Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

MANGALA WILL BANISH FIERY BLUES' BAPTISM ; City Legend Tommy Booth Believes New Centre Half Will Prove Excellent Partner for His Skipper.

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

MANGALA WILL BANISH FIERY BLUES' BAPTISM ; City Legend Tommy Booth Believes New Centre Half Will Prove Excellent Partner for His Skipper.

Article excerpt

CITY legend Tommy Booth knows all about tough baptisms. In his first three games for the Blues, as a raw 18-year-old centre half, he faced up to Frank Worthington, John Radford and Jimmy Greaves, three of the top Sixties strikers.

So he had plenty of sympathy for new Pounds 32m Blue defender Eliaquim Mangala when he had his nightmarish blip against Hull - and has backed the Frenchman to be a big City success.

Langley lad Booth made his league debut for the Blues 46 years ago tomorrow, a teenager up against the free-scoring Arsenal forward John Radford.

And Booth, now a 64-year-old grandad and still an avid City fan, will celebrate the anniversary of his league bow by leading the first of a new sequence of Legends Tours.

Booth made his Blues debut in a goalless draw in a League Cup tie at Huddersfield, when he came up against Worthington, one of the most outrageously talented and innovative players of his era, in September 1968.

A month later, after City had crashed out of the European Cup to Turkish side Fenerbahce and then lost 2-0 at Everton, he was given his big chance, when George Heslop was dropped.

He impressed City managers Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison enough to keep his place, and take on the frightening Tottenham pairing of Greaves and Alan Gilzean in the next game.

"The first thing I remember about playing for the first team was how quick it was," says Booth.

"When you are playing in the A and B teams, or the reserves, and then take that step up, for 10 minutes you have no idea what day it is.

"I was gutted when we got knocked out of the European Cup, but if it hadn't happened, I might not have got my chance.

"As it was, I took my chance and ended up winning the FA Cup that season, and then we won the double of League Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup the following season."

Booth went on to play 492 times for the Blues from 1968 to 1981, placing him seventh in the list of all-time appearances for the club - a loyalty that still makes him a fans' favourite today. …

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