Welcome to the latest issue of the Official Manchester City Magzine!

May the force be with us..

Nobody does the final month of the season quite like Manchester City.

Think of the drama May has brought over the years with promotions, relegations, play-off wins, title deciders, FA Cup finals and latterly Champions League glory.

And now we’re at it again!

Whatever happens over the next few weeks, it’s been another fantastic season on the Pep Guardiola express and in years to come, we’ll look back on this era and marvel at this incredible period of success (which we hope will continue for many years to come, of course).

It’s been a great season for the City Magazine, too, thanks to you guys who have been reading our free monthly offering in record numbers.

We’ll continue to try and provide something a bit different into next season and beyond, with exclusive features, interviews and a touch or irreverence here and there.

For the season finale, we have the peerless Rodrigo as our main interview – who better to lead the rallying cry as the Blues sprint for the finish line?

The Spain international talks about the camaraderie the players have and the focus that will be needed over the next few weeks to get the job done.

Jill Roord and Ruby Mace are the latest interviews from our wonderful women's team who are also looking to secure the title - what a season it's been for Gareth Taylor's team.

We also have an exclusive interview with ‘Back to Black’ screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh – a lifelong City fan who penned the #1 UK box office hit based on the life of the wonderful Amy Winehouse.

Also, we catch up with Prime Mutton vlogger Jason Hackett, who shares a fascinating insight into his match, food, and drink episodes - so a treat for all Muttonistas!

It might just be the best City Magazine yet, in fact, because we also have Inspiral Carpets and A Certain Ratio featured, as well as Hacienda-themed Best XI.

Elsewhere, Andy Morrison predicts the scores of our season-defining last games while Marc Riley fires up another serving of his Mixed Grill Q&A.

And which other club publication would bring you some of our most exciting upcoming young player interviews as well as features on Asa Hartford, Kaziu Deyna and 4-1 defeat to Lincoln City?

With that in mind, let’s get into this without further ado…

An irrepressible force on the pitch, Rodrigo is fast becoming another Manchester City legend…


The evolution of Rodrigo becoming arguably the best holding midfielder in the world has been fascinating.

Now in his fifth season with City, year on year, the Spanish holding midfielder’s influence has grown to such an extent, he has become irreplaceable.

Integral to all our successes since his arrival, he is the sort of player every manager in football would love to have, and at 27, he is only now approaching the peak of his powers with much more to come.

It was hard to see how anyone could replace Fernandinho and it took Rodrigo time to learn the Pep way after joining from Atletico Madrid in 2019.

But he quickly adapted his game, learning off the Brazilian master and also the specific demands of his Catalan boss and developed into a player who is absolutely pivotal to the way City play.

It is no coincidence that following his sending off against Nottingham Forest earlier this season, the Blues lost all three games while he served his three-match ban.

Every game he has featured in before and after (up to the start of May), City were unbeaten.

Now, Rodrigo is hoping to help City end the season with two more major trophies to add to the 10 he has already won with the Club.

We focus on ourselves,” says Rodrigo.

“Of course, we have a look at the other results that impact us, but we can’t control them. If we don’t do our job on the pitch, then the other results do not matter. We have to concentrate on one game at a time and that doesn’t change.

“It’s always the same at this point of the season. It is intense. We have to be top professionals by focusing on our training, rest, sleep, diet, and everything that contributes to us being ready for these matches.

“We already have two trophies this season and we want to add to that with another two. If we can finish the season with four trophies, then that will be another special achievement. We know it is going to be a challenge and we need to keep working hard, but we are ready.

“It gets harder every season. Three incredible teams who are all fighting for the same goal at the end of the season. Every team is pushing for the title, but we have to use our experience to win it again.

“If we win the Premier League again, it would be history. No team in history has won four Premier League titles in a row and we want to be the first. We need to keep those blue ribbons on the trophy, and we will do everything we can from now until the end of the season to do that.

“We always focus on the next game and the next trophy we want to fight for. Of course, we are proud of the Treble last season, the four Premier League titles in five years, the UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup this season, but we want more.

“The feeling of lifting a trophy with our fans is something special and you want that feeling again and again. We are creating a legacy, and we always want that taste of success.”

Last season’s successes will remain the stuff of legend for Manchester City fans, and English football in general after securing the Treble.

Of course, Rodrigo played his part to the full, with his goal against Inter securing a first-ever Champions League title for the Blues in Istanbul.

Real Madrid’s penalty triumph at the Etihad last month might have ended dreams of defending that crown successfully this season, but there is an all-Manchester FA Cup final to look forward to as well as a fascinating three-way battle for the Premier League between City, Arsenal, and Liverpool.

Rodrigo recalls how the Blues were confirmed champions last May without even kicking a ball.

“Well, it was obviously a special day because it was the day we won our third Premier League title in a row,” he smiled.

“I remember that we all knew we had to beat Chelsea at home the day after Forest played Arsenal and that was the only thing we were concerned about. But Nottingham Forest won their game meaning we became champions. It was an unbelievable feeling because we knew we had the title back in our arms.”

City’s gruelling schedule means stopping to catch your breath is almost impossible during the season and the Spain anchor recently admitted he felt fatigued with the endless stream of games for club and country and precious little break in-between this season and last.

Indeed, Rodrigo clocked up 68 appearances for City and Spain last season.

But he accepts it is the price of success and having such high standards when he plays.

“The manager is great at giving us a day off when he can,” he said.

“It is important to spend time with your family and friends when you can, go to a nice restaurant or go for a walk. All of these things can help you relax and feel rested.”

And of the incredible camaraderie among the squad, Rodrigo points to the recent Netflix documentary on last season’s exploits as the evidence of just why this group of players have won so many trophies.

“There’s a reason the documentary is called Together!" he grinned. "That is what we are. All of my teammates, the coaches, the staff behind the scenes, we are all together and fighting for the same goals for the team.

“My teammates are incredible and what we continue to do each season is something I am really proud of.

“We all have the mentality to fight for everything, to win every game and that will never stop. We are always there for each other, and it is a special group to be involved in.”

And central to everything, is our Spanish anchorman, who walks tall in every sense of the word when he wears the sky blue jersey of Manchester City.

Interview: David Clayton

More thoughts and scorelines from our former skipper Andy Morrison for the month of April…

City v Wolves
Premier League
Saturday, 4 May, 17:30

Mozzer verdict: Wolves have been good this season and but for injuries, I think hey would have finished in the top eight. They beat us 2-1 at their place and if Cunha and Neto are back, this could be a tricky game, but I see us eventually grinding them down and winning by a couple of goals.

Mozzer prediction: City 3-1 Wolves

Fulham v City
Premier League
Saturday,11 May, 12:30

Mozzer verdict: Like Wolves, Fulham have impressed at times this season, but they seem to blow hot and cold. If they’re at it for this game, we may need to be patient and gradually overpower them. We will need to be somewhere near our best as it’s not an easy ground to go to, but if we’re still needing wins all the way, we’ll win here.

 Mozzer prediction: Fulham 0-2 City

Spurs v City
Premier League
Tuesday, 14 May, 20:00

Mozzer verdict: Undoubtedly the toughest of our remaining games. Prior to the FA Cup tie earlier this season, we hadn’t even scored at Spurs’ new home, but now we have, I expect that mental block to be lifted. It might help if Spurs are out of contention for the top four, but either way we need to exploit their high line and come away with three points. I believe we will.

 Mozzer prediction: Spurs 1-3 City

City v West Ham
Premier League
Sunday, 19 May, 16:00

Mozzer verdict: This, hopefully, will be our coronation day. If it is, West Ham won’t stop us because if we have got this far, the lads will carry on over the finish line. The Hammers have been good this season in patches – poor in other times – and I don’t seen them being in contention for Europe by the time we play them, so I’m expecting an enjoyable afternoon.

