four' (Bill Rodgers, David Owen, Roy Jenkins and Shirley Williams) issued the Limehouse Declaration, signalling their intention to create a  Social Democratic party. The new party would end up entering into an alliance with the Liberal Party before eventually merging with them to form the Liberal Democrats. New Order released their first single, Ceremony, on 6th March (which reached number 34 in the charts).

On 30th April 1981, Dave Sexton was sacked as manager of Manchester United after four seasons without a major trophy. The two Manchester clubs achieved mid-table finishes with United 8th and City 12th, as Aston Villa won the league. The top four clubs in terms of average home attendance were Manchester United (45,071); Liverpool (37,547); Aston Villa (34,117) and Manchester City (33,587). On 9th May, Manchester City played Tottenham Hotspur in the final of the FA Cup. After half an hour, Tommy Hutchinson scored with a flying header to put City 1-0 ahead. However with 10 minutes to go, the same player headed in a Glenn Hoddle free-kick to level the score. In the replay on 14th May, City again went ahead but conceded two late goals to Garth Crooks and Ricardo Villa as Spurs won 3-2. Liverpool won the European Cup for a third time two weeks later. On 9th June, Ron Atkinson was appointed as the new Manchester United manager.

On 8th July 1981, a crowd of over 1,000 youths besieged a police station in Moss Side. A formerly Irish district to the south of Manchester city centre, Moss Side had been settled by black Afro-Caribbean immigrants in the 1960s and 70s. Like many other inner-city areas it was suffering from high unemployment (thanks in part to the government's economic policies) and it was claimed that black youths were being victimised by the police. Other black inner-city areas had rioted previously, notably Brixton (London) in April and Toxteth (Liverpool) from 3rd July, and it was felt that it was only a matter of time before something would happen in Moss Side. After the police station had been besieged, the rioters looted shops along Princess Road. The police maintained a low-profile on the orders of Chief Constable James Anderton and the rioting subsided after 48 hours.

On 27th September 1981 a crucial election took place for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party, in which the moderate Denis Healey narrowly defeated Tony Benn, a hero of the hard-left, with 50.4% to Benn's 49.6% in the second round of voting. On 1st October, Manchester United broke the British transfer record to sign Bryan Robson from West Bromwich Albion for £1,500,000. On 15th October, Norman Tebbit was asked by a Young Conservative if he thought that rioting wasn't a natural response to unemployment. Tebbit replied that he had grown up in the 30s with an unemployed father, who hadn't rioted: 'He got on his bike and looked for work, and he kept looking 'til he found it.' On 21st October, Remi Moses became the first black player to score for Manchester United.

On 13th November 1981, New Order released their debut album 'Movement' and returned to New York for a second time where they immersed themselves in the disco scene which would inspire the Hacienda. 'Movement' had been recorded at Strawberry Studios in Stockport and produced by Martin Hannett, who was now in a legal dispute with Factory Records (this was the last New Order material he would produce as the band were now learning how to produce themselves). In January 1982 it was revealed that the number of people out of work had risen to over 3,000,000 for the first time since the 1930s. On 2nd April, Argentine forces invaded the Falklands Islands and British troops were mobilised for war. On 24th April, a 16-year-old Norman Whiteside made his Manchester United debut against Brighton & Hove Albion. Irish defender Paul McGrath signed from St. Patrick's Athletic a week later for £30,000. On 10th May 1982 New Order released their fourth single 'Temptation,' which reached number 29 in the charts. Liverpool won a 13th league title, as Manchester United finished 3rd and Manchester City 10th. For a tenth successive season, Manchester United were the biggest club in English football in terms of average home attendance (44,571), followed by Spurs (35,100), Liverpool (35,061) and Manchester City (34,063).

