July already…

The ‘summer’ hiatus doesn’t last long and as we kick off the new month, some of our men’s team – most in fact – have still not finished their long season with a mixture of Euro 2024, Copa America, and the Olympic Games meaning little or no break.

And pre-season will begin around the middle of the month!

Whether the Blues are in action or not, City Magazine continues and as always, we have an eclectic mix of interviews, features, and columns with an added touch of retro here and there.

Our cover star for the first time is the fantastic Lauren Hemp, who talks about her love of the Club and, of course, penning that new contract not so long ago.

Kerstin Casparij is also featured as we swing a well-earned spotlight on our wonderful women’s team.

And with Janine Beckie the focus of our So Solid Blue, loyal followers of Gareth Taylor’s side are especially well-catered for this month.

Pep Guardiola will take his squad to the USA later this month, and Andy Morrison has predicted the pre-season friendly results and scores while we’re Stateside – as well as Community Shield focus.

Staying with the Stars and Stripes, NFL superstar Derek Carr reveals his kids are now diehard Blues, but who gets the vote of being their favourite player?

Our retro features include a Shoot Magazine Q&A reproduction with Mike Doyle, a classic Doves interview from 2009 and our Random Match Generator has churned out another instantly forgettable match from our past – this time, a summer trip to Home Park in Devon.

As always, we have our EDS and U18s interviews as well as regular columnists Marc Riley and Kev Cummins and, as it’s summer, we look at two cricketing superstars in England’s T20 openers Jos Buttler and Phil Salt – who both happen to be lifelong Manchester City supporters.

Salt explains who in the England team’s fast bowling department are easy to wind-up!

All that plus plenty more, enjoy and we’ll see you all next month!

The summer transfer window is always an exciting time in the football calendar, with the Barclays Women’s Super League’s opening at the end of June.

But securing key players to long-term contracts can be some of the most important business that a Club does, and Lauren Hemp extending her City deal to 2027 in late April certainly fits into this category.

Unsurprisingly, given her stature and achievements in the game so far, the winger had attracted plenty of interest from top European sides. Thankfully, her future is in blue.

With Steph Houghton, Demi Stokes, Esme Morgan and Ellie Roebuck all leaving the Club this summer, Hemp is now our current longest serving player despite still being just 23.

Indeed, it’s quite remarkable that the England international, already with 160 senior appearances under her belt for City, was still eligible for the WSL’s Young Player of the Year award in 2023/24.

Her 66 goals for Gareth Taylor’s side is also bettered only by Georgia Stanway and Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw and, with an MBE to boot, Hemp already boasts a career that would be the envy of many top level players.

But for anyone who’s had the pleasure of speaking to the England international in an interview setting or otherwise, it quickly becomes evident that Hemp puts a lot of her success down to the people around her.

City’s strength in 2023/24 lay in the collective, and the winger is keen to emphasise the incredible squad that Taylor has at his disposal moving forward.

Furthermore, seeing other key players commit their future to the Club in the months preceding Hemp’s extension was also an important factor in her agreeing to a new deal.

She said: “We’ve got some incredible players. We signed Jill [Roord] last season and she’s been massive for us. Unfortunately, she did her ACL but I know she’ll be massive for us for years to come

“Yui [Hasegawa]’s re-signed as well, we have a great core of players who are staying on for the next few years. It’s exciting and great to be a part of that.

“We’ve done so well this season and I think what’s changed from a few years ago is that we bounce back after every game if we lose it.

“That just shows the passion everyone has for Manchester City. We recruit people who are passionate about the Club, that’s the most important thing.”

Hemp is just one of several players and members of City’s coaching staff to refer to that unique mentality.

There was evidence of it throughout the season, one such occasion being a match where Hemp took centre stage in spectacular fashion.

In February 2024, it looked like City were heading for a frustrating goalless draw with Leicester, despite dominating large parts of the contest.

For all of our quality in possession, we simply couldn’t find a way to break down the visitors’ stubborn rearguard, until the England international stepped up with a moment of brilliance.

Her acrobatic scorpion kick from a Bunny Shaw cross with eight minutes to play was the spark we needed to go on and grab an important win at the Joie Stadium.

Taylor, rightly, described it as a world class goal, but the bottom line was that, in an uncharacteristically off-colour performance, City had found a way to win.

It’s a quality that Hemp believes sets this squad apart, and one that will serve us well in the future.

“The mentality among the squad, we have a lot of experienced players who know what it takes to win, but also a group of youthful players who come in and are really exciting,” she added.

“It’s great to have that difference of players and people who you can lean on.

“We know when we have a setback, we work hard in training and know we’ll bounce back at the weekend. That’s massive for us.”

But while there’s plenty of grit in this City side, that doesn’t take anything away from some of the sumptuous football that was produced across 2023/24.

Hemp was at the centre of that, with only Shaw able to better her tally of 12 goals, while her nine assists was level at the top of the charts with Mary Fowler in all competitions, and the most in the WSL on the whole.

City dominate possession, but with a purpose. Taylor has his side well-drilled, with the team pressing from the front to put our opponents under pressure in uncomfortable areas of the pitch.

Every City player also has the confidence and the quality to spark an attack, whether it be Hemp at the sharp end, or Keating between the sticks.

It’s a style that runs through the entire Club, but one that Hemp gives the manager huge credit for applying so effectively to his exciting young squad.

She said: “We’ve definitely got a style of play which is what’s so special about City.

“No matter who comes in or the manager who’s here, we have a way of playing and want to use that to try and win.

“[But] Gaz [Taylor] is a great manager and has got a lot out of us over the last few years.

“It’s nice to know what he’s doing as well and what you’re going to get, and being at City for the next few years, it’s good to have that.

“It also gives me the licence to go on and be myself and play how I want to play, which gets the best out of me.”

Like Hemp, Taylor signed a three-year extension in the new year. He’s now preparing to embark on his fifth full season at the helm.

The former City forward reached 100 wins in charge towards the end of the 2023/24 campaign, having also won successive Manager of the Month awards in February and March, for the second year in a row.

For Hemp, Taylor’s management approach has brought the best out of her, whether it’s by pointing out where she can improve or by heaping praise on her young shoulders, as he did after that stunning Leicester strike.

Based off the England international’s assessment of the boss, their relationship is built on two key facets: trust and confidence.

“I think it’s important to have a manager who’s honest with you and who you can look to,” she adds.

