Mike Summerbee - England - Biography of his football career.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 15 April 1972

Click on image to enlarge

      Tuesday, 15 December 1942
      Preston, England.
  • England
  • Burnley FC
    • Club Career Dates
    • League Debut
      Saturday, 16th August 1975 in a 0-0 draw at home to Arsenal (Aged: 32)
    • Club Career
      51 League apps, 0 goals
  • Manchester City FC
    • Club Career Dates
    • League Debut
      Saturday, 21st August 1965 in a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough (Aged: 22)
    • Club Career
      355 League apps (+2 as sub), 47 goals
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Mike SUMMERBEE - England - Biography of his football career.

                                   Biography of his football career at Man City.


 One of the most popular City players of all time, Mike Summerbee was born in Preston but grew up and learned his football in the West Country. The son of another former player, George, young Mike took his first steps on a magnificent footballing career in the non-League colours of Cheltenham. As a 17 year-old he then joined Swindon Town in the Third Division, a club for whom he'd score 39 League goals for in 218 appearances over some five and a half years. One of those games took place at Maine Road in January 1965. Swindon won 2-1; Summerbee scored and the crowd of 8, 015 is City's lowest ever gate for a League match. In August that same year, Joe Mercer was beginning to rebuild the sleeping giant that had been Manchester City. Having met Mercer on many occasions previously, Summerbee knew and admired the former Everton and Arsenal star and had no hesitation in joining this revival at the outset. On August 20th, Summerbee signed for a staggeringly low fee of just £35, 000 and became Mercer's second signing for the club. Former Rangers' striker Ralph Brand was the first just nine days earlier. From his debut at Middlesbrough the day after he signed (the opening day of the 1965/66 season) Summerbee was to be one of the first names pencilled in on the team sheet for the next ten seasons.


He played in every one of City's 52 League and Cup games that season, scored ten goals, and collected a Second Division Championship medal at the end of it. Next time out, 1966/67, saw the Blues try to get a foothold in the top division. With Summerbee out on the right wing or occasionally at centre-forward, they finished 15th, 'Buzzer's' seven goals (including one on the opening day against Southampton) coming from 38 outings. By the time May 1968 came around, City were Champions of the First Division, remarkably just two seasons after they'd won the Second. This season proved to be Summerbee's most prolific goalscoring-wise (20 from 49 games), and it also saw him win the first of his eight international caps. His England debut came in a 1-1 draw with Scotland at Hampden Park on February 24th 1968 in front of a crowd of 134,000.


The following season, 1968/69, Summerbee now added an FA Cup Winners' medal to an already impressive collection. City's 1-0 triumph in the final against Leicester was due in no small part to Mike's efforts on the wing before pulling back a beautifully controlled cross for Neil Young to score the decisive goal. His eight goals (from 51 games) were made up largely of twos, with braces against Wolves and Leicester and another against Huddersfield in the League Cup. Not content with one trophy, City won two in 1969/70. Summerbee's crucial goal from Francis Lee's indirect free-kick at Old Trafford took City through to the League Cup Final and eventual success against West Bromwich Albion. Tragically for Mike, though, he broke his leg in that game, an injury that caused him to miss the European Cup Winners' Cup Final just a few weeks later. Despite the injury, he still took part in 49/1 games and added another six goals to his Maine Road total. (Ian Penney - author of The Legends of Manchester City)






