Welcome to the December edition of the City Magazine...

As ever, it's packed with new and original features you won't find anywhere else.

We kick off with our cover star Bernardo - the man who can do nothing wrong in the eyes of City fans.

He talks about his relationship with the City supporters, Pep Guardiola and his love of Manchester.

We also have a wonderful feature on the Club's first black player, Stan Horne, who recalls the halcyon days under Joe Mercer plus his much deserved recent recognition.

But that’s not all…

Allana Kennedy and Caroline Weir are both interviewed in this issue, as is young keeper Cieran Slicker.

We also have our regular Fantasy Premier League update and Andy Morrison once again predicts the scores of our upcoming games in ‘The Month Ahead’ - plus find out how he got on last month.

The latest Best XI is a 'Tekkers' special - find out who made the cut, while The List gets all festive with some corny Christmas crackers.

Kevin Reeves and Peter Barnes provide suitable nods to yesteryear, while regular columnists Kev Cummins and Marc Riley are in fine form, too.

Enjoy!

His name regularly echoes around the Etihad on matchdays and many believe he is now playing the best football of his career. David Clayton caught up with our hugely popular No.20…

If there is one player who could probably do no wrong in the eyes of Manchester City fans, it is Bernardo Silva .In fairness, there’s a lot of those sort of players at City, but there seems to be additional affection Bernardo that has created a strong bond between player and the supporters and that could be down to a number of reasons.

The Portuguese star has an effervescence about him that is infectious when he plays football. He is invention and energy personified and his mixture of skill and hard work make him almost unique in a team of excellent footballers.

And away from the pitch, people gravitate towards him. He is one of the most popular members of the squad with his team-mates and the Club staff only have good things to say about him.

Now in his fifth season with the Blues, following the Manchester derby, he’d made 216 appearances and scored 38 goals for the Club, winning 10 trophies in the process.

CITY MAGAZINE asked him what he made of the adulation he has received since being with City.

“I'm very grateful, to be honest,” said Bernardo. “From day one, the love that they show me every time I play or when they see me on the streets of Manchester is unbelievable, so I'm just very happy.

I've always loved Manchester City, my team-mates, the staff and the fans and it's important to feel the support they all give me. I'm just grateful for that.

So, what are fans saying to him when they bump into him?

“They just want a picture, say hello or say congratulations for all the trophies we have won over these past years,” he smiled. “It's just nice because they are supporting us – even in the bad moments, because we have had some bad moments over the years -they were always there for us.

“At the away games, they travel in big numbers and they give us such fantastic backing, so as I say, I'm just grateful for what they do for us.”

With back-to-back Etihad Player of Month awards for September and October, the 27-year-old is threatening to eclipse even his best campaign, widely regarded to be the 2018/19 campaign when he was voted the Etihad Player of the Year.

His stats this campaign back that theory up, though he says there is always room to improve, no matter how well you are playing.

“You can always be better,” he opined. “I think that, even though maybe last year and two years ago when people maybe thought I wasn’t doing as well as what is expected of me, I always felt much better - I felt better last season than was two, three years ago and I feel I'm much better now than I was last season.

“I think I understand and read the game much better and my positioning is improving a lot and I'll try and keep that going. Physically, you have to just keep doing your job, eat well, train well and rest well to be fit for every game but yeah, I feel very good right now.”

When the diminutive Monaco No.10 shone when City took on the French champions back in 2017, Bernardo was at his creative and energetic best – if Pep Guardiola has wanted a physical CV on the Portugal playmaker, Bernardo delivered it that night, and in the return game a few weeks later.

Could he have imagined what lay ahead at the time?

He laughed. “Of course not! It was a privilege for me to join this club and the rest is history.

“The amount of trophies we have won as a team is huge and we are very happy with what we have achieved - but that's something that can't stop now - we have to keep going because we are not happy with what we have done and we want more.

"There is one competition we haven't won yet, that we want to win and the Premier League, of course, we want to win that again and we will try to do that - it is never enough."

Pep Guardiola regularly sings the praises of Bernardo as a player and as a person – but what effect has the Catalan had on Bernardo’s playing ability and thinking?

“It's a way of understanding the game completely differently from what I was used to,” he says.

“I think the school that I had when I was in Portugal with Benfica was a very good one - the academy there is excellent - and at Monaco I also learned a lot of things, but the way Pep sees the game is completely different and when I first a arrived here, I was thinking, 'Maybe this doesn’t look right', but when you prove it on the pitch and it looks easy and like it always works, it makes you realise that you understand the game much more and that is the case for me since I joined City.”

Our former skipper and cult hero Andy Morrison continues to predict City's upcoming games. Last month, Andy got four out of seven results correct and correctly called a 4-1 win over Club Brugge. Here, he looks ahead at games up to mid-December...

City v Everton
Sunday 21 November, 2pm kick-off
At the moment, I feel there is always a chance we will concede a goal, but we will have too much for Everton who I don’t think travel well. They are a decent team with a good manager, but I can’t see anything but a home win.
Mozzer’s prediction: City 3-1 Everton


City v PSG
Wednesday 24 November, 8pm kick-off
We'll win this. Why? We were so much better than they were in Paris but we just didn't take our chances. Regardless of their stellar forward line, we'll boss this as well and qualify for the Round of 16 in the process. If we do we win. It could even open the door for Club Brugge, though I expect both teams in this game to progress.
Mozzer’s prediction: City v PSG 3-1


City v West Ham
Sunday 28 November, 2pm kick-off
I think there will be a little bit of an edge in this game - we won't be happy seeing our Carabao Cup run end at the London Stadium and we'll be up for this, make no mistake. They're playing really well and last season this was a very hard fought 2-1 win - it will be tight again, but I'm backing us to edge it.
Mozzer’s prediction: City v West Ham 2-0


Aston Villa v City
Wednesday 1 December, 8.15pm kick-off
Villa are in a tough period and they're not playing well. They have a new manager in Steven Gerrard and that might give them a bit of lift. Jack Grealish is going back to Villa Park for the first time as well, but I honestly can't see past a win for us by a couple of goals at least.
Mozzer’s prediction: Aston Villa v City 1-3


Watford v City
Saturday 4 December, 5.30pm kick-off
The way Watford play means I can't see them causing us too many problems. They play on the counter, they have got pace, but they leave themselves too open and we'll have too much for them - the initial new manager bounce with Claudio Ranieri will be over by the time we go there and we have a fantastic record in this fixture - one that will continue on this occasion.
Mozzer’s prediction: Watford v City 0-4