On 21st May 1982, the Hacienda was opened by Factory Records in an old warehouse on Whitworth Street West. A mixture between a venue and a club, its interior (designed by Ben Kelly) seemed like a 3D-version of Peter Saville's record sleeves and gig posters. Its name came from a Situationist text on Urbanism which begins with the lines 'We are bored in the city. There is no longer any Temple of the Sun' and goes on to say that 'the Hacienda must be built.' It received a Factory catalogue number, Fac 51, to match the cedilla in its name. It had a stage, a dance area with a bar, a cafe, and a balcony which was later turned into a DJ balcony (creating the idea of a 'superstar DJ'). With its high ceilings, people compared it to a Cathedral and it soon gained a reputation for cold temperatures and terrible acoustics. People were also wondering why Factory had built a bright New York discoteque in the middle of grey postindustrial Manchester - it was as if a space ship had landed in the middle of town. It was well-located, on the south-side of the city centre, within walking distance of the Hulme Crescents, an area which was becoming home to a bohemian community of artists and students. The owners decided to keep the Hacienda open all the time, even when there was hardly anyone there, and it ran at a loss - subsidised by the profits of Joy Divison and New Order. The brainchild of band manager Rob Gretton, the idea of investing all this money into starting up a nightclub upset producer Martin Hannett who had been arguing that they should spend the money on the latest recording equipment.

Much has been written about the opening of the Hacienda but this wasn't the biggest thing to happen in Manchester at the time. On 30th May 1982, a crowd of over 200,000 gathered in Heaton Park to watch the ordination of 12 priests by Pope John Paul II. The Pope's rock star reception in Prestwich was the subject of a song by The Fall called 'Papal Visit,' with its talk of 'yellow-white umbrellas' and 'helicopters strip the land.' In August, the Frantic Elevators released 'Holding Back the Years,' which failed to chart. The band, who like many others rehearsed in the Hulme Crescents, soon broke up but its singer Mick Hucknall would go on to become one of the most successful of Manchester's musicians in the late 80s/early 90s as the man behind Simply Red. On 4th October, the Smiths (with Johnny Marr on guitar and Morrissey on vocals) played their first gig at the Ritz in Manchester.

New Order played at the Hacienda for a second time on 26th January 1983, debuting a new track 'Blue Monday' which had been written as a dance track to save the band from having to come back on stage to do an encore. Released on 7th March, the single went on to become the biggest-selling 12" ever (thought to have sold well over 1,000,000 copies). It also defined the band's move away from new wave towards a more modern electronic, dance-oriented sound. The money it made was ploughed back into the Hacienda, which was still seen as being ahead of its time. On 26th March, Manchester United suffered a low-point, losing to rivals Liverpool in the final of the Milk Cup. By the end of the 1982-83 season, Liverpool had 14 league titles and 3 European Cups to United's 7 league titles and 1 European Cup and the gap would continue to grow. On 11th April, Ben Kingsley (who had grown up in Salford and gone to Manchester Grammar School) won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in the film 'Ghandi.'

On 2nd May 1983, New Order released their second album, the self-produced 'Power, Corruption and Lies' which reached number 4 in the UK. Its lead track 'Age of Consent' showed that the band hadn't strayed too far away from their guitar roots. On Friday 13th May, the Smiths released their debut single 'Hand in Glove' on Rough Trade, which sold well although failed to chart. The next day, Manchester City played their final league game of the season against fellow strugglers Luton Town. City only needed a draw to stay up whilst Luton needed a win. City dominated the game and were still staying up with five minutes left, when goalkeeper Alex Williams came out of his goal but failed to collect a cross, instead punching it away. The ball fell to Raddy Antic on the edge of the area, whose half-volleyed goal meant that City were relegated for the first time since 1963, despite having spent £5,000,000 on players in the previous four years.

Manchester United, who had finished third in the league and runners-up in the Milk Cup, remained the biggest club in terms of average home attendance (41,695), ahead of Liverpool (34,758), Spurs (30,581) and Manchester City (26,789). On 26th May, United won the FA Cup after a 4-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion, with two goals from England captain Bryan Robson, and one each from 18-year-old Norman Whiteside and Arnold Muhren. It was only their second major trophy since the 1968 European Cup (the other was the 1977 FA Cup) and a welcome victory for the club commentator John Motson described as 'the most famous in the world.'

On 9th June 1983, Margaret Thatcher increased her majority in the House of Commons by 100 seats in a landslide general election victory, with an incredible 13,000,000 votes to Labour's 8,400,000 and the Liberal/SDP Alliance's 7,700,000. Her position had been strengthened by the fact that there was a war on (and the fact that Argentina's military dictatorship had given her a pretext to go to war), a divided opposition and a Labour manifesto which Gerald Kaufman later described as 'the longest suicide note in history.' Amongst the new arrivals on the Labour benches were Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. On 2nd October, Neil Kinnock was elected leader of the Labour Party, with the centrist Roy Hattersley as his deputy. Kinnock had been increasingly associated with 'soft left' since abstaining from the Benn vs. Healey deputy leadership election of September 1981.

