Welcome to the July edition of the City Magazine!
It’s unashamedly a very Norwegian issue, with sprinklings of Scandinavia throughout.
Our cover star and main interview is, of course, Erling Haaland, and you’ll find connections to our new striker running throughout this issue.
We’ve exclusive interviews with Bryne FK’s Marketing Director, Bjørn Hagerup Røken, who explains the connections Erling keeps with his hometown club and what he means to the town.
The fact that Bjørn is also a Blue definitely helps!
We also have a fascinating Q&A with Norwegian street artist Pøbel.
Pøbel is, very much like the UK street artist Banksy, a world-renowned talent who has created stunning murals around the globe.
Pøbel also keeps his identity a secret, but as he is from the same area of Norway as Erling, he created a huge mural of Bryne FK’s favourite son in the town and explains why he did it and what the process was.
He also reveals his first ever football match was City’s 3-2 win over Aston Villa last May…
It’s a fascinating read and the picture you can see with this intro is another example of his stunning work, tracing Erling’s family roots back to a farm where he created another mural in a pig barn to express that anyone can be anything they want to be.
And to wrap up this Nordic special, there’s a Scandinavian City Best XI to enjoy – see if you agree with our line-up.
Elsewhere, we catch up with Ellie Roebuck ahead of the Euros and we have a quadruple signings wrap featuring Leila Ouahabi, Laia Aleixandri, Deyna Castellanos and Mary Fowler.
Former skipper and City Mag columnist Andy Morrison has recently taken up the new role of Head Coach for the Sri Lanka national team and he provides a fascinating glimpse of the role and the challenges that lie ahead.
There’s also a US Tour preview, Marc Riley interviews Ian Brightwell and Kevin Cummins looks back at pre-season tours gone by.
Plenty to keep you entertained until the action begins again in a few weeks’ time.
One thing seems certain about Erling Haaland - he was always destined to play for Manchester City...
It seems that from the moment he realised his dad played in sky blue – or laser blue as it was back in 2000 – the Leeds-born youngster had ambitions to follow in his father’s footprints.
And as his incredible scoring record caught the attention of football fans around the world, so emerged pictures of Erling in a selection of City shirts over the years and City fans dreamed, ‘what if…?’
What if the most prolific young striker in the top five leagues of the world really was a boyhood City fan? If he was, would it influence his decision, when he came to choose his next club?
A list of elite clubs were soon linked with possible bids as Haaland continued to score at will for Borussia Dortmund, yet one by one, they seemed to fall by the wayside.
Had Erling’s representatives already made it clear that he only wanted to play for one club, given the opportunity – the one he’d followed so publicly as a kid?
It’s easy to read clues that perhaps aren’t there, but when Erling turned up at the Etihad with Borussia Dortmund, carrying a sky blue washbag, it set minds wondering again.
And as he was overheard walking out to look at the Etihad ahead of training session with Jude Bellingham saying, “It’s beautiful”, was that yet another hint or just an innocent comment?
Then, the stunning announcement that City had reached an agreement to sign Erling was released just before the Premier League season ended.
He was coming to us after all.
It’s fair to say the excitement has been building over the summer as City fans anticipate watching a striker who has scored 155 goals in 200 games, not to mention 20 in 21 for Norway.
Uwe Rosler’s son Colin, now with Norwegian side Lillestrom says Erling’s destiny was always to be a City player.
"When we first met while away with Norway, one of the first things we spoke about was City," said Rosler.
"We obviously both had that connection of our dads playing for the club, though a few years apart, plus the fact we’d both been City fans from an early age.
“He’s always been a Blue and it was his dream to one day play for City.
“He came over to Manchester for a visit to watch City play in the Champions League, but beforehand he came to see the UEFA Youth League game I was playing in at the Academy Stadium.
“He was sat next to my mum and his dad Alfie was there and while he was watching, he said, ‘I want to come and play for this club’.
"He’s always had that drive and dream to one day play for City and follow in his dad’s footsteps.
“He’s followed City very closely and was aware of my dad’s time at the club and obviously his dad’s too, but he knows a lot of the history and what Manchester City is about.”
Of course, when he signed for City, Erling finally revealed his dreams had come true.
“To follow in my father’s footsteps and pull on the sky-blue shirt will be an incredibly special moment," he said.
“I was born in England. I have been a City fan my whole life. I know a lot about the club.
“In the end, deciding to sign was down to two things. I feel at home here and I feel I can develop and get the best out of my game at City.
“I like the style (of play). I like the attacking football. I like the positive vibe we have when City play football.
“I have been to the Etihad a couple of times before watching games. I like it. It is beautiful, I like the colour! It’s a big, huge stadium and I like to play there.
“I have always watched City and have loved doing so in recent seasons. You can’t help but admire the style of play, it’s exciting and the team create a lot of chances, which is perfect for a player like me.
“There are so many world-class players in this squad and Pep is one of the greatest managers of all-time, so I believe I am in the right place to fulfil my ambitions.