RB Leipzig v City
Tuesday 7 December, 5.45pm kick-off
If I am correct about the game against PSG, we will have qualification all sewed up by the time we travel to Leipzig. They look as though they will be out of contention for a Europa League berth unless they win away to Brugge and maybe they will give a few chances for other players - as we may - but whatever the outcome, I only see a win for us.
Mozzer’s prediction: RB Leipzig v City 1-3


City v Wolves
Saturday 11 December, 12.30pm kick-off
The games keep coming thick and fast  - Wolves have picked up and look decent – they carry a threat in attack and midfield,  have pace and definitely a goal in them  - but again, we'll have too much - it will be relentless and we will win.
Mozzer’s prediction: City v Wolves 3-1


City v Leeds Utd
Tuesday 14 December, 8pm kick-off
With two managers who will go for broke, this will be a wide open game. In Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds have a manager who is brave, but his ambition will leave them open and you can't do that against us because we'll pick you off. They took four points off us last season, but they were playing much better. It'll be entertaining but a comfortable home win.
Mozzer’s prediction: City v Leeds 4-1



Manchester City followers of a Seventies vintage will look back on the first Panini UK domestic football album - ‘Football 78’ - with glowing reverence at an attack that featured four players who reached double figures for league goals that season: Brian Kidd, Mike Channon, Dennis Tueart and Peter Barnes.

Meanwhile, kids of the Nineties will have been feverishly hunting their ‘Football 93’ packets for Niall Quinn, David White and Michael (as he was listed on his sticker rather than the more commonly used Mike) Sheron, whose goals steered the City to a top-half position in the inaugural Premier League season.

In between those two albums, Panini stickers dominated the attention of schoolchildren as the playground craze of the Eighties.

For City it was a decade of less certainty, as the ignominy of two relegations from the First Division were compounded by the reduction in status for the annual Panini football sticker album – life in Division Two meant for just a shared shiny badge (combined with Middlesbrough in ‘Football 84’ and ‘Football 85’ and Leicester City in ‘Football 88’) and a team group sticker that would require a keen eye to pick out the distant faces.     

The history of the Cityzens on Panini stickers (or cards as they were at the outset) dates back to the Italian company’s first ever album – published 60 years ago this season – the 1961-62 ‘Calciatori’. Chronicling that year’s Serie A clubs, Denis Law was among the featured Torino players having just left City the previous summer.

While ‘Football 78’ is commonly referred to as Panini’s first major foray into the UK, their ‘Euro Football’ release of 1976-77 had already proved hugely popular thanks to a giveaway with Shoot! magazine. Rather than the subsequent albums that focused on English and Scottish teams, ‘Euro Football’ showcased that season’s qualifiers for the three European club competitions. That meant City were one of only six English sides to appear, in the guise of a team group along with an individual sticker for Colin Bell (not to mention Mike Channon, albeit he was still at Southampton at the time).

Bell was also part of Panini’s first World Cup album – ‘Mexico 70’ – as the first of a constellation of City stars to appear in World Cup and Euro Panini sticker albums to date.

While Panini’s brand only really came to prominence in England during the late ‘70s, they did produce cards and stickers for albums published by London-based Top Sellers from ‘Football 72’ to ‘Football 77’. Tony Book appeared as a player in ‘Football 72’ before graduating to a sticker under the ‘Manager’ role in ‘Football 78’. While the familiar names of the early seventies City squad all cropped up in that first Top Sellers release – such as Glyn Pardoe, Mike Doyle, Francis Lee and Mike Summerbee – the sight of Ian Bowyer and Stan Bowles were less expected, both of whom had moved elsewhere by the 1971-72 season.

In those pre-digital times, with longer lead times required, the make-up of Panini album squads could sometimes look considerably different to that which ended the season. Take City’s ‘Football 81’ selection, during a campaign that began in a state of flux but ended with a memorable FA Cup final appearance.   

Malcolm Allison was in situ as the manager yet was soon replaced by John Bond, who could be found in Norwich City’s double-page spread. Overseas duo Dragoslav Stepanovic and Kazimierz Deyna also earned their Panini spots but were well out of the picture, along with big-money signing Steve Daley, come May.

Bond’s early signings – Bobby McDonald and Tommy Hutchison at Coventry and Gerry Gow at Bristol City – could be spotted elsewhere in ‘Football 81’ though only the first of that trio was afforded his own sticker rather than a more shadowy presence as part of a team group.

Panini acquired the rights to produce the Premier League sticker album for the first time in 2019-20, with City taking their place as reigning champions. It would only require a further album for the club to earn another title while Phil Foden is not just building up a fine portfolio as the face of a growing number of stickers and cards but is also one of the most famous collectors.

Many of the Manchester City Women’s squad are also now racking up the stickers with Panini having produced Women’s World Cup albums since 2011 as well as a second Women’s Euro release set for next year. Current stars Karen Bardsley, Steph Houghton and Ellen White were all given a sticker as part of England’s ‘Germany 2011’ Panini selection (albeit none were Sky Blues players at the time).

Panini’s ‘France 2019’ album was awash with present day City squad members, as well as those already listed others included Lucy Bronze, Jill Scott, Keira Walsh, Alex Greenwood, Demi Stokes, Caroline Weir, Vicky Losada, Alanna Kennedy, Hayley Raso, Janine Beckie and Khadija Shaw.

With ‘Football 2021’ due out in December – plus Women’s Euro and Men’s World Cup albums due in 2022 – Panini sticker fans of a City persuasion have a busy time ahead!

Greg Lansdowne is the author of ‘Panini Football Stickers – The Official Celebration’ (published 25th November 2021):

Stan’s trailblazing role as the Club’s first-ever Black player was fittingly recognised late last month when a classroom at the City Football Academy was named in the former City midfielder’s honour. NEIL LEIGH finds out more...

The CFA tribute followed hard on the heels of Stan Horne (along with three other former members of the famous City squad that helped win the 1967/68 Division One title) being awarded winners’ medals for their roles in our success that season.

Stan, together with Bobby Kennedy and the sons of Paul Hince and the late Harry Dowd, were presented with their medals on the Etihad pitch at half time during our Premier League clash with Burnley to a rapturous reception.

Those moments of recognition and overdue reward only helped reinforce his affection for a club Stan served with great distinction between 1965 and 1969, during which time he helped City win both the First and Second Division titles.

He would subsequently play for Fulham, Chester and Rochdale as well as spending time in the embryonic North American Soccer League in the mid-1970s before finally calling time on his playing days.

However, as Stan reveals, but for the faith and intervention of Joe Mercer – one of the iconic figures in our post-war history and amongst the greatest-ever City managers – both his footballing and City career may never have flowered.

