Welcome to the September edition of the City Magazine!

Our cover star is new signing Matheus Nunes, whose signing was confirmed a few hours before we went live, so we’ve cut this deadline fine to say the least.

Matheus speaks to the City Magazine about his life in Rio de Janeiro, street football and working in a Portuguese bakery as he made his way in football.

Grounded and determined to succeed with the Blues, he looks like being an excellent addition to our squad.

We also speak to tennis star and lifelong supporter Liam Broady, who reveals the lengths his older sister went to in order to make sure he followed the team she loved.

Long-time City columnist Kevin Cummins begins a new series in this issue with his A to Z feature tracking his music and football connections and everything in-between – where else could you find Nicolas Anelka, A Certain Ratio and Grace Jones in one place?

Staying with the music theme, we have a Q&A with another lifelong Blue, Cian Ciaran of Super Furry Animals spin-off Das Koolies who have released a new song that might just become a future Etihad anthem.

We’ve a Liam Gallagher competition for you, and Andy Morrison continues to predict our upcoming fixtures in ‘This Month’ – and you can check how he got on in August.

Meanwhile, returning loan stars Jess Park and Ruby Mace preview the new Manchester City Women campaign and reflect on their time away from the Academy Stadium.

All the above, plus Marc Riley’s Mixed Grill, Technical Area, So Solid Blue, our EDS and Under-18s interviews, Fantasy Premier League, and plenty more besides.

On with the show…

Matheus Nunes talks to the City Magazine about his childhood, life in Portugal and avoiding temptation at the bakery!

Matheus Nunes became City’s third high profile summer capture when he joined the Blues on transfer deadline day.

The 25-year-old, who began his professional career with Estoril before becoming a big crowd favourite at Sporting Lisbon, making 101 appearances during his time with the Portuguese giants.

He signed for Wolves in the summer of 2022, but the departures of Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez, plus Kevin De Bruyne’s lengthy absence with injury meant Pep Guardiola was keen to add to the Blues’ engine room.

Having already brought in Mateo Kovacic and Josko Gvardiol, the arrival of Nunes will add another dimension to the City midfield.

But his journey to playing for the Champions of Europe was not an easy one.

The Portuguese midfielder was born in Rio de Janeiro and like many youngsters, he had to fight his way to the top using football as his escape route.

The romantic notion of kids learning their skills on the back streets of one of the most colourful – but equally poverty stricken – cities in the world, is a familiar story for many Brazilian footballers who go on to make it in the game.

And for Nunes, the back streets of Rio were indeed where he learned his trade.

“That's all I did when I was a child,” smiled City’s new No.27.

“I kicked a ball as often as I could because it was a way for us to escape.

“My childhood was tough and for many children in Brazil, it can be tough because their family's don't have a lot of money.­

“So, as I say, for me and my brothers and friends, football was a possible way for us to escape.

“I'd play every day for as long as possible, sometimes in the street, sometimes on the field - or sometimes in the house, which would make my mum mad because I wasn't supposed to be there!

“This is the way it is in Brazil.”

But as time went on, Nunes and his family relocated to Portugal, where the climate and language were very familiar.

He split his time between school and playing football for various youth teams before he would be offered a choice – education or to follow his dream of becoming a professional footballer.

“I moved to Portugal when I was 12 which was very intense, because obviously there is a lot of passion for football there, too.," he continued.

“When I was 17, I failed my year at school and my mum told me I needed to choose between school and football, so I had to make a decision whether to drop school and start to work while I played football, or to stop playing football and just focus on school.

“I decided I wanted to leave school and play football, and my mum said if I was doing that, I needed to start working so I had my own money and take on some responsibilities as well.”

That decision would, of course, eventually pay off handsomely, but as the teenager tried for the life he had dreamed of, he also needed to earn his keep.

As a result, he would begin working at a bakery – not necessarily the ideal place for a young athlete to work given the produce he was selling!

“I started working at my godfather's bakery and I think I was there for six months,” he said.

“Because I worked there, I would sometimes take some of the leftovers home - I was still living with my mum at the time, the cakes and bread we made were too good not to take home!

“The Pasteis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) were pretty good, too!

“Then Estoril offered me the opportunity to play for their Under-23 team and I had to then focus more on just football because it was getting more serious and more professional.”

Now, a player that Pep Guardiola described as ‘one of the best in the world’, will get the chance to show his new manager the qualities that made much of Europe sit up and take notice following that lofty endorsement from the City boss.

After spending a season as a Wolverhampton Wanderers, the strong, energetic, and attack-minded defensive midfielder is now a Manchester City player – and he can’t wait to get going.

He also says he didn’t need any convincing to join the Treble winners…

“Pep is one of the reasons I wanted to play for City because I want to learn and grow as a player – and I know I can still grow a lot as a player," he said.

“But also the club itself - Manchester City is always fighting for titles, then there is the fans, the stadium, this city… there wasn't much to think about, if I’m honest!

“It's a dream come true, I always wanted to play for a big club in England and this year God blessed me with that.  

"And so I'm very happy, very excited and I can't wait to get started.” 

Welcome to the family, Matheus!

Our new feature sees us pay homage to players who flew under the radar of the football world outside of loyal City fans. The second edition remembers Sun Jihai’s time at City from 2002 to 2008.

City’s summer tour of Asia proved the Club’s popularity in Japan and South Korea. Pep Guardiola’s men played two games in Tokyo and one in Seoul, with the crowds at each of the matches overwhelmingly supporting City rather than fellow European heavyweights like Bayern Munich or Atletico Madrid.

However, early in the noughties, much of our supporter base in Asia came from Chinese fans.

That was all down to one man.

Sun Jihai was a versatile operator, capable of playing anywhere across defence or midfield.

While a determined but unglamorous figure on the pitch, he was a superstar back home.

China, the second most populous country on Earth, has a deep-rooted passion for Premier League football. Despite that, it hasn’t ever proved successful in producing many players for the elite European leagues.

So when Sun became City’s first ever Asian player with a £2 million move from Dalian Shide in 2002, the excitement in China was well documented.

Alongside Fan Zhiyi, he had been the first Chinese man to play in England when on loan at Crystal Palace in 1998.

Now he was in England permanently with a side that was destined for promotion to the top flight.