“We’ve had a lot of honest conversations over the last few years, and I think that’s so important to have in a manager, someone you can go to.

“As I’ve said with my confidence, he’s always there to make me feel better in myself and the first person to tell me if I’ve done anything wrong.

“It’s great to have that balance and good to have a manager who truly believes in you.”

Interview: George Kelsey


Our former skipper and current national team boss of Sri Lanka, Andy Morrison, brings us a pre-season prediction special…

City v Celtic
Friendly. Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Wednesday 24 July,  kick-off: 00:30 (UK time)  

Mozzer’s verdict: Given the Euros, Copa America, and Olympic Games, it’s likely we’ll have a young squad going out on tour to the US. That makes my predictions a little harder this month, but what it does do is give a chance for the next Phil Foden, Oscar Bobb, or Rico Lewis to emerge. In fact, Oscar and Rico will be two of our more senior players on this trip, I’m guessing – along with a certain Erling Haaland. Celtic’s first team squad will largely be available and so I think it will be a close game – but one that we’ll edge.

Mozzer’s prediction: City 2-1 Celtic

City v AC Milan
Friendly, Yankee Stadium, New York City
Saturday 27 July, kick-off: 23:00 (UK time)

Mozzer’s verdict: Again, tough to call. Did Milan have as many players out around the globe this summer? Unlikely – in fact, I think I’m right in saying Milan had no players in Italy’s Euro 2024 squad at all, so they’ll be fresh and raring to go. That makes this a tough test for our youngsters and one that we’ll have to stand up to in what is likely to be a hot and balmy Yankees Stadium.

Mozzer’s prediction: City 1-1 AC Milan

City v Barcelona
Friendly, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
Wednesday 31 July, kick-off: Midnight (UK time)

Mozzer’s verdict: There’s rarely a meeting between City and Barcelona that isn’t entertaining and has plenty of goals and I see that trend continuing here. Will our old skipper Ilkay Gundogan feature? That will depend largely on Germany’s Euro 2024 performance and when they play their last game. It will be a game between two sides hell-bent on scoring goals and keeping the ball and I think Hansi Flick will enjoy pitting his wits against Pep Guardiola. Should be an easy watch.

Mozzer’s prediction: City 2-2 Barcelona

City v Chelsea
Friendly, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Saturday 3 August, kick-off: 22:30 (UK time)

Mozzer’s verdict: All our games against Chelsea last season were close – two draws and a win and we could have lost at least two of those on another day. I see this being the hardest of our pre-season matches because they will have several new players, a new manager and they finished the campaign strongly. We’ll also play them again a fortnight after this in the Premier league curtain raiser, so if we were going to lose either of those games, I’d rather it was this one.

Mozzer’s prediction: City 1-2 Chelsea

City v Manchester United
Community Shield, Wembley Stadium
Saturday 10 August, kick-off 15:00 (UK time)

Mozzer’s verdict: Nobody saw that FA Cup final result coming, least of all me! I think it’s fair to say we saved our worst performance of the 2023/24 season for the final against United, and they probably saved their best performance of the season for that game – and in my mind, that’s the only way we could lose that game. That will have stung our players, and I we should have a full squad to choose from for this game and we’ll want to get some silverware in the cabinet early in the season. I’m fairly certain we will.

Mozzer’s prediction: City 3-1 Manchester United

Here we pay homage to players who flew under the radar of the football world outside of loyal City fans.

In the month City head to the United States, this latest edition focuses on Janine Beckie, the US-born Canadian international striker who spent four years in Manchester.

Once referred to as the ‘model human’ by team-mate Aoife Mannion, Janine Beckie is adored wherever she goes.

Hard working and selfless are not always words you associate with the game’s leading forwards, but Beckie certainly ticked both boxes.

Born in Colorado in August 1994, Beckie represented Texas Tech University before earning her professional stripes with Houston Dash and Sky Blue FC in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Having committed to playing international football for Canada in 2015, Beckie’s career at the top level was already well under way when she moved to City in 2018.

Her journey across the Atlantic came hot on the heels of a loan stint at City for US icon and Beckie’s former Dash and Sky Blue team-mate Carli Lloyd.

It was clear that Lloyd’s reflections on the club helped Beckie make her decision, as the forward confirmed in her first interview at City.

“To hear her come back [to the US] and talk about what a professional environment it is – the soccer’s great, the coaching is great, the facilities are great – it’s really cool to have a player like her speak so highly of my new team,” she said.

It was in the Continental Cup that she shone out in her first season, scoring seven goals in six matches as we went on to win the tournament.

With the pressure on in the penalty shootout in the final against Arsenal, Beckie held her nerve to tuck the ball into the bottom corner and seal the trophy with the final kick.

The 2019/20 season saw Beckie excel in the Round of 32 Champions League clash with Lugano, scoring in the away leg before netting a hat-trick at home.

She then got our Round of 16 tie off to the perfect start with a 13th minute finish in the first leg against Atletico Madrid.

When the end of that season was cancelled due to the COVID pandemic, she utilised her status via social media to try and help others – even filming home fitness videos to ensure people of all abilities could stay active while isolating.

Back on the pitch, Beckie loved the big occasion. Her 122nd minute goal in extra time of the FA Cup final win over Everton gave us a two-goal cushion and got the party started at Wembley.

Always a trusted option for Nick Cushing and Gareth Taylor, Beckie was a tireless runner without being prolific in front of goal.

2020/21 saw her best goal return in the league, with four strikes from six starts and eight substitute appearances.

They came in wins over Bristol City, Everton, Brighton and Tottenham Hotspur as City come within two points of the title.

That summer, she went on to achieve a childhood dream by winning Olympic gold with Canada thanks to a penalty shootout win over Sweden in Tokyo.

Still only 29, Beckie is enjoying a glittering career at international level, having scored 36 times in 103 appearances so far.

Beckie left City in April 2022, returning to her homeland to play for Portland Thorns.

However, she left with nothing but good words to say about City and there were genuine, heartfelt wishes on both sides as they parted ways.

“Finding the right words to say has been really hard, but in life and especially in sport, sometimes the best things come to an end,” she summed up.

“When I came to Manchester in 2018, I could have never imagined I’d stay for so long, but it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. In the last four seasons, the moments and memories I’ve experienced will be ones I hold onto forever.

“I came as a player and I’m leaving as a life-long fan. Once a blue, always a blue.”

