Named after the street that ran behind it (and into a disorientating warren of Moss Side alleyways) the huge expanse of terracing that was Manchester City’s Kippax stand was unusual in that it ran the full length of the pitch rather than being situated behind one of the goals. Its capacity before being replaced by seating in 1995 was….well, nobody knows for sure. Its size made it almost incalculable. Standing ankle-deep in Embassy butts whilst breathing in the heady perfume of body odour and weed, it was beneath the corrugated roof of this concrete cathedral that this writer spent his formative years watching dross and magic in equal moderation. I must think about that place at least once a week – like an ex I can’t let go of – and, judging by the thoughts below, I’m not alone…
Dave Ewings Back Eader – It was late November 1957. We were 3-1 up with ten minutes left against the great Wolves side of that era. From nowhere a fifties Manchester fog descended and you could just make out some ghostly figures in the middle of the pitch. The only thing I saw in the last few minutes were three more kick-offs for City as we went down 4-3! I’ve always had a sneaky suspicion that three Wolves players picked up the ball and ran it into the net and the bloody ref did us!
Brian – I remember one oldish guy in the early 60s who was always very smart with a blazer that had a regimental badge on the front. I used to think of him as ‘the Colonel’. To be honest I don’t recall much about those early games except that we usually lost and put on a dire display. The players included such household names as Matt Gray, Dave Bacuzzi, Cliff Sear, Vic Gomersall and Roy Gratrix. Gratrix was a centre-half signed from Blackpool and the crowd hated him. I remember one day the blue flag that flew over the scoreboard end was at half mast for some reason. ‘No wonder the flag’s at half mast,’ said the Colonel, ‘Gratrix is playing.’
ExiledBaguleyBlue – Earliest memory was around ’67 as a six year old staring at a bloke with a massive scab where his ear should have been.
McNab’s Moustache – My first memory was aged around nine watching a middle-aged bald headed bloke stood on his own with his scarf tied around his wrist, drinking a small bottle of whiskey, shouting and jumping about.
Give&Go – Many memories….the Ballet on Ice when City hammered Spurs 4-1 on a frozen pitch; City league champions playing Bury in a friendly after winning the league in 1968 and Big Mal coming on as a sub.
Dominic – My first game was the 3-3 draw with United on November 6th 1971. We went in the Kippax in the uncovered bit next to the Platt Lane. When United scored their first I was knocked off the railing on which I was sat by a red (there were 64 thousand that day, all mixed in together). Our kid took me down the back of the Kippax and bought me a hot-dog to cheer me up. When we got back they scored their second but I had my hot-dog so it didn’t hurt quite as much as it should.
Pete – For my first game I was very young, probably too young as my lasting memory is of the wonderful smell en route as we passed McVities! I recall it was Liverpool visiting Maine Road but I can’t be sure of the result. I do remember my dad picking me up after the game to avoid me getting crushed as we squeezed out. I think we won but as I know from when I took my son at a similar age, it’s the whole occasion at that age that is exciting, not the score. That comes later!
Charliebigspuds – I have memories of the Kippax dating back to 1975 when I was four. My first memory was my Dad putting me on the wall at the front but you couldn’t sit with your legs over the wall and facing the pitch so I had to sit with my back to the pitch and get a stiff neck whilst trying to watch the match. A few years later I started going with my mates and we’d sit on the wall at the back of the open air bit. Having to jump off at the end of the game…this was a real worry as your cold feet used to absolutely murder when they hit the floor.
I thought I was the coolest kid in the world, being in the Kippax, surrounded by my fellow Blues in this enormous stand.
Dave H – My first time on the Kippax 1978, age 12 with my mate v Liverpool.
We were so excited we got to the game at about 1pm and hung around eating chips and generally being very giddy. That was until a mob of about a hundred Scousers turned up without a police escort, and proceeded to batter anyone in site!
Never ran so fast in my life but remember not dropping any chips.
We went into the ground at about 1.30 and sat on the white wall behind the little blue fence and at that moment I thought I was the coolest kid in the world, being in the Kippax, surrounded by my fellow Blues in this enormous stand. The smell of fags, beer and Westlers Water Burgers was so strong!
Clp1000 – On busy days in the Kippax lads would stand on the fence right at the back – so you could almost touch the roof. I was looking for a space there one game but as I walked along I saw that everyone up there had a massive hole in the bottom of their trainers from the spikes in the fence. Ha ha I soon changed my mind!
Goatinho – I remember standing in the top corner and singing so loud and so much that I always used to go to the bottom at half time to join the scrum to buy a paper cup of coke poured out of a warm flat 2 litre bottle for about a quid!
LongsightM13 – As a kid, falling backwards from the white wall at the front, onto the running track and landing on my head after the madness which greeted Bobby McDonald making it 3-1 in the ‘81 FA Cup quarter-final replay against Everton. A big fat rozzer of the old school picked me up, gave me a shake and shouted ‘We’re going to Wembley this year, lad’ before casually plonking me back on the wall like a fisherman chucking one back in because it was too small.