Mike's broken leg healed sufficiently for him to take his place in the starting line-up at Southampton for the opening game of the 1970/71 season. It was hardly the most auspicious of starts for Summerbee: he was sent off four minutes from the end of a 1-1 draw for allegedly head-butting Saints' David Walker. It was a largely mixed season for City who could only manage 11th place in the League and no Cup runs to speak of. Apart from that is, in their defence of the European Cup Winners' Cup when they managed to reach the semi-finals only to lose out to Chelsea. Two topics dominated the season. Firstly there was a long drawn out boardroom battle and secondly an injury list that affected each and every one of the first team squad in varying states of severity. For Summerbee's part, he broke a bone in his foot in a 2-0 home defeat by Leeds at the end of January, an injury that caused him to miss the next four League games and came in the match directly after he'd scored twice in a 3-3 draw at Blackpool. He started the goalless draw at Derby in March (his second game back after breaking his foot) but didn't finish it. This time he broke his left leg and his season was over after four goals from 26 League outings. The 1971/72 season started with a 1-0 home defeat by Leeds and another Summerbee injury, this time a groin strain. It caused him to miss just two games: he would be an ever-present for the rest of the season. Interestingly enough his 40 League games that term was his highest season tally since the Championship success of four years earlier. His three League goals - against Tottenham (h), Manchester United (h) and Ipswich (a) - would prove his lowest return to date. (Ian Penney - author of The Legends of Manchester City)







 Summerbee's 46 appearances in the 1972/73 season was bettered only by Marsh and Doyle (47 each) and by Bell and Donachie with 49. Over the last few seasons, Mike's job had been to supply opportunities for others rather than provide the goals himself, a fact confirmed by his second successive return of three for the season. His two in the League came in consecutive games against Coventry and West Ham in October with his final strike in a 3-2 win at Stoke in the FA Cup. In October that season he won his eighth and final cap for England in a 2-1 win in a friendly in Moscow. Summerbee was 30 years old when the 1973/74 season started. He'd always been a physical player and one who'd had his fair share of injuries, but he still proved fit enough (and good enough) to play in a remarkable 53 games. His 39 in the League was supplemented by all eleven required to get the Blues to Wembley and the League Cup Final. Unfortunately he'd finish on the losing side to Wolves and with it went the last chance of another winners' medal. Mike scored against Coventry in the rain and mud of the 5th Round replay, with his other three goals coming at Ipswich in the League and a brace against Oxford in a 5-2 FA Cup victory.


The following season proved to be Summerbee's last as a player at Maine Road. His goals against Leeds and Luton (from 28/1) games took his overall City career to 68 from 449/3 in all competitions, appearance figures beaten only by seven others. He signed for Burnley in July 1975 for £25, 000 (a 'loss' of just £10, 000 in ten years), later turning out for Blackpool and finally Stockport as player/manager. His son Nicky followed in his footsteps at both Swindon and City to complete three generations of footballers who'd played professionally in England. In later years Summerbee senior could still be seen regularly at Maine Road, working on the corporate side, as well as running the successful custom-shirt business he established during his playing days. Along with his son Nicky, he also opened a pub literally across the road from the Commonwealth Stadium in readiness for City's move there in time for the 2003/04 season. (Ian Penney - author of The Legends of Manchester City)


He then joined Burnley for whom he played 51 League games.


                               Mike Summerbee's International career for England.

Mike Summerbee was an exciting, eternally positive winger in the flamboyant Manchester City side (he is pictured above playing for City) which won all the domestic honours available, plus a European trophy, in four consecutive years, yet when it came to convincing Alf Ramsey of his international credentials, he had a harder job. As a traditional winger, Summerbee played in a role which Ramsey didn't trust and therefore only got experimental selections over a five year period. He debuted in a 1-1 draw with Scotland in the 1968 Home Internationals, stuck around for the European Nations quarter-final first leg win in Spain, but then didn't feature in the finals in Italy which England departed in the semi-finals. Ramsey clearly saw something he didn't like, as Summerbee didn't return to the international fold for a whole three years, when he scored England's goal in a European Championship qualifier against Switzerland at Wembley, which ended 1-1. Three consecutive caps came in 1972, including the exit from the European Championships against West Germany in Berlin and the opening brace of Home International games - a 3-0 defeat of Wales and a rotten 1-0 reversal to Northern Ireland at Wembley. Ramsey's on-off relationship with the role of natural winger stunted many others in Summerbee's position, and only one more cap would come his way, in a friendly against the USSR in Moscow in June 1973, before the curtain came down. Another manager may have made a player of Mike's type a regular for ten years, but Ramsey simply didn't operate that way. (Matthew Rudd)