Having been taken on by Aston Villa and name checked as a highly promising youngster, Stan’s footballing dreams then looked to have been crushed in their infancy when he was released by Villa in 1965 due to worries over his blood pressure.

With his contract cancelled and Stan advised to take early retirement from the game, that looked like being the end of his footballing aspirations.

However, fate – in the form of the late, great Mercer – would hand Stan a second shot at carving out a career.

And more than 55 years on, the intervention of Mercer - who had been Horne’s manager at Villa prior to the former Arsenal and England skipper also leaving the Club – still elicits gratitude and huge affection.

“I’ve got to mention Joe as he was the main man in my life as a footballer,” Stan recalled.

“He signed me for Aston Villa as a schoolboy, but things didn’t turn out at Villa and I got released.

“When Joe subsequently came up to City and took charge in 1965, he gave me another chance and took me off the scrap heap. I will be forever indebted to Joe and City.

“I thought my career was over when I left Aston Villa after that health issue. But I managed to get myself checked out and passed fit and Joe gave me my chance at City.

“I tried to grasp it with both hands and set out to enjoy playing football again which I had done since I was knee high.

“Joe was just a fantastic man. He would put an arm round your shoulder, tell you what you were doing wrong, and you needed someone like that.”

The arrival at City of Mercer and erstwhile head coach Malcolm Allison was the catalyst for one of the greatest and most fondly remembered periods in the Club’s history.

“They were a varied bunch of lads but together it made for a fantastic team,” Stan recalled.

“We had all the characters like my good friend Tony Coleman, who was a bit of a rebel.

“But you needed those kinds of players in the dressing room to give you that edge and lift everyone if they were feeling a bit low.

“It was a fantastic time playing with some of the best players of that era: Bell, Summerbee, Lee, Doyle, Oakes. Such tremendous players.  And Tony Book… I must mention the captain too. What a skipper he was.

“Going back to when I first joined the squad in 1965, we had little Johnny Crossan who was the captain at the time, and he was a real character, too.

“I remember once we were travelling away on Bonfire Night to Coventry and en route and Johnny decided to let some fireworks off on the coach!

“Little Albert Alexander, our chairman at the time, was jumping about like I don’t know what with all these fireworks going off!

“But characters like that made the team – we just bonded. Whoever played in the team was made to feel at home. That was why we were such a good team.”

The other vital ingredient in underpinning what was to become a success-lade era was Joe’s visionary coach Malcolm Allison, a man who was light years ahead of his time in the way he thought about the game.

And like the rest of his colleagues from that golden period in City history, Horne has nothing but praise for Big Mal’s role.

“It was also a very special period working with Malcolm Allison who, I have to say, as a coach was way ahead of his time,” Stan adds.

“He was different. He made training feel a pleasure as you knew you were going to be doing something entirely different every day.

“Malcolm was a different type. He was flamboyant, he knew what he was doing, and he knew what he wanted to get from the players. I think he raised every player’s game by 50 per-cent.

“He made ordinary players good players and good players, great players. That was part of the bond at City.

“It was like negatives and positives attracting one another and Joe and Mal made for a fantastic duo.

“Malcom would go off on a rant and Joe would put a lid on it and vice versa. It worked so well.”

Fast forwarding to today, Stan says the events of the past month have only further crystallised his deep, emotional bond with City.

And he says receiving the league winners’ medal and being afforded the honour of having a classroom named after him meant the world to his family too.

“After 53 years to receive that title winners’ medal was just as good as it would have been back then,” Stan admitted.

"My chest is bursting… I was so proud when I finally got that medal. And as for having the classroom named in my honour, it’s absolutely brilliant.

“I just can’t get over it – it’s something that I could never have dreamt of. It’s made both me and my family very proud indeed.

“Sometimes I still dream about the times I played at City and say to myself how lucky can you get?. Looking back, I treasure those memories as they are so special.”

It may have only being a fleeting introduction – and a bittersweet one at that ending as it did in injury – but Cieran Slicker says making his Manchester City senior debut in pre-season still served as both a special moment and the ultimate motivator.

Having been one of the key figures in last season’s superb PL2 title victory, our 19-year-old Elite Development Squad ‘keeper was one of a number of talented young players afforded the opportunity to train and learn alongside Pep Guardiola’s first team squad in the summer.

And in our opening pre-season fixture at home to Preston North End in late July, Slicker was handed his senior bow when brought on midway through the second half as a replacement for Zack Steffen.

For a young player who had been at City for more than a decade it was yet another hugely significant milestone marking his impressive progress at the Club.

But it was to only last a little over 13 minutes with Cieran sadly having to be stretchered off the field after an accidental collision with Preston’s Tom Bayliss.

However, for a boyhood City fan, that didn’t detract from the significance of the occasion. And reflecting back now, the Oldham-born teenager says the experience served to only motivate him even more.

“It was great. Like I mentioned on my Instagram page at the time, I’ve been at the Club since I was seven so to be able to get some minutes with the first team, it was crazy!” Cieran recalled.

“It was a really proud moment for me and for people around me. Just growing up watching all the players, I used to go to the Etihad to watch a lot of the City games and then being able to perform on the pitch with the players was just unreal.

“Obviously, getting the injury so soon after coming on was not the way you want your debut to end, but those things happen.

“It’s a part of football and it could have happened in an Under-18 or Under-23s game. It happens sometimes and it didn’t take anything away from the experience.

“It was one of the best moments I’ve had at the Club and was really positive.”

Alongside featuring against Preston, the 19-year-old has subsequently been named on the senior City bench on a couple of occasions as well as taking part in several first team training sessions along with his Elite Development Squad duties

Cieran says the experience of being able to learn and develop alongside Pep Guardiola’s hugely talented squad has only increased his hunger and desire to succeed.

And he believes the input and advice he has received from City’s senior goalkeepers and support staff has proved priceless.

“Getting a taste of it makes you want it even more, 100 per cent,” the Scotland Under-21 international added.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be named on the City bench a couple of times, I’ve also been able to train with the first team so just having those experiences has just helped push me even more and it’s what I want.

“You can’t put a value on learning from the best. Obviously Ederson is one of the best keepers in the world and being that close to him and watching him it’s great for me.

“Scott (Carson) and Zack (Steffen) too – those two guys are also great not just goalkeeping wise but also as people and they have definitely helped me as well

“When I’m up there with the first team squad, they try and help me as much as possible and it’s amazing to have these three above me to look up to as they are three great guys and great keepers.