On 26th October 1983, a 19-year-old Mark Hughes made his Manchester United debut against Port Vale in the Milk Cup. The Smiths released their second single 'This Charming Man' on 31 October, which reached number 25 in the UK. On New Year's Eve, the band played at Danceteria in New York, where Madonna had started put. A key figure in the Manchester-New York connection was Ruth Polsky, who booked bands for Danceteria. She had booked Joy Division to appear at the venue on the US tour that never happened and later booked New Order. On 16th January 1984 The Smiths released their third single, 'What Difference Does It Make?' which reached number 12 in the UK. On 27th January, Madonna made her second UK TV appearance on 'The Tube' on Channel 4, performing (i.e. dancing and miming along to) 'Burning Up' and 'Holiday' at the Hacienda.

On 20th February 1984, The Smiths released their self-titled debut album (which reached number 2 in the UK) with its lead track 'Reel Around the Fountain.' On 6th March, the government announced plans for the closure of 20 coal mines with a projected total of 20,000 job losses. It had been preparing for the threat of prolongued industrial action by stockpiling coal. On 12th March, Arthus Scargill, the president of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), called for a national strike in protest at the government's plans. The mines were the focal point of local communities in mining areas and closures would lead to widespread unemployment - however the nationalised mines were economically unproductive. The Miners Strike of 84/85 would see the country torn apart, divided over the policies of a ruthless government intent on breaking the trade union movement. Amongst the Lancashire miners however, support for Scargill wasn't as high as it was in other areas such as Yorkshire, Wales and the North-East (which relied far more on the coal mining industry for jobs).

On Wednesday 21st March 1984, Manchester United enjoyed their biggest night in Europe since winning the European Cup in 1968 as they overturned Barcelona's 2-0 advantage in the second leg of the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners' Cup with a 3-0 win at Old Trafford. Bryan Robson is pictured on the left shaking hands with Barcelona's Diego Maradona before the match. In April, New Order released 'Thieves Like Us' which reached number 18. In May, Reni joined the Stone Roses after responding to an advert in A1 Music. The Smiths released their fourth single 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now' which reached number 10 (the band's most successful chart position). Manchester United and Manchester City both finished fourth in the league, however United were in the First Division and City were in the Second (missing out on promotion). United were still the biggest club in England in terms of average home attendance (42,534), well ahead of Liverpool in second place (31,974) and City in sixth (25,604).

Sunday 19 August 2012

Love Will Tear Us Apart (1976-1980)

This is the first of five posts on the history of Manchester between 1976 and 1996. Each four year period will be covered by a song from the NME's top 10(/100) tracks of the last 60 years: 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' (1976-1980), 'Blue Monday' (1980-1984), 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' (1984-1988), 'She Bangs the Drums' (1988-1992) and 'Wonderwall' (1992-1996).

The Sex Pistols’ first gig in Manchester (at the Lesser Free Trade Hall on 4th June 1976) has been described as ‘the gig that changed the world’ and regularly features on lists of the most important gigs ever. It can be seen as the spark that set a fire burning which lasted for 20 years and inspired a city’s regeneration – 20 years before the IRA bombed the Arndale Centre. Amongst the list of those who were there (and the bands they would go on to form) are Howard Devoto (Buzzcocks/Magazine), Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks), Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook (Joy Division/New Order), Morrissey (The Smiths) and Mark E. Smith (The Fall). Tony Wilson (a local TV presenter who went on to help form Factory Records) also claims to have been there. The second gig (at the same venue on 20th July) was arguably more important in terms of the Manchester scene, with local support acts Slaughter and the Dogs (from Wythenshawe) and Buzzcocks (now based in Lower Broughton). Buzzcocks were rewarded for organising the two gigs with a slot supporting the Sex Pistols and the Clash at an important punk gig in London, Screen on the Green on 29th August. Wilson invited the Sex Pistols to appear on his Granada music show So It Goes, where they performed ‘Anarchy in the UK,’ (broadcast on 4th September).