Jack Mumford

Last month Swedish band The Hives spoke of their connection with Manchester City and while they did, they also submitted their collective favourite City XI - and here's what they had to say...

"We are gonna go with the full current team and organization as that seemed to work very well.

"It might be a bit different in terms of a Dream XI, but obviously our ties with the Club only go back so far, and for a team that's won the Treble and four successive Premier League titles, it can't get much better than this, surely?"


If you were to ask City supporters to choose a player in the current squad who is approaching ‘cult hero’ status, then Kerstin Casparij would probably be right up there...

She’s only been at the Club for two full seasons and, given she’d spent her entire career in her native Netherlands before joining in 2022, that fact may come as a slight surprise to those who haven’t watched Gareth Taylor’s side regularly.

But Casparij has more than endeared herself to the City faithful thanks to the incredible passion she shows every time she steps across the white line.

She celebrated our second goal against Manchester United in January’s Continental Cup victory, for example, as if she’d grown up in Ardwick, rather than Alphen aan den Rijn, pumping the air with a remarkable enthusiasm.

She might’ve slightly overstepped the mark once or twice, but that’s only natural given the desire she shows to drag her team over the line.

In short, the energy and effort Casparij brings has made her a bit of a cult hero among the City faithful, as exemplified by their chant for the Dutch international to Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’ (which, for obvious reasons to those who know, won’t be repeated here!).

It’s a description that she holds with immense pride, and one she feels is a product of her off-pitch demeanour as much as what she produces on it.

“I think a lot of it has to do with how I profile myself, especially in the interaction I have with the fans,” she smiles.

“I always try to sign stuff, have a picture with people and interact if I can.

“That’s obviously appreciated, and we obviously appreciate all the fans coming to watch us and travel, so I always try to take a moment to have a chat.”

“I just love being here if I’m being honest.

“Moving abroad for me, one of things I wanted to look at was where I would feel at home and I think I feel really at home here in Manchester, with the Club, the girls and the fans we have.

“If you love being somewhere, you put your best foot forward and I think that’s what makes it so good.”

Casparij has certainly done that, particularly last season where she cemented herself as a regular in the second half of the campaign.

The Dutch international, in many ways, is a bit of a throwback to the buccaneering full-backs from a decade or so ago.

While she has all of the technical qualities and composure needed to excel at City, the defender also makes penetrating runs down the flank to offer an outlet out wide.

And, in a similar vein to her men’s counterpart Kyle Walker, she’s got the searing pace to snuff out any danger at the other end, never shirking her defensive duties.

Having already made over 50 appearances for City in her two seasons so far, the 23-year-old will continue going from strength to strength in 2024/25 as we prepare for our return to UEFA Champions League football.

But Casparij isn’t getting ahead of herself and insists there’s no secret to her standout campaign beyond hard work on the training pitch.

She added: “I think since joining it took a while to get into the team, I started the first half of the first season then I was a bit in and out.

“I just tried to work hard and did all the things that are expected of me. I think throughout the season it's been going really well.

“I think Gareth’s been happy with how I’ve been playing, and so have I.

“I’ve just kept my head down and worked hard and eventually you’ll get there.”

City ultimately came up short at the end of the 2023/24 campaign, missing out in the cruellest of circumstances on goal difference to Chelsea in the battle for the Barclays Women’s Super League title.

However, it was a season where Casparij and co. showed that we have what it takes to go the distance, taking four points off the champions and matching the league’s longest ever winning run.

We also equalled our highest-ever points tally, with Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw winning the Golden Boot and Khiara Keating the Golden Glove.

It’s a solid foundation from which to build in 2024/25, and Casparij believes the continuity in the squad played an important role in that success.

“It was important for us that we kept the majority of the group together,” she explained.

“Not a lot of players went out and only Jill [Roord] came in, so we’ve basically worked with the same team for two years in a row.

“You could just see coming into this season that we had a certain connection that we’ve been building our game-plan for, for such a long time with the same players.

“Sometimes it’s also down to luck in the sense of if you play well, keep pushing and believing, the coin will fall on the right side because you’ve manifested what you’ve been training for all week.

“I think just staying together and believing in what we do has been really important for us.”

George Kelsey

There are lots of roles behind closed doors that without them, our beloved football teams would not be able to play week in and week out...

And that is no different for the kit team here at City. John Wheeler is the Club’s Academy Kit Manager and without him and his team, our young prospects could be wearing odd socks and kit that doesn’t fit quite right.

Their role is more than just folding shirts and making sure the kit is clean, hours of planning and preparation goes on behind-the-scenes to make sure every changing room a City team enters is near perfect for a matchday.

John kindly took the time to sit down with the CITY MAGAZINE to talk through what his role entails…

CITY MAG: John, thank you for your time. First of all could you talk a little bit about how you came into your current role here at City?

JOHN: More than happy to! I started as a casual steward around 27 years ago. I had retired and I was doing odd jobs around the house but because my wife was at work, I got bored quite quickly. My boss for the stewarding decided to give me some more shifts at the stadium, Maine Road back then, and it just slowly progressed from there really. During the off season I was invited to go to Carrington, which was where the team trained at the time, and I was tasked with just standing at the gate and welcoming people in.

While I was doing that I had caught wind of the laundry staff not getting much time off because the role was so demanding so I offered to wash some stuff for them so they could take some holiday. I must have been doing something right because then I was asked if I would work more on the laundry and the kits. And things fell kindly for me I guess with other members of staff leaving opportunities came up to work full-time in the kit team and with the amount of players and teams growing so quickly at City, especially when we moved over to the CFA, they needed more hands.

I really don’t think I did anything special in those years, I just did what I needed to and I feel like I did it to a good standard and I guess that led me to be here, as the Academy Kit Manager which I’ve been doing for a few years now but I’d say my full-time involvement in the kit team began 12 years ago.

CITY MAG: Can you talk us through a bit about what your job involves midweek and then what a match day also looks like?

JOHN: Yeah, so right now for example we are replacing the 2023/24 training kits, match kits, all of that stuff with the 2024/25 kits so that when all the teams return for pre-season everything is here and ready to go. As you can imagine, that’s a lot of kit so it’s very time-consuming! When we are mid-season we are here and on hand to provide the Academy players with their kit when they come to train and that’s from U12s all the way up to the Elite Development Squad. We are also in charge of printing the kits so numbers, initials, sponsors, we do all of that. And that’s everyone in my team working together on it; Dave Puro, Lisa Thomas, Lewis Norcott and myself.