“I want to score goals, win trophies, and improve as a footballer and I am can confident I can do that here.
“This is a great move for me, and I can’t wait to get started in pre-season.”
As for Maine Road, he adds: “I have been to a lot of games there. I don’t remember, but I have been to a lot of games with my mum, sister and brother watching my father play when I was small.”
Aged just 22 and having penned a five-year deal, the prospect of Haaland being supplied chances by our quartet of gifted playmakers in Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva is a mouth-watering thought.
“I have been watching a lot of City games for as long as I can remember,” said Erling. “Of course, then I also watched Phil (Foden) and he is an amazing player.
“He is still a talent because he is still young, but he is an amazing player. He still has to develop and then we can really talk.”
That is a conversation every City fan will hope goes particularly well…
Fan favourite Andy Morrison on his new role managing a national team almost 6,000 miles away from Manchester…
Former City skipper Andy Morrison - author of the monthly City Mag predictions column – couldn’t have imagined what lay in store as the Premier League season drew towards its dramatic climax.
The popular Morrison, who has now become a firm favourite on the Club’s Matchday Live show, both as an expert studio guest and co-commentator to Ally Mann, was planning to continue his media work to the end of the season when an offer he couldn’t refuse dropped on his doormat.
Morrison gained an excellent reputation as manager of Welsh Premier League side Connah’s Quay, with whom he had some notable victories in Europe during his six years with the club, including wins over Kilmarnock and Helsinki as well as reaching the Scottish Challenge Cup final.
But feeling he had taken Nomads as far as he could, he resigned from his post in September 2021 and focused instead on media work and family life.
All that, however, was about to change when he was offered the chance to take on the head coach role of a national team
“I’d reached a point with Connah’s Quay where I needed a change of direction,” said Morrison.
“I wasn’t exactly going around in circles, but I’d won back-to-back titles and the Manager of the Season award twice in succession and felt it was time for a change.
“I wasn’t getting the fulfilment I was looking for, so I needed to move on and look at something else.
“Over the next eight months, I visited eight different clubs from Premier League down to Conference and worked with some good people, as well as doing media work for City.
“It was on the back of one of those visits when I was doing a presentation for the Welsh FA for my UEFA A-licence that I met former Everton player Tim Cahill who asked me to send him my CV.
“Tim is doing some work in Doha for the Qatar FA who have a relationship with Sri Lankan football and the opportunity to become Sri Lanka’s head coach came from that.
“I was offered the position, so I looked at where they were in world football and did as much research as I could and understood what a big job it was going forward, and it just excited me.
“I’d really been enjoying my work with City, so I was in no rush to find a new job, but this really interested me, and I needed that because it ticked all the right boxes for me in terms of what I was looking for at this stage of my life.
“It’s a massive challenge, but I have been over there already to help oversee a tournament and help the guy who was taking the team and it was also a fact-finding mission to discover how they do things, what the quality of the players is like and how they operate.
“Then it was back to England for a few weeks for reflection ahead of returning to actually start the job.
“I’ve done so much research I could apply to be a Sri Lankan tourist official! I know about the history and culture of the island, and Sri Lanka is going through some tough times, economically, just now – probably as tough as their people have ever known.
“That is probably reflected in the football, which hasn’t progressed much in the last 10 to 15 years and has had no direction – it’s been more a case of fulfilling their international requirements without a clear vision of improvement.
“But after being over there for four or five weeks, things are being put in place and that vision is starting to become clearer in terms of where we want to go and how we’re going to get there.
“Presently, we are 205 in the FIFA world rankings and there are only six clubs beneath us with San Marino placed bottom on 211.
“I think the football is a reflection of how the country is at this time, but there are big changes happening and Sri Lankan football just needed somebody with a vision that could drive it forward and I honestly can’t think of anything that could have excited me more and I’ve never been more ready for a challenge like this.
“We play at a racecourse ground and share with cricket, which is something we obviously would like to look at in years to come that better reflects a country of 22million.
“It’s a beautiful island, but as I say, things are challenging for Sri Lankans at this moment in time.”
The Sri Lanka head coach will return to the island in July to begin his work in earnest.
That involves a worldwide trawl of eligible players and a complete change in almost everything that Sri Lankan footballers have been used to over the past decade or so.
“There’s a FIFA window in September and another in March, so we have some time to get things in place and we’ll utilise those to get players together,” he said.
“We’re looking at anyone players with a Sri Lankan passport of possible connections to the country because there are players out there who are playing at a decent level and we’re working hard to contact them because they could immediately improve the group.
“I’m based in Colombo, the capital and will be watching the league games around the country which should begin in September, but our vision is to get academies going at grass roots level in the different regions around Sri Lanka.
“We need to work with schools, which is a longer term vision, but that’s something I’ve been tasked with to get things going and there’s more interest but that will take time.
“We need youngsters playing football
“We are in competition with cricket and rugby – football is the passenger in many ways, culturally, and that’s what we have to change.