On 1st December, the Sex Pistols caused a national uproar when they appeared on Bill Grundy’s Today programme (broadcast in London). Grundy baited them with the line, ‘Go on – say something offensive.’ To which they replied, ‘You dirty bastard ... you fucking rotter!’ Under the headline ‘The Filth and the Fury,’ the next day’s Daily Mirror summed up the sense of outrage with its story of a lorry driver who had been so incensed that he’d put his foot through his colour TV screen. Dates on the Pistols’ ‘Anarchy in the UK’ tour (with support from the Clash and Johnny Thunders) were cancelled as a result. Manchester was one of the few cities to host them, with two dates at the Electric Circus in Collyhurst on 9th December (with Buzzcocks) and on 19th December. Shortly afterwards, Buzzcocks released their debut EP ‘Spiral Scratch,’ produced by Martin Hannett. With its ascending riff and two-note guitar solo, the lead track ‘Boredom’ (modern-sounding at the time) has gone down as a classic in the punk genre. Released on manager Richard Boon’s New Hormones label on 29th January 1977, it was also one of the very first independent releases – providing inspiration for London’s Rough Trade, Edinburgh’s Fast Product and eventually Manchester’s Factory Records.

It would be misleading to suggest that the Sex Pistols were the most important thing in British music in the winter of 1976-77 (when the IMF loan crisis gave an idea of the problems the British economy was facing). David Bowie’s Low was released on 14th January 1977 and featured the track ‘Warszawa’ which inspired Sumner and Hook (who’d met Ian Curtis at one of the Sex Pistols’ gigs at the Electric Circus in December) to name their new band Warsaw. Martin Hannett is often credited with creating the slower, spacier Joy Division sound that they would go on to develop but even a cursory listen to ‘Warszawa’ shows the influence Bowie had from the beginning. The cover of the album Low (pictured) has also been cited as the inspiration for an emerging hairstyle, i.e. the wedge (or 'flick'). On 2nd March 1977, European Cup hopefuls Liverpool travelled to Saint Etienne, where their fans are said to have started the football terrace ‘casual’ culture by looting expensive designer sportswear to take back home. According to a note by Kevin Cummins on the Manchester District Music Archive, David Bowie appeared onstage with Iggy Pop at the Manchester Apollo the next day (although footage on YouTube of the same gig is dated October 1977 – likely the date when it appeared on So It Goes, in which case this gig may have taken place on 25th September).

On Saturday 21st May 1977, Manchester United prevented Liverpool from winning an unprecedented ‘treble’ (League, FA Cup, European Cup) by beating them 2-1 in the FA Cup Final with goals from Stuart Pearson and Jimmy Greenhof. The next day, the Ramones played at the Electric Circus, supported by Talking Heads. The day after that, on Monday 23rd May, the Fall played their first gig at the North West Arts basement on Kings Street. On Friday 27th May, the Sex Pistols released ‘God Save the Queen,’ which reached number 2. A week after the Ramones’ gig, on Sunday 29th May, Buzzcocks played at the Electric Circus, supported by John Cooper Clarke and Warsaw, who were also playing their first gig. The last nights at the Electric Circus, Manchester’s main punk venue, on 1st and 2nd October featured a number of local bands, including Buzzcocks, the Fall, Warsaw, Slaughter and the Dogs, John Cooper Clarke and Magazine.

Shortly after ‘Spiral Scratch’ (which went on to be incredibly successful for an independent release), Buzzcocks’ singer Howard Devoto left the band, releasing a statement on 21st February 1977: ‘I don’t like most of this new wave music. I don’t like music. I don’t like movements. Despite all that – things have to be said. But I am not confident of Buzzcocks’ intention to get out of the dry land of new waveness to a place from which these things could be said. What was once unheathily fresh is now a clean old hat.’ Pete Shelley took over lead vocal duties and Buzzcocks signed to United Artists, releasing their first post-Devoto single ‘Orgasm Addict’ on 4th Novemeber (or 8th October according to various sources), possibly their best ever track although it failed to chart. The cover (pictured) was designed by Linder Sterling, an art student at Manchester Polytechnic who shared a house with Howard Devoto on Lower Broughton Road (two doors down from Pete Shelley). On 20th January 1978, Magazine released their debut single ‘Shot By Both Sides’ on Virgin. It reached number 41 and marked the beginning of post-punk.