On a matchday, my role is ensuring Lewis has everything he needs and he has all the information needed and that his timings are right so he has enough time to set up the changing room before a game. And that’s vital. Giving yourself enough time to lay out kit, boots, snacks, whiteboards, it’s all extremely important and we make sure that is as perfect as it can be so the coaching staff and players can focus on the 90 minutes of football ahead of them. And we also take a lot of pride in making sure the EDS changing rooms are set to mirror a first-team changing room as best we can.

But yeah, essentially on a matchday my job is to make sure Lewis has everything he needs and then making sure training kit is back and put away.

CITY MAG: It sounds like the washing machine will be on all the time with the number of kits needed to facilitate the entire Academy. Are the kits washed on or off site?

JOHN: All on-site! We have a massive laundry room with about 12 washers, the trick is to not overfill them otherwise the kit won’t wash properly. And we have roughly the same number of dryers too. There are two bigger washing machines for things like bedding from the rooms on-site at the CFA which the players stay in. The laundry team have a lot to deal with, it’s the room that never sleeps it feels like!

CITY MAG: Your job is one that is easy to forget almost in its level of importance. Have you had any experiences with the Academy players who have taken the time to show appreciation for not just you and your team but the backroom staff as a whole?

JOHN: There are a few players I could name which I guess is a great thing to be able to say. Joel Latibeaudiere, I respected him so much and he respected the kit team. Luke Mbete, Ben Knight, Curtis Anderson are a handful more that always helped out with the equipment and were always really polite and just great examples of how we develop not just exciting young players but also help shape them into kind human beings during their time at City’s Academy.

CITY MAG: As a City fan and a member of staff who has worked with the kits for a long time, you must have a preference of what your favourite kit is?

JOHN: I’m an old traditionalist, I like my blue and white home kit, red and black away kit and I must admit the third kit would be the 1999 yellow and dark blue striped one. If I had to pick one of the three, I love it when the home kit has the badge in the middle, just like the kit from the 1970s. For me personally it became iconic because of Colin Bell. There are pictures of him just stood there in the shirt and I just love it.

CITY MAG: And finally, I’m sure you have lots of great memories working here for such a long time. Are you able to pick out a favourite moment for you in your career to date?

JOHN: My favourite moment was my last game for the EDS before I became the manager of the kit team. We’d just won the Premier League 2 and there is pictures of me getting showered with water and then they dragged me into the showers at the Etihad Stadium because the final game of the season was there. And I also got presented with a Premier League medal. We do get one eventually, the kit team always do, but to get it in the changing room and the game and all the lads jumped on me celebrating, it was really special and a moment I’ll never forget.

Interview: Holly Percival

We track back to the summer of 2009 and an interview with Manchester band Doves – a band we at City Magazine are very proud to call fellow Blues…

“All we need to do now is write a soundtrack for a David Lynch movie. He’s not a City fan is he by any chance?”

Where would Manchester City-supporting band Doves play in a football team? On the wings, of course…

It’s not only Oasis who fly the City flag. One of Manchester’s finest bands, the Mercury Music Prize-nominated trio Doves have been season-ticket holders for years. The Blues even walk down the tunnel the thump of their seminal classic ‘Pounding’ and they were recently commissioned by the club to re-work a version of the supporters’ anthem ‘Blue Moon’.

City Magazine caught up with lead singer Jimi Goodwin and drummer Andy Williams to discuss their sky blue loyalties….


Jimi – we hear you had to escape from the ‘Dark Side’ as a kid?

Jimi Goodwin: “I’m actually something of a late developer because I kind of fell out of love with football for a while. I used to go and watch Arsenal occasionally as a kid because we had relatives who lived near Wembley and my uncle would take me to Highbury whenever I visited. My hero was Liam Brady back then, but all that changed after my first City match in October 1995. We were away to Man United and they beat us 1-0 at Old Trafford and my family - all ridiculous Reds - weren’t thrilled at all, but I was hooked. Even now they can’t accept I’m a City fan. My partner’s kids have been sullied by their dad being a Red – it’s too late for them now. I’ve tried, though, but they are both girls aged eight and 12 and I’m fighting a losing battle.”


Your first memory, Andy?

Andy Williams: “My first game was in the mid-eighties – West Ham United, I think. When I was a kid I never really got to go to matches for one reason or another. I was a loyal fan and had the kit and everything and even once attended Mike Summerbee’s Soccer School.”

Jimi: “Buzzer was a mate of my dad’s and he used to come around to our house quite a lot. He’s a good bloke. He used to supply bespoke shirts to Sylvester Stallone, among others.”

Your happiest memories?

JG: “The 1999 play-off final against Gillingham. That was an amazing day – and a rotten one up until Paul Dickov’s equaliser. It was painful going 2-0 down with minutes left but we all stayed to the end and didn’t miss a thing. Andy Morrison was a giant for us and just what we needed at the time.”

AW: “The 3-1 win over United in November 2003 for me. We were in Switzerland at the time but still celebrated for about two days - we were gutted that we weren’t there, but my mate taped it and when I got to see it, the best bit was when they showed the goals and played one of our songs, ‘Words’, to accompany the action. It was like ‘They’re playing our music for a win over United’. It was a dream come true, man.”


What’s it like on matchdays as a fan? You can almost guarantee three Doves records in the pre-match entertainment…

AW: “It’s flattering to think the Club and fans have chosen ‘Pounding’ to help psyche the crowd up before games. I’ve been at the ground a few times when it’s being played, but I stop short of tapping my foot to it – it’s not the done thing!”


And what of the latest addition – your own take on Blue Moon?

JG: “It’s sort of Public Image Limited-influenced…”

AW: “At first we thought it was way too psychedelic…it was a tricky one. We were happy to do it and all we need to do now is write a soundtrack for a David Lynch movie. He’s not a City fan is he by any chance?”


Are you mobbed when you go down at half-time for a pie and a pint?

JG: “No, not really. I’ll occasionally here, ‘Alright Jimi!’ But it’s not like Liam or Noel Gallagher going to a game and getting mithered to death – we haven’t got that kind of profile, really.”

AW: “We used to sit next to Damon Gough (Badly Drawn Boy) at home matches and he probably gets more recognition than we do. It must be the hat…”


Sven or Sparky?

