Book: Man City can emulate 1968 glory

MANCHESTER - Manchester City's 43-year wait for the league crown could soon be over with the modern-day team starting to look like the one from their golden era, said the club's last title-winning captain Tony Book.

City's most successful skipper, who also managed the club after his retirement in 1974, told Reuters the Premier League race could mirror the battle between City and Manchester United that went down to the final day of the season in 1968.

"The squad they have got together now looks as though it could go all the way to win titles and trophies," Book said in an interview on Tuesday.

While the team play in a different formation to the 4-4-2 set-up that defender Book featured in on his way to the 1967-68 championship, the 1969 FA Cup and the 1970 European Cup Winners' Cup, there are similarities.

"Carlos Tevez reminds me a lot of Francis Lee because Francis was the same type of build and had a lot of strength and got a lot of goals," the 76-year-old Book said of his former team-mate who scored 112 goals for City.

"Having brought in another striker in this (transfer) window I think that's going to be a big help to him, to have Edin Dzeko playing as a target-man and him playing off him.

"(David) Silva looks a very talented player, there is quality all over the team. The goalkeeper (Joe Hart) looks something special. The team looks strong."

With Roberto Mancini's City level on points with league leaders United, albeit having played two games more, the title run-in promises to be as intriguing as the one Book won in his heyday.

"We had to go to Newcastle and win the last game of the season and United were at home to Sunderland," he recalled.

"They couldn't win it if we won at Newcastle which we went and did and they actually lost to Sunderland on the same day. I honestly believe it could go that close again this time."


City have the fact they have become the world's richest club to thank for their ability to attract quality players but Book said money could not buy the club success.

If they do win their third league title, after 1937 and 1968, Book does not believe it will just be about the money.

"The money thing is very useful when you want to go out and get a special player that you need but no, it's got to be the coach and the players that come together and do it for each other and for the club," he said.

"That's what is coming together."

Despite the obvious change in the wealth of the players now compared to his day, Book did not feel any envy.

"My story was a little bit different to most because I didn't come into the game until I was 28," said Book who made nearly 400 appearances for minor league Bath City.

He also worked as a bricklayer and did national service before becoming a professional footballer with Plymouth Argyle in 1964.

"I've always gone along the lines that it's just progress really, I remember when before my days, with the likes of Nat Lofthouse or Stanley Matthews - there were some great players in those days but they earned nothing.

"We came into it just a little