Tommy Wright

Here’s a profile of goalkeeper Tommy Wright who made his Manchester City debut on this day (18 January) in 1997. Enjoy….

Northern Ireland international Tommy Wright joined City from Nottingham Forest on loan in January 1997 and despite being cup-tied and missing out on his new club’s 1997 FA Cup run (City reached the fifth round, losing controversially to Middlesbrough), Tommy made a terrific impression on the fans at Maine Road and finally signed a permanent deal in March 1997.  The Blues had endured a managerial merry-go-round during the early part of the season with four men taking charge of first team games before the arrival of Frank Clark as manager on 30th December 1996.  With injury to Immel both Andy Dibble and Martyn Margetson had played but Clark felt he needed to bring in more experience, especially as naming a goalkeeper as substitute meant that a bigger pool of players was needed than a decade earlier.

Wright made his debut on 18 January 1997 as City drew 1-1 with Huddersfield in Division One and made a total of 13 League games that season.  It would have been more but a leg injury caused him to miss the final six games of the campaign and the start of the 1997-98 season – he suffered a torn quadriceps muscle during the club’s close-season tour to Scotland.  Nevertheless, when fitness returned Clark made sure Wright knew that he was the manager’s first choice and the ‘keeper made 18 appearances in 1997-98.  Clark was dismissed in February and less than a month after the arrival of Joe Royle the new manager replaced Wright with Margetson.

The following season Nicky Weaver became City’s first choice with Wright helping the young ‘keeper develop.  Wright went on loan to Newcastle and Wrexham, making a total of 19 appearances, in 1999 and then in January 2001 he went to Bolton where he made four League appearances.

Appearances:  League: 33 FAC: 2 League Cup: 1

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Stan Bowles

On this day (24 December) in 1948 the great maverick Mancunian footballer Stan Bowles was born. Here’s a profile of him…

Bowles joined City as an amateur on 27 July 1965, becoming an apprentice on 1 October 1965 and then professional on 29 December 1966.

Then in 1967 things really began to happen and Bowles’ first game was as a substitute in a League Cup tie at home to Leicester City. He scored two goals in the second half and the following Saturday he made his League debut another memorable one. He scored two again!

Lots of stories have circulated over the years about his time at City. Like Mario Balotelli many years later some are truthful; others are exaggerations and some are completely make up.

The stories go that Bowles once missed a flight to Amsterdam where City were to play against Ajax, and that Bowles’ interest in the horses led to Joe Mercer saying: ‘If Stan could pass a betting shop like he can pass a ball, he’d be a world beater.’ Suspensions and other issues led to Stan refusing to sign a new contract and he asked to leave. That in itself led to him being suspended for 14 days on the advice of the Football League.

Inevitably Bowles moved on, first to Bury (July 1970) and then to Crewe (September 1970).

A spell at Carlisle followed and then in September 1972 a bid of £110,000 took him to Loftus Road where he won five England caps as a QPR player.

Seven years later Nottingham Forest’s Brian Clough bought him for £210,000 but sold him again less than a year later after further issues. Further spells were reported at Orient, Brentford, Hounslow and Epping.

In 2015 it was announced he was suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease, like his former boss Joe Mercer.

At City Bowles made a total of 20 first team appearances, scoring 4 goals, but he remains recognised as a hugely talented player.

There are articles on this site mentioning Bowles. Here’s a selection:


Back in 2010 one of my interviews with Ian Bowyer was published. Bowyer won European trophies at both Manchester City and Nottingham Forest. The interview ended with Bowyer talking about modern day football (this was 2010 before City rediscovered their trophy winning ways) and he commented: ‘Can I add that I really want to see City re-establish themselves as a successful side? I know what this Club can achieve and I hope success – real success – comes soon.’  Subscribers can now read this 3,000 word article here as it was first published:

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Forest Defeated

On this day (8 October) in 1975 I celebrated my birthday by watching Manchester City defeat Nottingham Forest 2-1 with goals from Colin Bell and Joe Royle in the 3rd round of the successful League Cup campaign. Pre-match Forest manager Brian Clough told the press:  ‘I was praying Manchester City would beat Norwich [in the previous round] because I wanted to play the best. City are one of the most entertaining and talented sides in the First Division at home.  We have no serious thoughts of shocking City but we hope to give a good account of ourselves against a side that is potentially one of the best in the land.’ He added:

‘When I last came to Maine Road it was with Leeds United and we lost 2-1.  If we keep the score down to 2-1 tonight then I think we’ll show the strides that Nottingham Forest have taken.’

Clough, one of football’s most knowledgeable men, predicted the score accurately with goals from Bell and Royle helping City achieve the 2-1 result.  That win put City into the fourth round and set Manchester up for a League Cup derby match for the second successive year.

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Brian Clough’s Last

On this day (27th February) in 1993 Manchester City defeated Nottingham Forest 2-0 at the City Ground in the Premier League.  The scorers were David White and Garry Flitcroft.  The win in this first Premier League season was important to City of course but this game was also the last time Brian Clough managed a side against City.  

Look carefully at the above photo – clearly that’s David White, but look at the Forest player to the left of the image. Yes, it’s Roy Keane.

I did the last recorded interview with Peter Swales back in 1995-96 and I asked him about Brian Clough and the England job. Swales had been the boss of the FA Selection Committee for many years and Clough never seemed to be given the chance to manage England. Swales responded to my question about Clough by saying words to the effect of ‘We could’ve had Cloughie at England – and at City – bit he’d have wanted to run the whole thing. And that was my job.’

In the interview Swales explained that Clough had wanted the City job in 1983 (when Billy McNeill was appointed).

Historic Name That Ground – Week 25 Answer

On Monday I asked you to identify this ground. The clues I gave were: ‘This image is from before the Second World War. The ground is still in use and has hosted Premier League football. A couple of other clues… Believe it or not there is a river behind the stand on the left. Also, although almost everything in the photo has changed the building at the bottom of the image is, as far as I’m aware, still standing (or at least I’ve seen it on a similar aerial photo from about 7 years ago). That building has been remodelled somewhat though!’ The answer is…

Nottingham Forest’s City Ground. Search for aerial photos of the ground and you’ll see the building still standing at the bottom of the image.

Next ground on Monday.

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