IOWBlue – Realising at the age of nine, in 1974, that “Covonia kills coughs”, and if I had any spare steel it had to go to Trumanns. The men in white coats selling drinks and pies along the front wall from a wooden tray.
Sid – The smell of a dimp smouldering on the crown of a trilby hat. The poor sod kept turning round to see what everyone was laughing at.
Witnessing a kiddie having his face split open by a coin during the derby in the early seventies.
OntherunwithThatskin – Always remember as a kid in the late 70’s being perched at the bottom of the stand and looking back seeing silhouettes of fan’s flailing arms having a pop at each other.
Give&Go – Vivid memory of a derby v the rags about 1970, fighting going off all at the top of the Kippax with bottles being thrown, hitting the steelwork, and showering down with glass.
ExiledBaguleyBlue – A mate was hit on the head by a lump of brick v scum, and before we could react another lad asked “Can I borrow your brick?” as he picked it up and threw it back at the scum bastards.
DaveWatson’sTackle – Mid 70’s memories…half bricks flying between us and the dirty Leeds fans….the smell of a piss stained rags scarf being set on fire…clouds of smoke from the ciggies….puddles of piss in the bogs. It sounds shite doesn’t it? But I loved it!
Mr Ed – The toilets had a smell all of their own, and one that not I’ve smelt since.
JGL07 – I do recall watching an FA Youth Cup match from the Kippax. It was during the spell when Mal Allison was not only banned from the dugout but banned from the entire stadium for several weeks. It may have been the year that City got to the semi-final and faced United with massive crowds for the two legs.
The match took place during this ban and I looked behind me and who was standing on the terrace but Big Mal trying to look inconspicuous. Several others noticed but it was all kept quiet in case he was found out and had his ban trebled.
After the ban was over, Mal was interviewed by the BBC and he said his biggest regret was not seeing the Youth Cup team in action during his ban!
Johnny Crossan – The dire warnings from my brothers not to stand on the wrong side of the barriers…
Doots – Miss it like mad! I used to stand next to the fencing about half way down but more often than not would end up near the front without taking a step.
TheboyfromBrazil – Terraced houses with the gates to the backyards open and dozens of bikes being ‘minded’ for a minimal fee. The smell of the bogs. Pintpots of piss being knocked over and running down the terracing. Looking up into the rafters of the Kippax stand, marvelling at the piss-poor tannoy system, and seeing the plastic hawk hanging from a piece of string in an attempt to scare the pigeons. Dodging darts, sharpened coins, and bangers when it was near bonfire night. Reading the scores against the letters at half time for the old boys who couldn’t read them.
Bainy – Horrible Greenall Whitley beer farts. Piss pouring down the terrace from some lazy beer monster who couldn’t make it to the toilet. Fireworks and bangers being lobbed at away fans.
WaterlooBlue – Having the arm ripped off my Harrington, when Kevin Reeves scored against Liverpool in the League Cup semi in 1981. The ref disallowed it, for what we’ll never know.
Kippaxsteps – A mad Scottish fan we stood with who’d say things like, “I’ve been stabbed, I’ve been slashed for this club’ and ‘I remember when Maine Road was a fortress, a bastion of invincibility’.
Alex – I remember playing Spurs in the cup. They beat us, and I was in the wrong corner. I used to stand in the corner that would be 109/110 now! Anyway the away fans were in the North Stand and I thought I would be clever as a mouthy 15 year old, by telling this six foot-odd black geezer that his bird was a slag. After some banter I forgot about it and was leaning against the chicken wire fence. The bastard chinned me through the fence and knocked me out, and nearly broke my jaw!
My mate saved me from being trampled in the crush, robbed his bird’s fur coat, and we got chips and cans of Red Stripe, with the cockney slag’s money from her purse that was in the coat pocket, all from the little Jamaican man’s shop near the bus depot on Princess Road. Hahaha, their fucking train tickets were in it also! He who laughs last and all that!
Screaming the boys on as clouds of smoke drift down and suddenly you’re not cold and wet anymore.
ColinBell’s Jockstrap – The smell of piss, farts and Bovril at half time, plus Capstan full strength.
Danny Hoekman – Used to love the vibe behind the Kippax (the terracing days) at half time, sat on the steps with a pint of Greenalls pish.
ExiledBaguleyBlue – £35 season tickets. Using Tippex on the vouchers at the back of the season ticket to get extra derby tickets. Colin Bell v Newcastle (still brings goosebumps). In at 1pm to sit on “our barrier”, then being tall enough to stand in front of our barrier. The buzz of seeing the floodlights on for night matches as the bus trundled down princess parkway. Kicking the gate in the alley at the back of the Kippax to wind the mad dog up. The “surges”. The first sight of the pitch as we walked through the tunnel. On Grand National day everything would go quiet as the winners were read out. Swales out. The bogs. The sheer madness every time we scored. The shared humour every game. Seeing the same faces around you every game and spotting them in pubs and on terraces at away matches. The crushes on the way out after the game. All my kids having a teddy bear called Kippax
Experiences never to be repeated.