"I love Manchester City and having had a taste of senior action just makes me want to work harder for more in the future."

Away from the first team environment Cieran has also helped our EDS side off to an impressive first few months of the 2021/22 campaign with Brian Barry-Murphy’s side riding high in the PL2 table.

And more than10 years on from first joining the Club, he says the environment is ultimate as far his footballing aspirations go.

“I think it’s the best place to be in the world. I don’t think anywhere else could be better than this,” Slicker added.

“Growing up as a Manchester City fan, it makes it even better. I don’t take any day for granted. I love the Club inside and out and being here I treasure it.

“Being with the first team for the past couple of years has been even better.

“Who knows what the next couple of years will bring and whether I’m here or not? “But I definitely have a special connection with the Club and always will.”

Fantasy Premier League takes on a new dimension leading into the busy Christmas period, with the prospect of double Gameweeks, fresh new faces in the transfer window and the activation of a second wildcard leaving players with plenty to ponder.

For some, it presents a chance to climb back up their league standings… while others will see it as an opportunity to further assert their dominance and break further away from the chasing pack.

Adam Gibson certainly fits into the latter category - at one point in early October placing 46th in the entire world, and 4th out of all players in the Manchester City fan league.

He also just so happens to be a massive City fan, as demonstrated by his team’s name: FC Bluemoon!

We recently caught up with Adam to discover the secrets of his FPL success, and to get some all-important tips along the way…

CITY MAG: Have you had this sort of success in Fantasy League before?
AG: "No, this is the best year I’ve ever had! It started off as a bit of banter in work for the first four or five weeks about how well I was doing, but then in the first week of October I went to a wedding and was sat talking to a Spurs fan. He got his Fantasy team out and was commenting on one of his friends being in the top 2000 players… but it turned out I had a lot more points than him. Every week after that I checked where I was and just kept getting further and further ahead. It’s so close at the top."

What do you look out for when you’re going to make transfers?
"I always focus on the games coming forward rather than looking at form or statistics, because the players who started the season consistently are mainly different to the ones who are performing now. The past four or five weeks for example you’ve had Reece James getting a lot of points, but he wasn’t even playing at the start of the season."

How important is it to get quality goalkeepers and defenders in your team to complement your attackers?
"
Very important. With the defence, I always prefer full-backs who are going to get forward or those who are going to consistently play. In terms of City players, Ruben Dias is the one that’s been consistently picked, and I’ve got him in my team for that reason. He’s generally going to play 99% of the games. Goalkeepers are a really interesting one as well, because a lot of people cut corners with them, but the difference between a top goalkeeper like Ederson or Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy and a cheaper option is huge. That £1m or so between the best and someone who’s average is a lot in terms of the number of points across the season."

Are there any City players that you’d consider a must-have in your team?
"There’s so many to choose from, but I’d go for Phil Foden. If you look at City players, there always seems to be someone who stands out across each season. Three years ago it was Bernardo Silva, then it was Kevin De Bruyne, and last year it was Ilkay Gundogan. Foden is the one player this season who for me is a must-have. He’s the person I feel will have the biggest impact this season, especially at the age he’s at now. In some ways, this could actually be his real breakout season in terms of goals and assists."

And when it comes to using the different powerups, what have you used so far?
"
I’ve used all my powerups. I think it was Gameweek 3 when I used the free hit because I noticed a lot of my players were playing each other and I’d lose a lot of points. In fact, that week’s the only time I’ve had any Manchester United players in there! Triple Captain is tough because you’re trying to decide what’s the best week to use it, you’re always trying to guess if it’s the best week for it. The second half of the season gets very interesting as well with teams in other competitions, so you can look at double Gameweeks to use your Triple Captain. It’s about being clever with who is playing twice in a week - you don’t want to spend any of your points on transfers so if you look ahead you can try to plan and get people in the right place."

If you could give one tip to someone struggling with their team at the moment, or a new player, what would it be?
"
I’d say don’t be afraid to reassess your team. If you need to use your wildcard early, just use it. Don’t sit there with a team getting no points. You see that quite a bit, but don’t be afraid to do something about it. The quicker you act, the better you’re going to be with getting your points. It’s difficult to keep one team and let it ride through though, you’re always going to get form riding up and down, it’s striking that balance."

‘Tis the season to be silly….

For our List this month we’ve searched for our most festive footballers from up and down the years.

To help you identify the players involved, their actual name has been bolded out – and yes, it’s as corny as you’d expect, but as this is our December issue… what the heck?

So, without further ado, here is our sweet 16 Christmas crackers…

PAUL SNOWFLAKE

KIKI CHRISMUSAMPA

ROQUE SANTA CLAUS CRUZ

HO,HO,HO CORRIGAN

DAVID WHITE CHRISTMAS

FABIAN DELF

LAUREN BETHLEHEMP

JOAO TO THE WORLD CANCELO

MISTLETONI DUGGAN

BABY JESUS NAVAS

FRANKINSENSE LAMPARD

FIRST NOEL GALLAGHER

THE SVEN DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

SLEIGH GIVEN

CRAIG BRUSSELS SPROUTS

USLEIGH ROSLER

Our on-loan City star sends his second postcard back from Germany...

My second full month in Germany and I’ve managed to get my first goal and start my first game. I’m like any footballer in that I want to do my best and help the team and I’d like to think whenever I’ve had the opportunity, I’ve played my part.

Hamburg have drawn eight out of the first 13 matches in the 2.Bundesliga, so while we’re not losing, we know we need to start putting victories together to keep our challenge for promotion going.

Being patient is key for any new player and I’m working hard and training well and Hamburg is a fantastic city.

I’m getting to know it well now and enjoy going to the Alster area which is full of good shops and restaurants and there’s plenty to do outside of my time with the club.

All the lads have been fantastic with me and I’m the type of person who gets along with everyone - and my German is coming along – slowly! It’s not an easy language to learn, but each lesson I understand a bit more.

Also, my team-mates speak to me in English which really helps and I’m picking up what I can as I go along.

Watching English TV and movies isn’t an issue as I have a firestick so I get to see all the programmes I would watch if I was in Manchester and any matches that are on live.

I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t miss home occasionally, going to the CFA and being around my family, but they are coming to stay with me towards the end of November and for much of December, so I’m really looking forward to that.

They’ll be coming to watch me play and I’ll be able to take them around the city, so that will be fantastic as well.

I got to see the derby against United and first and foremost, I am a City fan and love the Club so to see that total domination was enjoyable. It was a complete mauling and it’s always good to beat that lot!