Mozzer prediction: City 4-1 West Ham

City v Man United
FA Cup final
Saturday, 25 May, 15:00

Mozzer verdict: Another Manchester derby – who could have predicted that? United have been strange this season, capable of being dangerous while also being incredibly open. I can’t see them changing their style for this game, but given the way they capitulated against Coventry, I certainly don’t see them being able to stop us and if that’s the case, we could win this easily.

Mozzer prediction: City 5-1 Man United

How did Mozzer get on last month?
It was in impressive month for our former skipper as he predicted the 4-1 win over Aston Villa as well as getting six of the other seven results correct. The only one he got wrong was the home game against Real Madrid.

Our feature on hard-working Blues who perhaps went under the radar outside of loyal City fans returns with a spotlight on a midfielder who patrolled the Maine Road turf through the 70s and 80s.

It might have been a lean period in terms of trophies for City, but Tony Book’s team in particular impressed and Asa Hartford’s leadership and creative talents made him a cult hero on the Kippax.

Born in Clydebank in Scotland in 1950, Hartford made his professional debut for West Brom at just 17 years old and enjoyed a fruitful seven seasons with the Baggies before moving to Manchester.

Hartford could already have been embedded into a career with Don Revie’s Leeds United by that point, if not for a medical that revealed a weakness in his heart.

City had been runners-up in the League Cup the campaign before he arrived at the Club but slipped down the First Division to 14th place.

Three permanent managers were in charge of the side during the 1973/74 season, with former captain Tony Book the last of them and the man at the helm when Hartford signed.

Wearing the famous No.10 shirt, Hartford immediately impressed in a 4-0 debut win over West Ham before scoring the winning goal against Spurs a few days later.

He went on to play 32 times in his first season at City as we finished a respectable eighth, largely thanks to the goal-scoring prowess of Colin Bell. With Bell, Dennis Tueart, Rodney Marsh and Mike Summerbee, there were plenty of attacking threats in Book’s team.

He made a major step forward in the following campaign, playing 53 times as we lifted the League Cup and maintained our eighth place in the First Division.

By this point, he was very much a pivotal figure in the side leading through example as a warrior on the pitch.

Given more responsibility by Book, Hartford ended the season as City’s third top scorer in the league with nine goals, scoring five in four games during one spell.

He was also influential in City’s only trophy success during his time, playing in all eight ties in the League Cup.

Two campaigns in and as a player who never gave any less than his all, Hartford was adored by the Maine Road faithful.

With a rare mix of skill and aggression, he was undoubtedly one of the best midfielders of his generation, although he did not always receive the credit he deserved.

1976/77 was arguably the Scot’s best in a City shirt, playing 47 games and scoring four goals as we finished second, just one point behind champions Liverpool.

Hartford was the leader of a formidable midfield that also comprised of youngsters Paul Power, Gary Owen and Peter Barnes.

Another 46 appearances followed in 1977/78 and it was fourth in the league for City as Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest were crowned champions.

Book’s final year as manager in 1978/79 appeared to coincide with Hartford’s final term in a City shirt, with the Blues slipping down to 15th in the top flight.

It was Hartford’s busiest season in terms of appearances, playing 55 times but come the summer the return of former coach Malcolm Allison brought a change of tact at the Club.

Allison moved on many of the experienced internationals, including Hartford, who went to Nottingham Forest before quickly moving on to Everton.

However, John Bond took charge in October 1980 and re-signed Hartford at the end of that campaign.

Still a fighter on the pitch and capable of moments of magic, Hartford was now the wrong side of 30.

He played 36 games in 1981/82 as we finished tenth but couldn’t stop a desperate slide to relegation in 1982/83.

After 45 appearances in that season, he played only seven games in the following term before heading off for a spell in Florida with Fort Lauderdale and then returning to England to see out his playing days at Bolton Wanderers, Stockport County, Oldham Athletic and Shrewsbury Town.

Hartford’s association with City was far from over though, returning as assistant manager under Alan Ball and then coaching the reserves for several years around the turn of the century.

He even had a couple of spells as caretaker boss with a degree of success, too.

However, ask most City fans of a certain vintage about Hartford and they’ll remember a skilful, busy and determined midfielder who left it all out on the field.

In total, he played 321 times and scored 36 goals for our Club. Only 35 men have ever worn our colours on more occasions.

Jill Roord arrived at Manchester City in the summer of 2023 with an impressive CV, but even she surely can’t have envisaged how swift her transition to life at the Joie Stadium would be...

The Dutch international was on the scoresheet on her debut, cleverly feinting away from her marker and coolly slotting home City’s second in a 2-0 win over West Ham United.

She ended her first month in sky blue with three goals in as many WSL games before, in November 2023, drawing Gareth Taylor’s side level at Old Trafford with a clinical low finish as the visitors came away from the first Manchester derby of the season with a deserved 3-1 win.

Indeed, by the midway point in the season Roord had found the net eight times and provided three assists in just 16 appearances in all competitions.

However, in a cruel twist of fate, the Dutch international’s season was over on a chilly January evening at the Joie Stadium.

Just five minutes into City’s Continental Cup clash with Manchester United, the midfielder landed awkwardly when challenging for a loose ball with Katie Zelem.

It was a completely accidental collision, but it was clear that something wasn’t right in Roord’s knee and, a few days later, the worst was confirmed.

However, with a typically positive outlook, the midfielder is in high spirits as she begins to discuss the progress in her rehabilitation from an anterior cruciate ligament rupture.

“Every day, actually!” is the immediate response when asked if she feels like she’s making progress, having recently come off crutches.

“It’s a good feeling. It's going really well, I'm very happy to walk again and every day I can do more and more.

“The knee is reacting really well, so that's the most important thing. 

“These moments give me a good feeling. I actually really enjoy training by myself and training with Tom [Butterfield, First Team Physiotherapist].

“I'm excited for the process actually to be able to run soon and I have already done some ball work, so these things have been nice moments and keep me mentally positive.”

Time away from the pitch and team-mates, particularly for a lengthy spell, is something that injured players often talk about being some of the toughest moments in their recovery.

But Roord has remained a key figure in the squad, even if her influence has to be felt from the sideline.

Her importance to the team was exemplified by City’s celebration in our first match since Roord’s injury, when the squad held up her shirt in solidarity after taking the lead against Tottenham Hotspur.

It therefore came as no surprise to see her at the Etihad Stadium when Gareth Taylor’s side maintained local bragging rights with a 3-1 win over Manchester United in late March.

An early Jess Park double, plus Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw’s record-breaking 68th goal for the Club, sealed what could be a crucial three points in our push for the title.

And while Roord would love to have been out there, it’s an occasion she won’t forget in a hurry.

She reflects: “Yeah [it was] really nice. Obviously for me it was the first time on the pitch, well sort of on the pitch! But no, the crowd was amazing.

“When we arrived, the people around the stadium and the dressing room and everything was very impressive. I've been in many stadiums, but it was amazing. I think it was an amazing game as well, so a good weekend. 

“Everybody was really happy [with the result]. I think they obviously really enjoyed playing there and then obviously winning such a big game there is important.

“The league is so tight, so this was a big game and we won very convincingly so everybody was very happy and relieved.”

With games coming thick and fast, Roord’s injury left Taylor with a significant conundrum, and numbers light in midfield.

But one player who has really stood up to the plate in the Dutch international’s absence is Jess Park.

Having been limited mainly to substitute appearances before the turn of the year, the youngster has been a regular in a central role since providing an important spark in a hard-fought 2-0 win over Leicester City in early February.

Since that victory over the Foxes, the England international has been named WSL Player of the Month, grabbed four goals and also added five assists in 10 matches.

It’s been a remarkable rise for a player who has been highly rated by both her manager and the rest of the squad for several years now, but Roord is delighted she’s taken her chance.

“It’s really good to see her play that well,” the midfielder said of her team-mate.

“I think in the beginning she didn't play much of this season and now she's really stepped up.

