HALCYON DIGEST: Bournemouth 0-0 Manchester City, February 1999

Meetings between Manchester City and Bournemouth have been few and far between since the club’s co-existence. Saturday afternoon’s trip to the south coast will represent only the eighth time that the teams have met.

The last time the Blues travelled to Dean Court was in the infamous 1998/99 season when Joe Royle’s City side found themselves wallowing in the third tier of English football. Thankfully, City managed to scrape their way out of the division and trips to the likes of Bournemouth and York weren’t an overly frequent occurrence in the subsequent years.

That said, the game at Dean Court on 13th February 1999 hardly showcased City’s credentials at promotion candidates. The game ended goalless but was mainly remembered for the two red cards that Jamie Pollock and Kevin Horlock received. Horlock’s dismissal was particularly strange given that he was sent off for “aggressive walking” towards the referee. In the following excerpt from David Mooney’s book, Looks Like Scunny Next Season, Horlock talks us through the bizarre series of events:

Soccer - Nationwide League Division Two - Play Off Final - Manchester City v Gillingham

“Where do I start?” he says.

“It was a big crowd and the majority were City fans,” he explains. “I don’t know whether it got to the ref. Jamie Pollock had just been sent off and there’d been a few dodgy tackles flying around – like I said, we were big fish in a small pond and everyone wanted to kick us and beat us.

“There was a break-up in play,” he continues. “I don’t know what had happened, I think someone had gone down injured. But there’d been a tackle about a minute before on the halfway line and I was just walking towards the ref to question it. I didn’t even speak and that’s the craziest thing. In his report, it said I didn’t say anything to him.

“I was walking towards him and he just flashed the [red] card at me.”

He says he didn’t think the card was for him at first: “I’ve not seen footage of it since, but I’ve looked over my shoulder thinking he’s thrown it at someone who’s behind me. And he said, ‘no, you, off you go!’

“And I said, ‘what for?’ and he replied, ‘off you go’.

“So I’ve wondered what was going on. I’ve walked off into the dressing room and Jamie Pollock was getting out of the shower having been sent off previously and he said to me, ‘what’ve you been sent off for?’ and my answer was ‘I actually don’t know.’

“Joe [Royle] has come in after the game and said to me ‘what did you say?’ and I said to him, ‘I didn’t actually say anything!’ He said, ‘you must have sworn at him,’ and I replied, ‘I didn’t say anything to him.’

“Then the referee’s report came through and his words were that he’d sent me off for walking towards him in an aggressive manner. Which is bizarre, isn’t it? I walked fairly quickly towards him, maybe. I’ve got one leg shorter than the other, so maybe it looked like I was being a little bit aggressive.

“But I was just going to ask him about a foul previously. It’s something that everyone remembers and it’s funny now. But it wasn’t at the time when I ended up missing a few games because of it.”

Looks Like Scunny Next Season by David Mooney is available to purchase here.

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On this day, Blondie were at number 1 in the UK Singles Chart with Maria.

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Written by Rob Toole

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