JG: “I was a fan of Sven and was sorry to see him go. I know Hughesy has had a difficult first season, but I hope the club stick with him. I think he’ll get it right if they give him time.”

AW: “I’d definitely stick with Hughes. We need stability and I think the tide is slowly turning…”

The 2023/24 campaign is definitely one Farid Alfa-Ruprecht can look back on with much fondness.

It was his second season at Manchester City, having made the move to England from Hamburg in 2022.

The quick, confident and talented winger was deployed on the right flank for the majority of the campaign by Under-18s head coach Ben Wilkinson and over the past nine months Alfa-Ruprecht now feels extremely settled at the Club.

And in turn, he feels he’s seen a huge improvement in his game and what he contributes during matches.

“When I joined last season it was a little hard making the switch to play in England but I’m really happy because the coaches and the staff gave me a lot of time to find my feet and get used to the environment,” began Alfa-Ruprecht.

“And I think I’ve improved a lot since last season. I’ve played more games which has also helped me get rhythm and deliver consistent performances.

“I’m already looking forward to keeping that going next season and for me that starts by working hard in the summer and making sure I have full fitness so I’m ready for the first session back.”

To coincide with the 18-year-olds best season in blue, his favourite moment since moving to Manchester came at the end of the 2023/24 campaign.

City hosted Leeds United at the Etihad Stadium for the FA Youth Cup final. Alfa-Ruprecht was named in the starting 11 and assisted the second goal in our 4-0 triumph.

A moment he said he will cherish.

“The FA Youth Cup is an historic and prestigious competition and we hadn’t won it since 2020 so yeah it was good to celebrate that moment,” said Alfa-Ruprecht.

“Preparation for the game was really intense, lots of information and meeting but I really enjoyed it and it clearly paid off.

“Ben just told me to play my game. There were a few thousand people there so he told me not to feel any pressure.

“I think it’s normal to get a bit of nerves but he reminded me to not let it affect my game.

“And the few weeks before that had been good for us and for me as well so we just focused on delivering the same performance again and luckily I assisted and we got the win.

“And it was incredible to play the game at the Etihad,” the winger continued.

“Like before we got to the stadium the people that received us, when we went into the changing room and our kit was laid out and our names on the back, it was really special and I had goosebumps.

“And then seeing all the fans when we walked out on the pitch, when we scored and how they cheered. It was incredible.”

Interview: Holly Percival


If only we’d known that three weeks after the July 2000 City Magazine had come out, our new signing would have something else to celebrate...

Hard to believe that when this fairly casual cover shot was taken of Alfie Inge Haaland, he was on call at any moment to return to Leeds to be with his heavily pregnant wife.

In fact, on 21 July 2000, a certain Erling Braut Haaland was born, and his dad had just become a Manchester City player.

Alfie was the obvious choice for this issue, and with Andy Morrison sidelined with a long term knee issue, the Norwegian took the captain’s armband for what ultimately be a disappointing season for the Club following back-to-back promotions.

Calm, cool and with a mischievous sense of humour, Alfie was a good interviewee and he spoke of his hopes for the years ahead.

The title ‘Norwegian Good’ was OK, if a little predictable – but that was a former editor, not yours truly. Mine would have no doubt been much worse!

Funnily enough, I bumped into Alfie at the back of the press box at the Etihad during a half-time break a few years back.

“Hi Alfie,” I said, “good to see you. What are you up to?”

“I’m trying to find a club for my son,” he said.

I – and , it’s fair to say – much of the known world were yet to hear of a (probably) 17-year-old Erling Haaland at that stage and I just saw Alfie as a caring dad, doing what I or any other loving dad would do.

I just smiled and said, “Ah, OK – well, good luck!” and went on my way.

A few years later we all knew about Erling Haaland…

I wonder if Alfie still has a copy of this issue, which also featured an equally combative Danny Tiatto and the king of the Lycra cape himself, Rick Wakeman...?


Anyon of a sky blue persuasion who enjoyed the T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies couldn’t have been prouder that our explosive opening partnership of Phil Salt and Jos Buttler are both City fans...

It’s a unique sporting claim to not only have an opening pair support the same team, but to have two of the very best batsmen in the world as Blues made England’s journey to the semi-finals that much sweeter.

Salt is a fearsome opener, and in the shorter form cricket disciplines, he can blow teams away with his powerful hitting and skilful shots.

England skipper Buttler is regarded as one of the greatest T20 and one-day batsmen of all-time, with both ranked in the ICC world top six as of last month.

While Buttler’s love of City is perhaps less well-known – though he did a feature with Joe Hart back in 2014 for City TV – Salt is more vocal about his love for the Blues.

And his squad number 61 for England will bring a smile to any City fan, whether a cricket fan or not.

"Obviously, I don't need to explain to any City fans why six one is so important to me, but you know, it sort of annoys me a bit because I've had that number since I made my debut for England,” says Salt.

"But it's not really the right way round because obviously it [the game] was at Old Trafford. So this year, I changed my number for Manchester Originals to one six, just to get that right.”

Salt takes pride in reminding United fans of that  6-1 win Old Trafford back in 2012 as often as he can.

The 27-year-old from Denbigh in North Wales grew up in an area where City fans were around, but outnumbered by a couple of north-west rivals in red…

“There was always United fans and plenty of Liverpool fans as well,” continues Salt.

"But, you know, thankfully they're fading out now they've had a few rough years – which is great to see. So, you do see a lot more Blues popping up around the place."

Salt moved to Lancashire CC in 2022 alongside England skipper Buttler, enabling him to watch his beloved Blues on a more regular basis.

A lover of Manchester music – The Smiths in particular – Salt’s grandfather once ran a greengrocers near to where Etihad Stadium now stands.

But while England’s opening batsmen are Blues, two of our pace attack – Jofra Archer and Chris Jordan are United fans – making for an interesting time in the nets ahead of derby days…

"CJ's a good one," says Salt. "He always bites."

Salt travels the world in the lucrative franchise cricket leagues and spent much of the back of the 2023/24 Premier League season in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with Kolkata Knight Riders – though always catching a game whenever he could.

"There were a few late bedtimes," says Salt.

"Luckily the IPL games don't start until 7:30/8pm and you don't get back to the hotel till 1am or 2am.

"Your body clock switches almost to English time so it's actually not as hard as you'd think."