“To be fair against United I wouldn't say she won us the game, but she had a very big part in that and for a player that young that's something to be very proud of. She's done really well. 

I haven't really given her advice, but I've actually spoken to her a lot like 'do your thing, enjoy playing' and also after games if she played well, I will tell her 'you did really well'.

“The only thing I've said, and I don't think I'm the only one, but she needs to shoot more. Well, she’s done that more recently so maybe we should keep saying that!”

City go into the final few weeks of the WSL campaign in pole position, but with reigning champions Chelsea hot on our heels.

It promises to be a thrilling end to the campaign as we search for a first league title since 2016, but Roord insists her team-mates aren’t getting carried away at this stage.

For her, a player with experience of winning league titles in two different countries already, a short-term focus is the best formula for a longer-term success.

She finishes: “I personally as a player go game by game because every game is important.

“We have Arsenal left and sometimes you might feel like that is the  game, but you can also mess up elsewhere, so it's very important to go game by game.

“Also, don't give yourself the pressure to look to Arsenal already. Just focus on the weekend.

“I think everybody is pretty calm. It's very clear that we have to win all our games.

“We go game by game. The last month, it's going to be maybe a little bit stressful, but also very exciting.”

Interview: George Kelsey

City vlogger Jason Hackett – better known as Prime Mutton – has become cult viewing for Blues on YouTube and social media. City Magazine caught up with the food, drink and bridge expert to sample the whole ‘Muttonista’ matchday experience…

City Mag: How did your Vlog begin?

Prime Mutton: “During lockdown, where, in my opinion, I became quite good at it through trial and error, so when City got to the Champions League final in Porto, the travel restrictions were lifted and I was hammering away on the refresh button to get my ticket and catch the first plane out. I hadn’t done a vlog before, so I thought I’d try and football version and combine my knowledge of food and drink – and my passion for watching City.”

What’s your background?

“I was born at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester and my first City game was with my mum in the 1976/77 season – a 2-0 home win over Norwich – and many years later I met Joe Corrigan who played in that game. I told him as much and he remembered the match because he had to wear a red goalkeeper jersey so as not to clash with the green and yellow Norwich kit!”

What is your ‘day job’?

“I was – and still am – a professional bridge player. That’s bridge the card game.”

How did that come around?

“I was head of the Bridge Club at Manchester Grammar School and also parental influences. I was a good chess player at the age of 11 and then I discovered bridge and thought that was more fun and interesting, so I focused on that. The last time I played chess I was Fool’s Mated! My bridge playing has reached a much higher level, I’m happy to say.”

You teach bridge around the world, don’t you?

“I do teach, yes, mainly for people who want to enter competitions. For example, a Chinese mining company invite me over once a year to take part in a tournament and this year, that meant I missed a lot of City games while I was away which meant begrudgingly giving my season-ticket away for games against Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool. Bridge is a very skilful game, and it might have a reputation of 85-year-old ladies playing it at the local Conservative club with their friends - and there is an element of truth in that - but it also keeps older minds fairly sharp, which is a good thing. There is also a large competitive element usually among men between the age of 30 and 50 taking part in serious intellectual competitions. It’s by far the best card game there is – it’s just difficult to learn!"

Where is bridge most popular?

“All over the world, but what I can say is that when they have a Mind Sport Olympics, it is the best attended event at the tournament, more so even than chess.!"

What’s you biggest bridge achievement?

“At the Beijing Mind Sport Olympic Games, I won the silver medal. I’m not sure what my world ranking is at the moment as I’ve let it slip a bit recently, but at my highest, I was 30 in the world.”

Back to the vlog – where did the idea of food, drink and football come from?

“It actually started at the Porto game back in 2021. I got a lot of messages after my first City vlog, saying they liked the format and people from all over the world said they enjoyed seeing the matchday experience in that way. The format is based on what I would do when going to watch a City game – I would go for some nice food, have a few drinks, and then go to the game. I started getting a lot of comments from people who couldn’t get to watch City because they leave thousands of miles away, but through my vlog, they felt they were experiencing a game day, before, during and after. “

How do you choose your cafes, restaurants, and bars?

“I tend to do my own research. I know people in many cities and have loads of friends in London – many of them are foodies – and they will take me to places they know. Sometimes, I just choose somewhere off the bat and take a chance.”

Are more proprietors recognising you and what you do?

“Absolutely. I’m being contacted by gastro pub owners and publicans are now regularly inviting me to visit. The vast majority are very receptive towards what I do and if I don’t like somewhere, I don’t like upsetting people, so I’d more than likely quickly move on. I’ll just minimise the content I use and vice versa if I do like it!”

What’s the been the reaction of your fellow City fans?

“Very, very positive. You get the odd older fan who don’t quite get what I do, but the vast majority are incredibly supportive and friendly and I’m getting a lot of selfie requests when I go to games these days! I stop for as many as needed, so long as I can get my vlog done and not miss the game!”

What is your perfect match day?

“Food, some wine, and quality ale! Then I will go to the game and talk about the match and then have a few beers dissecting the game afterwards.”

How is the vlog edited and created?

“It’s just me talking into my phone camera, then upload the phone footage into my Mac Book and then load it into the editing software. While all that’s going on, I will create the thumbnail artwork which fit into the montage of the vlogs I’ve created so far – the people, places, and matches – and by the time that’s all done, I’ll begin the editing process and make sure I’m not repeating myself. Then it’s checking the subtitles and rendering it. It’s a six to eight-hour job, which is a lot more than many football vlogs.”

Have you met many fellow City vloggers?

“Yes, I’ve met James – JSM44 – a few times and he’s featured in a couple of my vlogs. I’ve met the MCFC Lads a couple of times and Big Steve, but I generally keep myself to myself. If any fellow vloggers want to feature in a food segment I’m doing, they’re more than welcome to.”

Where’s your favourite place to food vlog?

“I’d have to say China. It’s so different to what you see and imagine, but we’re lucky in Manchester that we have a large Chinese student population, so you can find authentic Chinese food if you look hard enough. It’s hard to get authentic food in Britain in terms of Turkish and Indian food. If it is where is my favourite place to drink, it’s Spain. I’ve spent time in Seville and the food and drink is incredible.”

If anyone is new to your Prime Mutton vlogs, where would you recommend they begin?

“One of my favourites was the 3-0 win against Bayern Munich in last season’s Champions League, and also the 3-2 win over Villa to seal the Premier League last season.”

And tell us about your legendary hat!

“Like everyone, you have to take influences from everywhere – there are three things in my vlogs that I’ve ‘borrowed’ from elsewhere. The leather hat and the coat are from Gene Hackman in the movie The French Connection because I loved that look his character Popeye Doyle had so copied it. I do love hats – I have fedoras, berets, Andalusian hats and many more, but not many of them will wash on matchdays! A couple of phrases I regularly use are also taken from things I love. ‘A quick slurp’ is a nod to my culinary hero Keith Floyd, and ‘You can’t beat a bit of Mutton’ is from the old 1980s game show Bullseye and the phrase is inspired by Jim Bowen’s ‘You can’t beat a bit of Bully!’.”

What’s Prime Mutton’s mission?

“A lot of people, when it comes to food and drink accept second best – and they shouldn’t – my mission is to direct fellow supporters and people who just enjoy the vlog to good bars and eateries to have something nice to eat and drink. For instance, in Madrid, most people gather at the main plaza but just five minutes away, there are fantastic places to get food and have a drink! If I can direct a few fellow Blues to these place, I’ll be very happy. A lot of people thank me for my recommendations and many tell me they will try and  visit some of the ones I cover next time they are in that city.”

Finally, how are your social media and YouTube audiences growing?

“Really well. I have almost 100,000 followers on my Instagram account and about 12,500 subscribers on YouTube which is growing nicely. Hopefully after appearing in the City Mag I'm hoping those numbers will grow again"”

Catch Prime Mutton’s YouTube vlogs – and there are more than 250 to go at – here and follow Prime Mutton on Instagram here.

