The May issue of the City Magazine already?
Where does time go?
We’ll go into the final month of the campaign hoping to secure the Premier League title and, hopefully, make it back-to-back Champions League finals if we can see (the small matter of) Real Madrid off.
So, what's in the May issue?
Our cover star this month is Jack Grealish, with our popular England star talking about everything and anything in an entertaining interview.
Andy Morrison then predicts the scores of the final games of the campaign – will he go for a perfect six to indicate a title winning run-in? You’ll need to check his column to find out…
The List opts for a topical ‘last day dramas’ theme. As City fans, we know how many of those there have been over the years, so find out which made the cut – and which didn’t.
Ellie Roebuck is back from a long injury lay-off and she speaks to City Mag and our talented women’s team is well-represented with Caz Weir and Vicky Losada also featured.
There’s loads more, of course, including a Greater Manchester XI, fan gallery and columns from Kevin Cummins and Marc Riley.
Enjoy the read...
The inside track on why our No.10 has a fan club to match most boy bands…
Jack Grealish is something of a modern-day idol to thousands of youngsters around the country.
The poster boy of England’s brave Euro 2021 campaign, he seems to have become an icon and inspiration to the next generation of fans.
Case in point, when he recently came on as a sub for England against Switzerland at Wembley, the screams and cheers as he ran on the pitch were more akin to a One Direction concert than an international substitution!
So, apart from being a very fine footballer, what is exactly is it about Jack?
"Undoubtedly, the Grealish socks have started a trend in football, with numerous players opting for the ‘half calf’ look. Is it a fashion statement? Is it a necessity?"
The engaging personality? The boy band good looks? The trademark short socks? The likelihood is it is probably a bit of everything.
Jack Grealish just has that sprinkling of stardust.
Undoubtedly, the Grealish socks have started a trend in football, with numerous players opting for the ‘half calf’ look. Is it a fashion statement? Is it a necessity?
“That was just something that I’ve done since I was a kid,” smiled the affable attacking midfielder. “I can’t remember what year it was, but I think I was about 14 or 15, and we were sponsored by Macron, I think, at Villa and the socks used to shrink in the wash and in training, obviously, I couldn’t get [them] over my calves because the socks were so small.
"I don’t do any calf exercises or calf routines in the gym or anything. Honestly, it’s just something that I’ve had since I was young."
“So, I started wearing them underneath my calves in training and that season I ended up playing really well. So, in games then I started wearing my socks underneath my calves as well. It was just something that stuck because I’d had such a good season, it was something that I ended up sticking with and I’ve still got it to this day.”
Jack’s calves are the stuff of legend, and he admits he is often asked if he takes measures to maintain his almost unique look.
“I actually do nothing!” he laughed. “It’s just something that runs in the family (pardon the pun); my grandad always had big calves when he used to play football. But no, I don’t do any calf exercises or calf routines in the gym or anything. Honestly, it’s just something that I’ve had since I was young.”
So, while legs run in Jack’s family, his haircut is almost as recognisable as his socks and calf combination.
"My grandad always had big calves when he used to play football. But no, I don’t do any calf exercises or calf routines in the gym or anything"
His go-to hairdresser was A Star Barbers, but he reveals he gets his locks cut elsewhere these days…
“I haven’t actually used him for a long time,” says Grealish. “Obviously, I had a barber back in Birmingham. And A Star Barbers come up to Manchester to cut a few of the lads from City, United and Liverpool.
“Since I’ve moved here, I’ve started using him and, obviously, he cuts so many people, he goes over to Real Madrid and cuts people over there, so it just shows how good he is. I’ve certainly been impressed by him since I’ve been using him.”
"I’d say that R&B and Hip-Hop is probably what I listen to most."
The fashionable Brummie is often featured in style magazines and the like for his taste in clothing, but he is fairly sure he won’t be following a host of other footballers by creating his own label anytime soon.
“I’m not sure about having my own label!” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of people do it. I think it’s a difficult thing, a difficult business to get into. I obviously do love my fashion, I love clothes, I love bright clothes, ‘out there’ clothes and stuff.
“So, I’ve always been a fan of that, but I think having my own label - I’m not too keen on that!”
Fashion and haircuts covered, what about music?
There will be a legion of youngsters keen to know what their hero likes to listen to in order to switch off from football.
“I just listen to the most random music,” he admits. “Honestly, I can listen to R&B, Hip-Hop, and House music. Then I could listen to ‘80s, ‘90s music. I have such a random choice of music. I’d say that R&B and Hip-Hop is probably what I listen to most.
“You know, the likes of Drake, Travis Scott, Lil’ Baby, I listen to all of them.”
And what of his appearance on stage at Leeds with Stormzy?
"I think Zinner (Oleks Zinchenko) was telling me the other day that he was good. But yeah, I haven’t actually played many of the lads."
“Do you know what?” says Jack. “When Stormzy first came onto the scene, it must have been about six years ago, he had literally no followers — he had a few; he had about 10,000, I think, on Twitter — and I tweeted him because I’d seen him online somewhere; I can’t remember where.
“And I tweeted him saying something like ‘Stormzy is the next up-and-coming’, and he obviously replied to me then and we started following each other. But this is when he had no followers or hardly any followers; obviously, I didn’t have a lot myself, either!
“And since then, we’ve kept in touch on social media. Obviously, he’s deleted his social media, I think, but over the past couple of years, but we’ve still kept in touch.
“We didn’t plan to meet at Leeds Festival; we were just backstage watching Jack Harlow, and he was there and he just said, 'Come over to my set in a bit,' and then, obviously, I went over and I just ended up on stage with him!
