of the most perceptive descriptions of Manchester City’s play
during their glory years was made by Manchester Evening News reporter
Peter Gardner who said that “When Youngy plays, City play”. For
all the talk in the intervening years of greats such as Summerbee,
Bell and Lee, it was the local lad made good who made most impact
when it mattered.
tall, leggy striker with a venomous left-foot shot, Young scored
in every significant game for City in the late 60s. Scorer of
two goals in the 1968 Championship win up at Newcastle, the scorer
of the 1969 FA Cup Final winner and the first goal in the 1970
Cup Winners’ Cup final, Neil Young played as significant a role
in the success and style of the Mercer-Allison partnership as
anyone. Yet by 1972 he was allowed to leave the club as City began
their now familiar relationship with underachievement and mismanagement.
‘Catch a Falling Star’, Neil Young explains what he has been up
to in the years since his sizzling shots stung the hands of the
country’s finest goalkeepers. Following his premature exit from
Maine Road. Here he frankly discusses the problem that faced footballers
of the pre-Premiership era: “When I left Rochdale for the last
time one Friday afternoon I had a week’s wages... about £60.
I drove home and sat in my lounge for about two hours, wondering
what the hell I was going to do. I had a car on HP, a mortgage,
a wife and three children to feed. I was the provider who could
no longer provide. I had no savings whatsoever and my wife didn’t
work. I didn’t see it coming. It was a calamity waiting to happen.”
starts Neil’s decline into illness and depression. During the
next painful decade Neil suffered numerous illnesses, lost his
family, his mother and survived a suicide attempt. Thankfully,
he has emerged with his spirit intact thanks largely to the love
of his third wife, Carmen. ‘Catch a Falling Star’ is the moving
tale of a how a star on the wane managed to mount a personal comeback
as impressive as any achieved on the pitch by City's star-studded
squad of the late 60s.