Interview: David Clayton

City Women’s list of goalkeepers to have played between the sticks since the Club’s inception as a professional outfit 10 years ago is a remarkable one.

And the person who has been alongside them all, helping them achieve incredible highs for both club and country, is our goalkeeping coach Chris Williams.

From playing in goal himself to wanting to pass on his knowledge to both Academy and women’s first team players at City, Chris has made a huge impact on developing keepers at the Club since he joined 10 years ago.

City Magazine took the opportunity to sit down with Chris and talk to him about what life is like for a goalkeeper...

CITY MAG: We always like to start these off with a getting to know you question, so it would be great to find out why goalkeeping is your chosen profession and how did you transition into a goalkeeper coach?

CHRIS: I think a lot of becoming a goalkeeper came from my dad more than anything. I was late into football, only starting around the age of eight. I used to go around the corner of the house, kicking a ball in the field with my mates and I just naturally gravitated towards diving around in the mud. Then, within two years I signed for Port Vale who I was with for four years before I left to go and sign for Everton at 14.

I then left Everton at the age of 16 and signed at Bolton Wanderers and came through their scholarship scheme to turning professional.

While I was there, we got promoted to the Premiership which was incredible to be around. I was a part of several first team squads, both in the Championship and Premiership, but shortly after that I picked up a serious knee injury which unfortunately forced me out of football.

I left football completely for seven or eight years while I worked in the fitness industry before coming back into football through coaching.

I completed my UEFA C Licence - as it was at the time - while I was playing so I already had a foundation for getting into coaching. So I took my UEFA B Outfield before moving on to the Goalkeeping B Licence. I then started working for Rochdale AFC where my coaching journey began on the professional stage.

Following this I came to Manchester City and undertook my Advanced Youth Goalkeeping Award before then doing both the outfield UEFA A Licence and the UEFA Goalkeeping A Licence alongside each other.

When I first joined City I was working with both the women's first team and the boys' Academy. The responsibility of working with multiple age groups was one that I really enjoyed.

My role with the women’s first team then became much bigger and I transitioned over to working full time with the squad in 2020.

I feel extremely fortunate to work in the position that I do and be offered the opportunity to work on a full-time basis within the women’s first team, especially when you look at where the game is now compared to 10 years ago. It’s an exciting time from my point of view and it’s an honour and privilege to be able to do this daily with the players and staff we have and be able to call it work. 

CITY MAG: So you’ve been involved with the women’s team since it became Manchester City Women Football Club - have goalkeeper coaches always been in the women’s game since you started coaching in it?

CHRIS: The rules stipulate that as a club you had to have a member of staff that was qualified to deal with the goalkeepers, and they had to be there and available for most if not all the training sessions. I think it was definitely growing and the levels and expectations have increased since day one.

Similarly with the level of goalkeeping within the league. Most teams used to have an established number one with a backup goalkeeper. Now we're seeing teams with three, four and even five senior goalkeepers all capable of playing - which shows real evolution in the level of female goalkeepers over the past decade.

I look around the academies and it’s exciting to see young girls wanting to be goalkeepers. The levels that I’m seeing are certainly improving and the future of goalkeeping in the women's game is looking very bright.

CITY MAG: Talk us through what the preparation and execution of a goalkeeping training session looks like...

CHRIS: There are a lot of distinct aspects that form the game for a goalkeeper. As an example, it could be a development day where you are working with the goalkeepers on a specific area of their game that they need to develop. It could be an out of possession or tactical day that is something to do with the opposition and what threats they pose so I’d work with the analysts before putting together my practice design to help the goalkeepers combat those situations.

Making sure the goalkeeper is a part of the team is important. The more inclusion they can have alongside the isolated practices we do as a group of goalkeepers, the better connection the goalkeepers will have with the team. And vice versa.


CITY MAG: Can you talk us through a bit about what a goalkeeper's style of play and attributes need to be to play at City?

CHRIS: You have to look a lot at their style of play. So first and foremost, they must be able to defend the goal and the space. But they also need to have the ability to play the way we play or have similarities or traits that show that they can fit into our system.

When you go through the Academy process, you start developing these skills at an early age. When I was working with the boys Academy we had goalkeepers that were outfield players that we’d converted into goalkeepers that are now having successful careers. The fact is the goalkeepers are involved in a lot of the outfield practices and even some of the isolated goalkeeping practices will be based around how to play with your feet, how to receive a ball and how to pass.

Obviously keeping the ball out of the net is a massive part of the game, but it’s also being able to be linked into the build-up and being more than capable of doing so.

CITY MAG: This season we’ve seen a mixture of you and Alan Mahon, the assistant coach, on the touchline and in the technical area because Gareth Taylor and Shaun Goater tend to sit higher up the stands for periods of the game. What is that like for you?

CHRIS: Gaz has changed his way of working this season and prefers gaining a higher view of the game for extended periods of the game. He will pass messages down to us pitch side, along with anything the analysts have seen from above. Anything that comes down to us will then be relayed onto the pitch by either myself or Mahony.

Gaz will come down when he feels he needs to and that's when he will then take control of the technical area.

CITY MAG: Finally what is your proudest moment since you joined City?

CHRIS: I think as a coach it’s about seeing the players you work with doing well. I’m always looking to develop myself as much as I can so I can pass on as much experience and advice as possible. But it’s about seeing the players I interact with progress in their careers and make a name for themselves. That is what I’m most passionate about.  

For example, you look at KB. She had an ambition of becoming one of the top three keepers in the world and we got her to that. She was also our ever-present goalkeeper during our league winning season, only conceding one goal from open play all season which is incredible. She was a big part of us being successful in other competitions over the seasons. Most notable was the Continental Cup victory against Arsenal when she saved two penalties in the shootout. 

Seeing Ellie come through our system and then making her debut for us at 16, to then progress onto becoming goalkeeper of the season at club level is a huge achievement domestically.  

She also made her senior international debut for England at 18 years old. She then became the starting goalkeeper for the Olympics which again is a massive achievement.  

Sandy rejoined the club and has progressed well and is now the number one for Scotland. She has worked hard on aspects of her game, and this has been part of her being ready both domestically and internationally. She has been fantastic to work with. 

Khiara coming through our system from an early age to make a name for herself this season for us which has led to her breaking into the England senior squad.  

We have used the loan system well which is something i feel has supported her development well and has helped her grow and mature. 

There is such an extensive list of accolades and personal milestones and to see them go and achieve those things is the best thing for me as a coach.  

Interview: Holly Percival

Matty Warhurst has been prolific in front of goal throughout his debut season with City’s Under-18s.

A staggering 15 goals in 16 Under-18 Premier League North games is an incredible feat for the 17-year-old.

And he’s been an important figure in City’s Under-18 Premier League Cup, FA Youth Cup, Premier League 2 and UEFA Youth League matches too as he continues to perfect his craft as a number nine.

City Magazine met up with Warhurst and asked him a handful of questions to get to know him better…

Your debut season with the Under-18s - how have you found it settling in?

MATTY: “Personally for me I think I’ve had a good season with the Under-18s and I’ve really enjoyed it.

“Sometimes we’ve had two games a week which I’ve had to adapt to but I’ve enjoyed every single game. Being a scholar has made this season feel more professional and I can’t wait to continue making progress next season, too.”

How would you describe yourself as a striker?

“I don’t really like to talk about myself to be honest. I just love to score, really. Even in some games where we are like 5-1 up, I still want to score more and I think it’s a good attribute to have.”

Have you always been a striker?

“I’ve been a striker since I was young, yeah. When I first started I was a defender actually but when I moved to City when I was 12 I think that’s where I began to move further up the pitch and I feel like I’ve developed well.

“I was at Oldham before, a good club as well, but when I came to City where we keep a lot of the ball I just developed my shooting so much more. I’ve got team-mates constantly supplying me with chances, it’s great!”