At the time of writing I’m with England Under-21s and we have a couple of games against Czech Republic and then fly out to Georgia,  and then it’s back to Hamburg to kick on again.

See you next month.

Popular former England international, KEVIN REEVES, talks to ROGER READE about his career, his days with City at Maine Road…

Kevin – thank you for sparing the time to speak to CITY MAGAZINE. You were a recent visitor to the Etihad for the City v Norwich City match….

Knowing my connections with the two clubs, ex-City player, Gary Owen, was kind enough to invite me and I enjoyed the Club’s hospitality in the Citizen’s Suite alongside Gary and Kevin Parker. I was fortunate enough to also bump into “Brightie” (Ian Brightwell) whilst I was there. It was, however, a little awkward at one point as a Norwich City fan came to talk to me and I did explain to him that I was now a Manchester City fan (as are my two sons) so I would be cheering on the Sky Blues rather than Norwich. He didn’t seem too pleased!

You were born and brought up in Burley in Hampshire, starting your football career as an apprentice with Bournemouth where you made your first team debut….

Burley is a small village in the New Forest between Bournemouth and Southampton, but I guess I had more of an affinity with Bournemouth where I knew a few of the younger lads from playing in the junior teams in my early teens. I think I was always going to be a footballer too. In fact, my cousin – Derek Reeves – once scored four goals for Southampton in a 5-1 win over City in a Cup tie at Maine Road back in 1960. The Manager who gave me my first team debut at Bournemouth was former City manager, John Benson, and I stayed for a few years before moving to John Bond’s Norwich City in 1977 where I signed after a brief loan period. A number of former Bournemouth players also ended up at Norwich – for example, Ted McDougall and Phil Boyer - who were a fantastic front two - and Mel Machin - who became City manager much later of course. As you can imagine, I was very pleased when I scored on the last weekend of my loan period for Norwich City against Stoke City which effectively clinched the transfer as a permanent move for me. Bond was very demanding as a manager, but he loved working with strikers and there is no doubt in my mind that he made me a better player by helping me to understand better the role of striker and, in particular, the creation of space and how to use it.

Having previously played for England Youth (whilst with Bournemouth), and for the Under 21s and for the England B team, you were also selected for the full England team for the first time in 1979 – you must have been delighted?

It’s funny looking back as the game in which I made my England debut was against Bulgaria and it was played on a Thursday as the original game had been called off due to fog the previous evening. I was selected to play in view of the fact that Kevin Keegan – who would have played had the game been played on the Wednesday evening – was contractually obliged to return to Hamburg on the Thursday – so I was picked to replace him. I still have my England shirt (now framed) though my children have most of my other valued football memorabilia.

You moved to Maine Road in a £1.25 million move in March 1980. What are the highs and lows of your memories of your time with City before you left in 1983?

A great moment for me was signing for Malcolm Allison at City especially as he had tried to sign me a few months before the move finally happened. I had a few months to consider what the move might mean – and I knew that the Club was a top club with big ambitions as they were signing players like Steve Daley and Michael Robinson for big fees. We became a very young team with Malcolm trying the get the team playing a certain way – though, sadly, it all went wrong. When Bond came in, he simply signed a few experienced characters like Gerry Gow, Tommy Hutchison and Bobby McDonald – who were all real ‘leaders’ with strong characters. I became pals particularly with Gerry and Tommy – especially as we all lived in the same area of Wilmslow.

I enjoyed the initial 18 months spell immensely and my most memorable moment was obviously helping City to reach the FA Cup final in 1981 (and scoring at Wembley). The very worst moment I experienced in my whole career was clearly the game when we lost to Luton in 1983 and ended up being relegated.

Following your move to Burnley in 1983, you were forced to retire at a very young age due to osteoarthritis of the hip – which must have been devastating at such a young age for you. You have obviously just had a hip operation too – can you tell us more?

Initially it was thought that it was a groin problem, but after consultations with specialists in Manchester and then in Harley Street, London, it became obvious that it was a serious hip problem. Indeed, it soon became evident that I wasn’t going to be able to continue my playing career - that would be around January/February 1984. It was especially disappointing for me as I had been playing well in the first third of that season – I had scored 12 or 13 goals for Burnley in 30 or so games at that time. John Bond called me in and actually offered me the chance to work alongside John Sainty and Tommy Hutchison with the Under 23’s and the youth team at Burnley – which I enjoyed. I then went to Birmingham – and then I worked with the PFA’s fledgling ‘Community Programme’ scheme which was great for me as I was able to get my coaching badge and train in other areas such as Adult Training. I can remember my first meeting with you \9roger Reade), Kevin Glendon and Dennis Leman – both steeped in City – and I knew you would all support me in getting my qualifications. There was a nice ‘feel’ to the work and absolutely no pressure at all. I eventually had a hip replacement operation around thirty years ago – and I have just had that hip replaced again so I am basically “out of action” for around three months, with no driving, before the serious rehabilitation stuff starts again in earnest – probably for around a further six months.

After finishing playing, you then moved on to become an extremely successful Assistant Manager working with Brian Flynn at Wrexham and then at Swansea City….

I played with Brian at Burnley but really got to know him well whilst we worked together at the PFA’s Community Programme scheme. We attended the coaching courses together – and found that we worked well together – which is why Brian approached me to join him as his assistant. When I look back, we were very fortunate to have a chairman and a board that were prepared to be patient – and we brought some quality players through such as Chris Armstrong and Brian Hughes. In fact, in total, we must have brought between £3 and £4 million in transfer fees into the club – which obviously helped the club to turn its finances around. We were there for twelve and a half years in the end and they were truly great years - as were the few years we had together at Swansea where one of the successful signings we made was Roberto Martinez….

...and you then moved into scouting ….

I always enjoyed watching players and going to games and checking out the potential of players for our level so the move into scouting was fairly straight-forward (whilst at Wrexham we couldn’t afford a Chief Scout so Brian, Joey Jones and myself did most of the scouting between us). After Swansea, I then went to Stoke City as Chief Scout but then Swansea chairman, Hugh Jenkins, asked me to go back to Swansea where Roberto became Manager. Roberto Martinez has very similar views to Pep Guardiola as far as his football philosophy was concerned – in fact, he always tried to pay 4-3-3 like Pep - so the way the club played and the quality that he brought with him was self-evident. I worked with him at Wigan (where we ended up playing City in the FA Cup Final in 2013 – a very weird sensation for me as you can imagine!) and at Everton too. I have been so fortunate as I have enjoyed my football career throughout – and I never envisaged that I would be so happy at work having been forced to retire from the playing side at the age of only 26.

Finally - what do you think of Pep’s City?

