Time moves quickly and we’re already into our second edition of the season.

This month, we focus on the successes of our Lionesses and have the scorer of the winning EURO 2022 goal as our cover star - Chloe Kelly.

Chloe gives us an insight to how her life has changed since prodding home the winner against Germany – and reveals the inspiration behind her goal celebration was perhaps not influenced by a City legend…

And as for exclusive interviews – we have them by the bucket load.

Kerstin Casparij talks about her move to City and the wonderful beach she has discovered, while Nico O’Reilly and Adedire Mebude look ahead to their campaigns at U18s and EDS level.

Elsewhere we hop in the Time Machine to revisit a classic Noel Gallagher interview and, as a nice link, there’s a chance to win some Oasis prizes.

Andy Morrison is forecasting a September goal-glut in his predictions column ‘This Month’ and mag regulars Marc Riley and Kev Cummins provide their regular entertaining features.

We also have a feature on 'City in Europe', with author Simon Curtis giving us the lowdown on his new book - and our man in Norway reveals the reaction to Erling Haaland’s first few weeks in sky blue back in his home nation.

All the above and plenty more besides.

All aboard and off we go!

Women’s football has never been more popular – thanks in no small part to England’s EURO 2022 success – who better, then, to talk to than the player who scored the winning goal against Germany?

CITY MAGAZINE catches up with Lionesses and Manchester City striker Chloe Kelly…

With City’s squad supplying the backbone of the England squad for the past seven years or so, it was fitting that it should be one of our players who scored the goal that finally won a major football tournament for England.

When Chloe Kelly prodded home the winner against Germany in the final of EURO 2022, it ended a period of 56 years of near misses, heartbreak, and disappointment for England, both men’s and women’s teams.

The 24-year-old City striker wheeled away, with an Aguero-type shirt waving above her head celebration as a childhood dream was realised and she also put a line under an incredibly tough period of her career when she missed the best part of a year with an ACL injury suffered in May 2021.

As she recovered, she must have had doubts as to whether she would make the cut for the EURO 2022 squad, let alone score the winning goal in the final.

"The effect of the Lionesses’ success might not be understood for several years, but already there are more young girls joining clubs"

But that’s exactly what she did – and just as England legend Geoff Hurst has probably never had to buy a drink since he scored the hat-trick in the World Cup final win over Germany in '66– Kelly could well be dining out on that goal for many years to come.

Is that something she would enjoy?

“Hopefully so!” smiled Kelly.

“But I also hope that in 20 years there are many more wonderful moments being talked about for England as well, but it was such an incredible moment, it will live with me forever, that’s for sure.”

The effect of the Lionesses’ success might not be understood for several years, but already there are more young girls joining clubs, playing on parks, and attending games than ever before.

Kelly is thrilled with the feel-good factor having such a positive effect and as starry-eyed youngsters ask for her autograph, she sees herself in their eyes, as she was once that hopeful kid looking up to her heroes.

“Yeah, it’s wonderful to see so many young girls out on pitches around the country,” she said.

“I was once that young girl looking up to Kelly Smith and wanting to be like her, so to be that role model now is fantastic.

“Now I need to kick on, improve for Man City and continue to grow. There’s so much to learn and this is only just the beginning and the women’s game needs to keep growing.”

And was she thinking of that Aguerooooo moment when she ran off celebrating the winner at Wembley?

“Well, I support QPR, so that Aguero moment isn’t one that sticks in my head that much!” she laughs.

"Now I need to kick on, improve for Man City and continue to grow."

“It was just an impulse thing done in the moment and an outpouring of pure joy celebrating the goal, for what it was.

“I played Wembley in the football cages near my home and it’s something you dream of as a kid, so to have been there in that moment was incredible. My brothers were in the crowd with their shirts off, too so it must run in the family!”

Of course, life will never be the same for Chloe.

She will always have ‘scored the goal that won EURO 2022’ on her CV and it didn’t take long for the public to react accordingly.

So, what was the first sign that everything had changed forever for her?

“Probably just getting recognised more in the street by people, I suppose,” she said.

"I’ll stay humble, keep grounded because this is just the beginning."

“But I’ll just stay the way I am and I’ll never change – I’m just that young girl with a big dream and I won’t get carried away with it. I’ll stay humble, keep grounded because this is just the beginning. There’s so much I want to achieve in my career and that makes me really excited.”

Since that fateful day in July, two of her team-mates and close friends have called time on their careers – Ellen White and Jill Scott.

Kelly explains why, on a personal level as well as professional, she will miss them both terribly in the coming weeks and months.

“They were both massive influences on me,” she said.

“Ellen was like a mum to me throughout my long injury lay off. When I first got injured, she was there by my side holding my hand, bless her, and what an incredible career she’s had. She scored so many goals and she is an incredible person and I hope she enjoys her retirement, gets some rest and quality time with her family.