Also a top draft for the Manchester Originals in The Hundred tournament, Salt was back in the UK in time for the Blues’ epic title run-in, though watched our final game against West Ham United at England team-mate Jonny Bairstow's barbecue ahead of the T20 World Cup departure.

"We went two up and then I thought I'd go back outside," admits Salt.

"Then they got one back and I just had an eye it from the outside. I didn't really want to ride the wave too much!"

City Magazine will endeavour to catch up with Jos Buttler in a future edition….

Words: David Clayton

George Murray-Jones believes the varied experiences of his individual 2023/24 campaign at City will only stand in him in good stead for whatever challenges the future throws up as he continues his career development...

Though City’s Under-21s endured what was a frustrating campaign results wise in Premier League 2, Murray-Jones performed with distinction both domestically and in our UEFA Youth League campaign.

As well as making 13 appearances for City’s Under-21s in all competitions, Murray-Jones was also able to further his experience thanks to a four-month loan spell at Northern Premier League side FC United early in the New Year.

Reflecting on all his learnings and lessons from the 23/24 campaign, the 19-year-old said it had been a positive experience overall for all the ups and downs that inevitably colour a campaign.

And he says the dual challenge of both spending time at FC United married alongside his Elite Development Squad duties at City, only helped to broaden his knowledge and understanding of his craft.

“It was a great experience. I loved it really,” George said as he reflected back.

“It was a different challenge and everything and for me, at the start, I was a bit nervous.

“Even though it's just me going to play football, I was nervous because I didn't know whether it was the right idea to do it.

“But once I started playing, I just absolutely loved it.

“It was about playing week in, week out. You're getting like a consistent amount of football and then experiencing men's football.

“It's also a lot, lot different to what we experience in PL2. Then there's different aspect of travelling to different places. And then there's a lot of fans as well so it was great.

“As for looking back at the season as a whole, I'm happy with how it went. Obviously, it's good to experience different things.

“Like I said, I was obviously nervous at the start and then playing in front of a lot of people. I've done it before, but consistently I was thinking ‘what if if you mess up or something'? but obviously it's a big thing and it kind of helps you if anything.

“And then obviously there's a lot of learning in that game, especially with areas like corners where it's a lot more physical like it is in the professional leagues.

“So there was a lot of learning from that and other areas, too.”

Alongside that spell further developing with FC United alongside his role in the Academy, Murray-Jones was also able to further hone his craft and knowledge base by spending time training alongside City’s renowned first team goalkeeping unit.

And he admits the opportunity to watch first-hand how the likes of Ederson, Stefan Ortega Moreno and Scott Carson go about their business day in, day out was another priceless opportunity and one that he savoured.

“It's obviously good to see our first team goalkeepers play in the Premier League, just see what they're like,” Murray-Jones reflected.

“Obviously it's one thing to see them on the Internet in like a game or on a compilation, but then it's another thing altogether to see what they're like in training and to see how they react to everything in person.

“I love going over there to train with the first team group – it’s such a great experience.

“And then especially watching them train at the same time, you can kind of pick up on new things and to an extent copy what they do and see if it fits for yourself and to see if it works for you or not.

“And then obviously while you're over there they are kind of trying to get you to do your best and be the best you can be, so it has been really good.”

Interview: Neil Leigh

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...

This issue we’re up to the letter K and I suppose there can only be one candidate: Gio Kinkladze.

Most City fans of a certain age have their memories of Kinkladze. That scintillating run and goal versus Southampton being the standout I suppose. He was a jewel in a team who were – let’s be fair – going nowhere. Paul Walsh wouldn’t agree. He blamed Gio for our relegation in 1996 – but hey ho!

I was commissioned to photograph Gio for Esquire magazine and went to his house in Wilmslow over the Christmas period. His parents were there for the holidays and Gio and his dad were sat in total darkness watching some eastern European football match on a huge back projection TV. I had to set my lights and backcloth up in this room as it was the only room with enough space.

Meanwhile his mum had made what appeared to be a Georgian banquet. They must have bought every walnut in the northwest for it. Walnut cake, Grape and Walnut candy, Goulash with walnuts, Walnut Surprise, the table was groaning with the weight of this veritable nut-fest.

I was invited to join them and very agreeable it was, too.

Then it was time to take the photos. I was ready in the dark TV room, when Gio walked in before I had time to switch my lights on. He tripped over an electric cable and, twisting like a gymnast in mid-air, managed to land unscathed on a sofa. I expected a torrent of abuse, but he held his arms out, looked at me and simply said, “Penalty”.

Esquire decided that an interview with a decent player in an average team didn’t warrant the space in their magazine, which was a shame. Although they might have changed their minds if I’d been responsible for ruling him out for a month or so with a freak injury.

I love to think what Gio would have been like if he’d played with players like we have today. We’ll never know but I like to think Pep would have turned him into one of the world greats. We can but dream.

The colour shot is from the Esquire session

The black and white is from the final game at Maine Road where Gio and former players were invited back for one last appearance at our home of 80 years.

Kevin Cummins

One of American sports’ biggest stars – New Orleans Saints quarter-back Derek Carr - remains a committed City fan and will be cheering on the boys when we fly to the States later this month…

Derek Carr, one of the NFL’s star quarter-backs, says his love of City is undiminished ahead of the Club’s latest US tour.

During his eight years with the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders, Carr became one of the sport’s biggest stars and in 2023, reputedly penned a four-year  $150million contract with New Orleans Saints.

It was while he was a Raider, however, that Carr became a City fan – thanks to former Burnage High School team-mate Menelik Watson, who is a lifelong Blue.

Watson convinced Carr to adopt City and he has been following the Blues ever since.

“Life with the Saints has been amazing and I'm super proud to be out here - it's a little more humid  than it is in Las Vegas, but we're thoroughly enjoying it and really looking forward to the new NFL season now,” Carr told the City Magazine.

He admits keeping up with every result is not easy given the time differences and NFL schedule, but he’s well aware of our many successes since announcing his allegiance.

“It can be tough  - I can go a month or two [not keeping track] and then it's like – wow, what happened?" he smiled.

“But that's the great thing about the Internet - you can catch up really quick.

“It all started with Menelik Watson, my team-mate at Raiders, introducing me to City and it was like, ‘OK, if that's who we're rooting for, that's who we're rooting for! I've been a City fan ever since.