“It was a bit of a blur, actually. There were so many people there. But it was a great experience, and something that I obviously loved.”
Friends with a much-loved UK artist – all Jack needs to be is in love with FIFA on the Xbox and surely the deal to appeal is complete?
“I’m very good at FIFA and I’m the best in the squad,” he reveals proudly. “No, do you know what? I haven’t actually played a lot of the lads here. I think Zinner (Oleks Zinchenko) was telling me the other day that he was good. But yeah, I haven’t actually played many of the lads.
“At Villa, obviously, I was the best. Out of my group of friends from home, I’m the best. So, I think here, I think I’d be having myself, actually against anyone!”
Likeable, talented and popular.
The one and only Jack Grealish…
Our former skipper predicts...
Last month, Mozzer got all three results right, but no correct scores. How will he get on this months?
City v Watford
Saturday, 23 April, 15:00
Under Roy Hodgson, Watford haven’t looked that bad recently - they play with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, but they are in big trouble with only a handful of games to play. They are a decent counter-attacking side, but they've conceded a few goals and I think they will again at the Etihad.
Mozzer's prediction: City 4-1 Watford
City v Real Madrid
Tuesday, 26 April, 20:00
I’m going to go for a draw. I think you have to respect their qualities and they are in the semis for a reason. They are experienced and have been here so many times and they have a manager who has also been in this situation many times. It’s about staying in the tie and I hope this will tee up the second leg nicely.
Mozzer’s prediction: City 1-1 Real Madrid
Leeds United v City
Saturday, 30 April 17:30
I hope Leeds are safe by the time we play this game. The importance and momentum for City will be too much and though I see them scoring, I think we’ll have too much for them on the day
Mozzer's prediction: Leeds 1-2 City
Real Madrid v City
Wednesday, 4 May, 20:00
When I saw what Chelsea did against Real Madrid in the second leg, it surprised me because I didn’t think they would go out there and do that. They were 3-0 up at one stage and I believe City – if the first leg goes the way I believe it will – will open Real’s weaknesses and we will create plenty of chances.
Mozzer's prediction: Real Madrid 0-2 City
City v Newcastle United
Sunday, 8 May 16:30
Everything is relative to what happened the game before, plus what the situation in the title race is. Newcastle are playing more open now and they will be safe by the time we play them, so I can only see a comfortable home win.
Mozzer's prediction: City 3-0 Newcastle
Wolves v City
Date to be confirmed
We could be under massive pressure depending on the situation at the top – either way, we have to win at Molineux. Wolves lost their way a little but have improved again of late and his could be difficult as they may also be under pressure to get a result for their own aspirations. They are organised and disciplined, but we should just edge it on the day.
Mozzer’s prediction: Wolves 0-1 City
West Ham v City
Sunday, 15 May 16:30
Again, we are assuming we have won all our games by this stage. If we have, and Liverpool have dropped points somewhere, a point in this game could be a superb result. But we have to think that both City and Liverpool have picked up maximum points and that we need to win this. West Ham could possibly be looking forward to a Europa League final, but either way, though we lost against them in the League Cup, we were the better team and created more chances, so I’m going for a City victory.
Mozzer's prediction: West Ham 1-3 City
City v Aston Villa
Sunday, 22 May 16:00
The game we all hope is the one we could be crowned champions again. It will be nervous, but very rarely do things go as you envisage them. Villa are unlikely to have anything other than pride to play for – but there is the Steven Gerrard aspect to this game to factor in and his slip that proved so costly against Chelsea back in 2014, but I don’t see there being a twist. There will be too much at stake for our players on the day, hence my prediction of a narrow win.
Mozzer's prediction: City 2–0 Aston Villa
With City locked in a two-way battle for the Premier League trophy with Liverpool, a thrilling final month of the campaign beckons.
The high stakes drama that comes with a title race is far from unfamiliar territory for Pep Guardiola’s men, with three of our five Premier League triumphs coming on the final day of the season.
There are sure to be plenty of twists and turns between now and 22 May when we welcome Aston Villa to the Etihad Stadium to conclude our season.
With this in mind, this month The List looks back at some of the thrilling finales we have experienced during the Premier League era…
2003/04 – 5-1 win v Everton
Victory over Newcastle in our penultimate home match of the season had staved off any lingering relegation worries, but it was our emphatic triumph over Everton on the final day of 2003/04 which goes down as a classic.
A Paulo Wanchope brace and clinical Nicolas Anelka finish had Kevin Keegan’s men three goals to the good before the break.
It could easily have been more had we converted several other clear-cut chances, but a Kevin Campbell header pulled one back for the Toffees on the hour.
However, City weren’t to be denied a memorable end to the campaign as late goals from Antoine Sibierski and Shaun Wright-Phillips added a deserved gloss to the scoreline.
2004/05 – City 1-1 Middlesbrough
The objective was simple: win, and City would qualify for the UEFA Cup while a draw or defeat would see the visitors take the final European spot.
It was ‘Boro who gained the upper hand when Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink rifled home an astonishing long-range free-kick but Kiki Musampa restored parity early in the second half.
In what remains one of the most bizarre moments in Premier League history, goalkeeper David James was moved up front to help search for the elusive winning goal by City boss Stuart Pearce. Incredibly, it almost worked.
The hosts were awarded a last-minute penalty after a Middlesbrough defender had handled inside the area, but Robbie Fowler’s weak spot-kick was saved by Mark Schwarzer and, with that, City’s hopes of European football were dashed.
2011/12 – City 3-2 QPR
This entry needs no introduction.
A first top-flight title since 1968 secured in the most dramatic of fashion, handing us the trophy from under the noses of our cross-city rivals.