There are definite similarities between the way Roberto Martinez sets his teams up and the way Pep plays - I love the Pep team; I love his passion and his style of play. His manner with his players is second to none, commanding enormous respect from the players as he does. I am – simply – a massive fan!

In a new feature, we are digging out long lost copies of Shoot! and other football magazines from yesteryear to find Q&As with some of our past stars. We begin with this 1979 Shoot! feature with City legend Peter Barnes.

The first answers were from 1979 (then), but the second answer (now) is what he thinks today. We don’t brief the players or give them clues as to what they said, so this is a fascinating insight into what has changed over the past 40+ years…

FULL NAME:
Peter Simon Barnes

BIRTHPLACE:
Manchester

BIRTHDATE:
10 June 1957

HEIGHT:
5ft 9ins

WEIGHT:
11st (then) 13st 7lbs (now)

PREVIOUS CLUBS:
City, West Brom, Leeds + others

CAR:
Ford Capri (then) AUDI A4 (now)

FAVOURITE PLAYER:
George Best (then) Pele (now)

FAVOURITE OTHER TEAM:
City (then) Real Madrid (now)

MOST DIFFICULT OPPONENT:
Paul Reaney (then) Danny McGrain (now)

MOST MEMORABLE MATCH:
1976 League Cup final (then) 1976 League Cup final (now)

BIGGEST THRILL:
Playing for England (then) Playing for England v Italy 1977 (now)

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT:
None (then) Leaving Manchester City (now)

BEST COUNTRY VISITED:
Switzerland (then) Japan (now)

FAVOURITE FOOD:
Indian curry (then) Salmon (now)

MISC LIKES:
Tennis, squash and fishing (then)
Cycling, reading, Northern Soul on Alexa (now)

MISC DISLIKES:
Smoking and liars (then) Smoking and liars (now)

FAVE TV SHOWS:
MOTD & Fawlty Towers (then) David Attenborough's Blue Planet (now)

FAVE SINGERS:
ELO & The Eagles (then) Whitney Houston (now)

FAVE ACTOR:
Paul Newman (then) Clint Eastwood (now)

BEST FRIEND:
Too many! (then) Tommy Booth (now)

BIGGEST INFLUENCE:
My Dad (then) My sister Susan (now)

WORST THING ABOUT FOOTY:
Losing (then)VAR (now)

PERSONAL AMBITION:
To be happy (then) To be content (now)

PROFESSIONAL AMBITION:
England regular (then) To continue having the respect of my family (now)

IF YOU WEREN'T A FOOTBALLER:
PE Teacher (then) Salesman – I have the gift of the gab! (now)

MOST LIKE TO MEET:
Pele (then) HRH The Queen (now)

When Caroline Weir became City’s second signing of the summer in June 2018, the Club gained a diamond in the rough.

A technically gifted 22-year-old creative midfielder with a reputation as a scorer of stunning, long-range goals, the Scotland international put pen to paper on a two-year deal, eager to compete for trophies and develop her game.

Manager Nick Cushing relished the opportunity to unlock the Scot’s potential and today, Weir has carved a name for herself as one of the most exciting and skilful attacking stars in the game.

Under Cushing and Gareth Taylor’s stewardship, she has blossomed – and has very much cemented her status as a habitual scorer of the spectacular (especially in Manchester derbies!)

Having earned a deserved spot in the Olympic Team GB squad this past summer, as one of only three non-English players to be included, with an impressive contribution in the 2020/21 season, Weir has continued her fine form into this campaign and has written her name into the history books once more as City’s latest Centurion.

With 100 Club appearances to her name, she became the 11th female City player to achieve the milestone and fittingly marked the occasion with a typically stunning goal. Reflecting on her four years in Manchester, she told Caroline Oatway the move has been everything she hoped for.

“It’s mad!” she laughed. “I can’t believe I’m in my fourth season. Time does fly. A season isn’t really a long time so it has gone quickly.

“There have been some great moments and some challenging ones, although that’s part of being part of such a big Club and the pressures that come with it – but I came to win things and I’ve picked up some silverware along the way.

“I love the whole ‘one Club’ mentality, the facilities, the staff… Getting to know everyone takes time but I felt part of the City Family very quickly.

“I’ve learned a lot at City. Working with Nick Cushing and Gareth Taylor, I’ve really developed my tactical awareness. Working at a Club who are so tactically switched on and with tactics being such a big part of how we play, it’s helped me to play consistently at a high level, knowing what I can bring to the team.

“I think the most important thing I’ve learned is how to be a top professional. Growing up, I was always told: eat well, sleep well etcetera, but it was only when I came to City – playing at a high level with the pressure, playing big games every week with the expectation to win and being around top professionals – that I really understood the benefits.

“Playing consistently with such good players and under good coaches has been a huge thing for me. There are no shortcuts and I got on board with doing the extras more consistently. Previously, I’d dipped in and out but here, I realised that if you want to play and perform well, you have to do all of the extra things."

“Having those role models around me really helped to learn how to put those things into practice to become a professional and I’ve really developed over time.”

Away from football, Weir describes herself as chilled but sociable, splitting her spare time between switching off from football and having fun.

On days off, she enjoys visiting Manchester – dining at one of the many eateries around the city – and now 26, believes she has matured since joining the Club.

“I would say I’m pretty chilled and sociable. I like to have a laugh,” she declared.

“I feel very settled and I’m enjoying life in Manchester. I like to go out to eat or go outdoors and walk my dog, or sit and chill. At the moment, I’m really enjoying just being at home, getting into the whole winter vibe.

“I don’t think I have changed much but do feel I’ve matured. I’ve become more confident, especially on the pitch – I feel more self-assured in terms of what I can bring to the team.

“I feel settled and more professional in terms of what it takes to perform at a high level, and how I approach things.”

Weir had already etched her name into City folklore, becoming the first woman to score in a professional Manchester derby – a world-class 25-yard effort at the Etihad Stadium in front of a 31,000-strong crowd on the opening day of the 2019/20 FA Women’s Super League season.

She (somehow) bettered that feat with an outrageous goal in last season’s league visit of Manchester United – an audacious chip from the edge of the box to add the icing to the cake in a memorable 3-0 win.

The ‘cheek’ of that strike edges it top of her all-time favourite City goals list and she’s had plenty of special moments to treasure…

“My favourite moment? There have been a few!” she smiled. “Pre-season tours are always fun. I really enjoy them.

“The one in North Carolina was one of my favourites – the weather, the team vibe, everyone training and getting fit together in new surroundings was really good.