A solid first few months followed as Kevin Keegan’s Blues swept away all the competition to finish top of Division One and seal a return to the Promised Land.

He would return to East Asia that summer as one of the stars of China’s squad at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. Unfortunately, an early injury in their opener ruled him out of the group stage as China crashed out.

However, back in Manchester for the start of the next season, Sun was immediately a first choice at right-back for Keegan.

In a season of highs as City finished ninth and beat Manchester United in the iconic final Manchester derby at Maine Road, Sun was as reliable as they come.

In doing so, he became a cult hero on the Kippax.

Keegan’s sides always attacked relentlessly, sometimes sacrificing defensive solidity.

While that allowed the likes of Nicolas Anelka, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ali Benarbia to fully express themselves, it could prove difficult for the back line.

With Niclas Jensen on the left and Sylvain Distin, Richard Dunne and Steve Howey featuring in the middle, City were well stocked in defence - but, given our style of play, they would have to be brave and bold.

Although not an overly imposing figure, especially by the measures of English football at the time, Sun was by no means second best in physical battles.

Very much in the mould of full-backs that have gone on to make the biggest mark at the Club, Sun was always willing to put his body on the line.

He also had the composure and close control that made him an effective player further up the pitch, and even sometimes saw him given responsibility to fill in in midfield.

After winning our Player of the Month vote in September 2002, he became the first East Asian player to score in the Premier League when he headed home the first in a 2-0 win over Birmingham City.

A key part of the buildup, Sun brought the ball in from the right and laid it off to Marc Vivien Foe. The Cameroonian midfielder swung it out wide to Eyal Berkovic, who crossed directly on to Sun’s head on the penalty spot.

It typified both Sun’s determination but also his willingness and license to push forward into unconventional positions for a full-back.

He played even more in 2003/04, City’s first year at the Etihad Stadium, making 42 appearances including five of our six matches in the UEFA Cup.

We found the going tougher that season, but Sun was at his best and was vital in keeping Keegan’s team afloat in the top tier.

A serious injury early in the 2004/05 campaign curtailed that season, meaning he played just seven times.

2005/06 saw a return to fitness and his second most productive season in sky blue, featuring 34 times across all competitions.

Now managed by Stuart Pearce, City were a different side to the one we had been under Kevin Keegan. Although goals were much harder to come by, it was our defence that ensured our continued existence in the Premier League.

We conceded just 48 times across 38 games on our way to a 15th place finish, a better defensive record than anyone else outside of the top eight.

Richard Dunne was the Club’s Player of the Year, but able assistance from Sun amongst others was crucial in that.

The China international remained at City for two more seasons, although his involvement lessened in Pearce’s second year and once Sven-Goran Eriksson took charge.

After six years and 151 appearances, Sun moved on to Sheffield United in the summer of 2008. He stayed there for one season before returning to China, playing until 2016.

Perhaps the most successful Chinese footballing export, Sun made just as much a mark in Manchester as he did in China, without attracting much attention from the rest of the league.

Since retiring, he has headed up the sports data company HaiQui Sports.

City v Fulham
Premier League
2 September, 15:00
Etihad Stadium

Mozzer’s verdict:
Fulham surprised a lot of people last season, but I don’t see them doing quite as well this time around. There were a lot of the bigger clubs not performing well and most of them have strengthened or changed managers, so although I expect them to be fine, I only think we will win this game and win without too much fuss.

Mozzer’s prediction: City 3-0 Fulham

West Ham v City
Premier League
16 September, 15:00
London Stadium

Mozzer’s verdict:
I have to admit that West Ham have impressed me so far. They’ve bought wisely in the transfer market, and they don’t seem to be missing Declan Rice that much. I really like Lucas Paqueta and the front two of Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio can be a real handful. This will be tough, but I think that though the game could go either way for much of the 90 minutes, our quality will take us clear in the closing stages.

Mozzer’s prediction: West Ham 1-3 City 

Champions League
Tues 19 Sept, 20:00
City v Red Star Belgrade
Etihad Stadium

Mozzer’s verdict:
Red Star Belgrade are something of an unknown quantity and a side who are much stronger on their own soil. The Serbian champions will be full of energy and endeavour, but I expect us to pick them apart and win very comfortably at the Etihad.

Mozzer’s prediction: City 4-1 Red Star Belgrade

City v Nottingham Forest
Premier League
23 September, 15:00
Etihad Stadium

Mozzer’s verdict:
Forest have shown plenty of endeavour in the opening weeks of the season and were unlucky to lose against Manchester United where they felt particularly hard done to. The way they play, however, means we’ll get plenty of opportunities as I can’t see them coming and shutting up shop – and if Erling Haaland is in the mood, he may help himself to another match-ball if things go the way I think they might.

Mozzer’s prediction: City 5-1 Forest

Carabao Cup Round 3
Weds 27 Sept, kick-off 20:00 
Newcastle United v City

Mozzer’s verdict:
I’m sure neither team wanted to draw the other so soon after playing each other in the Premier League. Newcastle have had something of a shaky start, but I expect them to be back on track by the time this game comes along. It could go either way, but I’ll hedge my bets and say City to win on penalties after drawing in normal time.

Mozzer prediction: Newcastle 1-1 City – City win on pens

Wolves v City
Premier League
30 September, 15:00

Mozzer’s verdict:
We could go into this game having won our first six matches – a tall order but one we are quite capable of doing. If we do, then I don’t see Wolves stopping that becoming seven. What a tonic that would be going to the Emirates in our first game of October. Gary O’Neil is a good manager and Wolves have some good players – I thought they were excellent against United and really unlucky not to win – but City are a different prospect and though there will be a buoyant atmosphere (partly because of the Matheus Nunes transfer), I think we’ll do enough to travel back up the M6 with all three points and a clean sheet.

Mozzer’s prediction: Wolves 0-2 City

Champions League
Weds 04 October, 20:00
RB Leipzig v City

Mozzer’s verdict:
Our second group stage game and I think we will have this group wrapped up by game four. RB Leipzig have proved trickier on their own ground than at the Etihad where they have shipped 13 goals in two games. Pep will want his team to qualify as soon as possible, so I expect a no-nonsense, professional win for us in Germany.

Mozzer’s prediction: RB Leipzig 0-3 City

How did Mozzer get on last month?