Ten years on and City’s 2012 title win remains the most iconic moment in Premier League history, as stoppage time goals from Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero turned the game on its head to secure the crown.
2013/14 – City 2-0 West Ham
Taking advantage of a late season collapse by Liverpool, City knew they simply needed to avoid defeat against West Ham to claim a second Premier League title in three seasons.
And we did not disappoint, cruising to victory thanks to goals from Samir Nasri and Vincent Kompany either side of the break.
It was certainly less dramatic than two years before, but goals 101 and 102 of the Premier League season added to a party atmosphere at the Etihad Stadium.
2017/18 – Southampton 0-1 City
With the title already secured and several records toppled, only one milestone remained as we entered the final game of Pep Guardiola’s first title-winning season at the Club.
City needed a win at St. Mary’s to once again create Premier League history and become the first team to reach 100 points in the English top-flight.
The game was goalless heading into stoppage time before Kevin De Bruyne’s searching ball over the Southampton defence found Gabriel Jesus, with the Brazilian casually lobbing home the winning goal in the 94th minute.
Cue wild scenes of celebration in the away dugout and among the travelling support, rounding off a memorable campaign in the best possible fashion!
2018/19 – Brighton 1-4 City
Another title triumph on the final day of the season, City’s 14th-successive Premier League win was enough to make sure we became the first side to retain the title in a decade.
Things did not initially go to plan at the Amex when Glenn Murray headed home before the half-hour, but Guardiola’s men responded almost immediately through Aguero.
Aymeric Laporte put City ahead from a corner before the break before spectacular strikes from Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan put the game to bed.
2020/21 – City 5-0 Everton
A fitting finale for Sergio Aguero, as the Argentine grabbed a brace in his final match at the Etihad Stadium.
Introduced just after the hour, City’s record scorer poked home our fourth of the match before completing the scoring with an emphatic header five minutes later.
Further goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus and Phil Foden ensured the first game back in front of 10,000 City supporters at the Etihad since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was an occasion to savour.
‘If you’re old enough, you’re good enough.’
It’s a mantra that has been at the heart of City’s ethos for decades and one that still stands strong. Countless youngsters have made the step up to senior action in every area of the pitch: from front to back, carving a name for themselves in the beautiful game.
Ellie Roebuck is one of those names. Since making her first-team bow as a teenager, the shot-stopper now stands as one of City’s highest appearance makers, despite the fact she is only 22 years-old.
Having recently made her long-awaited 100th appearance for the Club, the Sheffield-born star then amassed City and Lionesses legend Karen Bardsley’s game tally of 103 to top the chart for goalkeeping appearances – an achievement she still cannot quite believe.
“It was a long time coming!” she smiles. “I got injured at the back end of last season so I missed it and then again at the start of this season so it was a long time that I had to wait for it.
“It’s one I’m really proud of: to have played 100 games for this Club. At a young age, gaining that experience has really helped set me up for where I’m at now.
"Having the highest number of City goalkeeping appearances, that blew my mind!"
“It was a proud moment and hopefully, there’ll be a 100 more at least!
“As for having the highest number of City goalkeeping appearances, that blew my mind! Obviously, KB is just amazing and she’s been here for a very long time, so I was really impressed.
“Hopefully, I’ll keep racking them up and keep that record for a long time, although Khiara Keating will be on my toes, I reckon!”
With Roebuck back between the sticks after returning from an injury which had ruled her out of action since her participation in the Olympics, it is no coincidence that Gareth Taylor’s side have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes – the goalkeeper’s shot-stopping, composure and distribution key traits to our defensive solidity.
Such a lengthy spell on the sidelines had proved frustrating for the 22-year-old, especially during City’s challenging start to the 2021/22 campaign, but the Yorkshire ‘lass’ insists she has grown from the experience with a rekindled appreciation for the game.
“It was really tough,” she admits. “I’d kind of blocked it out from my mind now I’m back but it was really tough.
“I really struggled with it, especially as the team wasn’t doing so well – I just wanted to help.
“It took a lot longer to come back than I ever imagined it was going to so that was tough too, but I learned a lot about myself and now I’m using that in a positive light to hopefully, improve my performance and help the team.”
Since her return, Roebuck’s transition back into the starting XI has been seamless – her influence helping to build a brick wall in the backline, coinciding with several other welcome comebacks and therefore the opportunity to field a more consistent defensive line-up.
Under Taylor’s stewardship, Roebuck’s best attributes have shone through with the Continental Cup winners looking to build from the back and play possession-based, attacking football.
It suits the ‘keeper down to the ground, though she asserts she has plenty more skills in her locker!
“I love it,” she grins. “Sometimes, it can get misjudged in the outside world that I only play short and can only play short – but that’s the way we play.
“That’s what the manager asks of us and I try to deliver that, which suits me because I like to play that type of football.
"Everybody knows how we play but not many teams can deal with it so that tells you something! "
“It’s not that I can’t do the other – the risky passes and playing it long – but people perceive that. I’ve been getting a lot of stick for it – people thinking I’m one-dimensional – but that’s how we want to play and it’s helping us to be successful so I’ll take the criticism every day…
“But the other side of the game is something I’m working on in the background. Then, if I need to use it, I’ll use it. I’m open to doing it but at the minute, I’m working on building from the back.
“Everybody knows how we play but not many teams can deal with it so that tells you something! I love the way we play and I’m invested in Gareth’s style. It’s perfect for me really and I want to keep improving on that.”
"Since I’ve been playing for City, I’d always been picked and when that’s taken away, especially when I’d come off the back of such a high with the Olympics, it was a reminder of just how much it means."
