Guest blog: Trevor Francis
- 02 May 2013 09:16
- Posted by @dclayton_MCFC
He was Britain’s first million pound player and though he only played for City for one season, he left a lasting impression...
My move to City didn’t happen overnight, it seemed to go on for quite a while and I actually started the 1981/82 season as a Forest player.
I know the fans were 100% against me leaving and I probably didn’t help matters by scoring twice against Southampton in the opening Forest game, compounding the situation for the management team who wanted me to move on.
I was aware of City’s interest and knew they’d obviously just come off the back of losing the FA Cup final against Spurs.
There had been a windfall of money as a result and City had the funds to make the transfer happen and there was clearly a desire to strengthen what was already a good side so I could only see things getting better and better.
I was very surprised by the number of City supporters who had travelled to Stoke to watch my debut – 12,000 I’m told - and to this day, whenever I cover City matches in my capacity as commentator for Sky Sports, I always bump into someone who happened to be at that game – it seems that every Man City fan was at that game and that’s all people ever want to talk about.
As an example, one of my great passions in life is music and I was in London near Marylebone when I bumped into Noel Gallagher who I’d never met before – all I wanted to talk about was music and his career but all he wanted to do was talk about my City debut at Stoke! I was quite chuffed in all honesty!
I was only at Maine Road for a short period – much shorter than I would have liked – but I look back on that period with great affection.
As surprised as I was to have left Forest, I was equally surprised to leave City after just one year, too – or a bit less than that, even.
I’d set off for the World Cup in 1982 with England and wasn’t aware that I was being watched by Sampdoria. I went on holiday after we’d gone out of the competition and had no idea what was happening behind the scenes or that I was about to be invited to Italy for a possible transfer which eventually went through.
I was really happy at City because the club had such fantastic supporters who I loved playing front of. I didn’t have an injury free season and missed a lot of games, but I think my record of 14 goals in 29 games stands up pretty well and like to think I was good value during my time there.
In my capacity working for Sky, I always have a pass that allows me to go into the tunnel if I want to. Because I’m a former player and manager, I don’t particularly relish doing that and rarely take up the opportunity – but at City I always do.
On my last visit, Mike Summerbee was showing a few guests around and one of the lads who was with him wanted to shake my hand and have his picture taken with me. The first thing he mentioned was my debut at Stoke and the second was the goal against Wolves which put us top of the table in late December 1982!
It’s nice that I made such an impression during my time, even, as I say, it was briefer than I would have liked.
I always received a good reception when I returned to City and had mixed fortunes as a manager but I always look forward to my trips to the Etihad Stadium and to going back to a club I only have good memories of.