“The language barrier is difficult and there are players who play in one part of the island who speak a different language to those around Colombo – and that’s another challenge because I’m trying to get information and ideas across, but that’s something we’ll be looking to improve.”
Of course, being a former City captain, Morrison is keeping his eye on out for fellow Blues in Sri Lanka.
“I met a few at the final game of the season,” he said. ‘Several came to the training ground to say hello and have a few pictures taken and against Villa, I watched it in a local bar where there were maybe 15 or so City fans and 30 Liverpool fans.
“I believe there is a supporter branch here so I’m sure I’ll be meeting them all in the months ahead.”
Erling Haaland joining City couldn’t have been any better for Bryne FK marketing manager Bjørn Hagerup Roken.
Roken has supported City for more than 20 years and recently took up his new post a few months back, and Haaland’s move to Manchester has opened up the opportunity of finding new links between the two clubs.
Haaland spent his formative years at his hometown club Bryne FK and remains close to the 1. divisjon club.
Roken believes it is fantastic news for the small Norwegian town, whose 12,000 population would just about fill the Academy Stadium twice over.
"I was the last game of the season against Aston Villa, and it was quite an experience!" says Roken.
“I’m thrilled that Erling has joined City because of his strong links to Bryne FK. I started this role just a couple of months ago, so it’s really good timing.
“He keeps the connection with Bryne FK and in the last game Norway against Sweden, he was voted man of the match and that means he gets to donate 10,000 Norwegian krone to any club, so he chose Bryne FK and another local club – as he always does.
“We work closely with his father Alfie, and he helps us when we need anything to do with Erling.
“They are both very fond of Bryne FK because of their past links and they’re doing a great job for us. Alfie helps us get signed shirts and suchlike and Erling is very proud to be a Bryne FK supporter.
“He left when he was 16 and he was a skinny little boy when he was with us, but he’s grown up to be very tall and powerful.
“There is a Haaland academy at Bryne FK, but it’s not for players – more a sponsorship and partners of Bryne made up of local businesses who meet up and do various social events – we travelled to Dortmund last season to watch Erling play and this season we will travel to Manchester to watch him play for City – there will be around 70 people coming to hopefully watching Erling score a few goals.”
Like many Norwegians, Roken has his local club and an English club as well.
Ironically, it was because of Erling’s father that he became a City supporter…
“Yeah, that’s true that I started supporting City mostly because of Alfie Haaland and over the years, I had always heard Erling was a City fan – we’ve all seen him wearing the City shirts as a kid," he said.
"This role at Bryne FK is as big a dream for me as it is for Erling playing for City!"
Many have spoken of Erling’s strong connection with the town he grew up in.
He has many childhood friends that he has kept in touch with, and he is a hero to thousands of young Norwegians for his exploits in Austria, Germany, and the national team.
“Erling will visit us later in the year because we have an indoor hall that we have just had renovated and it is sort of where he grew up playing football – hopefully, it will be in September when we have the official opening, and it will give the local kids a chance to meet him,” reveals Roken.
“It’s going to be crazy, I think!
“When I go to the training ground with my eight year-old son, half of the kids are wearing yellow Dortmund shirts and I’m looking forward to seeing whether the same amount will soon be wearing sky blue!
“Probably 80% of Norway’s football fans are either Liverpool or United, so it will be interesting to see if parents who support those clubs buy their kids a Haaland City shirt.
“We started stocking the shirts of Erling’s previous clubs in our club shop and we sold maybe 1,500 Dortmund jerseys over the past year or so.”
And it’s not just Haaland shirts that you’ll see around Bryne.
Recently, a huge mural of Erling appeared in town created by a world renowned artist – and it probably won’t be the last.
“Yeah, there are some Haaland murals going up around Bryne,” says Roken
“The Dortmund one went up a couple of months ago and was created by a well-known street artist called Pøbel, who is also an international star like Erling, so that’s quite a story in itself.
“I think he’d love to do a mural of Erling in Manchester at some stage, similar to the ones of Sergio and Foden that already exist.
“He keeps his identity a secret, but he travelled to the Villa game last May with me and that was the first time he’d ever watched a football match in his life – I had to tell him it isn’t always like that!”
The Spanish Connection
and the Wizard of Oz
The Academy Stadium has been a hive of activity for City's women's team during the summer transfer window. While familiar faces have departed, announcing their retirement or moving on to pastures new, Gareth Taylor has bolstered the squad with four new signings of the highest pedigree: Leila Ouahabi, Laia Aleixandri, Deyna Castellanos and Mary Fowler.
A world-class quartet of international stars, who each boast glittering CVs, our new recruits bring with them a wealth of experience, winning mentality and burning desire to better themselves and challenge for silverware both domestically and in Europe.
In Ouahabi and Aleixandri, City have secured another Champions League winner and a finalist, while Castellanos was shortlisted for FIFA's The Best Women's Player award at just 17 (the youngest player ever nominated) and Fowler has just scooped the PFA (Australia) Young Footballer of the Year prize.