In addition to our fourth Conti Cup success, March also yielded a welcome return to international duty for Roebuck, who was once again named in the England squad – perfect timing for the shot-stopper, who will now look to impress and cement her spot for the upcoming Women’s Euros on home soil.
“I’m just grateful for every moment that I get to be spending on England camp now,” she adds. “When it was taken away from me, I realised I’d almost been taking it for granted.
“Since I’ve been playing for City, I’d always been picked and when that’s taken away, especially when I’d come off the back of such a high with the Olympics, it was a reminder of just how much it means.
“Now, I’m just grateful to be there and I’m going to work as hard as I can to put myself in the best position to stay there. Then, if I’m called upon, then great.”
With just five FPL gameweeks left of the season, getting those all-important selection decisions right could make all the difference for thousands of managers around the world...
Ahead of City’s final month of Premier League fixtures, we take a look at each of our remaining opponents to gauge which players could offer the largest threat…
*Stats correct up to 21/04/22
Wolves v City
Raheem Sterling’s 100th Premier League goal was enough to earn City a hard-fought 1-0 win at home to Wolves in December.
Highest-scoring City player: Raheem Sterling
The winger’s confidently dispatched penalty helped him on the way to 11 points. It was the sixth-successive week that one of Pep Guardiola’s men had also featured in the FPL team of the week.
Player in form: Jonny Castro Otto
The defender has grabbed two goals in his last five matches, while also helping Bruno Lage’s side keep a further two clean sheets in the process.
Most points: Jose Sa
Only the Premier League’s top three have conceded fewer goals than Wolves this season, and Jose Sa has played a huge role in that achievement.
Jose Sa has kept 11 clean sheets so far in his debut season in English football, leaving him with a total of 137 FPL points – the second most of any goalkeeper across 2021/22.
City v Watford
Previous result: Watford 1-3 City
A Bernardo Silva brace and Raheem Sterling header were enough to earn City a 3-1 victory at Vicarage Road.
Highest-scoring City player: Bernardo Silva
A brace, plus a further three FPL bonus points ensured the midfielder was named in the FPL team of the week for the second successive match.
It remains his best points haul of the season to date (15).
Player in form: Emmanuel Dennis
The Nigerian forward hauled Watford level at Vicarage Road in their recent 2-1 defeat to Brentford, meaning he comes out on top according to the FPL’s form indicators.
Most points this season: Emmanuel Dennis
Dennis has grabbed ten goals and six assists in his debut Premier League campaign, meaning he has had a hand in over 50% of the Hornets’ goals this term so far.
At time of writing, the striker has grabbed 125 points across 2021/22, over 40 more than any other Watford player.
Leeds v City
Previous result: City 7-0 Leeds
Pep Guardiola’s men cruised to an emphatic 7-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium in December 2021.
Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Riyad Mahrez, John Stones and Nathan Ake all got themselves on the scoresheet, with a double from Kevin De Bruyne adding further gloss to the scoreline.
Highest-scoring City player: Kevin De Bruyne
Four City players were named in the FPL team of the week for their exploits against Leeds, but the Belgian’s brace saw his edge out John Stones, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez.
De Bruyne’s 16 points were more than any other Premier League player across the round of fixtures, seeing him crowned FPL King of the Gameweek for the first time in 2021/22.
Player in form: Jack Harrison
The former City man has found the net in each of his last three matches at time of writing, with only Son Heung-Min ranking higher in the FPL’s form indicator.
Harrison’s score of 9.0 is followed closely by teammate Raphinha, who has grabbed one goal and two assists in his last three games.
Most points: Raphinha
The Brazilian is Leeds’ top scorer so far, while only Dan James has grabbed more assists.
With 127 points to his name, he is on course to beat the score of 133 earned in an impressive debut campaign at Elland Road last season.
Newcastle v City
Previous result: Newcastle 0-4 City
City earned an eighth successive Premier League victory thanks to goals from Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling at St. James’ Park in December 2021.
Highest-scoring City player: Joao Cancelo
A complete performance from the defender, who added a goal and assist to his clean sheet bonus to finish as the FPL King of the Gameweek.
One of five City players in the team of the week, the Portuguese international picked up a further three bonus points for his performance to finish with a final haul of 18.
Player in form: Bruno Guimaraes
The midfielder grabbed a brace in Newcastle’s recent 2-1 win over Leicester City to finish with an impressive total of 14 points.
He followed that up by setting up Miguel Almiron in the Magpies' 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, meaning the Brazilian has grabbed three goals and one assist from his six Premier League starts since joining the Club in January.
Most points: Allan Saint-Maximin
With five goals and five assists to his name, the French winger is already enjoying his most fruitful campaign on Tyneside despite a recent injury lay-off.
Saint-Maximin’s haul of 101 points puts him 14 ahead of his nearest rival Chris Wood, who currently sits on 87.
West Ham v City
Previous result: City 2-0 West Ham
Pep Guardiola’s men moved up to second in the Premier League courtesy of a 2-1 win at a snowy Etihad Stadium back in November.
Goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho were enough to hand City all three points, while Manuel Lanzini grabbed a stoppage time consolation for the visitors.
Highest-scoring City player: Ilkay Gundogan
The German’s goal and assist, plus three bonus points, earned him a final FPL total of 13 against the Hammers.
Only Virgil Van Dijk, Diogo Jota and James Maddison finished with a higher tally than our midfielder in that game-week.
Player in form: Jarrod Bowen
The winger grabbed one goal and one assist in the Hammers’ recent 2-1 win over Everton, seeing him edge out Tomas Soucek and the most in-form player from David Moyes’ squad.
Most points: Jarrod Bowen
With nine Premier League goals and 14 assists to his name, Bowen is enjoying his most productive season in the English top flight.
