City Blogger: Who's the best in Blue?
- 28 January 2014 10:04
- Posted by @djwskyblu
In our latest blog entry, David Walker - the man behind the Read But Never Red blog asks - who is the best player to ever represent City?
It’s not a question often asked in times of adversity, which might explain why it didn’t figure in too many City-based conversations for nigh on 35 years!
Success changes everything and the temptation now is to compare and contrast the present with the past, to try determining which individual is deserving of such an all encompassing accolade.
The topic oozes subjectivity and there isn’t a cat in hell’s chance there would ever be universal agreement. Intangibles abound – for a start what constitutes ‘best’?
Is it the most:
- amount of medals/titles/cups won
- number of goals scored
- appearances made
- influential on performances/results
- popular with the fans
What criteria do you apply?
As things stand Manuel Pellegrini’s team is in the unprecedented position of still chasing a quadruple of the highest club honours on offer to an English team.
At the risk of tempting fate, 2013/14 could conceivably be the greatest season in the history of Manchester City. It could, of course, go horribly pear-shaped, but let’s banish any negativity at this stage.
Being of a certain age, I cannot vouch for the claims of ‘City greats’ of long ago, players such as Peter Doherty, a title winner with City in 1937 – who scored 81 goals in 133 appearances – a man who, those that saw him, described as better than his Northern Irish countryman, George Best!
Frank Swift, Bert Trautmann and more latterly, Joe Corrigan, were three goalkeeping giants – literally and metaphorically – who some might favour, but it’s more likely to be a ‘flair’ player, an individual who was seen as a match winner as opposed to a match saver, high profile and big ‘box office’.
Obvious candidates spring to mind – Colin Bell, Francis Lee and Mike Summerbee from the dizzy heights of the late 60s and early 70’s – the club’s most successful period to date – under Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison.
Less conspicuous candidates could be Tony Book – the skipper of the team which won the League title, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners Cup between 1968 and 1970 - or his team mate, Mike Doyle, who bagged the same quartet of medals before going on to captain City’s 1976 League Cup winners.
Blue Blood Doyley remains City’s most ‘decorated’ medal winner to this day.
If ‘best’ is defined by technical skills, do the likes of Georgi Kinkladze and Rodney Marsh warrant a mention in dispatches?
Fast forward to City’s recent success and ongoing ‘purple patch’ and there’s no shortage of contenders, with Sergio Aguero, in only his third season in sky blue, an outstanding nomination.
That historic ‘Aguerrrroooo’ moment on May 13, 2012 gives him a massive advantage but his goals to games ratio, world class ability and overall contribution is unsurpassed. The beauty is that, with a fair wind, the best is still yet to come!
Sergio’s contemporaries David ‘Merlin’ Silva, Captain Fantastic Vincent Kompany and the Ivorian colossus of Yaya Toure have played, and continue to play vital roles in possibly surpassing the collective achievements of the Mercer-Allison era.
If the term ‘best’ is aligned to popularity, would ex-City skipper Richard Dunne be an outsider? Affectionately known as The ‘Dunney Monster’, the Irish centre back was City’s Player of the Year for four consecutive seasons between 2004-2008 – a feat never achieved prior to, or thereafter.
Were it not for a football tragedy, the name of one of the most likeable and gifted City players of all time – Paul Lake – would merit many a nomination. His career was cruelly cut short by injury.
The same is true of ‘Colin The King’ who, had it not been for a devastating knee injury, would have certainly been level pegging with Mike Doyle in the medal stakes.
Both would have claimed First Division winners medals in 1976 if Colin had been around to help thwart the challenge of Bob Paisley’s great Liverpool side.
The Merseysiders edged it by a point. A fit Colin Bell was worth at least 10 extra points to City and they’d have won at a canter, rather like the champion racehorse, Nijinsky, from which Bell derived his nickname.
As things stand Colin Bell gets my vote as the Best City player to date.
However, with potential quadruples, trebles, doubles or even single trophy hauls on the radar now and in seasons to come, that could easily change if Aguero, Silva, Yaya, Kompany & Co accelerate City’s rate of collecting of silverware.
So, who’s your nomination as City’s finest, the player who wore the sky blue – or green if you’re opting for a goalkeeper - with the most distinction?
City take on Sunderland in the Premier League on Wednesday 12 February in what will be a dress rehearsal for the Capital One Cup Final in March.
Can the Blues avenge the Stadium of Light defeat earlier this season? A night match under the lights at the Etihad and a preview of the forthcoming final - demand is expected to be high as Manuel Pellegrini's side attempt to continue their incredible run.
Don't miss out - ticket details here.