While the transition to a new club, culture, league and language can be difficult, Ouahabi, Aleixandri and Castellanos already have a key advantage: they are all familiar with each other, as well as Catalan midfielder Vicky Losada, having plied their trade for Barcelona and Atletico Madrid respectively in the Primera Division.
Australian forward Fowler meanwhile is a national teammate of Alanna Kennedy and Hayley Raso and is already well-travelled, despite being just 19 years of age, having lived and played in the Netherlands and France.
Like the Matildas trio, Spain teammates Ouahabi and Aleixandri are already close friends and are excited to be sharing this new chapter of their lives together, as serial winner Ouahabi explains. “Me and Laia have been friends for a long time,” she says. “We have a great relationship. I met Deyna briefly but it was nice.”
Losada, who made the move to Manchester last summer, has already been sharing her experiences of City life, providing words and wisdom and encouragement.
“We have been in touch sometimes,” Ouahabi adds. “Our relationship is very good. We have played together at Barca and in the Spanish and Catalan national teams also. I've known her since I was 14 years-old and she is a very good friend of mine.
“I always respected her so much. She is always going to be my captain and I have told her that. I learned a lot from her when I was young but also the year before. She has very good values, she is a top person and above all a very good friend. Having someone like Vicky next to you is always helpful.”
Ranked as one of UEFA's 2020 top ten most promising young players, Aleixandri echoes the sentiments about the Catalan midfielder: “From the first moment I have had contact with her, she has been telling me several little things to get me a little closer to City.
“She has welcomed me great. I also know that I am going to enjoy a lot with her, sharing the same dressing room. It is a very positive point for me that she can be here.”
Ouahabi and Aleixandri will be able to explore their new home at this summer's Euros in England with Spain drawn in Group B, alongside Germany, Denmark and Finland. With the winners and runners up of Groups A and B set to lock horns in the knock-out stages, the pair could also have an early meeting with City's seven-strong English contingent!
'Queen Deyna' Castellanos meanwhile will be hoping to represent Venezuela in the Copa America, set to captain her country as La Vinotinto look to earn an historic first qualification to the World Cup. The forward is well-known as a scorer of stunning goals - once netting from the half-way line in injury-time!
With the capture of two defenders and two forwards, our new recruits bring with them a real variety of experience and qualities but all share a common goal: to improve their own game and add to their medal collections.
“I feel I could fit very well into City’s style and it’s a team that will challenge me and make me learn which is something that I really want,” Castellanos declares.
“City have the possession game that I really like and it’s in a league where the football is very quick and very physical. It’s a mix of everything and I think that will help me. Looking at the facilities here, it's something amazing. City will help me improve my football and I hope I can help them, too!””
Fowler, who became Australia's youngest-ever player by making her senior debut at 15, could not agree more.
"When you watch City play, you see football. You see how beautiful it is and you can really fall in love with the game just by watching City play – the girls and the boys."
“Every player in this team is a step-up from where I've been, where I've come from. I'm looking forward to being around all of the players because it's a real football environment with players who have a lot more experience than I do.
“England is definitely one of, it not the fastest-growing league in women's football. It's definitely the place to be and I'm really lucky and fortunate to get to come here.”
Following a record-breaking 2021/22 campaign for the women's game, which celebrated record attendances, and with the Euros set to spark further interest, City fans have plenty to be excited about this summer.
With the fixtures for the new season to be revealed in mid-July and the Champions League draw having already taken place (we'll face Tomiris-Turan of Kazakhstan in Round One), keep your eyes peeled and secure your Season Ticket to see our new stars in action at the Academy Stadium...
'Pøbel' is a Norwegian street artist of international repute. The in-demand creative, born and raised in Erling Haaland's hometown of Bryne, has created stunning paintings, photographs, sculptures, placemaking and site-specific projects around Norway and the world.
Self-taught, he keeps his identity secret and is often compared to UK artist Banksy. His works are powerful, thought-provoking and inspirational - and in a rare interview, Pøbel tells City Magazine why he decided to create a huge mural of Erling in Bryne - and explains how he did it.
Thanks to Pøbel and also his assistant Jonas Hovland for helping facilitate this fascinating interview...
City Mag: How and why did you decide to do a Haaland mural?
Pøbel: Haaland and myself come from the same very small area in Norway, so it just felt natural. Although its slightly different from the work I usually I just felt inspired by Haaland’s story of dedication and hard work. Hopefully the mural can inspire and empower the process of anyone who is working towards a dream. This time it was someone who had a football dream, but it could have been a musical talent, a profession, or someone who is able to cope with a disease and overcome hard challenges that life presents every day. Whatever it is, it is always motivating and beautiful to see someone embrace their journey and progress.
How long did it take from start to finish?
First day of painting it was snowing, and the last day of painting all the trees were in bloom, so it was a work that was on and off, I don’t count the hours but in total from inspiration to sketch and to the completed mural I would guess a few hundred hours.
