Guest Blog: Mick McCarthy
- 07 March 2013 11:01
- Posted by @dclayton_MCFC
Barnsley-born McCarthy made 314 appearances for his hometown club between 1977 and 1983 before moving over the Pennines to Manchester where he then played for City between 1983 and 1987. He now manages Ipswich Town…
“I remember beating City with Barnsley in 1982 vividly. In fact, I’ve only recently been interviewed by a newspaper in Barnsley and I put that night down as one of the highlights of my playing career.
“City had a great team and had players like Kevin Reeves who they’d spent huge money on as well as Kevin Bond, Asa Hartford and Dennis Tueart in the team. They were a good side and had a strong team out on the night, though I think Trevor Francis was injured for that game.
“We were a Second Division side and City were in the First Division so it was a great result and a fantastic occasion for the town of Barnsley and the supporters. There were more than 33,000 there for a midweek game – great memories!
“Little did I know I’d be playing for City less than 12 months later. It wasn’t a wrench to leave Barnsley at all. City paid £200,000 for me, though my mother told me she wouldn’t have paid two bob for me some days! Everyone tells me I played for Man City but I can tell you it’s not the Man City of today – I never played for that club!
“I joined City in December 1983 and was driving across the top of the Pennines when I became stuck in snow so had to call Billy McNeill by phone from a pub – there were no mobiles or anything like that back then.
“It was a great move for me because it was time for me to move on. There were a few clubs supposedly interested but nobody had made a firm offer until City came in and everything turned out as good as I could have hoped.
“In McNeill, City had a manager who was a former centre-half which was great for me, but as I said, the club was unrecognisable to the Manchester City of today. I went to Maine Road to discuss money and the first thing I was told was that they would sell the goalposts if they could because they were so skint!
“City had been relegated six months before and the club was having a hard time but this was Manchester City and it was just awesome – I loved it.
“So I joined in December and I was voted the Player of the Year just five months later so I must have been doing something right! I think the City fans took to me in that respect! City were and still are a great club with fantastic supporters. It was a totally different experience to the one I’d had with Barnsley in the Fourth and Third Divisions where we’d had the odd big game here and there. It was a huge difference
“I always got a great reception from everyone at the Club and always do whenever I return. It’s 26 years since I left City but the fans have always been great, even now when I go back as a manager.
“As for the FA Cup tie on Saturday, I’m a realist and City will win it – if they don’t, City will have had to have had an off day and Barnsley will have had to have played out of their skin. I’m fighting my own battle with Ipswich at the moment so if I’m honest, I honestly don’t care who wins but I’ll always love City because I loved every minute of my time there – it was fantastic.”