Indeed, only four players (Mohamed Salah, Son Heung-Min, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joao Cancelo) have earned more FPL points than the 25-year-old’s haul of 170 so far.
City v Aston Villa
Pep Guardiola’s men claimed all three points from a tight encounter at Villa Park in December.
Ruben Dias fired City ahead before Bernardo Silva finished off a swift counter with a stunning volley.
Ollie Watkins halved the deficit soon after the break, but City held on for an important win.
Highest-scoring City player: Bernardo Silva
A third goal in four Premier League matches helped the Portuguese midfielder on the way to ten FPL points and a spot in the team of the week.
Player in form: Ollie Watkins
The England international has grabbed three goals in his last seven appearances for the Club, taking his overall tally to eight for the season at time of writing.
Most points: Matty Cash
The full-back has been an ever-present for Steven Gerrard’s men, starting every Premier League match this season for the Villans.
A further three goals and three assists bring his overall tally to 121.
In 2019, Chris Ingram became the first British driver to win the European Rally Championship in 52 years and is currently embarking on his first season on the World stage...
Still only 27, there is plenty more to come from the born and bred Mancunian, who has had to overcome a fair share of adversity in his nascent career.
An avid supporter having first gone to Maine Road as a five-year-old, Chris is the latest Celebrity Blue to sit down with City Magazine and discuss his love of Pep Guardiola’s side.
From a Manchester City-themed first word through to his very own 93:20-esque moment, Ingram’s story so far is not one to be missed…
"My first word was City, my dad used to say ‘City, City, City’ just before he fed me trying to make me speak!"
Where does your love of City come from? Do you come from a long line of City fans?
That’s right, in fact my first word was City! My Dad is a big blue, he’s always followed City home and away as much as possible so when I was a baby he used to say ‘City, City, City’ just before he fed me, trying to get me to speak. He took me to Maine Road for the first time when I was five, I grew up in South Manchester but now I live near Wilmslow. I think my first game was against someone like Barnsley, it was pretty special walking through Moss Side to go to the game, it was a brilliant atmosphere. I remember the last game there and the first at the Etihad, they are great memories.
What would be your standout games as a City fan?
I think the last game Maine Road and the Aguero moment would be the two for me. With the 93:20 match, I was in the Colin Bell Stand and when we were down, I was convinced we’d thrown it away, I was ready to go home because I was just used to 'typical City' - always something going wrong. I was still in that mindset a bit and I was stood by the exit, but my dad told me to wait on. But then when we did it, it was just insane. It still gets you emotional now. I also went to the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United in 2011, but I won a rally on the same day as we won the FA Cup against Stoke City. I didn’t get to go to the final, but my dad was watching it in the motor home!
How did you first get in to rally driving? Was it your first sport?
My first love was Manchester City and I didn't really know anything about rallying until my dad took me to watch a race when I was eight or nine. I just fell in love with rallying from then on, so it was always going to watch rallies and going to watch City growing up. I used to do go karting for fun and ride quad bikes around the field and stuff and had a talent for it and my dad gave me the chance to start competing when I was 15 in junior rallying. It became pretty obvious to us that I had a talent, I had the car control even as a really young kid, so we just pursued it.
How has your career progressed since initially starting out?
My dad helped me start, but he also gave me the first push. Ever since then, I’ve been fighting to get to the top of the sport and taking it step by step, winning the junior championships, the British and European Championships and soon. I’ve just kept going and now I'm on the cusp of being in the top ten in the World Rally Championship which is both incredible and surreal. I recently won the first closed road rally in the North West for example and having loads of people there supporting me was amazing. I’d been out in Europe focusing this whole time, so it was nice to come back and win my local rally.
"I’d crashed my own rally car and completely run out of money and sponsorship, so I thought that was the end of my career at 19, but then I got a phone call from Peugeot. That was the moment I thought ‘wow, this is a life changing opportunity’."
Was there a moment you realised you could make it as a professional rally driver?
It was always my passion, but initially I was just taking it step by step rather than thinking I was going to be world champion or anything like that. But then I got picked up by Peugeot, so I got my first manufacturer-backed fully funded drive when I was 19. I had crashed my own rally car, destroyed it and completely run out of money and sponsorship, so I thought that was the end of my career, but then I got a phone call from the manufacturer. They offered me the drive for the next two seasons, fully funded in the European Championship. I think that was the moment I thought ‘wow, this is a massive life changing opportunity’. Every year has been like that I suppose, an opportunity has come up and I have just managed to climb the ladder step by step.
It has not been easy for you in your career so far, but has that adversity made your success feel all the more special?
Definitely. Somehow I've always found a way to carry on and I've worked really hard to position myself in the best way to get the opportunities and to secure sponsorship and funding, that’s been a massive part of it. I won the European Championship, lost my major sponsor, but then managed to get to the final round through crowdfunding - which is completely unheard of in motorsport. Then I won, but then COVID-19 happened so that was another big blow because all of the sponsors, everyone I was talking to about backing me for the world championship, obviously that was bottom of their list of priorities during COVID so I had a year out where I didn't even drive on the road let alone in a rally car. I'm only just about to get a road again now, I’ve been having to borrow my dad’s to get around in the past year or so! Some drivers have got multi-million budgets and support year on year, I don’t think anyone at the top of the sport realises what I’ve had to do to get where I have so far.
You won the European Championship back in 2019, the first Brit to do so in 52 years. How was that experience?