“As for Jill, when she told us she was going to retire it brought a tear to my eye because she is an incredible person on and off the pitch. She’s a real leader who looks after everyone – probably too much sometimes - but I’m really excited for both of them in this next chapter of their lives and the journeys they are both on. But I’m going to miss them both so much.

“I’ll definitely be calling into Jill’s coffee shop, but I’ll be having hot chocolate as I don’t drink coffee!”

With a number of top Lionesses now plying their trade abroad, how does Chloe see women’s club football evolving?

"I’ll definitely be calling into Jill’s coffee shop, but I’ll be having hot chocolate as I don’t drink coffee!"

Bayern Munich, PSG, and Real Madrid are all suddenly emerging forces, and there will be many more as clubs who perhaps didn’t prioritise their women’s team as much in the past learn of the potential there is for women’s football to become big business.

“Nothing happens overnight, and you have to build steadily,” says Kelly of the ‘new kids on the block’.

“Once you have the right backing behind you and the players onboard, it’s about moving forward from there and creating something special on the pitch and giving the right tools to the manager – and I believe we have that here at City.

“I’m very excited with our new arrivals. I used to play alongside and lived with Sandy McIver at Everton so we’re already close friends. Kerstin Casparij is a great full-back and all the players we’ve brought in are really top signings and good people as well and I get along well with all of them.

“It’s such a great group and I’m just excited for the future.”

As are we all...

Our former skipper and cult hero Andy Morrison – now head coach of the Sri Lanka national team - continues his role predicting the outcomes of City's upcoming games…

It might seem as though I have blue-tinted glasses because I’ve gone for us to win every league game so far, but that’s the mentality we need with teams like Liverpool challenging us. We have to have the same attitude as we had in the last 10 games of last season when we knew we had to win every game. That thinking doesn’t change because this City side is relentless can handle that pressure and with that in mind, I don’t see any problems in this game.

Mozzer’s prediction: Villa 1-3 City

I was fairly pleased with our Champions League group draw. Obviously, we are playing teams that have finished high in their respective leagues so they need to be respected, but I honestly can’t see any banana skins and I’m expecting a positive start to our campaign in Spain and though I don’t believe it will be easy, I can only see a victory.

Mozzer’s prediction: Sevilla 1-2 City

This will be really, really tough. Spurs have played us well over the past few years and become a difficult fixture both home and away and I don’t see that changing this time. They play a back five which is a formation we find the hardest to break down and they have pace on the counter-attack so this will be a tight game and one we need to work hard to get anything out of.

Mozzer’s prediction: City 1-1 Spurs

While Dortmund are an established Champions League side with plenty of experience, it’s a few years since they were a force in this competition. They have players who can hurt teams, but the void left by Erling Haaland is huge, and if he plays, I expect him to score against his former side in a fairly comfortable victory at the Etihad.

Mozzer’s prediction: City 3-1 Dortmund

Wolves are another side who have played a back five in recent years and got some favourable results against us, but they now have a back four which is why they allowed Connor Coady to leave. But their tactical switch is likely to suit us better and so I can’t see anything but a City win at Molineux.

Mozzer’s prediction: Wolves 1-3 City

I know United had a good result against Liverpool, but I feel they were just papering over the cracks. Liverpool should have won that game with the possession they had but missed opportunities and didn’t defend particularly well. I could be wrong, but this is a game I think we will win comfortably.

Mozzer’s prediction: City 4-0 United

HOW ANDY GOT ON LAST MONTH...

Andy got five results out of six right, but no correct scores.


Mozzer’s prediction: West Ham 1-3 City
Result: West Ham 0-2 City

Mozzer’s prediction: City 3-0 Bournemouth
Result: City 4-0 Bournemouth

Mozzer’s prediction: Newcastle 0-2 City
Result: Newcastle 3-3 City

Mozzer’s prediction: Barcelona 2-2 City
Result: Barcelona 3-3 City

Mozzer’s prediction: City 2-0 Palace
Result: City 4 -2 Palace

Mozzer’s prediction: City 4-0 Forest
Result: City 6-0 Forest


September marks the return of the UEFA Champions League, and City’s 12th consecutive season in Europe’s elite club competition.

For City fans, the group stages can throw up exciting trips to previously unvisited parts of our continent while for the team, the focus is on trying to finish top and guarantee the best possible draw at the next stage.

Due to the seeding system that UEFA use, the group stage can throw up some all-time classic meetings between Europe’s powerhouses.

At the Etihad Stadium we have experienced our fair share of thrilling matches at this phase of the competition. Here we’ll take a look at five of the best…

The most recent Champions League group stage fixture at the Etihad Stadium was perhaps the most star-studded of all time. With a front three of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar on show for PSG, we knew we would have to be at our best.

Messi had scored an incredible goal against City in the French capital earlier in the competition and looked to have played a key role in another PSG win when he set up Mbappe for the opener.

However, City roared back with goals from Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus to seal the win and seal our place in the last 16.

