City Blogger: Sky Blue heroes and villains
- 08 October 2013 09:54
- Posted by @djwskyblu
Following the recent announcement of the team of eight City Bloggers from around the world who will be writing for us this season, it's time for the next piece courtesy of David Walker - the man behind the excellent Read But Never Red blog.
Football is a game that provokes passionate debate, polarising opinions like no other sport.
Subjective, contentious, often viewed through blinkered eyes coloured by tribal allegiances, every football fan has a personal perspective on their team and those privileged enough to wear ‘the shirt’ – the genuine, sacred first team top – that most of us can only replicate from the club shop.
Some carry the shirt on their back with pride and distinction. Others cause outrage among fanatical supporters by dishonouring the badge via poor play, a lack of effort or the cardinal sin of disrespecting the institution that is THEIR club.
This is my take on the heroes and villains who have worn the Sky Blue of Manchester City FC.
Starting on the up escalator we’ll highlight the heroes, none more so than the present day talisman in City’s attack, a certain Sergio Aguero.
The Argentine pocket battleship will be revered until the end of time for his Agueerrooooo moment on the 13th May, 2012. Having followed my beloved City through thin, thin and anorexic times for more than 40 years, I can’t imagine anything surpassing THAT instance with 93 minutes and 20 seconds on the clock against QPR.
Typical City no more – we were the Champions of England after 44 years of pain, patience and chronic under achievement.
A year prior, Yaya Toure had confirmed his iconic status with two Wembley goals; the first to knock Manchester United out in the FA Cup semi final, the second to capture City’s first major trophy in 35 years, beating Stoke 1-0 in the Cup Final.
It was the old Wembley that saw Paul Dickov elevated to City legend status with a late late late equaliser that enabled Joe Royle’s side to claw their way back into the Second Division Play-Off Final against Gillingham.
‘Dicky’, like Sergio, gets all the plaudits, but had it not been for the likes of unsung heroes Kevin Horlock and Edin Dzeko scoring beforehand, it would have counted for nothing.
Similarly, Neil Young scorer of the FA Cup Final winner in 1969 – who also found the net in the 1970 European Cup Winners Cup win over Gornik Zabre – is overshadowed by the traditional trio of Colin Bell, Francis Lee and Mike Summerbee.
The quartet are all heroes for their invaluable contribution under Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison in the late 60s and early 70s.
Mike Doyle – like Neil Young, sadly no longer with us – was blue through and through and has hero status simply for his ability to wind up the red side of Manchester each and every derby day.
Of course there’s Bert Trautmann, Shaun Goater, Uwe Rosler, Ali Benarbia, the list goes on – every City fan will have their own favourites, but what of the villains, those who if not reviled, are certainly not revered.
Carlos Tevez splits opinion – both saint and sinner. A critical component in the glorious Mancini years, Carlitos ultimately redeemed himself after his infamous strop in Munich, before going on an elongated five month golfing break in Argentina.
Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman are in my rogue’s gallery. The former Liverpool ‘Spice Boys’ besmirched ‘the shirt’ through a perceived lack of effort on the pitch.
Their lacklustre, problem-plagued City stays were epitomised by Fowler’s claim when re-signing for Liverpool in January 2006, that he would try to get ‘fully fit’. Pity he didn’t make any such declaration during his 80 games and 20 goals for City, often looking sluggish and overweight.
Full backs Danny Mills and Ben Thatcher are in the Hall of Shame. Danny Boy is there because of his endless sniping and negativity towards City, in his present day role as a radio & TV ‘pundit’.
It’s his prerogative but it reeks of hypocrisy after taking top dollar wages with City, but making just 51 appearances and scoring a solitary goal during five long years.
As for Thatcher, his horrendous ‘assault’ on Portsmouth’s Pedro Mendes in August 2006 brought the club into disrepute. Leading with his elbow, Thatcher smashed the Portuguese playmaker into unconsciousness. Mendes required oxygen, suffered a seizure and was hospitalised.
And finally we have football’s self-appointed philosopher and tweeter extraordinaire – Joseph Anthony Barton – more infamous for his off the field antics and social media ‘observations’ than his on the field achievements.
Joey’s lowest of numerous low points, was when he pleaded guilty to inflicting actual bodily harm on team ‘mate’ Ousmane Dabo during a training session.
So, there you have my City heroes and villains – there are so many from which to choose. If given a blank canvas who would you have adorn your halls of fame and shame?
#ReadButNeverRed has been nominated in the Best Male Category in the Football Blogging Awards @THEFBAs