As a striker, do you feel like it’s a position where the spotlight is on you a lot to constantly perform at your best?

“Maybe. You’re expected to score, especially at this club with it being the biggest club in the world and you’ve got a lot of pressure on your shoulders but I don’t feel it, it doesn’t affect me.

“You know that you’re at City for a reason and you know you’ve got the quality so you just have to keep approaching every game like ‘if I don’t score in this one, I’ll score in the next one’ so it’s just about preparing properly for games.”

What’s it been like getting to develop under Ben Wilkinson this season?

“He’s a great manager, like all the coaches here. I’ve developed and learnt a lot under his leadership. I’ve really enjoyed this season, I’ve been fortunate to get a lot of minutes and I think it’s gone well under Ben’s guidance.”

An important part of your role is off-the-ball pressing, how important is that to the way we play?

“Very important! The coaches always say about how it’s important to focus on what you’re doing off the ball and pressing is so important. To keep going even in the 90th minute because we might get a goal from it.”

You got to travel to Mainz for the UEFA Youth League, what was that experience like for you?

“Mainz was the first experience I’ve ever had where the stadium was rocking and with so many fans, it was unbelievable. I remember sitting on the bench and all I could think was how I wanted to get on and wanted to play. When I got on it was a bit surreal because as my first opportunity in front of that many fans and banners, singing and jumping up and down it was just an amazing experience.

“I think I’ve grown a lot from going on that trip. You look at the first team and they have that every week and that’s where I want to get to so I need to get prepared and used to it and I think that experience in Mainz will definitely help me with that.”

Finally, what’s been your favourite moment from the 2023/24 season?

“I’ve scored a few hat-tricks but I’d probably say the Stoke game where we won 3-1 - I think that was a great match. And my first goal in the FA Youth Cup with it being at Vicarage Road, too.”

Interview: Holly Percival


The cover we created for the February 2009 City Magazine was reflective of a shift in purchasing power by the Club. 

Our new owners had completed their takeover almost as the previous transfer window closed, and as a consequence, Mark Hughes hadn’t been able to bring in all the players he wanted – so the January window was the perfect opportunity to strengthen his squad. 

The timing of four high-profile signings meant we couldn’t get an interview in the bag with any one of them, but it was important to reflect their arrival. 

Ultimately, getting four players on a cover is not easy, so we opted to go with a sort of football card theme. 

Nigel de Jong, Shay Given, Craig Bellamy and Wayne Bridge were all seasoned international stars with Netherlands, Republic of Ireland, Wales, and England respectively. 

That meant we could go with pictures of them playing for their country (as we didn’t have photography of them all in their new City strip), and hence the ‘International Arrivals’ title, which worked quite well. 

White background covers always stand out, too, so overall, it looked pretty good! 


BAFTA award-winning screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh is a lifelong City fan.

His 2007 script for 'Control', based on the life of Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis, raised an already-growing reputation in television to new levels and the 2017 movie Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool won Greenhalgh his first BAFTA.

Now, his work is once again on the big screen with the Amy Winehouse biopic 'Back To Black' movie debuting at No.1 in the UK box office in mid-April.

Here, Greenhalgh, who last spoke to the City Magazine in 2007, talks about his latest screenplay and, of course, City…

CITY MAG: Matt, why did you want to write about Amy Winehouse?

MG: “I think it’s when somebody’s personality and honesty connects with high art and talent - that can be in music and films, or anything – people feel they have a connection with them personally. I think that was the same with me, Amy didn’t feel she was above us. The way she presents that, with gobsmacking voice and the depths of her lyrics. You can’t help but fall in love with her in an artistic way. She resonates and she doesn’t go away. That’s the difference between Amy and a lot of artists. Unfortunately she left Earth too early, but creatively she’s stronger than ever. To me that’s testament to her and what she did in those few years when she was creating.” 

Control was also a terrific film – how did that come about?  

“So 24 Hour Party People, which I didn't really care for to be honest, was released and I was just thinking ‘that should be me. I should be writing that’. There's a bit of professional jealousy but I think that I don't mind that in retrospect, because it actually spurred me on to get in touch with the producers of Control because I'd heard that there was something going to be done about Ian Curtis that was happening and I went ‘alright, I'm going to do that’. So I got my agent to find out who the producers were, and it was two quite obscure guys from America, who'd got Debbie Curtis’ book Touching from a Distance, and acquired the rights. And once you get the rights to the book, you can get the film rights. They'd already had a script written by an American kid was a big fan of Joy Division, apparently, but Debbie didn't like at all and eventually, my name was put forward. So I met Debbie and Ian’s daughter Natalie, got on with them and after that they gave me the gig to go off and write the first draft.”

Things went well and the movie was well received, wasn’t it?

“When Control came out, they didn't even invite me to the premiere, which was at Edinburgh Film Festival!  I didn't see it. It was just like ‘forget about him. He was just the guy who wrote it’. Then it got in at Cannes and I had to pay for my own flights and my own room to go out to see it. I managed to get a ticket with my wife. We stayed by the airport or something. I wouldn't change that for anything because that experience just blew me away. I've not watched it again since, really. A couple of times you get asked at the festivals if, 'you want to watch it?' No, no, I can't. It's pretty hardcore stuff. Especially the end. Whereas that pulls no punches, I think with Amy it's different, a celebratory kind of feel to it.”

Tell us about City. How did that start for you? 

“It's interesting, right? So I'm from a family Reds and my granddad was on the door of Old , and my dad used to take me and my older sister and get in, but I just never took to the place. Just never enjoyed it, never liked it.  I played football - it's not like I was not into football or anything. And then my dad's twin brother – a City fan - took me to Maine Road in around 1980 or something like that. It was City versus Liverpool in the cup. I just felt, ‘I'm here’. Just that Moss side area, the walk to the ground, the feeling of the blueness of it, just I don't know if something to do that subliminally gets in your mind but the colour of it all and the people. It's not that I was a United fan anyway, I wasn't. I was a nobody fan - and I just then became, you know, a City fan and I started going with my uncle a bit more and then at school, I started to go pretty much every home game into the Kippax, I had a season ticket after that.”

Do you miss Maine Road?
Yeah, no one really likes change. I mean, we had our own pubs. We'd meet in the Welcome Inn in Rusholme and then we'd walk down and then the Sherwood on the way, a lot of it was to do with drinking. Then get in and watch the game, have about 10 pints at half-time! So the whole routine of the of the day was really set. I felt that sort of was part of it as well as well as the group that I was with. But then, you know, people started growing up and for a few years, I drifted away from it all, focused on being a dad and my writing career - but then I came back! I went from Arsenal to Real Madrid to United in the FA Cup to Istanbul. I was on tour. It felt great. I had no guilt because the kids are older now. It was just fantastic. Every game. And I'm very proud of where we’ve come from, it's like, why not us? Competing with the best and winning stuff and you know that should be the norm, but it could take a bit of time to get used to that, especially when you didn't really win anything. I was there at Wembley in ‘99. That was just like the biggest day I've ever, ever had. I was out for three days after that in London, I didn't get home! But yeah, it’s right we are now one of the biggest clubs in the world.”

Do you think Pep would be a good subject for a film for you? 

“Yeah, I think so. But he's got another chapter to write. Hopefully with us, who knows?  As a sports movie, I think that's how you'd have to approach it with Pep. It's a sort of intellectual dive into Pep’s mind, almost like Moneyball. You go into that kind of aspect of how he revolutionised the game. And that's how you'd approach it – not as a tragic rock'n'roll story - hopefully. “

Following on from our interview with Matt Greenhalgh, here selects his all-time City XI – and he’s going old school!

Matt says: “This is more of a Hacienda era team for me from the time I was going home and away to watch the lads. Each of these players, they always gave their all for City. You couldn’t ask for more. Including manager Brian Horton who had history against us with Luton! Jewel In the crown was obviously Kinky… unbelievable skill on the ball - Pep would have him in today definitely!”

