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Season 2013/14

City Blogger: Mike Devlin

  • 05 September 2013 15:01
  • Posted by @bluewolf1894

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 Mike Devlin - a born and bred Manc now residing in Germany...

Agüero, Negredo, Jovetić, Džeko. If the media are to be believed, right there is £100m of talent. Already, since signing, this quartet have had their hands in a number of goals. "Buying success" is a call we, as City fans, hear too often of late. This accusation has to be put to bed once and for all.


Manchester City have spent big before. Although, sadly, not always for the better.

We can’t include the £55,000 spent on Denis Law, not because he was worth it and an excellent footballer, but because within twelve months the club had not only made their money back, but had doubled it, however, we can mention Billy Spurdle.

The country may have been in tatters due to WW2, with rationing still in effect, but that didn’t stop the club forking out a staggering £12,000 for the winger in 1949. Unfortunately it didn’t prevent City being relegated during his first season.

How about, Harry Taylor? In 1912, City paid Port Vale £300 only one month after they had bought him for just £30; he had never featured once for Vale. Two years later WW1 broke out and he was never seen in a blue shirt again. Also worth noting is that literally weeks before the Great War started, City paid an additional £4,280 on Horace Barnes and Tommy Browell. Great timing.

Going back to WW2 and the Board again not paying attention to what was going on in the World, Albert Emptage, Eric Westwood, Les McDowell, Bert Sproston, Billy Walsh, and George Smith were all brought to the club only for The War To End All Wars being superseded by an even bigger one; at least the £7,000 Les McDowell helped us win the FA Cup later on. Cheers, Les.

Steve Daley – the biggest transfer fee ever paid in the UK, in 1979 – was a disaster so huge he left City to go play football in the USA. This was akin to going to Scotland to play baseball.

There was also Trevor “we really can’t afford £1.2m” Francis; he couldn’t stop the club falling back into Division Two and then quickly left for Sampdoria for just £700,000 twelve months later. This did not stop many a City fan wanting him back when we had even less money.

Fast forwarding to the 21st century brings us face-to-face with, £1.5m Christian Negouai. Yes, he of  ‘three years and a mere handful of games’ and ‘punching the ball into the back of the net’ fame.

Jo signs 0809

Even more recently, we had Jô. At a cost of £19m. Divide all the goals he scored by the amount paid, and it comes to precisely £19m per goal. It was an important goal to be fair as beating Portsmouth only 5-0 simply wouldn’t have been good enough.

However, what does need to be noted is that Manchester City have completed many fantastic transfers into the club, that were either free or as close to being free that the cost was negligible; Andy Morrison, Ali Benarbia, Max Woosnam, Shaun Goater, Joe Hart, Neil McNab, Billy Meredith, Tommy Johnson, and Bert Trautmann to name just a select few. More recently, whilst £6m cannot be described as “being free”, Vincent Kompany, and Pablo Zabaleta can certainly both be described as “absolute bargains”.


So the next time you hear the cry of “buying success”, you can expertly explain that Manchester City have, on occasion, tried that already, it’s just that due to one thing or another they’ve not been particularly good at it.


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