It was incredible. The points system in motorsport works like the Premier League, so I only had to finish on the podium to score enough points to win, as I was already top of the league. I was up against Alexey Lukyanuk for the title, who was the champion from the year before. He had to win and me come lower than third to retain it. I had already had three punctures because it was a particularly difficult rally on tyres but then picked up another one so drove the whole stage on it. It takes me about 90 seconds to get out, change the puncture and get back in the car and I knew that delay would drop us to fourth which could potentially lose us the championship. The conditions were horrendous, it was thick fog and literally a thunderstorm and when we got to the end we realised we’d dropped from 3rd to 4th. Thankfully though, Lukyanuk was starting behind us and also got a puncture which dropped him from first to second. Incredibly, out of 10,000 corners, we both got the puncture in the exact same spot, which is just incredible.
"It was like my very own 93:20 goal, I think people will look back on that in rallying and think it was an iconic moment in motorsport"
But then you had to wait for the results to come through once you had finished?
We were in a forest in the middle of nowhere in Hungary with no phone signal, so we couldn't even get through to the FIA on the phone to find out who had won! They were in Budapest trying to work out the points themselves, so it took us like about half an hour to actually get confirmation. It was like my very own 93:20 goal, I think people will look back on that in rallying and think it was an unbelievable, iconic moment in motorsport. Maybe the resilience of being a proper City fan and going through all the ups and downs helped me keep my nerve!
Looking ahead to this season in World Rally Championship 2 – how are you finding it and how have you developed as a driver since that European Rally Championship?
Because of COVID I had a complete year out and last year I competed in some rounds in WRC just for the experience - it was like starting again because I've not driven all year. Imagine a footballer not being able to play football for 18 months and then jumping into a Manchester derby – that was how it felt. It took me a few races to get up to speed last year but then this year we've done the first round Monte Carlo and mathematically I would’ve won. We had a problem with the car on the first stage but if you take away the time from the first stage then we would have won in WRC2. We were fastest on pace in Monte Carlo which is an incredible start. Rally drivers usually have a longer lifespan usually, like Sebastien Loeb won rally Monte Carlo and he was 47. I'm just getting just getting started.
"My co-driver is a United fan. We’ve been having a lot of banter about that"
It must have been a huge confidence boost to be successful in WRC2 when a lot of WRC1 level drivers were in there with you?
Massively, I've not even got the funding at the moments to practice so I'm only turning up and doing two days at the location for every rally. I've just won the North West rally with my new co-driver, Craig Drew, he’s an eight-time American champion but is also a United fan! We’ve been having a lot of banter about that recently.
If you want to follow Chris’ progress in this year’s World Rally Championship, then follow @ChrisIngramGB on Twitter or chrisingramrally on Instagram.
For our latest Best XI, we’ve selected an all-Manchester XI plus bench. It’s not definitive, of course, but our panel has chosen a team that would give a decent game against anyone.
Keeper: Joe Corrigan
In goal, it’s Joe Corrigan all day long. The City legend is Manc through and through, as well as being one of the best goalies we’ve ever had.
Right-back: Nedum Onuoha
Nedum was born in Nigeria, but his family soon moved to North Manchester and it’s fair to say he’s a Manc as Coronation Street.
Left-back: Paul Power
The versatile former City skipper ended his career as a full-back but could play anywhere along the left. In this side, Cancelo-style, he’d be expected to bolster the midfield whenever possible.
Centre-back: Mike Doyle
First name on the teamsheet, the defender with blue blood would be a shoo-in for this Manc XI – as well as taking the skipper’s armband.
Centre-back: Tommy Booth
Like Big Joe Corrigan and Mike Doyle, Tommy is as Mancunian as Vimto and Oasis. Committed defender who could slot in as defensive midfielder if needed.
Midfield: Phil Foden
The Stockport Iniesta gets in most City XIs, but the brilliant 21 year-old would be given a free role in this team – with a caveat that he has to be in the middle of the park when the opposition is in possession.
Midfield: Gary Owen
Skilful schemer Gary Owen would have probably gone on to play 500 games for City had he not been sold by Malcolm Allison. He would be an excellent addition to this team and though he was technically born in St Helens, he gets in this team for spending the majority of his life in Manchester. Call it Cityzenship!
Midfield: Paul Lake
Imagine Lakey alongside Foden and Owen? Wow. What a gifted trio, though Lakey might have to do most of the defensive work, he’d walk into this team.
Forward: David White
Pace to burn, Whitey’s accent could have been the template for all Mancunians. He could cross, finish and trouble any defence and that speed… even Kyle Walker would be tested!
Forward: Franny Lee
Another player who squeezes in on the Greater Manchester rule, Lee was born in Westhoughton, about 13 miles from the city centre. Also, one of our greatest forwards…
Forward: Neil Young
White on he right, Young on the left. What a combo to flank Franny. Neil Young was grace and poise personified who had a thunderous shot. He completes our starting XI.
Manager: Brian Kidd
As he’s not got the No.9 shirt in the starting XI, Kiddo takes the reins as one of our (if not only?) Mancunian managers. He stood in when Roberto Mancini left the club and was boss at Blackburn so he gets the gig here, too.
A wiser and more mature Sam Edozie says he has returned to action armed with an even greater appreciation and appetite for football.
After having spent several months on the side-lines as he recovered from a serious knee injury, the exciting young winger made a welcome comeback last month.
Since returning to the field, Edozie has played his part in propelling our Elite Development Squad to the brink of what would be a second successive PL2 title.
Meanwhile, he has also continued to learn and develop by regularly training with Pep Guardiola’s first team and was on the bench for last week’s huge Champions League quarter-final second leg away to Atletico Madrid.
And reflecting on the lessons of what has been a season full of both the highs and lows that football can bring, Sam believes that he is both a better person and player for all that life has thrown at him over the course of the campaign.
