City’s history via 16 players

I’m always keen to find links between today’s Manchester City and the key players of the past and so I set myself the task of trying to find connections from the club’s first competitive game in 1890 through to the Premier League successes of today.

The idea was to see how few players I could find to form a chain through the decades.  Subscribers can read the result of my efforts below:

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The Player of the Year Awards

This season has seen Manchester City players win several prominent player of the year awards with Kevin De Bruyne winning the PFA player of the year award; Phil Foden the PFA young player of the year and Lauren Hemp won the women’s PFA young player of the year award. There was also Ruben Dias won the FWA footballer of the year award and the Premier League player of the year award.

This is an incredible array of awards. The following subscriber post details all the Manchester City winners of these awards since their formation:

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2021 Champions League Final

On Saturday May 29 2021 I attended the Champions League final in Porto. Despite the result (a 1-0 victory by Chelsea) it was a wonderful experience and so I’ve decided to post here my story of the weekend. I know every one of us who attended had a different experience but I hope this gives those who were unfortunately not able to be there a taste of what the trip was like. 

If you did attend and would like to talk about your experiences then please post them as comments to this piece or participate in the City Voices project and submit your memories. See this page for details:

Porto 2021 was always going to be a historical moment in the history of Manchester City but, because of Covid and the worldwide situation, it was one of the most challenging finals to stage, participate in and attend. All of us who travelled to Porto had to have numerous covid tests (and I have seen on the Bluemoon forum that some fans on various official and unofficial flights have received news that they need to isolate– I feel for anyone on there in this situation).

Fans travelling on the official day trip were told that if they took a Covid PCR test after 1pm on Thursday that should see them through for the journey out, stadium entry and return journey as a test had to be performed for each of these within 72 hours. I was flying out on Friday and returning on Sunday so initially I arranged for my PCR test to occur after 1pm with a company called Dam. At the time of booking they guaranteed that the result would be with me before midnight on the day of the test so that seemed fine but then, on the Bluemoon forum, fans were talking about a change in Dam’s level of service which meant results were no longer guaranteed that same day. Instead 24 hours was being stated by Dam, though when I discussed this with their helpline even the 24 hours could not be guaranteed. Panic followed!

I eventually moved my test to Wednesday afternoon and booked another via the Official Supporters Club offer with Blindspot which I intended dropping off at Bar Pop on Friday morning on my way to Manchester airport.

The Dam test came back on Thursday, meaning I could fly out, and I dropped off the second test at Bar Pop on my way to the airport. There were a few issues at Dam with the booking but eventually everything was sorted. The Supporters Club/Blindspot test and drop off went really well (though the Day 2 return test result has still not arrived – we’re on Day 5 at the moment) and I am grateful to those involved for sorting this all out. You did an excellent job at short notice and in a pressured environment. Thanks.

After leaving Bar Pop I travelled to the airport, making a detour to take a look at Maine Road and surrounding areas. Somehow it seemed appropriate that this journey to the most significant European final the club has ever been involved with should include a brief look at the site of so many wonderful moments over the decades. I saw my first European match at Maine Road (which also staged the first European Cup game ever played in England as well!) in the early 70s.

At the airport everything went smoothly and I was delighted when I realised that I would be flying out on the Etihad Manchester City plane. I had received an invitation from the club (for which I will be eternally grateful and I know how lucky I am) and to experience that flight, while seeking to chronicle this landmark historical moment, added enormously to the occasion. Thanks to those involved (you know who you are. Thanks).

The Manchester City Etihad plane

The flight included several former players, officials and key figures in the club’s development. Knowing City’s history, personalities, and key moments I recognise that it was no mean feat to have some of these on the same flight. It was remarkable that City remembered and acknowledged the contribution made by these people, which included Chris Bird, Garry Cook, Paul Dickov, Brian Horton, Francis Lee, Andy Morrison, Ian Niven, Dennis Tueart and Alex Williams. Others, including Pablo Zabaleta joined the group in Porto and stayed at the same hotel.

Once in Porto it was great to see so many City fans in and around the city, especially the historic area near the river. Over the weekend I bumped into several friends and faces from my City-supporting life including Jon Bell (Colin’s son), Howard Burr (and other Reddish Blues), Geoff Homer, Will Perry, John Stapleton, Kate Themen (one of the original Manchester City Women/Ladies players who played with my wife back in the late 80s and she was a drummer with The Fall), Dave Wallace, Steve Welch and of course lots of City staff.