Was it expensive to create and how do you get permission for a project like this?
In this region getting a permission is quite easy since there is not too much bureaucracy with municipalities and so on. There are obviously a lot of costs with a mural like this, but luckily one of the biggest costs was sponsored by a company called Nordic Steel who produced and installed the 2-tonne metal fist.
Where is it in Norway?
The wall is in Bryne, in the Jæren region, southwest of Norway. The hometown of both me and Haaland.
What has the reaction been?
It has been a very positive reaction from both locals, and visitors. A few people would prefer him to wear blue instead of yellow, but for me as a storyteller, it was while playing for Dortmund he had his big international breakthrough, so it is kind of a capture of that part of his history.
Has Erling seen it/commented on it?
It is hard to not see it if you are in our small town, but yes Erling has seen it and he commented on his Instagram that it was insane, and he also wrote to never forget where you are from. I take that as a positive sign.
I actually used this quote for a second mural, I thought that he himself needed to hear his own quote, never forget where you are from. I tracked down his old family farm and painted him walking a pig inside the physical pig barn, with this very quote as a halo around the head of the pig. This was also a play with the quote around Erling’s head on the first and big mural, which was a quote Erling had remembered his grand uncle telling him; “Speak with your feet and most other things in life will be fine”.
The first mural was to build him up and celebrate his hard-work, passion and almost glorifying his achievements, and the second mural in the pig barn was to bring him down again to his roots, as an average guy from Jæren, to show that he is also just like the rest of us…(but with an extraordinary talent).
What does Erling mean to you and Norway?
I do not know Haaland himself, but from what I hear and see, I experience him as a hard-working person who has achieved a lot, but who at the same time has a good sense of humour, and has his feet planted on the ground and keeps in touch with his local roots, which is something that means a lot. For Norway he is obviously a superstar that we are all proud of.
Can we expect something similar in Manchester and what are your thoughts on the Phil Foden and Sergio Aguero?
Well the story of Haaland will certainly continue in Manchester now, so it would only be natural for the next part of the story to be shared in Manchester.
Will City be one of your teams going forward?
For sure, and I can also say that the first football game I ever watched was actually at Etihad Stadium last May. I will return there again soon to watch Erling score yet another hat-trick, streak the pitch and make people snow-blind.
The Mural: Need to know stuff...
All background colours of mural were painted with 15 fire extinguishers filled with paint.
The mural is 25 meters wide and 14 meters tall.
Fist of steel is 3.5 x 4 meters and has with its total assembly the weight of 2 tonnes.
Text around Erling’s head says “Snakk med fødne så går helste alt aent godt» which means «Speak with your feet and everything else will be fine”.
This was a piece of advice that was originally told to Erling by Gabriel Høyland, Erling’s great uncle. Gabriel is a farmer but was also a football striker that did very well during the 80s. Erling used this very quote on his Twitter the day after he had scored two goals in Norway’s 9-0 victory against Armenia.
Location: Across train station in Bryne
Finished May 16, 2022
Erling in the pig barn facts
Painting is same height as Erling, 1.95 m.
Shows Erling wearing everyday clothes walking a pig.
In this painting the pig is in focus instead of Erling. The pig has a halo with a text around his head saying “Husk: Alre gløm kor du kjæme ifrå” which means “Remember: Never forget where you are from”. This quote was posted by Erling to Pøbel as a comment on the big mural.
It was painted by Pøbel as a response to Erling’s comments about the big mural “Remember: Never forget where you are from”.
Location: Pøbel tracked down Erling’s old family farm, now owned by Gabriel Høyland (Erling’s great uncle) and made the painting inside the pig barn. The first mural has a Gabriel Høyland quote around Erling’s head, this second painting has an Erling Haaland quote around Gabriel’s pig’s head, making the storytelling go back and forth in a joking way.
In honour of our new signing and July City Mag cover star Erling Haaland, here is our all time Scandinavian XI. Players must hail from Nordic countries, which allows us to select Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Icelandic, Faroese and Norwegian former City players...
Could we even get 11 – if we could, could we add subs and a manager? These were the questions that needed answering and below, the results…
Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel
Academy graduate Kasper was at City longer so we’re giving him the nod over his dad in this team. We have an abundance of Scandinavian goalkeepers to choose from with no less than FIVE on the bench!
Left-back: Niclas Jensen
Classy full-back Niclas Jensen – who once scored an absolute stunner of a goal against Leeds United – is an easy choice for left-back in this XI. He enjoyed one season with City on 2002/03.
Right-back: Mikkel Bischoff
Though a central defender, Bischoff was a classy Danish defender tipped for the top. He would play just two first team games, with injuries forcing his retirement aged only 28.
Centre-back: Colin Rosler
Colin played for City at EDS level but was forced to move elsewhere for first team opportunities. Now thriving with Norwegian league leaders Lillestrom, Uwe’s son is a welcome addition to this team.