Irmston – That incredibly dim orange light during night matches from those 40w bulbs hung from the girders of the roof.
Rocky1 – Night matches, rain pouring down, freezing cold as there’s five minutes to kick off and you’re still on Platt Lane. Catching a glimpse of the floodlights as you nip down the alleyways then, as you get closer, the chanting on the Kippax draws you in. Through the turnstiles and its dark again as you head down the left had tunnel kicking empty cans and slipping on half eaten bug burgers. In the distance you can see a bright light and as you get closer the noise increases and the excitement grows. The perfect green pitch appears, the players running out, fighting your way to your usual spot. ‘Where the fuck have you been’ your mates say. Screaming the boys on as clouds of smoke drift down and suddenly you’re not cold and wet anymore. ‘We’re going to do it tonight’ as you rub your hands in anticipation…. sometimes we did, sometimes we didn’t, but it was home.
Uweuweuwe – I used to love night games. The Kippax always used to look more intimidating.
IOWBlue – Night matches when the main stand looked like a forest full of glow bugs when people “lit up”.
Pidge – The entire Kippax singing ‘you’re gonna win the cup’ to Chelsea fans around 1993/94 when they were about to play United in the FA Cup final.
Kippaxsteps – Starting a song. Needed big balls and a big mouth….
Webby – Late 80s/early 90s. During quiet periods of the many boring matches, out of nowhere, a single cry of “Rangers” or “Celtic” which would lead to the whole terrace being split into one- word chants of support for either of the two.
Pidge – Some bloke in a leather coat, hair all slicked back shouting racist abuse to John Barnes, only for this Rasta bloke in front of me turning round towards him. Just the glare was enough to prompt the mouthy fucker to shut up.
Alibee73 – The silence and some bloke fainting when Lakey swallowed his tongue.
Going to the outside bogs and wading through a river of piss. Jumping on the bottom wall when we scored against the rags when I was a kid and some copper shoving me off backwards and all the blues behind threatening to drag him into the crowd and give him a good hiding. Bananas, gorillas, sex dolls, dinghies and anything else you could inflate.
Bluemoonraker – Running back up the tunnel or the stairs if you’d left early and we had scored a late goal. I don’t know what we thought we’d see when we got there but we always went back!
Leipzigblue – All of us waiting to scale the fences at the end of the 3-3 against Bournemouth. 3-0 up at half-time, 5 minutes injury time and Bournemouth score. Had to wait until Bradford!
Sid – The slow realisation that the magic had gone when the seats went in. How I envy the German fans.
Wingsofasparrow – I remember sitting in the Kippax when the roof was off. I think it was 94/95 season, or maybe 95/96, and they handed out those pac-a-macs. I caned a load of strong lager in the back alley opposite the club shop before the game and I ended up throwing up on the woman in front of me in the Kippax. Luckily she had her pac-a-mac on so it wasn’t too bad.
For all that COMS is shiny and I hope that we can one day call it home, for me the last day at Maine Road will always be one of my saddest.
IOWBlue – Progressing further back as I got older. Being in awe of the “faces” and the fans with their Wrangler jackets covered in sewn on City badges. Standing on the hill at the back of the Kippax looking right, to watch the action at the fence. Getting to know the lads around you, then going away with them on the train, and later by car ( not as good though ). So many memorable matches, good and bad players, but always the humour. Franny’s return, the King in the 4-0, Boro 4-0, Bournemouth 3-3, Margetson v QPR, Huddersfield 10-1, the 5-1, Phillips v Charlton, Kinkladze, Lakey v Leicester, 40000 for big Joe’s testimonial, European nights v Juventus, AC Milan, Standard Liege and Borussia Monchengladbach. Swales out, Liam Gallagher doing the “Manc” walk over to the Pompey fans and giving them the V’s. Gene Kelly stand, Piccadilly radio corner when away fans relocated to the Platt Lane. The pigeon dangling from the roof, “Mr Banks”. Police walking round to the tune of de re de re, de re de re, dededere dededere. “We all piss in a red and white pot”. The memories are endless, and for all that COMS is shiny and I hope that we can one day call it home, for me the last day at Maine Road will always be one of my saddest.
Sid – Being jockeyed by police horses as you waited to reach the turn-stiles. The sparks from their hooves. Scousers running over the tops of cars in the alleys at the back of the Kippax. The great banana revolution – it marked the beginning of the end of the thug era, for me anyway. I know it wasn’t just the Kippax but it reached its peak there. For those who have only known seated stadiums; a jam-packed Kippax…a City goal…..well, you had to be there.
Eastland56 – I’m one of the lucky ones who has a Kippax turn-style in my garage. Floods of memories come back to me every time I look at it.
Alibee73 – Crying my eyes out from behind a concrete pillar in my temporary seat in the North Stand watching the famous Kippax get knocked down.