On Friday night I was invited to a club event which saw most of the official party board boats at the riverside for a cruise. We had to walk through many crowds of Blues to board the boats and it was great to see and hear fans bursting into song whenever they saw Morrison, Dickov, Zabaleta and other members of the group.

The boats then dropped us off at a venue where City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak made a brilliant, heartfelt speech about his journey with Manchester City, recalling the moment he was asked by HH Sheikh Mansour to become chairman and his first day in Manchester when he was taken to Carrington, Platt Lane and the stadium. He talked with real passion for the club, its people and the fans. He recognised the history of the club and the journey that we’ve been on paying particular attention to some of the people who had helped along the way, including many of the officials and former officials in the room, as well as fans of course.

There was also a speech by CEO Ferran Soriano about the development of the City Football Group and a video was played about the Champions League journey over the last decade. 

DJ Yoda put together an excellent mix of City related music, videos etc. including the recent footage of Pep and his cigar (if you don’t know what I mean do a few internet searches, it will soon appear). It was a definite highlight and something that added a bit of humour to the event too.

Saturday was of course match day. I spent some time in the City Fanzone, where I chatted to a few longstanding Blues I know, but also time around the city. Close to the bars at the historic centre there was a small group of local musicians going around playing City chants/songs such as ‘Singing the Blues’ and Blue Moon. Fans were joining in and it seemed quite bizarre hearing these musicians belt out most of the words to ‘Singing the Blues’, hoping to engage a few fans. A little later, as I wandered further down the river I spotted the same musicians doing similar with Chelsea chants/songs – you’ve got to admire their entrepreneurial skills! I can imagine them on the night the final was moved to Porto rushing to the internet to seek out MCFC & CFC songs. They must have made a few Euros from us all. 


The entire atmosphere, as far as I could see and experienced, was positive with City and Chelsea fans enjoying being there. Personally, this was my first trip outside of England and Wales since November 2019 (when I talked at a film festival in St Gallen about the Bert Trautmann film I was a consultant on and then met up with a few Blues in Zurich). It was great to be outside of the UK and wonderful to finally get to see other human beings and to share an experience with fellow City fans. 

I loved the way former players like Paul Dickov, Andy Morrison, Pablo Zabaleta and Shay Given were spotted by fans who, without fail, would burst into a chant or song about them. Some were mobbed too of course. At one point, I saw a group of fans opposite our hotel do an impromptu Poznan which I know was loved by the former players and staff who saw it.

Porto seemed like a fairly normal environment. Obviously, like all those attending I tried to ensure I kept to the usual social distancing rules and wore my face mask etc. but this was not always possible, especially when queuing to get into the stadium. I know others were on crowded buses too.

In comparison with the League Cup final at Wembley, it did feel as if UEFA had picked the wrong stadium. Looking around the venue it also made me realise how fantastic the Etihad Stadium is. We take it for granted but our facilities are considerably better than the majority of venues. 

If we consider all the extra requirements placed on fans then UEFA definitely picked the wrong stadium and it seems so obvious, particularly with some of the stories coming from Chelsea and City fans about being told to isolate on their return, that the final should have been held in the UK.

The decision to stage the game at Porto was made exceptionally late and, because of this, both clubs were unable to prepare in the way they would have liked. I am aware from City personnel of the short notice they received about tickets, travel and so many other logistical areas. I can only admire the work they have done and the efforts they made to ensure they could get fans to the final and back again. Inevitably, there will be some who had issues (I’m aware of the delays to flight 12 which, from what I hear, has created a sort of Dunkirk spirit amongst those involved) but I do think the ordinary staff and management at City deserve praise for all they did.

As I arrived at the stadium on the coach, which had been delayed due to a traffic accident, we saw Jeremy Clarkson rushing down towards the turnstiles. 

Security seemed tight and men and women were separated into different queues with somewhat zealous security types objecting to many, many items. Inflatable bananas, lipsticks, perfumes and many other items were cast aside before intrusive searches were performed (it reminded me of Leeds away back in 1983!). After security we got into the ground with about fifteen minutes to spare.

The Marshmello video was shown; the UEFA anthem was played (City fans started booing it and the volume seemed to be turned up to drown out the booing!); fireworks went off and then we were ready.

The game itself… Ah, I think we all know how we feel about that. I was on a coach going to the ground, close to a couple of former players when the team news came through. I read it out to those around me and one of the former players immediately asked about Fernandinho. He described how things would go and predicted the result immediately. Sad to say, he called it spot on. He wasn’t the only one of course. 