The first five games of the new campaign saw Andy get four results right, but no correct scores. He predicted City would beat Arsenal on penalties in the Community Shield, and though he got a three-goal winning margin against Burnley spot-on, he went for a 4-1 win rather than 3-0. The ex-City skipper predicted we would beat Sevilla and was one goal out versus Newcastle having gone for 2-0. His 3-1 prediction at Sheffield United was also just one out, with the Blues winning 2-1. A decent start!

With over 50 senior appearances to her name, Jess Park had already firmly established herself in the first team picture at Manchester City before the onset of the 2022/23 campaign.

She returns to the Academy Stadium, following a successful loan move to fellow Barclays Women’s Super League side Everton, with sights set on continuing that rapid trajectory.  

The 21-year-old, fresh from winning City’s Rising Star award, was an instant hit on Merseyside, even providing a goal and assist for the Toffees in a 3-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield in October 2022.

Impressive displays like that certainly weren’t a flash in the pan, and with her stock continuing to rise, England soon came calling.

Park’s season would unfortunately be cut short by injury but, with a prolonged pre-season recovery, she’s excited to once again make her mark at City.

Although, with several incomings and outgoings last season, she does admit things have changed slightly since her loan move to Everton.

“Yeah, quite a bit has happened,” Park laughs when asked about the past 12 months' events.

“There have been a couple of people in and out but it's a lovely bunch of girls and I can't wait to get started with them.

“I think they have their own unique qualities. The Spanish girls are really technical and tidy for example. It's nice to play a bit of Tiki-taka with them when I can - and when I can keep up!

“They all bring their individual excellence and that's just brilliant and what we need for the team. I've loved coming back, it's nice to be back here, it's nice to see all the girls.

“It’s also nice to make new connections, make new friends and just get back with the team, get back with the manager and knowing how we want to play this season, it's been really fun.”

Even from the briefest of conversations with the City winger, it’s clear that Park is champing at the bit to showcase her talents at the Academy Stadium once again.

However, her time at Everton is sure to be a significant chapter in her career at the top of the game.

It was the same for team-mate Esme Morgan who, following a successful spell on Merseyside in 2019/20 has since gone on to represent her country and captain City last season.

For Park, the added responsibility that she shouldered with the Toffees, as well as her exposure to a new style of play, were been crucial lessons in her footballing education.

She reflects: “It was great, so enjoyable. Working with Brian [Sorensen] was really good as well, gaining some experience away from City, learning a different role maybe and learning a bit more about the game in that way.

“Playing a different way and playing a different formation was very exciting to get the opportunity to do that.

“And the girls at Everton were fantastic as well and made some lifelong friends there. It was really nice meeting a new bunch of people, get to know a new bunch, gain some confidence.

“Gaining the confidence in that different environment and bringing it back here was really important. It was a brilliant season and I really enjoyed it.”

One member of the Everton squad who was essential to Park’s swift transition was someone who had already made a major impact at City during her career.

Izzy Christiansen was part of our first-ever professional side, making more than 100 appearances for the Club and scoring the winner in the 2014 Continental Cup and 2017 FA Cup finals.

She hung up her boots this summer with her last professional match, rather fittingly, coming at the Academy Stadium as City rounded off the season with a 3-2 win over Everton.

The midfielder’s guidance, both on and off the pitch, left a lasting impression on Park.

“She's my Grandmother,” she jokes instantly at the mention of Christiansen’s name.

“It was really good playing with someone with so much experience.

“Getting that time to play with her and also being close as a friend to her as well she really took me under her wing and taught me a thing or two.

“So it was really nice to get to play alongside her.” 

Despite her tender years, the winger’s maturity and experience shines through when asked about her ambitions for 2023/24.

An injury saw her dreams of a World Cup call-up dashed in cruel circumstances and getting back into the mix with the Lionesses is, of course, one of her key focuses for 2023/24.

However, she knows that personal ambition will only become a reality if she continues to demonstrate what she’s capable of at Club level.

Collectively, it’s all about silverware.

“I think the team can achieve as much as they want to. If we all work hard, I think we've got the quality in the team to go all the way,” Park explains.

“We'll aim to be winners of the league and trophies we want to win. We always want to win, that's one thing about City, we always want to win. And that's massive.

“My personal ambition is to get more game time on the pitch and to influence the game, whether that's coming off the bench or from the start.

“Goals, assists, I want to be involved in them and I think that's my main ambition this season.

“And of course, England camps hopefully, getting called up again, but that will come with playing well, so the priority is here and hopefully that will come with it.

“I just feel more confident. I have more experience and more quality now.

“I played in big games last season and played against every team in the league, so I think that was really important.

“Now coming back, I've already been in those situations so I don't need to be nervous about it. I can just bring my qualities that I do bring.”

Gavin Rhodes has been one of the pivotal figures at City who have helped provide high-quality recreational football to thousands of fans and families in his 10 years at the Club.

And his job as Head of Football Operations for Football Education has allowed him to not only create varied programmes at the City Football Academy, but also with City Football Group’s sister clubs and various hubs around the globe.

Through this, Gavin and City have been able to connect thousands of fans with the Club while providing them with an opportunity to learn more about the game we all love.

City Magazine sat down with Gavin to learn more about what football education City offers…

CITY MAG: How would you describe the role of the Football Education department you work within?

GAVIN: The way I always try to explain it to people is there are three strands within the structure of youth football. You’ve got your community, which is free to play, then you have your Academy which is our elite football department for players to hopefully go through and represent City and potentially be part of our first team one day.

And then you have ourselves - that is recreation football. It’s for children that have that love, passion, want to develop or just want to experience and have a touch point with Manchester City and we provide that platform locally and globally.

CITY MAG: What products do you help deliver here at the CFA?

GAVIN: We provide a mix of programmes which we oversee and then also products which we have with external partners here at the CFA.  

We have what we call the Young Player Development programme which we run. It targets children and Manchester City fans from the wide Greater Manchester region. They are 12-week programmes where we have 228 children coming in to participate in the programme twice a week. From five years old up to the age of 14 and that runs on 12-week cycles, so three 12-week cycles of programmes within the year which stops for the summer. And we manage that on an ongoing basis.

We also deliver our own holiday programmes, and we deliver those at key school holiday times – whether it’s Easter, Whit holidays, summer programmes, October half term, Christmas or February – which parents can register their children on to.