Centre-back: Age Hareide
Popular Norwegian centre-half Age joins compatriot Colin in central defence. ‘Oggy’ as City fans called him, stayed for one season in 1981/82 before moving into management where he has been Denmark national team coach and enjoyed a 36-year career as boss of numerous clubs.
Holding midfield: Alf Inge Haaland (captain)
Alfie gets the skipper’s armband, and his crunching tackles will add bite to this XI.
Central midfield: Abdisalam Ibrahim
He made his City debut against Liverpool but had few other opportunities to impress after progressing through the Academy. ‘Abdi’ was born in Somalia but grew up in Norway, for whom he has two caps.
Right midfield: Omar Elabdellaoui
With just shy of 50 caps for Norway, Omar has had a successful career after leaving City, playing for clubs in Norway, Holland, Germany, Greece, and Turkey – not to mention Hull City.
Left midfield: Kare Ingebrigtsen
Fans of a certain age will recall Kare’s moment of fame in sky blue when he scored a hat-trick against Leicester City – he spent two seasons with City before moving on and then becoming a manager in Norway with whom he won 23 international caps.
Striker: John Guidetti
Swedish striker whose star shone brightest at Celtic and Feyenoord, his chances at City were limited but he has made a good career for himself and is now with Spanish side Alaves. Has also won 29 caps for his country.
Striker: Erling Haaland
No introduction needed! Let’s just say he was the first name on the team-sheet!
Subs: Andres Isaksson, Egil Ostenstadt, Erik Johansen, Oscar Bobb, Ronnie Ekelund, Arnie Arason, Gunnar Nielsen, Peter Schmeichel, Tuomas Haapala
Manager: Sven-Goran Eriksson
In this episode of the Mixed Grilling I’d like to welcome one Ian Brightwell. Manchester City defender from 1986 to 1998 - that's 12 years of loyal service to the Blue Army. Not a prolific goal-scorer he is best remember by many of us for scoring a stunning equaliser against ‘that lot’ in a derby match at Old Trafford (1990) earning us a valuable draw.
Ian went on to don the colours of Coventry City, Walsall, Stoke City, Port Vale, and finally Macclesfield Town, the team he went on to manage!
Ian’s younger brother David was of course also a City player…another defender. It must have been something in the Lutterworth water!
Back to Ian then!
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF GOING TO A FOOTBALL MATCH?
I was about six years-old and remember watching City v Newcastle 1975 at Maine Road in the 1974/75 Season - City won 5-1.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST PROFESSIONAL GAME YOU PLAYED - AND WHAT SCORE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF OUT OF 10?
I was 18 years-old and made my debut in the first game of the season (1986/87) versus Wimbledon at Maine Road - a generous 6/10.
WHAT IS THE MOST PECULIAR OR MEMORABLE THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU AT A MATCH?
City played Hull in the Central League (reserve team) at Maine Road and some guy had climbed to the top of the floodlights and was threatening to jump off. It was a scary and surreal situation but thankfully he was persuaded to come down - the match was postponed as a result.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME AND TAKE YOURSELF OUT OF A TEAM FOR ONE MATCH - WHAT MATCH WOULD THAT BE - AND WHY?
It would be against Manchester United at Old Trafford 1994/95 because they they beat us 5-0 and still hate the thought of that match.
WHICH TEAM ARE YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE OPPONENTS - AND WHY?
Wimbledon when they had the Crazy Gang just because they were just so difficult to play against and you always knew you’d be up for a tough match. People don’t give them credit but they had some very good players who were effective at what they did and weren’t afraid to mix it, either.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST FAVOURITE MAN CITY TERRACE SONG OR CHANT - AND WHY?
It has to be 'We Never Win at Home and We Never Win Away - MCFC, OK!' - the irony now is lost on a lot of opposing fans and the same for “We're Not Really Here' - great chants - and Blue Moon just because it’s City through and through.
DID YOU HAVE ANY PRE-MATCH RITUALS OR SUPERSTITIONS?
Always ran out of the tunnel fourth in the line. I did that because in the Youth Team I wore the No.4 shirt. Superstitions are strange but I did that all through my career.
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE CITY GOAL YOU HAVE WITNESSED?
Giorgi Kinkladze v Southampton. Pure genius.
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE CITY GOAL YOU HAVE SCORED?
The equaliser v Man United at Old Trafford 1990. To score for City against the Reds was a dream come true for me. We drew the match 1-1 but we should really have won it.
IF YOU COULD INVITE ANY MAN CITY PLAYER - PRESENT OR PAST - TO YOURS FOR TEA AND BISCUITS - WHO WOULD IT BE - AND WHY
Bert Trautmann. I was lucky enough to meet him once but would’ve loved to have spent a lot more time with him just asking him questions about his whole life. I’ve read his book and it’s an incredible story.
HAVE YOU EVER SHED A TEAR - OF JOY - OR PAIN - AT A CITY MATCH?
Sergio’s winning goal v QPR to win the Premier League title in 2011-12.