“Definitely. I think I have learned a lot and I’m definitely more determined now having come back,” the 19 year-old reflected.
“You don’t realise how lucky you are being able to play freely every day. When I was injured and couldn’t do that it was like a mind opener. I realised how lucky I am and now I don’t take it for granted.
“It was hard watching my teammates. We got knocked out of the UEFA Youth League and I remember watching that and wishing I could be out there to help the team.
“I saw a couple of the guys make their FA Cup debuts earlier this year and it was hard mentally to watch that and know I’m not able to be in with a chance of that as I was injured.
“But, at the same time, I was so happy for the guys, and it gave me even more motivation to get back fit.
“When I was injured, I had a lot of time to think and sit back and reflect on things I’ve achieved. And it made me want to get back out and carry-on achieving things.
“Everyone in general at the Club gave me a lot of encouragement and advice and help. They were all really good and positive with me.”
Having made his senior first team debut at Wembley in last August’s Community Shield clash with Leicester after impressing with the first team squad over pre-season, the timing and severity of the injury last autumn was doubly unfortunate for the young Londoner.
It was the type of setback that could have had a debilitating impact on many.
Instead, however, Edozie sought to identify the positives from the situation and look to channel the setback into being a key learning tool.
“I remember I picked up the injury in training and tore my MCL,” the winger recalled.
“It was the longest that I’ve been out – I don’t think I’ve had an injury that has kept me out so long before.
“(It was definitely frustrating) but I feel like it’s just part of football.
“Injuries are always a part of it and it something I’m going to have to deal with all throughout my career, so I tried to see it in a positive way.
“I have definitely matured. I’ve learnt different things about my body
“It’s been a crazy ride throughout my injury, and I’ve definitely matured mentally, and I don’t take what I have for granted and make sure that I recover properly after games and give my body the least chance of picking up injuries by doing the right things.
“However, it’s a great feeling (being back).
“All I want to do is just play football so when you get news that you’ve got a big injury that is going to keep you out for a few months it’s not ideal.
“But I’m happy I am back playing now, and I just want to finish the season strongly.
“The PL2 title is definitely a target and I just want to get as many minutes in as possible between now and the end of the season and maybe feature with the first team.”
Caroline Weir gives us the lowdown on the City squad… Who is the funniest? The best-dressed? The Nutmeg Queen? The Scot lifts the lid…
Who is your best friend in the squad?
My best friend is Coombsy (Laura Coombs). We met at Liverpool and we hit it off straight away. She’s great, I love her. She’s quite weird in all of the good ways! We’ve been on holiday together and we’re going away together again this summer. She’s a great person to be around.
Who is the funniest?
You know who I find really funny…? Khiara Keating. She’s so young but so full of confidence. She’s a good laugh so I’m gonna say her.
Who is the loudest off the pitch?
There’s a few… I’m going to say Georgia Stanway. She’ll come in singing and she sneezes really loudly. I hope she doesn’t mind me saying but the other day, she sneezed and it gave me a fright!
Who is the loudest on it?
Keira Walsh is quite loud on the pitch - she’s always got something to say! Alex Greenwood too and Ellen White. There are a few who are good at communicating… it's usually positive stuff!
Who has the best fashion sense?
Ellie Roebuck. I like what she wears – it’s probably the most similar vibe. She’s quite fashionable, she dresses well.
Who has the worst fashion sense?
Do I have to answer this? I feel bad… I’d maybe put myself up there… Is that a bit of a cop-out?
Who is the most skilful?
Probably Jess Park or Chloe Kelly. They’re quite nifty with the old step-overs!
Who’s the Nutmeg Queen?
Vicky Losada loves a nutmeg!
Who is the dressing room DJ?
Alex is on the music. It’s… mixed. I’m very basic with my music choices.
Who is the best trainer?
Ellen is up there, as well as Jules (Julie Blakstad) and Alex… Again, there’s a few.
Who moans the most?
Alex probably… but in a good way! She’d probably admit that herself.
Who’d be a future manager?
Lucy Bronze. She’s a good speaker and tactically pretty switched on.
Manchester City: an institution that sees people from entirely different walks of life, dotted around the globe, all stand on common ground.
Through the highs and the lows, the Club holds a special place in the hearts of millions.
As we’ve all observed in recent years of empty stadiums and COVID-19 enforced lockdowns, the commonly used phrase ‘football is nothing without the fans’ has taken on a greater significance now than ever before.
And it’s with this in mind that Club photographer Tom Flathers has endeavoured to meet supporters and hear their stories of following City over the years.
But rather than holding conversations in the pressurised environment of cameras, microphones and studio lights, Tom’s aim has been to capture each fan in as candid a manner as possible.
Visiting supporters across Greater Manchester, he’s got to know fans on their terms…
Secondary School English teacher / Tutor / Masters Student
"My dad took me to a match for the first time when I was eight, I’ve been a City fan for 40 years. He’s the reason I’m a massive City fan, I made my son a Blue as well and, now that I’ve got a grandson, the very first thing I bought him was a City top."
"There’s no denying that I’m a City fan when you look at my classroom! I think I’m know as Miss City rather than Miss Cassidy! I also have a big City tattoo on my leg which isn’t very professional looking but it’s in my heart – I was a City fan long before I was a teacher!
"The day after Vincent Kompany scored against Leicester I went and got my City tattoo on my leg with ‘VK4’ underneath it. When Aguero left I then put ‘93:20’ underneath it too – I’m just going to end up with a load of names and initials under my badge aren’t I?"
City defender Rico Lewis believes our dominant U17 Premier League Cup final victory over Tottenham only augurs well in terms of our hopes of going on to secure even more silverware this term.