Then we have products that we have with external partners, a team programme where we have teams that visit the CFA to experience the facilities and our coaching delivery. Through this, we’ve had around 1200 players on that programme in the last 12 months, which is fantastic.

We have summer programmes that are football language, performance and development that we run with an external partner which run for eight weeks throughout July and August. This summer, we’ve had almost 1100 players from 77 different countries, so it’s been a very busy summer!

CITY MAG: What is the feedback like from the parents of kids who attend the programmes?

GAVIN: There are two main statistics that we take real pride in. The parental perception of Manchester City, through the programmes we deliver in Manchester, when they’ve been asked, 77% of parents say their perception of Manchester City is far better through the attendance of the programmes and understanding as to what we do as a football club than it was before putting their son or daughter on the programme. So that’s a great one for me personally, and the rest of the team that are delivering the programmes that customers and fans feel that way.

And the other stat is that these programmes in Manchester that we deliver on an ongoing basis have an 81% retention rate which is an incredible percentage that you don’t normally get in recreational football programmes.

CITY MAG: Is that something you’re most proud of? The level of quality in which City deliver the programmes?

GAVIN: My journey here is one of a great amount of pride. I was brought to see if we could create something on a local and global scale.

For the Club to view and value what we do, connecting with our fanbase in the way that we do and see children connect with the Club and feel part of City through quality football experiences is hugely rewarding for the whole department.

Liam Gallagher documented his triumphant two-night Knebworth Park shows with the release of the live album ‘Knebworth 22’ on August 11. Returning to the scene of the era-defining Oasis gigs of the ‘90s, the huge audience stretched from fans who had been present some 26 years earlier right through to teenagers relishing the excitement of their first big gig. The voice of a generation? With Knebworth, Liam confirmed himself to be the voice of two generations.

Anticipation for the shows was at fever pitch after all 170,000 tickets for the weekend sold-out almost instantly. The heady atmosphere of the shows shines throughout the ‘Knebworth 22’ album, from the roar of approval that greets Liam as he steps up to open the show with ‘Hello’ right through to the mass singalongs that greet the closing classics ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Champagne Supernova’ (the latter featuring a very special guest in the shape of Stone Roses legend John Squire).

Liam and his band are on fiery form, blazing through the likes of ‘Shockwave’ and ‘Everything’s Electric’ with a full-throttle intensity, but also providing the accompaniment for the more tender side of Liam’s voice to standout on more reflective moments such as ‘Once’ and‘Slide Away’. Collectively, ‘Knebworth 22’ is a must-have live album for any fan who wants to relive the experience.

City Magazine has five Prize Packs up for grabs! Each prize features:

*Knebworth 22 Live A2 Photo Print - A2 digital print of Liam at Knebworth 22 on 300gsm silk stock.

*Knebworth 22 Standard CD - 1xCD, standard 12-track album housed in a digisleeve with remus spine reverse board and matt finish. Includes an 18-panel poster (9 front and back) on 100 gsm offset paper.

To enter our competition, answer the following question:

What was the name of Liam Gallagher’s first solo album?

B. Why Me? Why Not?
C. As You Were

Send your answer, along with your name to [email protected] – and mark the subject line ‘Liam comp’.

The competition closes on 30 September and the five winners will be notified by email. Good luck!

Micah Hamilton says he feels like he is almost starting over again as he prepares for what promises to be an exciting 2023/24 season...

The exciting attacking midfielder made a welcome return to action late last season after a tough period where he spent almost a year on the sidelines through injury.

The 20-year-old played his part in several key games towards the end of the campaign to help Brian Barry-Murphy’s youngsters claim a historic third successive PL2 title.

Now refreshed and reinvigorated after the summer break, Micah has returned with an even keener sense of excitement and anticipation.

He took part in our recent training camp trip to Portugal with the Under-21s and Under-18s.

And he says after battling back from such a long spell on the sidelines, he has returned both a better player and better person – and armed with a greater appreciation for football and being part of such an exciting City squad.

“I am buzzing and raring to go. Summer was short but during the off season I worked hard and put the work in and just ready to get going again,” Micah admitted.

I had some time away in Portugal on holiday which helped me switch off for a bit and for me it was a bit of a football detox and allowed me to rest up and relax.

“Football is so tough both physically and mentally and I feel you do need a break and it did me good as I feel really excited.

"After the injuries I think I have definitely come back as a better player but even more as a better person.

“With everything I have been through it has made me stronger especially mentally. Now I feel I can get through anything.

“It has made me more determined. People don’t see it, maybe - that you have tough moments and down days. I tried not to show it but I battled through and I’m better for it.

“And I 100 per cent appreciate football even more now. Not many people go through that but now that I have, I appreciate playing and training and simple things.

“Maybe before you took for granted. Now I see the little things are the big things.

“I know my body better now – I’ve learned a lot about myself and my body. Now I feel stronger than ever and ready to go. It’s like hitting a reset button and getting ready to start again.

“And as I say, I appreciate it a lot more after all that I have been through.”

Hamilton marked his return from his long lay-off in typical style last season, scoring in what proved a comprehensive 6-0 derby win against Manchester United at the Academy Stadium in March.

He went on to play a big role as Barry-Murphy’s men sealed the title – but admitted he didn’t want the season to finish!

“That was literally what was for me. I didn’t want it to end as I had only just come back and was starting to play games and scoring goals,” Hamilton added.

“Fitness and stuff on the ball, I was really starting to find myself again and then suddenly the season ended once more.

“But to come back and to be able to play a part in helping us win the title was great. It was good to be around and everyone in the group was happy.

“And I was able to play in a few big games and it was really enjoyable.

“This season I feel all the teams will be looking at us now and want to beat us but that’s what you want - it what makes the games better.

“You see it with it the first team the way they cope with it. It’s what makes football such a great sport and I am really excited to get going.”

Considering she doesn’t turn 20 until early September, it’s quite remarkable that Ruby Mace’s first appearance in senior football came almost three years ago...

She’s now preparing for her fourth full season in the Barclays Women’s Super League, with sights set on establishing herself as a regular in Gareth Taylor’s squad for 2023/24.

Joining the Club in September 2021, Mace has made 20 appearances in sky blue since leaving fellow WSL heavyweights Arsenal to move north.