HAS IT EVER COME TO FISTICUFFS BETWEEN YOU AND AN OPPOSING PLAYER
Not a brawl, but I remember playing at Maine Road at right back and Vinnie Jones clattered me into the air right by the dug out and on my way back down Vinnie was below me so when I landed on him I gave him the old kidney punch which the Main Stand gave me a great cheer. To be fair (or luckily), Vinnie got up, winked and said ‘I like that son’.
WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT MAINE ROAD?
It had so much history so it was always great to run out of the tunnel towards the Kippax knowing that you were following the same footsteps as some wonderful players and heroes of the past. The noise was immense especially for the big games and the City fans always created a fantastic atmosphere.
WHO DO YOU THINK WOULD WIN IN AN ARM WRESTLING MATCH… PHIL FODEN OR STEPHEN IRELAND?
That’s a tricky one…. I reckon Phil Foden as he really is a magician and could hypnotise Stephen into letting him win.
IF YOU COULD PICK ONE CITY PLAYER (PAST OR PRESENT) TO BE ON YOUR PUB QUIZ TEAM - WHO WOULD IT BE - AND WHY?
Tommy Booth…..he’d be hopeless at the quiz but world class entertainment.
Ellie Roebuck | Teammates
Ahead of this summer's Women's Euros tournament in England, City and Lionesses shot-stopper Ellie Roebuck gives us the lowdown on her national teammates…
Who is the funniest? The smartest? The best and worst-dressed? The tidiest and the messiest? The City 'keeper lifts the lid…
Who is the quickest player in the team?
Lauren Hemp is rapid.
Who’s the funniest?
Jill Scott. She’s a bright spark of the day and she’s always got something to make you laugh.
Who has the best fashion sense?
Keira Walsh and Alex Greenwood have good dress sense.
And the worst?
There are a few who don’t care about fashion, like Ellen White. She’s not the worst but she just doesn’t have an interest.
Georgia liked spotty and stripy t-shirts but not anymore… She’s improved massively!
Who is the smartest?
Lucy Bronze is really smart.
Who is the tidiest?
Georgia is pretty tidy.
And the messiest?
Who is always on time?
To be fair, Alex likes to be there five, ten minutes early, whereas I’m chilled and get there like one minute before!
Who’s the best dancer?
I always say Jill because she just doesn’t care! She doesn’t have unbelievable moves but she rocks them.
City’s preparations for the 2022/23 season begin in earnest with a short US tour in July.
The States have proved to be a popular destination for the Blues over the past decade or so, and though this trip will only take in a couple of games, both promise to be colourful occasions.
Previous US tours have seen City visit cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Kansas
New arrivals Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez are likely to make their debuts, with the possibility of other new signings also involved.
Travel restrictions meant summer tours and high profile international friendlies were put on hold for a couple of years due to the global pandemic.
With a growing North American fanbase, games in Houston and Green Bay will offer Stateside City fans the chance to see the team in the flesh.
The first game will be against Club América of the Mexican Liga BBVA MX and will be played at the NRG Stadium on July 21 at 01:30 (UK time) – five years to the day since our last visit to the home of the Houston Texans.
On that occasion, Ederson and Phil Foden made their City debuts in a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United.
“Facing a rival like Manchester City is always an exciting opportunity and we’re very thankful for the invitation,” said Santiago Baños, President of Club América. “The upcoming game is an incredible chance for fans in the United Kingdom, United States and abroad to better get to know Mexican football, and of course this represents an amazing opportunity for the Americanistas to watch their favourite team play against an elite international opponent.”
Founded in 1916, Club América plays its home matches at the famous Estadio Azteca in Mexico City and they have won a record 13 league titles, six Copa MX titles and six Campeón de Campeones cups. Club América’s 10 FIFA recognized club trophies are the most of any club in the Concacaf region, with a record seven Concacaf Champions Cup/Champions League titles, two Copa Interamericana titles and one Cocacaf Giants Cup.
The NRG Stadium has also hosted numerous major sporting events, including two Super Bowls, Copa America, Gold Cup and various international soccer matches the United States Women’s and Men’s National Teams, the Mexican Men’s National Team and top soccer clubs from around the world.
Houston mayor Sylvester Turner said: “Houston is the nation’s most diverse and inclusive city. We love sports and welcome fans worldwide to come and enjoy the electrifying atmosphere of great competition and sportsmanship.
“We are honoured to be the host city for the match between these two outstanding teams. The event is guaranteed to be huge for soccer fans and a big win for the City of Houston.”
That will be followed with a game against Bayern Munich at 81,441-capacity Lambeau Field, Green Bay in Wisconsin.
It will be the first time a soccer match has been played at this iconic venue, home to NFL giants and the match will take place on 24 July at midnight (UK time).
Leroy Sane could be in line to face City for the first time since leaving in 2020, while former Liverpool striker Sadio Mane could also feature.