It’s fair to say that Michael Okeke has proved to be a flexible friend for City’s Elite Development Squad this term.

Over the course of the last 10 months or so, the 18-year-old midfielder has caught the eye time and again with his talent, technique and tactical flexibility proving invaluable.

As well as predominantly being a key part of Brian Barry-Murphy’s Elite Development Squad, Okeke has also weighed in with a series of important displays for Ben Wilkinson’s Under-18s, helping City reach both the FA Youth Cup final and final of the Under-18 Premier League Cup.

Buit it isn’t only domestically that Okeke has made his impact felt.

The talented midfielder – who is also eligible for both England and Nigeria - has also made waves on the international front with Hungary, having featured for the young Magyars at Under-19s level on several occasion as well as also having been selected for their Under-21 squad.

It has represented coming to grips with a different challenge and style of football to that which he is immersed in at City on a daily basis.

Meanwhile Michael has also had to grapple with the complexities of the Hungarian language - one which is widely acknowledged as being one of the toughest to master for English speakers for a variety of grammar, spelling, and pronunciation reasons.

However, he says it’s a test that he has relished – both on and off the pitch.

“My mother’s side of her family is Hungarian and my dad’s Nigerian but then I was born in England,” Michael said.

“So, I've been back to Hungary a few times to visit my grandparents. And my Mum obviously from there so that's why I complete for them, but I can also represent Nigeria through my Dad - and England, too.

“[In terms of the language] I'm pretty good at speaking Hungarian but then after I went [to link up with the squad initially] there were certain phrases that I just didn't understand.

“The players were obviously speaking in slang, and I just didn't understand them. But then I've been a couple of times and I've picked up on all the slangs and yeah, it’s pretty good now.

“Obviously when you go away from City, you play a different style of football. So, it's just about being able to adapt to what the coach wants from you and play as well as you can to help your country win.

“I think when I first went, I thought that there was a major difference between the two styles of play.

“But then all the time [I’ve been there] I just found that it's actually quite similar, though I just play a different role when I go away to when I'm here.

“I think fitness wise I notice a difference when I come back to City from Hungary.

“I think playing away from City your fitness levels need to be pretty different because at City most of the time you've got the ball. So, when you've got the ball, you don't use too much energy.

“But then when you go away from City [with Hungary], it's more back and forth type of football matches.

“So, I think I can notice a change in my energy levels when I'm away. I think it's a bit more draining than being at City.”

Okeke was one of a phalanx of talented young players who progressed up from our Under-18 ranks to join Brian Barry-Murphy’s Elite Development Squad last summer.

A raft of long -term injuries to key personnel allied to one of City’s youngest-ever Under-21 squads meant the Premier League 2 campaign proved a challenging one.

Along the way, Okeke’s versatility has proved important with Michael also been deployed at right back in addition to his usual midfield role at times this season to help both the Under-21s - as well as our 18s – overcome a variety of injury issues.

For his part, the very epitome of a team player, Okeke says he is happy to help wherever required.

“I think I'm quite an athletic player and I can get up and down the pitch and drive forward with the ball and I think this season I've helped contribute with my versatility,” Michael added.

“We have been lacking in defenders at certain points in the season due to injuries and then I've been able to fill in in the right back position for the Under 18s and for the Under 21, so I think that's a good thing.

“Looking forward I think I just need to be open-minded and to just listen to what the coach wants and try to do what he wants in every training session and hopefully I'll progress as a football player.”

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 I, and although I was tempted to do my piece about Ian ‘Bobby’ Brightwell, I’ve gone for the Inspiral Carpets, mainly because of that song we sing.

In November 1990, I went to Japan for a whirlwind, five-day tour with the Inspirals for Vox Magazine (a monthly adjunct to the weekly NME).

Brash and cocky, as all young bands should be, they were also quite a thoughtful bunch who were determined to have some longevity in an industry where you’re only as good - or as bad - as your last record.

The band affected nonchalance, as if they were taking their swift rise to fame in their stride, but Japan is a massive culture shock however erudite and well-travelled you think you are.

Craig Gill, the drummer, had the sharp sarcastic wit beloved of Mancunians but not readily appreciated by the rest of the world. He christened Clint Boon ‘the MC Hammer of Chadderton’ due to his penchant for extremely lurid shirts on that tour. However, the Japanese always referred to Clint as “Mr Clinto” much to everyone’s amusement and was met by uncontrollable giggles from day two onwards.

We wanted something obvious and Japanese for the magazine cover, so for the photos Clint drew the Inspirals logo on some plain t shirts with Cool as **** written in Japanese – at least I assumed that’s what it said.

The Japanese kids were very Manchester savvy and knew they had to ‘Moo’ at the band although they had some difficulty with the pronunciation. Later we were told that’s because cows say ‘Meau’ in Japan!

I went to a lot of gigs in Japan for the NME back then. Gigs in most Japanese cities started around 6pm and were over by 8pm, leaving you the rest of the evening and night to explore the city. The promoter always seemed to have a post gig schedule for us though and would take us to a series of clubs and bars that he thought we’d like. A Hard Rock Café had recently opened in Tokyo, and we were taken there on many occasions. The Japanese thought it was the height of cool whereas we wanted to find some forbidden-city style back-street bars. We inevitably ended up in a club called The Lexington Queen, where it seemed to cost around £500 the second you took the top of the bottle of Scotch that was placed enticingly on each table. Young bands of course think they’re immune to that sort of thing and would 'borrow' a few bottles off other tables and put them in their holdalls. This trip was the only time I ever worked with the band, but it was certainly memorable – often for reasons too awkward to publish in a ‘family’ magazine like this.

The Inspirals often get overlooked when retrospectives of the era are written, but if nothing else, they left us with a great song that was adapted by City fans and is sung to this day.

“So, this is how it feels to be City,
This is how it feels to be small...”

You all know the rest…

Kevin Cummins

Item 1 of 4

Let me introduce you to Denis McMahon. A seasoned, well-travelled follower of MCFC for many a decade. If we gave out Long Service awards, he would surely be at the top of the list.

 And here he is! Take it away, Denis!

I have been a City supporter all of my 70 years, my father was a regular from the 1930s until the 1990s. He took me to some games in my early years, but mainly to the reserves in the Central League who played at Maine Road on a Saturday afternoon when the first team were away. I started going regular to watch the first team when I was eight years-old and to regular away games from 16, including my first ever trip abroad to Vienna for the Cup Winners' Cup final. I organized a minibus to take City friends to Juventus in 1976 and Widzew Lodz in 1977. Driving through East Germany into Poland was an experience.

Today, I sit in the North Stand second tier with two daughters, my son and two grandchildren. I still go to most away games and some European games, also.

1958 Blackburn Rovers vs City. I was four at the time and I really don’t remember the game itself. All I remember is my dad’s friends called at home expecting him to go to the game. He told them he couldn’t as my mum has gone to the washhouse (no washing machine in those days in a two up, two down in Collyhurst). I remember one of my dad’s friends saying 'bring him', so this was my first City game. I remember being on my dad's shoulders coming out of the station and with a large crowd in Ewood Park being passed down and told to sit on the running track. City lost the game 2-1.

Taking my eldest daughter to her first game at Maine Road. We were in the North Stand and at half-time I took her to the ladies’ toilet and told her to wait outside the entrance when she had finished, I went to the gents. I was back at my seat and after a few minutes one of the guys behind asked where is your daughter? I had left her standing outside the ladies. She is now 42 and a seasoncard holder for 30 years, she never forgets to remind me of that day!