Last season, however, she also gained invaluable experience out on loan at Leicester City, helping them recover under Willie Kirk to survive on the final day with three wins in their final six matches.

It was a fitting end to her time at the Foxes, and she was fully deserving of the much-needed rest she and her team-mates received as the season drew to a close.

“I went to Portugal, it was really nice,” she reflects.

“You got to go on a boat through some of the caves, and that was really nice. It was just a bit of down time.

“With the season being quite intense, it’s always good to have a few weeks just to yourself, to switch off and get out of the mode of football.

“It also helps to recharge before you get back into it.” 

Mace’s brief stint with Leicester wasn’t the first time she’d enjoyed a successful loan period.

A previous spell at Birmingham City under dual registration in 2021 had been equally beneficial to the 19-year-old, where she once again thrived when exposed to the cut and thrust of regular senior minutes.

Just as she did back then, Mace believes she’s returning to City with a greater maturity and knowhow to succeed at the highest level.

Much of that came from the youngster often operating in the Foxes’ midfield; an opportunity which she relished.

Mace explains: “I think I gained a lot of minutes which, for me, was something I really wanted and also the position I was playing. 

“It was obviously a new role and I think I’ve really progressed in that position, there’s still more to learn, but I’m happy with how it went.

“They basically said I’ve still got areas to improve in, but what they’ve seen is that I’m progressing which I’m happy with.” 

Mace welcomes back an astonishing 14 members of the City squad who represented their country at this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Despite regularly playing and training with many of the stars from down under, the youngster admits she still felt inspired by the achievements of both her team-mates and opponents alike. 

It was an unforgettable tournament, with all seven of the nations including City players progressing into the knockout stages of the competition, while Alex Greenwood, Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly all featured for England in the World Cup final.

Mace can’t wait to get back on the pitch with each of them. Watching the tournament has only added to her motivation to continue developing at the rapid rate she currently is.

However, she also highlighted the key supportive role that her fellow City team-mates who didn’t feature at the World Cup this summer have played in that progress.

Indeed, their guidance in the opening weeks of pre-season have left a lasting impression on a player who is determined to soak up every ounce of advice and experience she can.

“It definitely inspired me, especially seeing such young players at that tournament as well,” Mace said of the World Cup.

“It gives me so much belief that us young players can get there as well. I still think, being quite young, it’s good to have the older players helping you and guiding you. 

“They don’t have to do that, they do it by choice which I really appreciate.” 

With just one departure and one acquisition this summer, Mace returns to a settled City squad intent on translating flashes of brilliance from last year into genuine sustained periods of success.

Gareth Taylor’s exciting young group claimed major scalps in the form of both Arsenal and Chelsea, while also embarking on a 16-match unbeaten run in all competitions between October and March.

We would ultimately come up short in the final few weeks of the season, but 2023/24 has the potential to be a hugely exciting campaign at the Academy Stadium.

For Mace, a push for the WSL title certainly isn’t out of the equation for City but, on an individual basis, the youngster has her sights set on ensuring she makes a significant contribution to any success we might have in the coming months.

“I think I just want to prove myself and earn a starting shirt, even if that’s not every week,” she added.

“Even if it’s giving me a few games to see how I get on. They’re my goals for the season.

“I think we just want to be able to start the season off well and strong and just make sure everyone’s ready because we want to finish top this season for sure.”

“I’m Broady… I’m Broady!”

City Mag catches up with Stockport-born tennis star and lifelong Blue, Liam Broady…

The title “I’m Broady… I’m Broady!” won’t mean anything to our readers unless you’re a fan of the movie Jaws.

But some opportunities are just too good to miss and if the first on-screen meeting between Richard Dreyfus (Matt Hooper) and Roy Scheider (Chief Martin Brody) doesn’t compute or leaves you asking, ‘er sorry, I don’t get it’ then apologies.

There is a tenuous link – when Liam Broady spoke to City Magazine, he’d just arrived in Newport, Rhode Island – about a four hour car drive from the small coastal town of Montauk where author Peter Benchley is believed to have written the best-selling novel Jaws.

OK, enough with the sharks!

Liam (and his sister Naomi) have long been flying the sky blue flag on the tennis world tour and Liam even did a Jack Grealish-style celebration at this year’s Wimbledon tournament after progressing to the third round.

Ranked just outside the world’s Top 100, the hugely likeable Broady was also planning an Erling Haaland lotus celebration if he won on Centre Court, but says he might save that for next year, now.

He gets to watch City whenever his schedule will allow and watches the Blues on TV if time zones, and tournament involvement allows.

“The life of being a tennis player and a football fan means that there might be times when I swap a training session around in order to watch City play, especially if it’s a big game,” says Broady.

“I work my practices around City matches fairly often and I have my sister to thank for it all.”

Talk of sister Naomi reveals how Liam’s love of the Blues was instilled in him from an early age.

Naomi, four years older than Liam, got as high as 76 in the world rankings and was part of the BBC Radio 5 Live team for Wimbledon 2023.

When it came to football, however, her siblings were only ever going to follow one Manchester team…

“I was six or seven years-old and my family, historically, were all Reds,” Liam reveals.

“But Naomi was a huge City fan and I remember she wrote a contract for me that I had to sign saying I would be a Manchester City fan for life!

“She has it somewhere, still, I think. She made me sign because the majority of our friends were City fans and most of our schoolfriends were, too.

“I signed it and that was that! It was the time of Shaun Goater and Paul Dickov, so I probably began when the Club was at its lowest ebb in terms of position.

“So, when we won the Treble, it was all a bit surreal because we are now the best team on the planet and when I began, we were pretty awful. It's been a rollercoaster.

“As my tennis career progressed, nobody knew who City were when I was travelling around the world and people would take the Mickey because everyone I seemed to meet was either a Manchester United or Liverpool supporter.

“It’s an insane time to be a Man City fan because I’m not sure what happened last season will ever happen again so I’m trying to soak it in while I can and even if we went back to the darker days when we didn’t win anything and didn’t even come close, I think I’d be OK with that because of what’s happened over the past decade.

“I’d love to meet Pep Guardiola at some point – I’ve not had the chance yet, but he has inspired me in many ways because I’ve read a lot about him.

“He’s Catalonian so tennis must run in his blood because that region and Spanish people in general just seem to be really good at tennis!”