Season ticket holders, Cityzens Members and Official Supporters Clubs members will be emailed their own exclusive pre-sale links to buy tickets before they go on public sale.
CITY+ will broadcast both games live, though some regional restrictions may apply.
For more information on City's games in the USA this summer, visit www.mancity.com/usatour2022
With City about to embark on their pre-season tour – well, two games in the USA – I thought I’d look back at a few pre-season tours of old...
I think it’s fair to say that prior to the turn of the century, the pre-season tour was more of an erm, bonding exercise, rather than the high-tech branding affairs they are today. Players were encouraged to spend some time with the fans, not in a meet ‘n’ greet style, but more in a drink and drink style.
My friends and I went on one such trip to Norway in the early 90s, where we were to be found in the bar with the lads, shortly after the final whistle. This was when I learned that most footballers liked to have a drink in both hands, at all times.
It was such an effective social event, Uwe Rosler met the woman who was soon to be his wife there. This was after he’d stopped dancing on a table very close to our single beers. Good job we didn’t have another game until two days later!
In 1992, on a pre-season trip to northern Italy, we’d signed Ricky Holden once the tour had started. A member of City’s backroom staff asked if any of us had a car. When one fan raised his hand, he was asked if he could drive to the airport to pick Holden up and bring him back to the team hotel. He assumed he’d be accompanied but the member of staff said, “You know what he looks like, don’t you? Don’t bring the wrong person back with you.”
So off he went, to collect our new signing.
Imagine sending a fan to collect Erling Haaland now? It’s impossible. To be fair, imagine sending a fan to collect Rick Holden in another country. Bonkers too.
One evening, in one hotel we stayed at, it sounded a bit rowdy in a room off the bar. We apologised to the manager for our fans singing boisterous City songs and he said, “Oh that’s not your fans. It’s the team.” And yes, it was. The whole team going through the repertoire of bawdy Kippax songs from yesteryear. And they knew all the words – to all of them.
In 1996 we played in China. My friend and I coincidentally flew on the team Air China flight, where three of the squad set up a few beer crates (as seats and table) in the galley area and played cards for the whole trip.
We played one game in Tianjin – approx. three hours from Beijing (a creditable 1-1 draw with a goal from Gerry Creaney). The rest of the tour was cancelled due to flooding across China.
My friend Robin and I were staying in the team hotel in Tianjin. Alan Ball asked us to sit with him and Asa and Tony Book and a couple of others. He said: “if you lads can be bothered coming all this way, I’m buying your drinks.” And he was true to his word. He was great company and bought everything for the three days we were there.
Ball was very fond of the hotel karaoke bar, so much so, it was difficult to get him to stop.
He noticed Rosler drinking on the other side of the bar, and quickly got back on the karaoke and said, “This one is dedicated to Uwe.” The he launched into “And I Love You So” I looked across to see Uwe’s reaction, but he’d walked out before Ball had finished the second verse.
Later, after many more drinks on Ball’s room tab, he told me it was about time I sang a song for them. Singing is definitely not my forte, I photograph singers, I’ve never wanted to be one. I reluctantly went up to the mic and chose, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” – the choice wasn’t great to be fair
Just before I started, Ball came over and told me to look at the screen across the room, not the one in front of me, “You can project better.” Then he said he'd accompany me in a duet, as he had only been winding me up. So not only did I get invaluable karaoke advice, but I duetted with a World Cup winner in a hotel in China – almost 30 years to the day of that famous English victory at Wembley.
Fortunately, or maybe because there were no camera phones back then, the players felt much more at ease on these tours, and they were much more relaxed affairs.
I also went to Shanghai in 2006, which was another great trip, but by then the players were kept in ‘a secret location’. I took some photos for the City Mag of that trip.
Joey Barton was warming up during a game and he asked me if I’d take a photo of him sat with the Chinese army guards. I didn’t think he’d dare, but he sat on the end seat to do a couple of stretches, then nodded to me and copied their implacable stance. He laughed and ran off like a naughty schoolboy. But Joey knew that by giving me that shot, I was able to pay for the trip, by selling the photo around the world.
In 2010, City played a tournament in New York. The had also arranged to play a game on a street court/pitch in the middle of Soho. That was fun. Ostensibly it was part of a kit shoot, but to see our players hanging around in full kit in Manhattan was quite something. One evening the club put an event on for fans in a rather swishy rooftop bar club where Arthur Baker DJ’d with our very own Mike Pickering. The football actually got in the way of having a good time – which was often the case.
I haven’t even managed to tell you about Niall Quinn and Steve McMahon and Keith Curle and… and… but there have definitely been some standout moments in the past.
Sadly, I won’t be going this summer, unless someone offers to take me :-).
I’ll leave the final word to a fellow blue who I shared a drink within Shanghai, who said: “This is brilliant. Who’d have thought I’d ever get the chance to go to China.”
It seemed churlish to point out that he could travel there any time he wanted to. But like many of us, we build our holidays around City matches abroad, and there’s always a great tale to tell when we return...