The segregation in some areas of the ground seemed somewhat questionable. I was in level one on the side opposite the tunnel, close to the corner. On both sides at that level there seemed to be alternate Chelsea then City blocks. The block I was in was close to the main Chelsea end (to our right as we looked at the pitch) and there was another Chelseablock to our left. The same seemed to occur in the opposite stand. Why UEFA did this I don’t know but common sensewould say that these blocks should’ve had all Chelsea closest to Chelsea fans and all City closest to City fans with genuine neutral blocks in the middle (like Wembley does for major finals).

There were no major issues where I sat but we did feel somewhat drowned out by celebrating Chelsea fans from the moment the goal was scored.

At the end of the game Fernandinho came over to the section I was in; climbed over the barriers and hugged his son. Understandably, they were both emotional and the sight of a player searching for his son so that he could comfort him really got to me. As a parent seeing your child upset is one of the hardest things to experience and I loved how in this moment Fernandinho was not a footballer, he was a dad. Other players, including Ederson and Kyle Walker also came over to console family members.

I think we all saw how emotional our team was, especially Sergio. Like all fans I wish his City journey had ended with Champions League success.

As soon as it seemed right I left the stadium, went to my coach and waited to travel back to the city centre. I was invited back to a post-game event where the mood was understandably and appropriately muted. Wingman (Nigel Clucas), who had worked hard in the fanzone earlier in the day, got the mood spot on by playing The Smiths ‘Heaven knows I’m Miserable Now’; The Cure ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ and similar songs. Wingman did an excellent job that day and must have been exhausted.




The next morning we boarded our coaches and headed back to the airport. Both check in and security were somewhat time-consuming but, to be fair, many staff at the airport had probably been overworked for much of the night.

Compared to Porto, security at Manchester airport seemed a doddle (so long as the correct documentation had been completed beforehand) and within minutes of arriving at security I was on my way home.

Since then I have performed my Day 2 covid test, as required, and sent that off. Now, on day 5, I am still waiting for the results. From many Blues I’ve heard from it does seem like this part of the process is failing and may be something the Government needs to address if they expect UK residents to do these tests when they return from holiday overseas over the coming months.

There’s been the news that Portugal has now been removed from the UK Government’s green list. The cynic would say that the decision to stage the final in Porto influenced the decision to make Portugal a green list country in the first place. For me I don’t know what political decisions have been made and how they’ve been influenced but it does seem somewhat odd. Of course, we all know that logically a final between two English clubs which would see in excess of 12,000 travelling from the UK in the middle of a pandemic should have been staged in the UK. UEFA can say all it wants about fans being at the heart of the game but the bottom line was that the final was staged outside of the UK for the benefit of UEFA officials, sponsors and their friends. If they really wanted to help fans it would have been staged in the UK.

Ah well… Politics, hey?

So Chelsea won the trophy and while the result was a painful one for City fans it must be stressed that Chelsea are one of Europe’s elite and have now won more European trophies than Manchester United. In fact they are the second most successful British club in Europe after Liverpool and, like City, they won a major European trophy BEFORE Liverpool, Juventus and many other clubs. Chelsea’s fans, like City, have seen some dark days (most notably in the 80s) and we should all remember that their development, since the investment, is a few years ahead of City’s. If their achievements in Europe are an indicator of progress then clearly City are not too far behind.

Finally, I know this has been a lengthy piece but I just wanted to throw a few thoughts, memories and comments down. If you’re one of the people who managed to get to Porto I hope you managed to enjoy it despite the result. I was extremely fortunate this year (this is the first time I have ever been a guest of any football club for an away fixture and I know how lucky I was – I will never forget it).

Here’s to the next major final featuring Manchester City who, let’s face it, have won more trophies in 2020-21 than any other English club and have been incredible champions. It could be argued that the ONLY club that stopped them from winning all four major trophies was Chelsea (though Leicester may have in the FA Cup final of course) and they are the European champions.

The Noel Gallagher interview Part five

Last Thursday (May 20) I interviewed Noel Gallagher about his support of Manchester City. Here is the final part of the interview. This clip lasts about 17 minutes. Noel was supposed to give me about 30 minutes at best but ended up giving me over one hour of his time. It meant a lot.

Here’s the final part where we discuss Guardiola – that’s the ‘he’ or ‘him’ he refers to. In Noel’s studio there is a cut off of Pep and every time Noel says something like ‘that’s down to him’ or ‘he did that’ he pointed to the cut out. Pep seemed to be in the room with us.

