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Former Man City manager Mel Machin
"The atmosphere is unbelievable"
 real 14k

Tuesday, 14 November, 2000, 18:54 GMT
Machin's magical derby memories
Paul Scholes and Shaun Wright-Phillips
Paul Scholes and Shaun Wright-Phillips clash
Mel Machin led Manchester City to their last derby win in 1989. BBC Sport Online's Bridget Chandler speaks to him about his memories of that day.

It is 11 years since the blue half of Manchester last celebrated victory over its red rivals.

A young Manchester City side managed by Mel Machin stunned Sir Alex Ferguson's men during the run-up to what Fergie has since described as his lowest point at the club.

In the decade which has passed since that famous 5-1 victory on 23 September 1989, City have appointed seven managers while Ferguson has reached the pinnacle of success with United.

Machin had just two-and-a-half years in charge at Maine Road, and during that time masterminded the players to a 10-1 win over Huddersfield and the triumph over United.


But it is the memory of the latter which stays with Machin to this day.

The Manchester derby was two or three times bigger than everything - in the build up, the importance of not getting beat, winning games, and for the supporters
  Former City boss Mel Machin
Machin, now director of football at Second Division AFC Bournemouth, said: "The derby was of so much greater importance. I think that was the best. When we beat Huddersfield, I just felt for the manager really."

Machin was a veteran of the East Anglian derbies, but he found himself involved on a completely different level.

"It was my first Manchester derby and people kept saying it's bigger than any other derby in the country.

"I was used to a Norwich and Ipswich derby, and in that part of the country that was big enough looking back.

"But the Manchester derby was two or three times bigger than everything - in the build up, the importance of not getting beat, winning games, and for the supporters.

Young team

"I had a very young team, and the majority were Mancunians. They knew about the importance and it was probably only natural how nervous they were.

"There was somehing like seven under-21 internationals in the side, five from England, one from Wales and one from Ireland I think.

They were very young players and there was tension - they were listening to every word because they had probably not been in that situation before
  Machin on the half-time talk
"It was a very young side but it was unproven at that particular time."

The match started fairly evenly but a delay in play gave the home side the edge.

Machin explained: "The game could have gone either way for a particular time but there was a little bit of crowd trouble about 10 or 15 minutes into the game.

"Some of the fans had spilled onto the pitch and the players went off. When we went back on, we scored a goal quite early and the game changed.

"At that time, Sir Alex had just bought several players and was in the process of gelling a team together.


"At half-time I was very positive with the players about how they had played, but said we needed to keep our feet on the ground.

"I pointed out the reasons why we were 3-0 up and what we needed to repeat in the second half.

"They were very young players and there was tension - they were listening to every word because they had probably not been in that situation before.

Royle celebrates promotion to the Premiership
Royle celebrates promotion to the Premiership
"In the second half, United scored what was probably the best goal of the game, an overhead kick from Mark Hughes - but it didn't matter.

"We played very good football, they were a very fit group of players and they went at it for 90 minutes the way they had started."

Machin puts the lack of stability which followed at the club down to City's failure to beat United since, but believes under current manager Joe Royle, Maine Road could enjoy a renaissance.

"I think Royle has done a fantastic job there and looks to have got some kind of stability within the club."

Machin still enjoys derby day and believes this particular contest will end in a draw.

In charge

To the City fans the 1989 win meant everything. Machin however spent just two more months in charge before his reign ended - his United counterpart that day enjoyed greater support.

Machin said: "I remember it was just a few weeks after the game when I had left City and Sir Alex invited me to Old Trafford to watch a game.

"He was under pressure himself and the crowd at that time was uneasy. They were playing Tottenham and got beat 1-0.

"After the game, we went down into the coaches' room and the chairman, Martin Edwards, was there.

"We chatted for about half-an-hour and when he left I asked Alex if the chairman always came down. Alex said 'no, it's just his way of showing he is behind me and knows what's going to happen'.

"What has happened of course is he has stuck with Sir Alex and it's nice to see them getting their just rewards over the years".

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