“I like to show off my jersey to friends and family and my kids love City - because I do - and I'd like to thank the Club for sending me all the fun stuff over the last few years.

“We are able to watch City games whenever they're shown over here, but of course, when the baseball season starts, they forget about everything else!

“Kevin [De Bruyne] is their favourite player, absolutely.”

City head Stateside later this month to take on Celtic, AC Milan, Barcelona and Chelsea in various locations around the US.

And Carr will be watching as many of the games live as he can.

“100% - me and my boys will be watching our games in the US and we're really looking forward to it.

“I think I’ve converted a few more City fans among my team-mates, too.

“When the World Cup was on, they were playing FIFA a lot on Xbox and they don’t know anything about soccer, so I said, 'Just be City when you play - you won't regret it.'

“They come back with, 'Wow, I'm pretty good at this game' and I'll say, 'Yeah, well we have a pretty good team, you know?'”

Carr hopes he can one day take in an actual game with his sons some time soon, but regardless, he remains one of the highest profile NFL City fans and many fellow Blues will no doubt be cheering on Saints in the coming season as a result.

Thanks to Doug and Tyler Ogden and Davis Friend from New Orleans Saints for organising and interviewing Derek for City Magazine.

For this edition of the Mixed Grilling, I’ve turned to a certain Sean Stafford. If anyone were ever to doubt his Man City credentials (heaven forbid) I can put those fears to bed. I stood next to Sean for a particularly eventful match and his emotions more than betrayed his standing as a True Blue...

A bit about the man….

Lifelong City fan born in 1968.

Loved those precious, innocent times at Maine Road back in the day.

Followed City religiously throughout. Joined Heroes of Waterloo supporters club a few years ago and have been lucky enough to be able to attend numerous very special away games – capped by Istanbul.


My abiding memory is being taken to The Pomona pub on Reddish Lane by my two uncles who were huge City fans. I would be left in the car listening to the radio with the single job of remembering the teams once they were announced by Brian Clarke on Piccadilly 261. There were regular top ups of Coke and crisps to keep me going, but inevitably we would always leave really late, and I would always be sad and anxious that we would miss the kick off.



Once again I’m calling on an example from my distant childhood memory; we travelled by coach to Leeds (which felt like miles and miles away back then) and there was a huge man (in every sense) who was part of it all called Pansy Potter ; we stopped at a pub on Saddleworth Moor where we played darts on a Log End (first time I had ever seen such a thing) and we all had Lancashire Hot Pot – Pansy Potter went into the kitchen and started to eat direct from the huge pan !! Weird how you remember such random things from years ago!



If I could prevent any game, I’d probably cancel the derby against United in November 1975. Whilst I can’t even remember being there (I was only seven) my uncles assure me I was – simply because it was the infamous Martin Buchan tackle on Colin Bell. I have had Colin Bell in my head my whole City following life (even now) and I just wish I could have genuinely witnessed and experienced him for myself rather than having to live off memories and folklore.



Somewhat predictably my most memorable city goal would be Paul Dickov against Gillingham. All seemed so lost before he did that – still hard to take in. Scary to think about ‘what might not have been’ had we not secured that promotion; Shinawatra, Sheikh Mansour... etc etc.



I haven’t met too many of my heroes however I did once meet Asa Hartford, who I loved at the time, at a Christmas Junior Blues meeting in the old social club next to the ground and I absolutely loved meeting him. I just remember being starstruck and desperately wanting the Umbro kit for my Christmas present that year.



Emotionally, Vinny was huge, Yaya, Sergio and of course David Silva were all massive departures for me. In many ways though they had all had plenty of time to cement their legendary status. The one (certainly recently) that I wish had stayed with us for longer was Leroy Sane. I thought he was exciting and that given time, Pep could have worked his magic with him.



Sadly, it’s probably “It should have been 10!”. I know I should get over it all now regards United and derby results but having endured a horrible childhood and school life as a Blue, there were times and times when I never thought it would happen – so yes, that one still makes me smile. I do remember one about Stan Bowles from my childhood that my older cousins and uncles used to sing which was funny – but I don’t remember the words. 



Something of a mixed answer really – I went to Blackburn for the all-important promotion game. Couldn’t get in, stood on the hill, couldn’t see anything really. One of those days where the memories always make it seem so much more enjoyable and fun than it actually was.



My favourite player of all time is David Silva – he just had it all, skill, composure, class on and off the pitch. My favourite player from memory was Dennis Tueart. but that was just because I wanted to wear tie bows in my socks like he did.

Our legendary former skipper spoke to Shoot Magazine back in 1971 in the latest of our retro Q&A features…

Full name: Michael Doyle

Birthplace: Manchester

Birthdate: November 25, 1947

Height: 5' 11

Weight: 11st 8lb

Married: Yes

Children: Natalie, Scott and Grant


Favourite player: Norman Hunter

Favourite other team: Manchester City Reserves

Most difficult opponent: Ray Kennedy (Arsenal)

Most memorable match: Winning the Division One championship 1967/68

Biggest thrill: Scoring the equaliser in the 1970 League Cup final against West Brom

Biggest disappointment: Seeing Glyn Pardoe break his leg v Man United

Best country visited: Australia

Favourite food: Anything cooked with wine and spice

Misc likes: Golf and music

Misc dislikes: People who try  to tell you how you should play and what you should have done during the game.

Favourite TV shows: The Andy Williams Show, Match of the Day and Hadleigh

Favourite singers: Andy Williams, Simon & Garfunkel

Favourite actor/actress: Steve McQueen & Faye Dunaway

Best friend: I have many

Biggest influence on career: Johnny Hart

Biggest drag in soccer: Being beaten and injuries

International honours: England U23 caps

Personal ambition: To be successful in football

Professional ambition: To win another Championship medal

If you weren't a footballer what would you be? Erm, out of work!

Who would you most like to meet? Andy Williams


CITC Healthy Goals: Sandra's Story

As part of City in the Community’s ‘Healthy Goals’ initiative, the Club’s charity followed a local youngster whose drawings inspired her school’s newly regenerated sports pitch.

Sandra, a Year Six pupil at St. Wilfrid’s Primary School, had her own centre circle design brought to life when City in the Community transformed their playground.

After being surprised by Manchester City’s Laura Coombs and Khiara Keating, who unveiled Sandra’s design to her, she was also joined by Demi Stokes and Poppy Pritchard who helped her to paint her design on the playground.