Away game - Spurs in the Champions League quarter-final. I was going to go to this match, and it was the first game at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, however, on the prior Thursday I was due to have a stent fitted. The consultant told me that my arteries were too blocked to have a stent fitted and I would have to have a heart bypass. A surgeon came to see me told me to go home rest and go back on the Tuesday, the day of the Spurs game. I was taken down at midday and after the surgery was woken up at 4am the next morning in ITC. My first question to the nurse was how did City go on? She had a quick look on her phone only to inform me we had lost 1-0. Then she told me the operation had been a success. I did make the Leicester game when Vinny scored that screamer and the Brighton game where we won the League.

My first away derby was in 1962 City were 2-0 up at half-time with goals from Peter Dobing and Joe Hayes. Denis Law then scored two for United and the game was looking like a 2-2 draw. In the final minute Alex Harley took the ball round Bill Foulkes and slotted it into the net past David Gaskill. The City fans in the crowd went wild.

Colin Bell in the Bell-Waldron Restaurant he owned with Colin Waldron. Colin was a real gentleman. Also, Francis Lee in Sevilla when we played them a few years ago.

David Silva, he was the most skilful left sided midfielder and never had a sendoff.

In 1963 we fell into Division 2, etc!

Any game we lose at Old Trafford.

This is a very difficult question to answer. In my younger days Johnny Crossan was my favourite, then the King – Colin Bell. However, over the past 10 years we have had the best squad of players we have ever had with the Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Sergio Aguero era and now Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Rodri. Out of all those I would have to pick Kevin De Bruyne as my favourite. He has been instrumental in the trophies we have won over the past few years.

Rodri, He seems intelligent, generous, and levelheaded.

Just like all of her team-mates, Ruby Mace was celebrating Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw’s strike against Manchester United like she’d found the net herself.

The Jamaican was too powerful for visiting defender Maya Le Tissier just 30 seconds into the second half after being played through by the irrepressible Jess Park and needed no invitation when given a sight of goal.

Racing into the box and slotting home past the onrushing Mary Earps, Shaw’s strike handed City a commanding three-goal lead in front of more than 40,000 fans at the Etihad Stadium in a match we’d go on to win 3-1.

Shaw is no stranger to finding the back of the net, but this particular strike held a real significance, and wrote her name in the Club’s history books.

Her 68th in blue, she is now Manchester City’s record goalscorer, surpassing Georgia Stanway at the top of the chart.

Speaking about the Jamaica international's achievement, Mace admits that she and her team-mates didn’t speak too much about the milestone in the build-up to our forward reaching it.

“I think some people had an idea, but obviously you don't want to go into the game and put too much pressure on yourself,” she said.

“Bunny is a goalscorer anyway, so it was going to come. It's crazy to know how quickly she has reached that achievement and we're all very proud of her as well.”

But for Mace, still just 20 years old despite embarking on her third full season at City, Shaw’s impact is felt away from the pitch just as much as it is when stepping over the white line.

Forwards are often unfairly daubed with the same brushstroke of focusing on their own performances rather than that of the team, but that couldn’t be further from the truth with our attackers, according to the England Under-23 international.

Indeed, the guidance she’s received from players such as Shaw on the training pitch has been invaluable, demonstrating the incredible team bond that exists at the City Football Academy.

Mace explains: “Bunny's so funny. She helps me so much on and off the pitch. She's always there for me, always challenging me and making sure that I'm being the best I can be. 

“Like if I do something in training, she'd like pull me to the side and say: 'you could have done this or you could have done this'.

“Just to know she's doing it out of a place of love as well, because you can tell she genuinely cares and wants the best for me, which is nice.  

“I mean, top goalscorer, she’s a busy girl, so for her to take the time and speak to me, I appreciate it a lot!”

Despite claiming silverware and helping City reach two major finals during her time at the Club so far, this is the first season where Mace, like many of her team-mates, has been involved in a genuine title race.

Barring an unlikely sequence of results between now and the end of May, it looks like a two-way shootout between City and Chelsea for the WSL crown, with Taylor’s side leading the way going into May.

There’s plenty at stake for both sides but, as the famous saying goes, pressure is a privilege.

Indeed, Mace is relishing every minute of the experience, whether she’s out on the pitch or preparing at the training ground.

“It's crazy, the fact I'm doing it at such a young age I don't think many people can say that they've been in the same position,” she points out.

“I think for me, it's all about the learning. Even if I'm not getting the minutes, I'm learning so much and I'm progressing so much as a player.

“Obviously people on the outside don't necessarily see that, but for me being in this environment has helped me so much and the fact that we can win the league and the battles there, I have played a part in that, and it means a lot to me.”

One of the defining moments of the season came in late March at the Etihad Stadium, when City cruised to a 3-1 win over Manchester United.

More than 40,000 supporters witnessed Taylor’s side lay down the gauntlet to our title rivals, but for Mace the importance of that match went beyond its on-pitch impact.

The youngster rightly points out that the game, witnessed by millions around the world not lucky enough to grab a ticket, will have inspired many to pursue their own footballing dreams.

That fact certainly isn’t lost on the midfielder, but she was equally delighted to ensure Manchester stayed blue!

She adds: “Games like that are very surreal. Obviously, you want to come out with three points, and I think the team worked so hard.

“Everyone always says 'is Manchester Blue or Red?’ but it's clearly Blue! I think games like that, you're up for it that tiny bit more because it's a real competition and you want to come out and win.

“I think the women's game has grown so much since I can remember and to have that many fans come down to support us just allows us to now go on and achieve big things.

“Like I said, winning is what we need now, and every step is a step closer to us winning the league.”

Interview: George Kelsey

Time to travel back in time again and see what the players of yesteryear liked, loved or loathed in a classic Shoot Magazine Q&A. This month, it's our much-missed former Poland captain Kaziu Deyna from 1979... 

Full name: Kazimierz Deyna 

Birthplace: Gdansk, Poland 

Birthdate: October 23, 1947 

Height: 5" 11' 

Weight: 11st 9lbs 

Previous club: Legia Warsaw 

Married: Yes, to Marinda 

Children: Yes, one son .

Car: BMW 1600. 

Favourite player: Pele and Bobby Charlton .

Favourite other team: Johan Cruyff's Ajax from the 1970s .

Most difficult opponent: Too many to mention! 

Most memorable match: Poland v Hungary 1972 - we won 2-1 and I scored both goals. 

Biggest thrill: Poland tying third place at 1974 World Cup .

Biggest disappointment: Missing a penalty v Argentina at the 1978 World Cup.

Best country visited: Australia 

Favourite food: Pork chop 

Miscellaneous likes: Watching TV! 

Miscellaneous dislikes: Noisy places - football stadiums excluded! 

Favourite singers: Elvis Presley and Tom Jones .

Favourite actors: Richard Burton.

Best friends: My wife and son. 

Biggest drag in soccer: Bad referees .

International honours: 102 caps for Poland.

Professional ambition: Avoid injury.

Personal ambition: That my son is a better player than me.

If you weren't a footballer, what do you think you'd be? A pop star! 

Which player in the world would you most lie to meet? HRH Queen Elizabeth II.


Formed in 1977, Mancunians of a certain vintage will nod approvingly at one of the city's elder statesmen bands - with several City fans among their number. Drummer Donald Johnson takes on our Q&A...

So, how many of the band are Blues?
The main Blue in the band was always Denise Johnson, she adored the club, her energy and excitement for the team was unrivalled. We unfortunately lost Denise in 2020, but her beautiful voice, infectious laugh and love of people, coupled with her passionate support of Man City stays with us.


ACR started life with Rob Gretton - a huge Blue of course - what were those days like?
RG was a huge City fan, in his early days he would attend the matches with his old school friend Steve McGarry and In later years he would go with Mike Pickering (Quando Quango/M People) and photographer Kevin Cummins.


Tony Wilson was a massive Red - did you chat about football often?
I never really talked football with AHW. He was a huge mentor and friend, I was deeply intrigued by his day job, he was such an accomplished TV Presenter/Journalist, I would go to Granada TV regularly to watch him and Bob Greaves present their daily 30 minute live shows.