If you’ve missed the earlier sections then please use the Noel Gallagher tag below or search his name. There are also audio recordings of some of my previous interviews, such as with Malcolm Allison, subscribers can access.

As I mentioned previously… when two Mancs of a similar age get together to chat about City, particularly when thinking about the 80s and 90s, there can be a lot of, shall we say, ‘industrial language’. As I know there are some younger listeners to my interviews I have tried to edit out certain words but, of course, a few may have slipped through. Apologies if they have and you don’t like them.


Thanks to Noel and the staff at his studios & office for making this happen.

The Best of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds is released on June 11. Details here: https://nghfb10.noelgallagher.com

Subscribe to get full access to GJFootballArchive.com

Fancy subscribing to my website? Subscribers get access to all the 350+ articles, interviews etc. that have been posted so far on my site and all those posted during your subscription period. It costs £20 a year (works out about £1.67 a month) or £3 a month if subscribing a month at a time. Whichever method you choose you access everything in the archive and posted during your subscription.

The Noel Gallagher interview Part four

Last Thursday (May 20) I interviewed Noel Gallagher about his support of Manchester City, the Champions League and more. Here is the second part of the interview. This clip lasts about 10 minutes.

As I mentioned yesterday… when two Mancs of a similar age get together to chat about City, particularly when thinking about the 80s and 90s, there can be a lot of, shall we say, ‘industrial language’. As I know there are some younger listeners to my interviews I have tried to edit out certain words but, of course, a few may have slipped through. Apologies if they have and you don’t like them.

Anyway, here’s part four where we discuss fans, Sergio, Balotelli and Wembley 2011. This will run for five days with a section added each day.


Thanks to Noel and the staff at his studios & office for making this happen.

Watch this space for the rest of the interview over the next few days. The interview will be free to listen to. Use the Noel Gallagher tag to find all sections posted so far.

The Best of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds is released on June 11. Details here: https://nghfb10.noelgallagher.com

Subscribe to get full access to GJFootballArchive.com

Fancy subscribing to my website? Subscribers get access to all the 350+ articles, interviews etc. that have been posted so far on my site and all those posted during your subscription period. It costs £20 a year (works out about £1.67 a month) or £3 a month if subscribing a month at a time. Whichever method you choose you access everything in the archive and posted during your subscription.

The Noel Gallagher interview Part three

Last Thursday (May 20) I interviewed Noel Gallagher about his support of Manchester City, the Champions League and more. Here is the second part of the interview. This clip lasts about 15 minutes.

In part three we discuss Garry Cook (that’s the Garry we refer to at the start of this), both of us (separately) meeting Khaldoon, earning the Champions League, earning success/buying success, opening up the Premier League, Oasis influencing support in the 90s, a Zurich based Oasis influenced band called Mania and inflatable bananas. This will run for five days with a section added each day.

https://gjfootballarchive.files.wordpress.com/2021/05/noel-gallagher-part-3.mp3

Thanks to Noel and the staff at his studios & office for making this happen.

As I mentioned previously… when two Mancs of a similar age get together to chat about City, particularly when thinking about the 80s and 90s, there can be a lot of, shall we say, ‘industrial language’. As I know there are some younger listeners to my interviews I have tried to edit out certain words but, of course, a few may have slipped through. Apologies if they have and you don’t like them.

Watch this space for the rest of the interview over the next few days. The interview will be free to listen to. Use the Noel Gallagher tag to find all sections posted so far.

The Best of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds is released on June 11. Details here: https://nghfb10.noelgallagher.com

Subscribe to get full access to GJFootballArchive.com

Fancy subscribing to my website? Subscribers get access to all the 350+ articles, interviews etc. that have been posted so far on my site and all those posted during your subscription period. It costs £20 a year (works out about £1.67 a month) or £3 a month if subscribing a month at a time. Whichever method you choose you access everything in the archive and posted during your subscription.

The Noel Gallagher interview Part two

Last Thursday (May 20) I interviewed Noel Gallagher about his support of Manchester City, the Champions League and more. Here is the second part of the interview. This clip lasts about 10 minutes.

As I mentioned yesterday… when two Mancs of a similar age get together to chat about City, particularly when thinking about the 80s and 90s, there can be a lot of, shall we say, ‘industrial language’. As I know there are some younger listeners to my interviews I have tried to edit out certain words but, of course, a few may have slipped through. Apologies if they have and you don’t like them.

