Player name in full: Georgi Kinkladze
To/from dates: 1995-1998
Number of appearances: 120
Goals scored: 22
Biography and City Career:
Georgi Kinladze was born on 6th July 1973 in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. He played for Georgian teams Mretebi Tbilisi and Dinamo Tbilisi and he first came to international attention playing for the Georgian national team against Wales in 1994/5.
Transferring to Manchester City in 1995, he quickly enthused fans with his spectacular showpieces and skill, giving hope in a difficult 1995/6 season and earning the nickname ‘Kinky’.
Off the pitch, Kinkladze was living in a hotel and spoke little English. Kinkladze admits he was late for training as he struggled to drive on the left side of the road and understand the road signs. He would subsequently learn plenty of colourful language in the dressing room!
A celebrated goalscorer, Kinkladze earned plaudits aplenty, with Middlesborough fans voting him “Best Opposing Player”. He scored an amazing goal against Southampton where he evaded five Southampton players before hitting the ball home. This goal was voted second in Match of the Day’s “Goal of the Season” competition.It is unsurprising that,as a result, he was voted City Player of the Year.
Despite speculation that with relegation Kinkladze would leave the club, he stayed for the 1996/7 season becoming the club’s main penalty taker, and City Player of the Year for a second time.
With a second regulation at the end of the season, fans were concerned that Kinkladze would leave, but he pledged his future to the club once more. However, with the sacking of Frank Clark as manager and Joe Royle replacing him, Kinkladze was perceived as an expensive luxury and the popular player began to find himself sidelined. Despite a final day win at Stoke, City were relegated for the third year in a row, and Kinkladze this time left the club following negotiations with Ajax.
During his career, Georgi was awarded Georgian Player of the Year twice and came third in a BBC poll to find the all-time ‘cult hero’ of Manchester City.
On his debut against Spurs, Noel Gallagher, Oasis frontman and famous City fan said of Kinkladze: “This is either the most frightening thing, or best thing I’ve ever seen.” Indeed, City fans rejigged Oasis hit Wonderwall in honour of Kinkladze and manager Alan Ball:
All the runs that Kinky makes are winding. And all the goals that City score are blinding. And after all...you're my Alan Ball.
From 1992-2005, Georgi played for the Georgian national team, appearing 57 times and scoring 9 goals.
After leaving City, Kinkladze went to Ajax, where an unsuccessful spell led to a lack of playing time and him losing his place in the Georgian national team briefly.
Returning to England, he played for Derby County from 1999-2003. After contract negotiations broke down, Georgi joined Cypriot team Anorthosis in 2004 enjoying five games in the 2005/06 Champions League qualifiers.
His final move was to Russian team Rubin Kazan. Retiring from football in 2007, Georgi has since worked as a sports agent having settled in Moscow.