Football in Manchester has always been a game full of odd coincidences and connections.
Who would have thought that Manchester City’s dogged captain Don Revie would end up as manager of Leeds United, swooping to sign midfielder Johnny Giles from arch rivals Manchester United?
Or that England captain Bobby Moore would spend his early days playing with not one, but two future City managers?
Or that Ancoats comedian Bernard Manning would be unveiled as City’s new star striker for the 1993-94 season?
Well, the last one never happened – although Manning was a staunch Blues supporter and was often photographed proudly wearing a City kit!
The other two connections, though, were real enough.
It was pure coincidence that Bobby Moore’s debut game as a West Ham player on September 8th 1958 was against Manchester United.
The result was a 3-2 home win for the Hammers with one of Manchester’s goals coming from future United manager Wilf McGuinness.
Even more of a coincidence was that the player Moore replaced at number six on that day was none other than his mentor and future City manager Malcolm Allison.
Allison was suffering from tuberculosis at the time after falling ill in the game against Sheffield United on September 16th 1957. It turned out to be his last senior match for West Ham.
Allison was taken to hospital where one of his lungs was removed. He battled on in the reserve team, but he knew his First Division playing days were over.
He left football altogether for six years, working as a car salesman and nightclub owner, but played a final season for non-league Romford in 1963.
Allison’s coaching career began at West Ham, working alongside manager Ted Fenton while he was still a first team player. He often took training sessions, encouraging junior players.
Moore was fulsome in his praise for his mentor. He said: ‘I’d been a professional for two and a half months and Malcolm had taught me everything I knew.
‘When Malcolm was coaching schoolboys he took a liking to me when I didn’t think anyone else at West Ham saw anything special in me.’
Allison coached at Bath, Toronto City and Plymouth Argyle before joining Manchester City as assistant manager to Joe Mercer in 1965.
A team-mate of Allison and Moore at West Ham was another future City manager, John Bond. Born in Essex, right-back Bond joined the Hammers from Colchester Casuals in 1950.
He had a knack for goal-scoring and had a fierce shot – so much so that the fans called him ‘Muffin’ because he kicked like a mule!
Bond scored 32 goals in 381 appearances for West Ham before moving to Torquay United in 1966. He managed Bournemouth from 1970 to 1973 and Norwich from 1973 to 1980.
He had three years as City manager after taking over from former team-mate Allison in 1980. Perhaps his finest hour was the FA Cup Final against Tottenham which City lost 3-2.
It will forever be remembered as the Ricky Villa final after his mazy dribble and goal, but City fans still prefer Steve MacKenzie’s superb volley in the same match.
Perhaps one of the most incongruous sights in football in was Leeds United boss Don Revie smiling gleefully in front of Old Trafford with new signing Johnny Giles in August 1963.
Giles would form a brilliant midfield partnership with Billy Bremner in Revie’s league-winning team after moving across the Pennines for £33,000.
He’d fallen out of favour with United manager Matt Busby, in spite of playing a major role in winning the FA Cup the previous season. It was his pass that led to David Herd’s goal in the 3-1 victory over Leicester City.
As he left United, Giles is reported to have said of Busby ‘I am going to haunt him’. He certainly did just that.
Finally, few might remember that outspoken manager Barry Fry started his career as a youth player with Manchester United. He left them at the age of 19 to join Bolton Wanderers.
But as he lived close to the ground, he cheekily popped back to practise in the Old Trafford car park, as our archive photo shows.
As Fry would no doubt say: ‘Why not?’