The last episode of So It Goes had been broadcast on 11th December 1977, leaving its presenter Tony Wilson disconnected from the local music scene. On 24th January 1978, he decided to form a partnership with Alan Erasmus to manage the band which would eventually become known as the Durutti Column (named after a 1968 Situationist cartoon strip about an anarchist regiment in the Spanish Civil War), a vehicle for talented guitarist Vini Reilly. The following day Warsaw played their first gig under a new name, Joy Division, at Pips on Fennel Street (behind the Cathedral). Shortly afterwards, on 27th January, Granada TV’s World in Action featured an interview with the Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher in which she claimed that ‘people are really rather afraid that this country might be rather swamped by people with a different culture.’ The remarks fuelled an on-going debate about multiculturalism and immigration, with the National Front hoping to gain votes in the coming general election.

On 9th February 1978, Manchester United broke the British transfer record to sign Scottish defender Gordon McQueen from Leeds United for £495,000. On his arrival at the club, McQueen stated that ‘99% of players want to play for Manchester United and the rest are liars.’ Although Liverpool were the most successful club in English football with ten league titles, Manchester United were still the biggest with an average home attendance of 53,710 in the 1976-77 season. Liverpool were second with 47,221 and Manchester City third with 40,058 (although this was after a relatively succesful season in which they challenged for the title).

On 10th April 1978, World in Action began their programme, titled ‘There’s No Place Like Hulme’ with the words, ‘It is not necessary to go as far as South Africa to observe the reality of second-class citizenship. Deprived families are to be seen herded together in every major British city. Manchester’s Hulme bears all the sociological characteristics of a Bantustan reservation.’ The programme described how the futuristic Le Corbusier-inspired vision of Streets in the Sky had failed residents of post-slum clearances inner-city Manchester, with a particular focus on the Hulme Crescents – yet to gain its more bohemian character of the late 1980s.

On 14th April, Tony Wilson went to Rafters on Oxford Street to watch the Stiff Records Test (Chiswick Challenge) ‘Battle of the Bands,’ where he was harangued by Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis for not putting them on TV. Forced to play a late set (at 2:30am) and wound-up as a result, the band gave an impressive performance, with DJ Rob Gretton offering to manage them the next day (although Wilson’s account has them as Gretton’s band already). On Monday 8th May, Magazine played at the Ritz, supported by John Cooper Clarke and local band the Nosebleeds. Paul Morley reviewed the gig for the NME, saying that Nosebleeds had re-surfaced ‘boasting A Front Man With Charisma, always an advantage.’ That frontman was Stephen Patrick Morrissey, a New York Dolls fan from Stretford who had made a name for himself by writing letters to the NME and other music magazines and who would go on to become one of the iconic British frontman of the 1980s.

On 19th May 1978, the Durutti Column and Jilted John performed at the first Factory night at the Russell Club in Hulme (also advertised as Moss Side). The poster for the event was designed by Peter Saville, another art student from Manchester Polytechnic, and given the label Fac 1. Although it arrived late, the poster’s iconic use of an industrial safety sign (featuring a man with his fingers in his ears and the words ‘Use Hearing Protection’) and the minimalist yellow, black and white colour scheme provided a striking visual representation of the new Factory brand [and would later be used as the inspiration for the interior of the Hacienda nightclub]. The five partners in what would become the Factory Records project were now in place: Wilson and Erasmus (running the Factory night at the Russell Club); Hannett (the producer); Gretton (the Joy Division manager) and Saville (the designer). On 30th May, the Fall recorded their first of many John Peel Sessions for Radio 1, which began with ‘Futures and Pasts.’ Nottingham Forest won the league and Liverpool retained the European Cup but Manchester United remained the biggest club in England in 1977-78, with an average attendance of 51,860 – ahead of Liverpool (45,546), Manchester City (41,687) and Everton (39,513).

On 3rd June 1978, Joy Division released their debut EP ‘An Ideal for Living’ which is remembered as much for its cover-picture of a Hitler Youth banging a drum as a punkier sound than the one the band would later come to be associated with. On 7th June(?), 36-year-old Alex Ferguson was given his big break when he became manager of Aberdeen. On Thursday 13th July, Buzzcocks were amongst several bands who performed to a crowd of around 35,000 at a Rock Against Racism concert in Alexandra Park, Moss Side, the end-point of an Anti-Nazi League march from Strangeways Prison (on the other side of the city centre). The event co-incided with a by-election in Moss Side which was being contested by the National Front. Their candidate Herbert Andrew received only 623 votes (2.3%). Interestingly Vanessa Redgrave, who’d given a highly politicised acceptance speech at the Oscars three months earlier, stood for the Workers’ Revolutionary Party (presumably as a paper candidate). She received 394 votes (1.46%). On Friday 21st July, Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto were re-united as Buzzcocks and Magazine both performed at the Lesser Free Trade Hall, two years after they’d helped organise the seminal Sex Pistols gig at the same venue. The next day, Tony Wilson hosted a New Wave night at the Deeply Vale free music festival near Heywood, which featured the Fall and the Durutti Column. On Thursday 27th July, Granada screened B’dum B’dum, a documentary about Buzzcocks and Magazine, presented by Tony Wilson.