Liam will return to his home city when the Davis Cup hits town this month at the AO Arena.

“The two things I care about most in my life is tennis and where I’m from, so it’s a nice way for those two things to mesh together,” he said.

“I think it’s £20 for an adult and a fiver for Under 18s and this is the first time in 28 years we’ve had the Davis Cup in Manchester, which is insane for a city as big as ours with such a rich sporting heritage.


“I think we’ve been overlooked over the years and that’s why I wanted to get out there and push the message because the more people that go, the more chances we have of staging future tournaments.

“And if some fellow City fans want to come along and cheer us on, that would be incredible, too.”

From the 12 to 17 September, Great Britain will compete in Group B of the competition against Australia, France, and Switzerland in a round-robin, with the top two teams in each group fighting for a place in the Final Eight which will take place in Malaga in November. Tickets available on the link in the paragraph above.

As his third season in charge of the Under-18s gets under way, Ben Wilkinson is excited by the two challenges each half of the season poses...

With the 2023/24 season finally under way, Ben Wilkinson sat down with City Magazine to share his thoughts and hopes ahead of a potential history-defining season.

Pep Guardiola’s side isn’t the only team looking for a fourth consecutive title – with Wilkinson’s young and ambitious players looking to achieve the same.

But the task ahead is no easy feat, with the first half of the season proving difficult as players adjust to life in the Under-18s compared to the second half of the campaign which includes more difficult games and a busier schedule.

“Both halves of the season are really different but equally challenging and rewarding,”
said Wilkinson.

“The first half is a lot of time spent on the training pitch, we don’t play many games, one game a week and it’s a very settled programme. We spend more time training, which as a coach is the part I really enjoy.

“The second half we play a lot more games and the profile and nature of the games increase in terms of the FA Youth Cup or you get to the back end of the league and you’ve got finals. It becomes more specific to the game and rolling from one game to the next so you get a nice blend of training and competition.

“From a personal point of view both halves of the season are nice, it’s the opportunity to try to grow and evolve is what we enjoy doing as a coach. But then I feel like you don’t quite see the fruits of that until the second half of the season and seeing them do that on the pitch against opposition is also rewarding.”

But before the season had even begun, Ben and his team had to manage the squad, their workload and making sure they’re were as prepared as possible for the games ahead.

And using previous learnings, the 36-year-old is confident his Under-18s team are ready for the challenges ahead.  

“Pre-season was focused on physical training to try and get the players in the best physical shape as possible. We struggled a little bit last year we had a lot of injuries in pre-season so we’ve been conscious to try and avoid that this year,” said Wilkinson.

“We’ve tried to adapt our training programme to arrive in August certainly in a much better position than we did last year.

“There’s small things maybe that we can do to try and be a little bit more successful in terms of results in the first half of the season, but I think that the process that we go through to get there will look quite similar. And it’s just about having confidence in that process really.”

There was only one topic for our June 2003 issue of the City Magazine...

Maine Road had locked its gates for the final time after our 1-0 defeat to Southampton and we were celebrating 80 years of our tenure in Moss Side.

It proved to be an enjoyable project and, rather than put a sombre image of the front entrance with a padlock on for this issue, we went for a celebratory pic of our old home in all its pomp, with a full house, streamers – the whole shebang.

We sifted through many potential images before coming up with the silhouette of two celebrating City fans against a blue and white fanfare of colour.

For the inside pages, we used features that looked back over the decades to some of the most memorable moments as well as looking at some of the greatest players to have plied their trade on the hallowed turf so lovingly tendered by Stan Gibson.

The issue was as much about the people, fixtures, and fittings as it was the matches and legends.

We even managed to get a feature of the Ladybarn (Fallowfield) housing estate named after City greats, as well as the pubs that surrounded Maine Road and had been the favoured watering holes of our fans for decades.

The Claremont Road chippy, The Gardeners Arms, the cobbled back alleys… everything that surrounded Maine Road and most of the stuff that was in it.

It’s a great keepsake if there are any still in existence – and we know there are several collectors out there who have lovingly kept their City Mag collection for many years.

And, as the editor, it was one of my favourite issues I had the pleasure to be involved with because I think we did a pretty good job!

Super Furry Animals keyboardist Cian Ciaran talks about his lifelong love of City, playing the Etihad and a new single that is bound to resonate with fellow Blues…

BIOG: Renowned Welsh musician Cian was one of the founder members of influential band Super Furry Animals who have enjoyed numerous Top 40 hits in the UK and were once on Oasis’ label Creation. The band are still together, but, currently operating under their alter ego Das Koolies, they will release a new album this month.

CITY MAG: Cian, you’re a North Wales lad – how did you end up following City?

CIAN CIARAN: “Yeah I grew up in North Wales, where pretty much everyone I knew supported Liverpool or United.  There were a few Toffees also, but mostly Reds of one kind or another. I only knew one other City supporter - Rhys - he lived 30 miles away from me. My dad was a Red, born in Prestwich, my brother was Liverpool. I don’t recall how, City just pulled me in, certainty wasn’t for the glory at the time. It is kind of ironic given that City started on Great Clowes Street… Clowes being my dad’s surname.”

What’s your first City memory?
"No idea, sorry to say. I don’t remember what I did last week never mind 30 years ago. My last game was versus Arsenal last April, which I won’t forget in a hurry.  Erm…  probably Bradford in the rain, wearing a poncho, sat on the makeshift scaffold in the Gene Kelly Stand at Maine Road is my earliest memory.”

Who did you pretend to be in the schoolyard – could you play a bit?
“I thought I could play.  Dreamt of being a footballer, not much in the sense of opportunities where we grew up. Won the Albert Owen Shield as a striker with Ysgol Pentraeth circa 1985. Gary Lineker was who I followed probably at the time. By the time I reached 14 I’d given up on that dream, and discovered acid house and girls.”

Do you recall your first game clearly?
“Nope. I do remember Wales v West Germany though for some reason. I don't really remember my childhood, is that normal?”

Have you tried to convert others to the Blue cause along the way?
"Nah, well, do my own children count? They weren’t converted as such - no choice, more like!”

If you had to sum up your life with Super Furry Animals, what would you say?
“Rollercoaster, eye opening, a laugh, lucky, no regrets, bonkers.” 