Following the final regeneration work, Scott Carson and Sergio Gomez officially opened the playground, alongside Sandra and all her friends.

You can watch the video of it all unfolding here.

Commenting at the official opening, Sandra said: “When I got to see our new pitch for the first time, I felt really excited that my design was included and that everyone will be able to be play on it and look at it. I’m just so happy to see my name on it as well, I wanted to burst!

“I would like to thank City in the Community for including my drawing and helping me to be more brave generally.”

Sandra takes part in City in the Community sessions whilst at school, as part of the Premier League Primary Stars (PLPS) programme.

Sitting under the charity’s ‘Healthy People’ pillar, CITC PLPS coaches work with pupils to help enhance their physical and social development through National Curriculum PE lessons.

Coaches also work closely with teachers within lessons to improve their confidence and competence when delivering PE.

The programme also delivers educational workshops on topics such as anti-bullying and anti-racism throughout the year, alongside tournaments and events.

Talking about the programme and the sessions, Sandra said: “My favourite thing about my CITC lessons is finding new sports that I like and doing fun things I’ve never done before. When CITC come it’s more fun and it’s nice to play and do some sports.”

City in the Community has regenerated multi-sports pitches at primary schools across Greater Manchester, thanks to support from fans.

The charity’s ‘Healthy Goals’ initiative, which raised £250,000 last season, aims to uplift the physical and mental health of young people by creating new community football spaces and youth-led projects in Manchester.

To find out more about the Healthy Goals campaign visit: www.mancity.com/healthygoals

Commenting on their newly regenerated pitch, Sarah Brereton, Head Teacher at St Wilfrid’s Primary School, said: “This pitch is special to us because of the reaction it has received. The children really have had the most amazing experience.

“In this area they don’t have an awful lot of anything, so to be able to take part in the design of this pitch and all the different sports they like, the children have just been enamoured with what’s been produced.”

The first regenerated pitches were opened in May at Ravensbury Community School and St Wilfrid’s Primary School – both locations where City in the Community delivers its programmes.

Thanks to the success of last year’s campaign, the charity will open three more regenerated pitches this month, located at Ashbury Meadow, Southern Cross and Holy Name.

As part of the celebrations, City in the Community has announced the launch of a second fundraising window for 2024, enabling the expansion of its existing strategy to empower healthier lives with city youth through football.

City in the Community empowers healthier lives through football with city youth.

To find out more information, visit www.mancity.com/citc or follow @citcmancity on social media.


This month our Random Match Generator goes back to the pre-season of 1996 and a sunny day in Devon...

Pre-season friendly
Plymouth Argyle 1-0 City 
Saturday August 10, 1996

City: Immel, Brightwell (Kernaghan 46), Frontzeck, Lomas, Symons, Clough (Phillips 46), Summerbee (Hiley 63), Kavelashvili (Jeff Whitley 63), Quinn (Rosler 63), Kinkladze (Creaney 63), Brown (Greenacre 78).


The summer of 1996 was a glorious one for English football. Hosting the European Championship, England made it to the semi-finals as Baddiel and Skinner’s classic' Three Lions' reverberated around the country for the first time. But, like every other tournament since, the trophy didn’t “Come Home”.

Still a feelgood factor was spreading across the entire football landscape… well, almost everywhere.

City were at a low ebb after being relegated from the Premiership on the final day of the season on goal difference after a 2-2 draw at home to Liverpool.

Captain Keith Curle had been sold to Wolves and would soon be followed out by striker Niall Quinn who joined Sunderland.

But Alan Ball’s side were among the favourites for promotion with a talented squad that included the magical Georgi Kinkladze who stayed at the club despite rumoured interest from Barcelona, Inter, Liverpool and Sheffield Wednesday.

After a brief sojourn to the Republic of Ireland, City travelled to China for a three-match tour. Heavy rain meant that two games were cancelled and the other against Tianjin ended 1-1 with Gerry Creaney on target.

As the start of the season ticked down, we headed to the south-west, beating Exeter City 3-1 before moving onto Plymouth Argyle for the final game before our Friday night opener against Ipswich.

Neil Warnock was in charge at the Pilgrims, the seventh side of an incredible managerial career that reached 19 clubs in 2024.

And there was another famous face at Home Park with former Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar making his first appearance for Plymouth against City.

Even though it was 570-mile trip for a pre-season friendly, as ever, there was a strong following of City fans for the game amid excitement for the new campaign.

Ball selected what would like an imbalanced side with strikers Quinn and Georgian international Mikheil Kavelashvili leading the line in front of attacking players Kinkladze, Nigel Clough and winger Nicky Summerbee.

To make room, midfielder Michael Brown, wearing the number 11 shirt, was moved to left back with Michael Frontzeck as a makeshift centre-back.

But that didn’t lead to an entertaining game although our German keeper Eike Immel made two decent saves from Adrian Littlejohn in the first half.

Typically it was Kinkladze that brought City best moments, dancing through the Plymouth midfield before picking out Summerbee whose low left shot was well saved by Grobbelaar.

Among the half-time substitutions, Martin ‘Buster’ Phillips came on, a player that Ball predicted would become 'Britain’s first £10million player', and the Exeter-born winger’s every touch was booed by the home supporters.

Unfortunately, two minutes after the break, Chris Leadbitter fired Plymouth ahead with the only goal of the game with a smart strike into the top corner.

Kinkladze, who had come second in the 1995/1996 Goal of the Season for his brilliant individual effort against Southampton, almost scored an even better one midway through the second half.

Picking up the ball on the halfway line, he drove forward jinked past three defenders in the space of five yards, but his shot hit the side-netting.

It was to be his last contribution of the game before he was replaced by Creaney, receiving warm applause from all sides of the ground.

Things didn’t improve and the 1-0 defeat would be an ominous warning of what was to happen in the upcoming seasons.

Creaney, Clough, Frontzeck, Lomas and Brown were all gone before the end of the season as was Ball, who was sacked just over two weeks later following back-to-back defeats to Bolton and Stoke.

Asa Hartford took temporary charge and was replaced by Steve Coppell who lasted just 33 days before quitting. Phil Neal took over but lost seven of his 10 matches in charge before Frank Clark was appointed on a permanent basis.

It was to be the midpoint of a spectacular slide to the third tier, but a sobering and important part of our history ahead of a surge back to the top-flight and greater success.

Jonathan Smith