Report- ‘Man Utd fan threatened to shoot me… but I still played in the derby’ | Football | Sport

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Updated: November 9, 2018
‘Man Utd fan threatened to shoot me… but I still played in the derby' | Football | Sport

The vitriol between both clubs was arguably no greater than in the 1960s and 1970s, during which Manchester City achieved some unusual success against their rivals.

The late Mike Doyle played for the club between 1962 and 1978, leading the club to their last trophy for 35 years before the 2011 FA Cup triumph.

Born in the city, Doyle was a devoted Sky Blue and relished rattling the red neighbours.

Ahead of the Manchester Derby this Sunday, the City website recounted a tale from Doyle, which features an incredible story about how some choice words from the skipper landed him in a spot of bother with some members of the Old Trafford faithful.

City were flying back from a 1-0 loss to Schalke in the 1970 UEFA European Cup Winners’ Cup, the same night on which Manchester United had won in a non-competitive fixture.

Upon returning home, Doyle was angry to see The Red Devils’ meaningless win dominated the papers, to which Doyle took exception, ranting to a journalist.

“It didn’t go down at all well with a section of the populace in Manchester,” he recalled before his death in 2011.

“During the course of the next week or two I found that some folk had it in for me, and they were ready to exact vengeance in their own way. I went to my car one day and found a dent in it with the aerial snapped off.

“I then had windows broken at my home, and I received some abusive letters. This sort of treatment continued sporadically for a few months, and then came the derby game against United.

“I’d been out with my wife for a meal, and when we returned home, there were two men hanging around the house.”

The men turned out to be from the police, who informed him that a national newspaper had received a call from a man saying that Doyle may be shot during the Manchester Derby that weekend.

Police manned outside the house, with Dole recalling: “The longer I tossed and turned in bed, the more worried I became.

“I kept getting up and going to the window, and the sight of a police car outside didn’t help me to think of it as a joke. In fact, I began to think that some nutcase really was out to get me.

“Nothing happened though, and once the game had got under way I began to forget my fears as I concentrated on the job in hand and that seemed to be that.

“However, on the Monday morning, I received a phone call from the police to say that they had picked up a man the previous night.

“It seemed that they had a description of someone who was wanted for a ‘job’ and a man answering the description had been spotted making a call from a public phone box.

“When the policeman went to question the man, he dropped the phone and ran. One of the Panda car coppers gave chase and caught him, and the other picked up the dangling phone to see whom the man had been calling.

“The voice at the other end of the line told him it was a newspaper office — apparently the man had rung the office for a second time, to renew his threat to shoot me.

“But that really did mean the end of the affair, for I heard nothing further from the police or anyone else.”