Lewis captained the City youngsters in our resounding 6-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the showpiece occasion at the Loughborough University stadium earlier this month.
Goals from Dan Ogwuru, Carlos Borges along with second half braces from Josh Adam and Will Dickson produced a hugely impressive scoreline to help City’s Academy secure our first silverware of the season.
And with City also in the hunt for the Premier League Under-18 North title, Lewis believes the Under-17 Cup triumph was one that was fully merited.
"I think the scoreline represented what happened in the game, I think we dominated," said the defender.
"Everything we did in training came out here, it worked and 6-0 is a massive scoreline for us, especially for a final.
"It showed how we’ve been working hard this whole time and it has paid off."
The victory meant that Lewis took the honours as captain to raise the Academy's first piece of silverware this season, but the right-back was quick to credit the mentality of the squad that he has had to lead.
He added: "Everyone is in it together.
"There are no singles, everyone is together, everyone wants to win and everyone has the same mindset."
Focus will now shift to league matters for the rest of the campaign, with City's Academy looking to secure the U18 Premier League North and national title in the weeks to come.
Asked if he was done with winning for the season, Lewis responded: "Definitely not, the league and then the national league will be what we have got our eyes set on.
"It sends out a message to everyone else in the league that we are not messing about, we are looking to win everything."
MEET GORDON BEEDING...
The listenership of my BBC 6 Music show are often described as a ‘club’ and it certainly feels that way. I’d go so far as to say ‘family’. Some of the people I’ve have got to ‘know’ have been listening since day one back in 2004. When I say ‘know’ I feel like we are friends - but more often than not I’ve never met them. Quite a few are Americans.
Gordon fits perfectly into this latter bracket. A regular correspondent and always a welcome addition to proceedings.
This is how Gordon explains himself…
I was born in Sacramento California sometime in the murky years while Dwight Eisenhower was President and Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister. I have three children and five grandchildren and am currently on my third marriage. My working life started on the docks in the '70s, but I soon realized there was no future in it and so I went to university and landed a job in a nascent Silicon Valley. I've been working in the tech industry ever since. In 1994 my job migrated to Phoenix Arizona, and I migrated with it, though it required that I travel almost constantly. Those travels took me to England for about two months out of every year, mostly working in the leafy countryside near Pinewood Studios (and definitely not in Slough as some would have it…).
I'm a rabid football fan, which dates to watching on TV as City won the Cup in 1969, and I've loved City since that date. Pre-pandemic, I used to attend between 10 and 20 matches in the UK each year. Usually, about 5 of those matches were at the Etihad where I normally sit in Section 231. I have a love of English football grounds in general, and a mate and I are on a mission to visit as many of them as possible. We have season tickets to our local club, Phoenix Rising FC, as well as season tickets for the Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League teams in town. My oldest granddaughter is currently the number one goalkeeper for the University of Tulsa Women's Soccer team and I couldn't be prouder of that.
I'm also a bit of a nut about music as well as being a failing guitarist. The popular music landscape changed in 1977 and so did my musical tastes. To make a long story short, I became a devotee of the musically off-kilter and once that happens you can never go back to the mainstream, so I haven’t.
OK…and now for Gordon's memories and thoughts on his beloved Man City...
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF GOING TO A FOOTBALL MATCH?
My memory is like a sieve so I don't actually remember my first football match. It will have been the San Jose Earthquakes at Spartan Stadium in 1974 or 1975, but nothing stands out about it. My first match in England would not have been at Maine Road. It would have either been at Craven Cottage or Loftus Road in the early '90s, but I have no idea of the details. My first memory of City is watching the 1969 FA Cup final on television. Neil Young's goal is cemented in my brain, and I've been stuck on City ever since. The interesting thing about being a City fan in the States in the old days was that you couldn't attend a match, and the reports weren't in our newspapers, so the only way to keep up was via magazines or when the scores were read out on the BBC World Service. The strange upside to that was that it wasn't as painful during the times when they got relegated.
WHAT IS THE MOST PECULIAR OR MEMORABLE THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU AT A MATCH?
A few years ago I was at the Etihad and I bumped into one of my mates from Phoenix. Neither of us knew that the other was going to the match, but there we were, 7,000 miles from home.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME AND PREVENT ONE MATCH FROM BEING PLAYED -WHAT MATCH WOULD THAT BE - AND WHY?
There are so many of those that I couldn't possibly decide. One that is on the list is last year's Champions League final because we lost!
WHICH TEAM ARE YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE OPPONENTS - AND WHY?
Right now, it would be Liverpool. Historically it would be United in the Fergie days, but they are a struggling a bit lately so I can't work up the good old-time hatred I used to have for them!
WHAT IS YOUR MOST FAVOURITE MAN CITY TERRACE SONG OR CHANT - AND WHY?
Absolutely no doubt that it's 'We Never Win At Home'. Brings back the old "Typical City" feeling, but now in a happy, ironic sort of way. I certainly hope to never sing it again with literal meaning.
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE CITY GOAL YOU HAVE WITNESSED? (“Agueroooooooooooo…” aside…)
This will seem like a strange one, but it was a Samir Nasri free kick against Norwich in 2011. It came from a mile out, went through the entire Norwich squad and was touched by absolutely nobody. Thoroughly amazing and burned into my brain as a completely outlandish thing.
HAVE YOU EVER MET ONE OF YOUR MAN CITY HEROES… IF SO - WHO…AND HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE!
I met many of them several times several years back. I used to spend the Autumn and early winter living out of a hotel in Kensington. It was the same hotel that visiting teams stayed in when they were playing at Stamford Bridge. When Roberto Mancini was man