Last season’s was a memorable group stage for more than just those meetings with PSG. RB Leipzig proved valiant opponents on the opening week, with a crazy nine-goal thriller in Manchester.

Nathan Ake and Jack Grealish scored their first Champions League goals in this one with Joao Cancelo, Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez and an own goal completing the scoring for City. A hat-trick from Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku kept the game alive, even pulling it back to 4-3 with less than 20 minutes to go.

We held our nerve in the end to record the victory, but there are few group stage matches in the history of the competition that have been such an end-to-end spectacle.

Pep Guardiola’s first season at City didn’t go perfectly. The Catalan undertook the task of refreshing the squad and implementing his style of play before setting off on the current run of Premier League success.

That first campaign did have its memorable moments though, and this night was a moment many City fans saw the promise of what was to come.

Only a few weeks after a Messi hat-trick saw us to a heavy defeat in Barcelona, two Ilkay Gundogan goals and a Kevin De Bruyne free-kick sealed a momentous win back in Manchester.

With just two points from our first four matches in the 2014/15 group stage, we needed to win both of our final two fixtures to stand any chance of progression.

The first of those came against the German champions in Manchester. City’s hopes appeared dashed at half-time when Xabi Alonso and Robert Lewandowski had put Bayern ahead after Sergio Aguero’s earlier penalty.

It remained that way until the 85th minute, when Aguero levelled the scores. Knowing that wouldn’t be enough, Manuel Pellegrini’s side remained on the attack until the Argentine completed his hat-trick in 91st minute to send the Etihad Stadium into raptures.

After years in the wilderness, with only the occasional UEFA Cup or Europa League campaign to sustain our taste for continental adventure, this was City’s first match back at the top table of European football.

Roberto Mancini’s side were nervy on the night against a Napoli side that included Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamsik at the peak of their powers.

Despite having the better of the play, City found themselves behind when Cavani finished off a sweeping breakaway. The Blues did equalise six minutes later through an Aleksandar Kolarov free-kick, but the points were shared on a big night in the Club’s modern history.

BLUES IN EUROPE

Simon Curtis explains why he had to write about our adventures in European football...

City in Europe is a story worth telling.

In this age of social media trolls and teenage media heroes, it seems sometimes that anything that predates the beginning of the Premier league (and that was 30 years ago!) is irrelevant and does not make the argument. At the same time, rival fans delight in telling us that our club did not exist before 2008.

Well, you can’t have it both ways!

City in Europe is a concerted attempt to bring back into the limelight this club’s wonderfully undulating past in European competition. Dating back to 1968, City have been doing their utmost to make a splash on the continent. Having carried off the Cup Winners’ Cup at the first attempt (and only our second season in Europe), the struggle to emulate this feat has been long and real.

The trek from the Faro Islands to Turkey and all points East and West includes a rich tale of near-misses, shots to the foot and heroic deeds. Putting all of this into one volume seemed like a big ask. The story needed to take in the vast panorama from taking ginger steps onto rock hard ice-bound pitches in the Polish coalfields of the early 70s, through “potential” semi-recent pitfalls against the likes of Lokeren, Groclin and Total Network Solutions to the modern-day glittering array of successes against the European game’s big hitters Bayern, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

City in Europe would not be the engaging tale it is, however, without the input of fans of different ages and eras, who I am proud to say have included their own memories and anecdotes of travelling abroad to watch City in action. Behind closed doors in Moscow? City fans were there. Streymur away? Plenty made the trip, including the infamous group, who hired a trawler from Aberdeen.

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Also included are the tales of journalists covering the club’s continental exploits over the last five decades, from reporting from the top deck of a double decker bus in Lokeren to having to change accommodation with the entire playing squad owing to certain unforeseen irregularities in the appointed Bucharest hotel, every little detail is included.

My own fascination in the subject was twigged by early years studying languages and a career that has taken me to all corners of Europe, sometimes making watching City live in a Dutch forest (AGOVV away, pre-season friendly 1993) easier than seeing them in Manchester. Craning the neck to see the men in sky blue step onto the turf in the Bernabeu or the Camp Nou had been a lifelong ambition of mine. Now I can say with pride that I have seen them three times in each stadium, plus a plethora of the other cathedrals of continental football.

What remains to be done is the circling of the story, the return to where the first chapters launch us: success in Europe, with a City captain hoisting the European Cup high above his head. Only then will the story of City in Europe really be complete.  

SIMON CURTIS

As the first month of the new 2022/23 campaign draws to a close, we take a look back at some of the impressive Fantasy Premier League numbers that Pep Guardiola’s men can boast in the popular game.

*Stats correct as of 30 August 2022

 

Total points

Erling Haaland has enjoyed a fantastic start to life at the Etihad Stadium, grabbing six goals in City’s opening four matches of the season.

The Norwegian’s impressive haul of 41 points in that time is more than any other player in the Premier League, with Leeds’ Rodrigo and Brighton’s Pascal Gross his closest rivals with tallies of 37 and 35 respectively.