On 11th August 1978, the Fall released their debut EP ‘Bingo-Master’s Break-Out!’ which contained the track Psycho Mafia. In the same month, the Conservative party unveiled their legendary Saatchi & Saatchi-designed poster campaign, featuring a snaking dole queue above the words ‘Labour isn’t working (Britain’s better off with the Tories).’ On 31st August (21st September according to John Robb), Patti Smith played at the Apollo and 19-year-old aspiring frontman Stephen Patrick Morrissey met 15-year-old aspiring guitarist Johnny Marr for the first time (although it would be a while before they got together to form the Smiths). On 8th September, Buzzcocks released their most successful single ‘Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)’ which reached number 12. On 20th September, Joy Division performed ‘Shadowplay’ on Granada Reports, their first TV appearance.

On 16th October 1978, The Guardian described Manchester’s Arndale Centre as ‘an awful warning against thinking too big in British cities ... so castle-like in its outer strength that any passing medieval army would automatically besiege it rather than shop in it.’ The massive indoor shopping centre had been under construnction since 1971 and was opened in stages between 1975 and 1979 with a final cost of £100m. Designed by Hugh Wilson and Lewis Womerley, the architects responsible for the Hulme Crescents, it was another piece of Le Corbusier-inspired Brutalism and it dominated Manchester city centre as Britain moved towards the ‘Winter of Discontent.’ On 6th December, Manchester City recorded a famous 3-0 win against Italian giants A.C. Milan at Maine Road to win 5-2 on aggregate and progress through to the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup (where they were beaten by Borussia Monchengladbach). On 24th December, Factory Records released its first record, A Factory Sample, which contained tracks by Joy Division and the Durutti Column. On 27th December, Ian Curtis suffered an epileptic fit on the way home from a gig in London. The Joy Division singer was to appear on the front cover of the NME on 13th January 1979, after a photo session with Kevin Cummins in the snow around Manchester Cathedral.

On 10th January 1979, prime minister James Callaghan returned from a summit in the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and gave a press conference at Heathrow Airport. Responding to claims by journalists, he said that other people around the world wouldn’t share that view that there was ‘mounting chaos’ in Britain. The next day The Sun led with the now-famous headline ‘Crisis? What crisis?’ appearing to show a prime minister who was out-of-touch. On 3rd May, Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party won the general election, with 13.7m votes (43.9%) to Labour’s 11.5m (36.9%). On the doorstep of Number 10, Thatcher quoted from the prayer of St. Francis: ‘Where there is discord, may we bring harmony.’ On 12th May, Manchester United came back from 2-0 down against Arsenal in the FA Cup Final, with late goals from Gordon McQueen (86 mins) and Sammy MacIlroy (88 mins) only for Arsenal to score the winning goal in the 89th minute. Liverpool won their 11th league title and Nottingham Forest won the European Cup. It was a good season for Ron Atkinson’s West Bromwich Albion, who finished third in the league and reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup after becoming the first team to field three black players. Manchester United were still the biggest club in England with an average home attendance of 46,430, just ahead of Liverpool (46,407). Arsenal were third (36,371) just ahead of Manchester City in fourth (36,203).

On 14th June 1979, Joy Division released Unknown Pleasures on Factory Records. Recorded at Strawberry Studios in Stockport, produced by Martin Hannett, it was a dark-sounding debut which captured the bleak moorlands of the Pennines as much as postindustrial Manchester in the late-1970s. [The album’s sleeve, designed by Peter Saville, is also noteworthy.] When the band signed to Factory, Tony Wilson is said to have carved his initials in blood on a contract which said that ‘the musicians own everything, the company owns nothing, all our groups have the right to fuck off.’ Joy Division played at Plan K in Brussels, Belgium, on 16th October. They released non-album single ‘Transmission’ in November and played at Les Bains-Douches Club in Paris, France on 18th December. A 10-date tour of Europe followed in January 1980 covering Amsterdam, Antwerp, Cologne, Rotterdam, Brussels, Eindhoven and Berlin. The experience may have contributed towards Curtis’ depression, as he tried to reconcile his life as a family man in Macclesfield with the full-on demands of playing in a different city every night.