For those who never got to go, what was the Hacienda like and did you play there?

The Hacienda was great club! There was something fantastic happening every night, I remember seeing The Smiths while they were still building a following, supporting Factory artist 52nd Street and Martin Moscrop (ACR) was mixing their live sound. My favourite time playing there was when me and Bernard Sumner (New Order) were asked to put a band together, made up of Factory artists to perform live on a TV show called The Tube - Madonna was also on that show, it was her first UK televised performance. We’ve a history of firsts with Madonna!


What's the secret of ACR's longevity?
Always leading from the front, not standing, still pushing as many boundaries as possible with Music/Culture and Perception, we embrace our past, we don’t dwell on it.

Despite the band never having any mainstream hits, your reputation has always been big in Manchester hasn't it?
We’ve always been well known in MCR, a lot of bands here cite us as a reference to when and why they started out. MCR is a small place with a mass of talent, and sometimes, that there London isn’t ready!


How often do you get to games?
Denise would go when she could, outside of recording and the touring schedule


Best/worst memories of City?
When City won, Denise would be cockahoop and shouting it from the rooftops and her social media would be dancing with love, that is what we always think about City now.

Did you ever hear a ACR record at Maine Road?
No, this needs to be rectified, surely the new single ‘All Comes Down to This’ is perfect for City’s end of season run!


So, what's the plan for 2024?
We’re touring the new album from 25 April, culminating in a show in Manchester at New Century on 17 May. Then we’ll be looking at some more releases for the end of the year and play festivals and Europe.


If there's one ACR record people should seek out that sums the band up, what would you recommend?
It’s impossible to sum up ACR with one album, but a great start is to listen to last year's 1982 and the new album It All Comes Down to This, that really gives a glimpse of the diversity in ACRs music and both take influence from the past and most importantly, the future.


Finally, what's the new material like and where can people catch the band live?
The new album was made with Dan Carey (famous for working with Wet Leg, Fountains DC and Slowthai), we stripped everything back and have made an album that is like nothing we’ve done before but that has distilled the very essence of our musical DNA. We are so proud of it. The tour starts on 25 April in Huddersfield, we'll be visiting Leeds, Blackpool, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Norwich, London, Bedford, Portsmouth, Brighton, Birmingham, Hull, Sheffield and Bristol and finishing in Manchester on 17 May at New Century.

Full list of dates here...

Celebrating CITC

City recently celebrated its charity, City in the Community (CITC) during City’s 5-1 Premier League win over Luton Town.

Prior to the day, CITC participants were tasked with drawing Manchester City players for the matchday graphics, with ten young people winning a special experience.

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for local school children included mascot spaces, taking part in a team photo on the pitch before kick-off and announcing the players off the bus on the blue carpet.

Following the game, one participant was even able to interview player of the match, Mateo Kovacic.

Elsewhere, the Etihad came come alive with charity branding ahead of kick-off, including a centre circle displayed by community coaches and a large banner in the family stand, to help raise awareness of City in the Community’s identity and purpose.

The City squad also showed their support by wearing City in the Community branded t-shirts during the pre-match warm-up.

To help further raise awareness of the day, City manager, Pep Guardiola, also sported a City in the Community branded top during his post-match press conference.

The day was organised to help raise awareness of the Club’s charity and its work to empower healthier lives through football.

Commenting on the day, CEO of City in the Community, Michael Geary, said: “It is really important for us as a charity that we have opportunities like today to raise awareness, raise understanding and give the fans knowledge about what their club is doing in the community and ultimately we want the fans to feel proud of what their club is doing to support people n the community.

“It’s been special to see local youngsters enjoying the game and their unique experiences today. They are all huge City fans, but some had never been able to attend the Etihad before, so we really have made dreams come true.”

Vickie, whose son Cole was provided with the opportunity to take part in the blue carpet experience, said: "Cole had a brilliant time. It was amazing from start to finish. Thank you, City in the Community!"


Opposition view

As the action-packed final furlong of the 2023/24 Premier League season intensifies, City are once again fighting for the league crown.

After winning three straight titles from 2021 to 2023, Pep Guardiola’s side are relentlessly pursuing an unprecedented fourth.

Before the shutters fall on the campaign, we will lock horns with Wolves, Fulham, Spurs and West Ham.

Here’s who to look out for in Fantasy Premier League for our opponents…

Matheus Cunha is Gary O’Neil’s team’s current highest scorer in FPL after enjoying a strong season so far.

The versatile forward has scored 11 goals and registered six league assists across 28 outings – his best return in a single season – which has helped him to a total of 121 points.

Elsewhere, Bernd Leno is Fulham most productive asset in the game this season with the German goalkeeper boasting a tally of 121, too.

His best single return of the campaign came in a 1-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park where he kept a clean sheet and produced an impressive nine saves in 90 minutes.

With Tottenham looking to qualify for the Champions League before the term’s end, their talismanic forward Son Heung-min could play a huge part in helping them into Europe.

The South Korea international has a staggering 186 points to his name so far in 2023/24 after scoring 15 goals and registering nine assists in the Premier League.

What’s more, he has 32 points in his last six outings in FPL.

Finally, James Ward-Prowse could be West Ham’s key player in City’s clash with the Hammers in the final game of the league campaign.

Following his move to the capital from Southampton in the summer, the midfielder has totalled 134 FPL points so far.

In his maiden season with David Moyes’ side, he has scored six goals and registered seven assists.

This month our Random Match Generator selects another match you won't find many reminiscing about...

Coca Cola Cup Round 2, 1st leg
Lincoln City 4 -1 City
17 September 1996
Attendance: 7,599.

Lincoln City: Richardson, Holmes, Brown, Whitney, Ainsworth, Hone, Fleming, Sterling ( Alcide 34), Bos, Martin.

Manchester City: Dibble, Lomas, Wassall, Symons, Ingram, Summerbee, Clough, Whitley, M Brown (Crooks 63), Rosler, Dickov

On paper, this should have been a fairly straightforward passage into the League Cup third round.

But City, having recently sacked Alan Ball, were unpredictable at best and with no permanent new manager in place, Lincoln City could perhaps sniff blood.

There was, of course, always the cushion of a second leg to come at Maine Road, but getting the job all-but done and dusted at Sincil Bank was the target for caretaker manager Asa Hartford.

With the Blues, 10th in what is now the Championship, and the Imps struggling in 15th in what we know today as League One, some 29 places separated the teams in the league pyramid – but even though City were a world away of the Club we see today, there was still a yawning gap in resources between the two teams.

City, with 10 players ruled out through injury – one being Georgi Kinkladze – were still able to field a side with plenty of experience and talent and the 1,500 or so travelling Mancunians had to wait just 40 seconds for Uwe Rosler to turn in Paul Dickov’s cross to give the Blues the best start possible.

But that was as good as the evening would get.

Lincoln boss John Beck was renowned for his teams relying heavily on set-pieces and playing long balls and far from crumbling after their dreadful start, the hosts steadily grew in confidence.

It came as no surprise when Terry Fleming levelled from Gareth Ainsworth’s cross on 28 minutes and just before the break, with Steve Holmes headed powerfully past Andy Dibble to make it 2-1.

City were rattled and struggling to deal with the aerial bombardment the hosts were unleashing – and not long after the restart, the Imps when 3-1 up with a well-drilled long throw finding the head of Gijsbert Bos whose near post flick looped over Dibble and into the net.

The Blues dug deep and finally started to create chances again – Nigel Clough saw one shot strike the post – but it would be the home side who scored next, Jon Whitney prodding home from close range on 79 minutes to make it 4-1 and complete a thoroughly miserable evening for the travelling Blues who largely exited en masse shortly after.

A week later, Lincoln completed an utterly forgettable two-legged encounter by winning 1-0 at Maine Road to progress 5-1 on aggregate.

Definitely a game to consign to the dustbin!