“Winning the Continental Cup in 2019 was my favourite game. It was my first trophy with City and I was named Player of the Match, which was nice. We also went on to win the FA Cup in my first season so that was a huge highlight – playing at Wembley was massive.

“Individually, I’ll never forget scoring in the Derbies. The chip is my favourite goal for City. Of course, it means more to score in a derby and the fact I’d tried that in a game – it’s a bit cheeky! – and it paid off, was amazing.

“Hopefully, I’ll go on to have many more special moments with this Club.”

Item 1 of 11

In this episode of the Grilling, I’m focusing on a legend within the local Manchester music community.

Les Hare is not  only a hardcore life-long Blue…he is also the man behind one of the finest record emporiums in the whole of the UK. I’m talking about King Bee Records in the Chorlton district of Manchester.

Les has two very knowledgeable ‘Music Elves’ working for him. Mike (who I’m sure to Les’ eternal frustration is a season ticket holder at a rival club) and Neil who could not care less about the ‘beautiful game’.

Despite the company he  keeps Les can always spare you the time of day to  talk about pretty much any musical genre you care to mention… or about a recent trip to an  away ground with the Blue Army.

Over to you Les!

WHAT  IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY  OF GOING TO  A FOOTBALL MATCH?
My first memory of going to a match was my first game in September 1960 when we beat Birmingham 3-0 and from then on I was hooked.

WHAT IS THE  MOST  PECULIAR  OR MEMORABLE THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU AT A MATCH?
Another of my earliest memories was being passed over the heads of all the crowd in the Kippax and being put over the wall at the front to see City draw a cup match with Leicester when Neil Young scored two past Gordon Banks. There were loads of young lads sat round the pitch and we all ran on when he scored the second.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME AND PREVENT ONE MATCH FROM BEING PLAYED - WHAT MATCH WOULD THAT BE - AND WHY?
A game better not played or forgotten was when Luton sent us down. I think I was still in the ground 15 minutes after the game finished staring at the pitch in disbelief.

WHICH TEAM ARE YOUR  LEAST FAVOURITE OPPONENTS - AND WHY?
Apart from the obvious the team I most dislike is Stoke for some reason although Liverpool and Spurs run them close.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST FAVOURITE MAN  CITY TERRACE SONG  OR CHANT - AND WHY?
My favourite song is one that should be revived "We'll Support You Evermore" and another oldie we'll drink to Colin the King - my favourite player.

WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE CITY GOAL YOU HAVE WITNESSED (Agueroooooooooooo…”  aside)?
Most memorable goal was from Paul Dickov and the second highest that I have ever jumped.

HAVE YOU EVER MET ONE  OF YOUR MAN  CITY HEROES… IF SO - WHO…AND HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE!
Met a few players at functions etc but years ago I met Bert Trautmann on a few occasions, a real gent.

IF YOU COULD  NVITE  ANY MAN CITY PLAYER - PRESENT  OR  PAST - TO YOURS FOR TEA AND BISCUITS  - WHO  WOULD IT BE - AND WHY?
I would love to have tea and biscuits with Phil Foden so that in the future I can say that I have met one of the best players in the world.

HAVE YOU EVER SHED A TEAR - OF JOY - OR  PAIN - AT A  CITY MATCH?
No tears from me but I remember meeting purely by chance (we had not gone together) my girlfriend after we had beaten Leicester in the 1969 FA Cup final and she was crying her eyes out and I was saying 'We won! We won!

WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT  MAINE ROAD?
The things I miss about Maine Road are standing with about 10 or 12 mates and ending up in a completely different place after we'd scored, Bovril and being able to walk to the ground.

WHO DO YOU THINK WOULD WIN IN AN ARM-WRESTLING  MATCH…  YAYA TOURE - OR KYLE WALKER?
Kyle for me in the arm-wrestling.

IF YOU COULD PICK ONE CURRENT CITY PLAYER TO BE ON YOUR PUB QUIZ TEAM - WHO WOULD IT BE - AND WHY?
I would go for Ilkay Gundogan for my quiz team as he seems very intelligent or perhaps Ederson as he would scare the opposition.


City’s fifth summer recruit enjoyed a day to remember during the last international break, earning her 100th cap for Australia. The centre-back tells Caroline Oatway what the achievement meant to her and reflects on her City career so far… 

 

Alanna, you’re a few months into your City career now and we’re well into the season. How are you getting on? 

I’m feeling good. The last couple of weeks were a nice refresher for me: to have been able to go home to Australia and see my family – if only briefly – was just what I needed after a long time without seeing them. I’m excited to be back and I’m feeling more like myself to be honest. 


Many congratulations on your 100th cap for Australia. How did it feel to reach that milestone for your country? 

I was so happy. I felt so privileged to have worn the jersey 100 times but also so lucky to have been able to share the milestone with my family and friends at home.  Games like that can fall anywhere – it could have been the other side of the world! It was really lovely to see them again. It was a good game as well – we won and put in a really good team performance, which was the most important thing. 


From the post-match footage, you could see just how much it meant to you, as you looked up to your loved ones in the stands. It was a very emotional reunion… 

It was. I’d been away from home for so long and there had been so much uncertainty of when I’d be able to see my family again.  Of course, I’m used to being away from home but it was longer than usual and the unpredictability made it a lot harder. 

I’d been through so much during that time as well, like the Olympics – incredible highs and real lows – but hopefully, next time we can experience it together and I can give them a hug!  


It’s been a disappointing start to City’s season so far – things haven’t panned out as hoped… What have you made of our start? 

It has been a tough start but over the last couple of weeks, we’ve shown signs of better things and that’s exciting. We’ve stuck to our processes and made sure we’ve stuck together as a team, which is one of the things I would say has been really good. It’s definitely been an unexpected season in terms of the team we are but the morale has still been high. 


And you were cup-tied for the Women’s FA Cup, which must have been hugely frustrating, especially given our defensive crisis. Hopefully, now you’ll have more opportunities to show what you can do…? 

It’s one of those things. It’s been one of those seasons from the start! For me, looking from a positive perspective, it’s given me more time to settle in – more time with the girls and more time to understand the playing style.  It has taken me a little bit of time to get used to but that’s only natural for any player coming into a new team. I’m looking forward now. Obviously, I want to be on the pitch playing and I’m looking forward to more opportunities, which I’m sure will come. For me personally and for the team, we’re on the way up. 


REVIEW: The Peter Barnes
Authorised Biography

Recently, a biography has been written on 70s and 80s City star Peter Barnes. The book has been researched and written by City author Gary James, who had previously written a biography of former City boss Joe Mercer.