You were on the Creation label with Super Furry Animals – was that at the same time as Oasis and if so, did your paths ever cross?
“Roughly, we signed in ‘96 so Oasis were well on their way by then. We played at the Etihad supporting Oasis and then with Noel few years back in 2016 (I think). I did a City medley mix as a set closer, half the stadium laughed, some booed, but Liam was happy. I’ll exchange the odd text now and again, usually on matchday trying to blag backstage access to meet uncle Pep and the boys, usually met with laughter or silence, heh, heh. One day I hope.  I never get starstruck with anyone other than footballers, why the heck is that? I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Aguero walk off the team bus. Took my boy to the parade earlier this year, I asked him what was your highlight and he said… ‘Making eye contact with John Stones.’ Sums it up really.”

There has been talk in the past of a City Super Group – what would your ideal City super group look like?
“Ederson on drums, Kompany on bass, Stones on maracas and as the dancer (Bez style); David Silva on lead guitar, KDB - vocoder, Foden - lead vocal, Aguero guest/cameo appearance (duet) and Erling Haaland as the tour manager/head of security.”

Tell us a bit about Das Koolies…
“We formed on the back of Super Furry Animals at what started as a poker night. We started writing again and couldn’t  help ourselves. We ended up having to stop writing and put something out there. Debut album, DK.01 will be released on Friday 22 September 2023. It’s a genre-bending expansion of electronic-leaning and experimental ideas, they’re an itch we’ve wanted to scratch for a long time, and it probably began back in the vortex of North Wales’ illicit rave scene in the early-1990s. The music is kind of a Krautrock/techno infused combination. We banned the acoustic guitar and no saxophone. We produced and mixed the album in collaboration with Grammy-nominated engineer, Tom Forrest (Duke Dumont, Basement Jaxx) and MPG (Music Producer’s Guild) UK Music Producer of the Year 2022 Marta Salogni (Bjork, Depeche Mode). This should give you an idea of the flavour at hand.”

The new track 'Pain Down the Drain' is fantastic – allegedly written during a home game with Spurs that we had been cruising in – then lost? 

“Yeah, I was in the studio watching us play Spurs and we were 2-0 up at half time. I was feeling good, and I had The Vikings DVD to hand and had been meaning to sample it for ages. Reason being, when I first heard ‘the best team in the land…’ chant, I thought that must be lifted from the movie, but no-one I asked could confirm its origins. Anyway, I was convinced of this and wanted to sample it, so during half-time, I obviously combined it with a Thin Lizzy loop to get the idea off the ground and erm… by the end of the game we’d lost so I shelved the idea until now!”

Is it influenced by our Norwegian Viking at all?
“He was probably about 13 when the idea came about.” 

What would it mean to hear that blast out of the Etihad PA?
“I’d probably shed a tear then get on it.”

Any other thoughts/stuff we should know?
“My most prized possession is a signed shirt  by Sergio Aguero and David Silva - stuff all the rare synths and stuff!”

The opening month of the 2023/24 Fantasy Premier League season didn’t disappoint as City began the defence of our league crown in wonderful fashion.

A total of three wins out of three with victories over Burnley (3-0), Newcastle (1-0) and Sheffield United (2-1).

But which member of Pep Guardiola’s squad spectacularly rewarded the FPL managers who elected them to star in their squads?

Both Rodrigo and Erling Haaland recorded 19 points across August which was the highest among City’s squad across the month.

Firstly, the Spain international recorded an impressive 13 in our opening day victory at Turf Moor by scoring the third and registering an assist in the 3-0 success over Vincent Kompany’s side.

His first goal of the new term came in the second half when he ghosted into the box and fired into the net to rubber stamp the result over the Clarets.

After playing the most games out of anyone for the Club last season, it’s perhaps no surprise the midfielder played the entirety of the following win over Newcastle, gaining three points thanks to our clean sheet.

Then he was the hero for City once again when we faced Sheffield United after his late goal maintained our 100% start to the league campaign.

Continuing his fiercely clinical form in a sky blue shirt from last term, Haaland scored twice in the first half during the win over Burnley.

His first came when he swept home Rodrigo’s cut back early on before he showcased his immense talent with a thunderous strike which crashed in off the cross bar.

In our hard fought 1-0 win over Newcastle the Norwegian came close on a number of occasions while Julian Alvarez’s goal proved to be the difference, before he put a missed penalty behind him against the Blades to open the scoring with a fine header.

BBC Radio 6 DJ Marc Riley continues his Q&A series with City fans and celebrities alike - this month, it's NEIL EKERSLEY...

Meet Neil. Born and raised in Manchester after City won their third FA Cup and before they won the European Cup Winners' Cup. He grew up in Prestwich and for the last 10 years has lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the U.S. with his wife Fiona and children Katie and George. He is a business consultant and runs his own business, Eckersley Business Edge.

His Mancunian roots are very important to him, and his company logo is the Manchester Bee… with sky blue wings!

Over to Neil!

Mike Doyle’s Testimonial. May 1978. I got splinters sitting on the Platt Lane benches. Uncle Frank took me. Not my real uncle but my dad’s mate. Growing up where I did, every eight-year-old had to have an Uncle Frank who was their dad’s mate. It was a rule. It was a hot day and there was a bus strike on, but Frank worked for British Rail, knew the conductor, and got us on the train for free from Prestwich to Victoria! We walked from town to Maine Road through Moss Side. I’ve still got the programme. Like now, we had a good team back then, full of Internationals. Half my schoolyard was Blue, so it was easy being a City fan. Little did I know it, but during the 80s and 90s it got harder being a Blue, the schoolyard turned red, and we kept getting relegated. What did I do? Stuck with my Blue Boys and just blamed Uncle Frank for getting me hooked in the first place.                 