On 18th August 1979, 22-year-old Ray Wilkins made his Manchester United debut after his £750,000 move from Chelsea in the summer (£800,000 according to some sources). The fact that he would be sold to A.C. Milan for twice that amount after five seasons with the club suggests that this was a good investment. Manchester City on the other hand weren’t finding such good value in the transfer market. The signing on 5th September of Steve Daley from Wolves for £1,427,500 (breaking the British transfer record) has been cited as the classic example of City’s mis-management under the chairmanship of Peter Swales and the management of Malcolm Allison. Under this pair, the club sold the core of the team and replaced them with expensive signings who failed to live up to any modest expectations. An episode of World in Action, aired on 28th January 1980, focused on Manchester United’s chairman of 15 years, Louis Edwards, and the payment of bribes, both in industry and in a footballing context. Edwards died of a heart attack shortly afterwards and was replaced by his son Martin on 22nd March 1980.

The Durutti Column’s debut album The Return of the Durutti Column was released on Factory in January 1980, with its infamous sandpaper sleeve and the excellent 'Sketch For Summer' as its opening track (produced by Martin Hannett). On 1st February, the Clash recorded ‘Bankrobber’ at Pluto Studios in Manchester city centre, with a 16-year-old Ian Brown in attendance. Joy Division recorded the tracks for their second album Closer in March 1980 with Martin Hannett at Britannia Row Studios in London. They also recorded their next non-album single ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart,’ which was released in April. has John Cooper Clarke’s fourth album Snap, Crackle & Bop reaching number 29 in April. The album contains the tracks ‘Evidently Chickentown,’ which later appeared on an episode of the Sopranos, and 'Beasley Street' (again produced by Martin Hannett).

On 8th April, Joy Division decided to go ahead with a gig at the Derby Hall in Bury, shortly after Ian Curtis had attempted to commit suicide. The singer wasn’t feeling well enough to perform a whole set, so the band replaced him with Alan Hempstall (Crispy Ambulance) and Simon Topping (A Certain Ratio) without telling the audience. When Curtis returned backstage after just two songs, someone threw a bottle at the band and Rob Gretton jumped into the crowd, causing a mini-riot. Mark Burgess from the Chameleons blames local Perry Boys for the incident, saying that these were fans of the band disappointed at not seeing Curtis perform the full set. Several gigs had to be cancelled but the band did record the promotional video for the song ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart.’ On 2nd May, Joy Division played at High Hall, Birmingham University, their last gig before a break and a planned tour of the USA. On 18th May, Ian Curtis was found dead at his home in Macclesfield, aged just 23. He had been suffering from epilepsy and depression. As news of his suicide came out, ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ climbed to number 13 in the charts, the band’s most successful single so far.

Liverpool won their 12th league title and Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest retained the European Cup, as Manchester United finished 2nd and Manchester City finished 17th. Once again, the top three clubs in terms of average home attendance were Manchester United (51,608), Liverpool (44,586) and Manchester City (35,272). Meanwhile in Scotland, Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen won the Scottish Premier Division, breaking a Celtic/Rangers 15-year monopoly. During the four-year period (1976-80), Liverpool had won the league three times and Nottingham Forest had won it once. Liverpool and Nottingham Forest had both won the European Cup twice. Manchester United were easily the best-supported club in England, with average home attendances of 53,000; 51,000; 46,000 and 51,500. Manchester City might be considered the third biggest club in England at the time (after United and Liverpool), with averages of 40,000; 41,500; 36,000 and 35,000. For two of the three biggest clubs in England, United and City weren’t having much success. United won the FA Cup in 1977 and were runners-up in 1979. City reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup in 1979. United finished with league positions of 6th, 10th, 9th and 2nd; City with positions of 2nd, 4th, 15th and 17th. Clearly City were entering into an uncertain period, reflected by the fall in their average attendance figures and league finishes after 1978. For a club of United’s size and history however, second-place in the league wasn’t good enough and manager Dave Sexton wouldn’t be given much more time to turn things around.