The book has taken over two years to research and write and tells the life story of Barnes who, at the age of 18, scored the opening goal in City’s 1976 League Cup final victory. Playing for the team he supported, Peter was idolised by fans. His skills were recognised nationally when he became the first City player to be awarded a PFA award, being presented with the 1976 PFA Young Player of the Year award.

The following year he made his England debut and was described by one journalist at the time as the ‘saviour of English football.’ He went on to play 22 times for his country.

At City he also helped the club challenge for the title (missing out by a point in 1977) and in Europe. In 1979 the Blues reached the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup and seemed destined to find glory but Malcolm Allison returned as coach and within months not only had City’s European dream ended but Peter, and a whole host of international stars, were on their way out.

Gary James’ biography of Peter tells how both City’s life and Peter’s were thrown of course by Allison’s arrival. Peter left City in 1979 and carved out a new career at West Bromwich Albion, helping them to a top four finish. Peter was Albion’s top scorer too.

Another record-breaking transfer to Leeds United followed (a club he had almost joined as a boy and one that always meant a great deal to him), before spells at Real Betis, Coventry City (where future England star Stuart Pearce installed his lights!) and Manchester United (playing for both Ron Atkinson and his replacement Alex Ferguson). There was also a return to City in 1987 and the book explains differences between Peter’s first and second spells at Maine Road.

Gary’s book covers the highs and lows of Peter’s life with stories about his time playing for some of the game’s biggest clubs and most famous managers. It also discusses Peter’s ongoing involvement with the sport and the significance of his family. It has much to interest City fans with hundreds of colour photographs supporting over 100,000 words. This is a detailed, methodically researched biography which quotes Peter and others who played with him, managed his clubs or simply watched him play.

This is the perfect book for any Blue wanting to relive those days or wants to learn about one of the club’s legendary figures. Oh, and if you’re wondering where the cover came from… it’s based on the packaging and advertising for the cult toy from the late 1970s The Peter Barnes Football Trainer!

Written by Gary James
ISBN: 9781916885202 RRP: £16.95372 pages, Size: 372 pages, paperback, 148x210mm Published by James Ward

The book can be bought from all the usual stockists or direct from author Gary James at: www.GJFootballArchive.com/shop/

With our latest Best XI, we select a team that oozes with technical ability.

Of course, we could just make this team out of our current squad, but that wouldn’t be fair on some of the very gifted and skilful players we’ve had over the years, so instead, here’s a mixture of all eras…

FORMATION: 4-4-1-1

KEEPER: EDERSON
When it comes to control, ability and passing, we really can’t look beyond Ederson. The Brazilian has almost single-handedly changed the way goalkeepers play from the back and there’s not many custodians who could do a Cruyff Turn then ping and 80-yard pass to feet!

RIGHT-BACK: JOAO CANCELO
Another revolutionary – and current member of the City squad. For a defender who spends most of his time in or around the opposition box, the Portuguese is changing the way full-backs play with his licence to roam. Effortless ability, vision and technique, Cancelo is, as they say, a shoe-in.

LEFT-BACK: CLIVE WILSON
I
t may not have been his chosen position – he began life as an attacking midfielder – but Clive Wilson integrated his wonderful technique into his role as a left-back. Clever, with excellent vision and a deft touch, Wilson was a joy to watch.

CENTRE-BACK: KEITH CURLE
Keith Curle was ahead of his times in many ways and very much a ball-playing defender. Not an aerial master by any means, but Curle loved to bring the ball out and was happy to attempt the odd dribble. Fast, strong and determined, Curle gets a spot in this XI.

CENTRE-BACK: JOHN STONES
City are blessed with some incredible defenders and in Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte, two of the world’s best. But John Stones’ comfort bringing the ball out of defence and his skill and confidence with the ball at his feet, edges his him into our Tekkers XI.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD: DAVID SILVA
How could we not include one of our most gifted players of all time? ‘El Mago’ was all about skill, vision and was blessed with incredible technical ability. A joy to watch and a player who dictated the tenor of the team like as though he was conducting an orchestra… what a player.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD: ALI BENARBIA
The magical talents of the Algerian genius are the stuff of legend. Paulo Wanchope claimed that Ali ‘could see you when you couldn’t even see yourself’ – his passing range was breath-taking and he just has to be in this team of visionaries.

RIGHT MIDFIELD: KEVIN DE BRUYNE
Like Silva, it is difficult to leave out a player of De Bruyne’s ability. His is a different skillset than Silva or Benarbia, but anyone who can thread a pass or send undefendable crosses as regularly as KDB does surely has to be in this team?

LEFT MIDFIELD: GEORGE KINKLADZE
Perhaps one of the most technically gifted players ever to represent Manchester City – quite a statement – but ‘Kinky’ was capable of magical dribbles and world class goals that the arguments about his undoubted ability will rage on for many years. Able to glide past opponents with balletic poise and balance, he was an incredible footballer.

FORWARD: NEIL YOUNG
Neil Young played football like he was part of a ballet. Graceful with superb control and vision, he also had a devastating left peg who could send a thunderbolt into the back of the net or gently float the ball over the keeper’s head. He missed out in a recent Best XI, but not this one.

FORWARD: PHIL FODEN
Our youngest Tekkers member, Phil Foden is one of our most exciting talents to ever graduate for the Academy. And he’s going to keep getting better. Outrageous ability for a 21-year-old…

MANAGER: PEP GUARDIOLA
Come on… who else could manage a side like this? Only Pep…

BENCH:
Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Maurizio Gaudino, Paul Lake,
Ian Bishop, Trevor Francis, Rodney Marsh.


With the festive season approaching, it’s always a good time to wallow in nostalgia. It’s more than 18 years since we left our old ground at Maine Road, but every City fan of a certain age still misses the old place.

I love our new stadium, but Maine Road retains a special place in my heart. Every Saturday, I’d walk up Claremont Road from my grandparents’ house on Russell Street when I was a kid and felt the buzz and excitement as I got closer to the ground.

That’s why I wanted to capture the place in all its glory in our final season there, and it’s why I produced a book: We’re Not Really Here, as a lasting memento for all of us who loved the place.

I wanted to capture the feeling of going to Maine Road for the first time. Certainly, for us inner-city kids, we’d never seen a patch of grass so large and so green. Hopefully I achieved this. I still enjoy looking through my copy, and I hope these photos give you a flavour of the day out at Maine Road.

I managed to buy a few copies back off my publisher a while ago, and I still have some limited editions available. Contact me via twitter (KCMANC) and I can give you details.


Kevin Cummins