Actively wanting City to lose. I should explain. It was April 1992 and our neighbors from Salford had a shout at winning the title. Would have been their first in 25 years. Clearly this couldn’t be allowed to happen. The only team that could stop them was Leeds and guess what - Leeds came to Maine Road on April 4, 1992, with only six games left. City were safe and finished fifth that year. My brother and I stood on the Kippax together. I’m ashamed to say it, but my sibling is a Red. Let that sink in. Uncle Frank’s magic never worked on “Our Kid”. So, I’m, stood on The Kippax wanting City to lose, next to my only Red relative who wanted City to win. In “typical City” fashion, we won 4-0 and I couldn’t believe it! Every game I’d ever been to I wanted us to win, and we lost a lot. Now I wanted us to lose, and we won! A psychiatrist would have a field day with that. Thankfully a silver lining appeared three days later. We played United and Our Kid and I stood on the Stretford End. Normal circumstances had resumed, and the roles of my brother and I were back to normal. United went 1-0 up and we were down to 10 men. Then Keith Curle equalized with a late penalty. I forgot where I was, started jumping up and down and ended up underneath a pile of very upset United fans. The last thing I saw was Our Kid skulking away like he wasn’t with me! Anyway, Leeds won the title and I like to think that City had a big to play in that outcome.                        

Getting relegated by Liverpool at Maine Road in 1996. 10 minutes left and 2-2. One random City fan with one transistor radio and some very dodgy information spreads it that we only need a draw for safety and next thing you know we’re playing one-twos with the corner flag. We draw and get sent down. You couldn’t make it up. This would be the game I would jump into a time machine to prevent.        

Wrexham away. Boxing Day 1998. 12th in Division 2. AKA: “the low point”. In a weird Anti-Newtonian way City were busy proving to the world that what goes down doesn’t necessarily come up… Things were not going well in season '98/99 and the previous game we’d got beaten by York City! So Big Dan and I drove to North Wales and stood in the away end at The Racecourse Ground getting rained on. It was 0-0 and we wondered why we’d left that nice dry pub by the ground. Then in the second half a corner comes in, Gerard Wiekens gets his napper on the ball and the net bulges. Pre-VAR: Instant gratification! We won 1-0 and took off! Scraped into the play offs, made the final and the rest is history! Without Wiekens’ goal, there wouldn’t have been a trip to Wembley, without Wembley, no Dickov goal and without that, who knows? A real Sliding Doors moment. Statue for Wiekens?        

In 2003 I married the love of my life. A posh girl from Dorset, name of Fiona. She didn’t exactly hail from what you’d call a footballing family. The first time she saw a City programme, she actually asked me if I always bought a “brochure” when I went to the match. Anyway, I digress… within a few years we were married and a couple of years later were expecting our first baby. Katie Grace came along and unfortunately; she was born with a hole in her heart which required surgery when she was 10 months old. Just before her operation I bumped into Mike Summerbee in the City souvenir shop, and I told him about Katie. Next home game, Mike mentioned Katie in the programme/brochure and my family received a lot of well wishes as a result. That really lifted us. Mr. Summerbee was, is and will always remain a true gentleman and City through and through, like yours truly.                 

Pretty emotional! Saw a lot of mates in and around the ground that day. Afterwards we skipped the post-match bands that were laid on to re-convene in The Clarence on Curry Mile in Rusholme to share nostalgic memories over more than a few libations. I have many happy memories of the old place and wouldn’t have swapped it for the world!   

Tough to put it into words, but my emotions revolved around my gaining independence and growing up in and around Maine Road. From “Mind yer car mister?”, to meat pie, curry and chips, to the magic of standing packed on the Kippax for night games jumping up and down and celebrating so many goals. Happy Days!   

The bloke with the chicken. When they were rebuilding the Kippax circa 1995, we spent a season in the Platt Lane and there was a bloke who used to inexplicably wave a chicken around his head whenever we scored (which was often that season). I think his wife sent him down to Tesco’s every Saturday lunchtime to buy the Sunday roast, having no idea that he went on to Maine Road afterwards. Talk about making a meal out of a goal!    

Stoke City ‘97/’98. Won 5-2 and still got relegated (to Division 2). Stoke went down as well. Not the happiest of atmospheres, leaving that ground, I can tell you.  

Vinny Kompany

Jack Grealish. Great sense of humour and a good laugh - he'd be perfect company.

This season I’m taking you on an A-to-Z tour of Manchester and possibly taking a few liberties with the alphabet. Expect lots of musicians, an occasional session with a footballer and whatever else I can find in my archive. For A, I was going to write a piece about Nico Anelka, one of my favourite City players, but I realised I’d written that piece in the City v Tottenham programme in Feb 2016. Here’s a series of photos from that session anyway – taken in Monaco for Puma.

I’ve decided to start with A Certain Ratio (ACR), one of Manchester ‘s longest running bands. I’ve photographed ACR many times and with many different line-ups.

The first time I shot them on 19 August 1979 for an NME feature, I wasn’t even sure it’d be used, so I used about six frames on a roll of film that as I was en route to a shoot with another local band: Joy Division. I think the photo was taken in their rehearsal space at The Rialto Cinema in Higher Broughton. I couldn’t really afford to waste film back then. I barely broke even on a shoot with a band – but combining two on one roll made me think I’d hit the jackpot. In retrospect I wish I’d shot ten rolls of film on the two bands combined – but, hey!

Another time I shot them, was at Strawberry Studios in Stockport in November 1980. Tony Wilson called me to say they were working overnight with Grace Jones to record a cover of the Talking Heads song, ‘Houses in Motion’ with Martin Hannett producing it all, and would I take some photos for the sleeve. It was all pretty chaotic when I arrived.

I think it’s fair to say Grace was more high maintenance than the lads in ACR. I managed to get some photos, but I’m not sure Grace ever got the vocal track she wanted. Consequently, the project was written off and filed under ‘Interesting/exhausting experiences’. There’s a lot more to it – as there always is – but I’ll save it for my never to be published memoir.

For those of you who think this piece is written in code, have a listen to ACR. They’re one of Manchester’s finest ever bands. You definitely won’t be disappointed. ­­But don’t expect to hear Grace on lead vocal.

City Magazine

Edited by David Clayton

Designed by Simon Thorley

Additional design/cover by Merle Driver

Manchester City Women content by George Kelsey

EDS content by Neil Leigh

Technical Area/U18s interview by Holly Percival

So Solid Blue by Jack Mumford

Fantasy Premier League by Sam Cox

Photography by Tom Barton, Tom Flathers, Declan Lloyd, Isaac Parkin and Lexy Isley plus additional images from Getty

Thanks also to Andy Morrison, Marc Riley, Kevin Cummins, Tom Roberts (Shoot Music), LIam Broady, Cian Ciaran, Robert Pollard and Danny Lennon

Next issue out: October 1