Anyway, here’s part two where we discuss frustrating cup runs, City’s owners, jealousy, the quality of Guardiola’s team, that banner, the day the takeover happened in 2008, Garry Cook and both of us (separately) meeting Khaldoon for the first time. This will run for five days with a section added each day.


Thanks to Noel and the staff at his studios & office for making this happen.

Watch this space for the rest of the interview over the next few days. The interview will be free to listen to. Use the Noel Gallagher tag to find all sections posted so far.

The Best of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds is released on June 11. Details here: https://nghfb10.noelgallagher.com

Subscribe to get full access to GJFootballArchive.com

Fancy subscribing to my website? Subscribers get access to all the 350+ articles, interviews etc. that have been posted so far on my site and all those posted during your subscription period. It costs £20 a year (works out about £1.67 a month) or £3 a month if subscribing a month at a time. Whichever method you choose you access everything in the archive and posted during your subscription.

Pep Guardiola wins LMA Manager of the Year award

Latest press release from Manchester City…

Pep Guardiola wins LMA Manager of the Year award
• Pep Guardiola has been named LMA Manager of the Year for the second time in four seasons
• Guardiola’s team has already completed a League and Cup double and now have their sights set on Saturday’s Champions League final
• The Catalan manager acknowledged the importance of sharing his award with the players and staff who have guided City to success this season
Pep Guardiola has been named Manager of the Year by the League Manager’s Association.


Adapting to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Guardiola guided Manchester City to a third Premier League title in four seasons and a fourth consecutive League Cup.


On Saturday, Guardiola and his players will compete in a first Champions League final in the Club’s history.


Voted for by fellow managers, it is the second time the City boss has been awarded the prize, having previously done so in recognition of the 2017/18 Centurions season.


Pep Guardiola: “I am delighted to win this award for the second time, but an award like this is only possible if a manager is surrounded by top professionals.


“My players have been fantastic – their dedication and professionalism never waver, even in a season that has been the most challenging we have ever faced.


“And my staff are also deserving of the highest praise. I am so lucky to have a team of people who give everything they have every single day to make sure Manchester City are the best we can be.


“This award is dedicated to and shared with them.”


Director of Football Txiki Begiristain added: “Pep deserves this award, absolutely. To win the Premier League and Carabao Cup, as well as reach the final Champions League final, in the most trying season we’ve ever seen, says everything about his quality as a manager.


“He has shown an outstanding ability to constantly innovate. With the challenges presented by COVID-19, he’s had to adapt to a new way of working. He’s done it brilliantly and our results say everything you need to know.

The Noel Gallagher interview Part one

Last Thursday (May 20) I interviewed Noel Gallagher about his support of Manchester City, the Champions League and more. Here is the first part of the interview. This clip lasts about 15 minutes.

Obviously, when two Mancs of a similar age get together to chat about City, particularly when thinking about the 80s and 90s, there can be a lot of, shall we say, ‘industrial language’. As I know there are some younger listeners to my interviews I have tried to edit out certain words but, of course, a few may have slipped through. Apologies if they have and you don’t like them.

Anyway, here’s part one. This will run for five days with a section added each day.


Thanks to Noel and the staff at his studios & office for making this happen.

Watch this space for the rest of the interview over the next few days. The interview will be free to listen to.

The Best of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds is released on June 11. Details here: https://nghfb10.noelgallagher.com

Subscribe to get full access to GJFootballArchive.com

Fancy subscribing to my website? Subscribers get access to all the 350+ articles, interviews etc. that have been posted so far on my site and all those posted during your subscription period. It costs £20 a year (works out about £1.67 a month) or £3 a month if subscribing a month at a time. Whichever method you choose you access everything in the archive and posted during your subscription.

Starting tomorrow: the Noel Gallagher interview

Last week (May 20) I interviewed Noel Gallagher about his support of Manchester City, the Champions League and more. I’ll be posting it here a section at a time over the next few days, with the first 15 minutes posted tomorrow.

Thanks to Noel and the staff at his studios & office for making this happen.

Watch this space for the interview over the next few days. The interview will be free to listen to.

Subscribe to get access

Fancy subscribing to my website? Subscribers get access to all the 350+ articles, interviews etc. that have been posted so far on my site and all those posted during your subscription period. It costs £20 a year (works out about £1.67 a month) or £3 a month if subscribing a month at a time. Whichever method you choose you access everything in the archive and posted during your subscription.