Book Review: Caught Beneath the Landslide – Manchester City in the 1990s by Tim Rich

Looking at today’s roll call of talent, the impressive Etihad Stadium and the record-breaking feats and trophy hauls of the last few years, it is almost impossible to conceive of a time when Manchester City weren’t at the height of English football.

But yet, somewhat unbelievably only a couple of decades ago, it was a very different story for the blue half of Manchester. Despite a veritable thrashing of their nearest neighbours and greatest rivals, Manchester United, in September 1989, 5-1 at Maine Road, the game signalled not the start of the glory days but rather the beginning of a downward spiral that would see them, at their lowest, languishing in the third tier of the English game in 1998/99, and it is these dark days of City’s recent past that Tim Rich chronicles in Caught Beneath the Landslide.

The success of the club’s youth team in 1986 and that victory over United three years later could have seen City dominate in the way that the Class of ‘92 did in the nineties, but behind the scenes unrest and mismanagement saw a very different outcome.

Rich’s tale of City’s fall from grace charts some of the key figures, decisions and players in these uncertain times and it is a fascinating reminder of just how far City fell in the mid-nineties – when their neighbours were celebrating an historic treble, Manchester City were celebrating winning the Play-offs in a dramatic game against Gillingham to be promoted after finishing third in the old Third Division.

However, their decline also highlights just how far they’ve risen from the ashes since then. It really is incredible to read the authors narrative of the City of old in the context of the City of today.

Manchester City fans, especially those who remember and were witness to, the turbulent years of the nineties, may not want to be reminded of this uneasy past, whilst the new generation of Cityzens who have grown up with a City side at least competing in, if not dominating, the top flight of English football are likely to find the history unthinkable, but either way it’s a significant backdrop to this club’s past and its present, a reminder that success is not a given, it is earned and can just as easily be lost.

Jade Craddock

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Posted April 30, 2019 by Editor in category "Reviews

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