City legend Glyn Pardoe says he will be bursting with pride when grandson Tommy Doyle and his Manchester City colleagues step out in search of FA Youth Cup final glory against Liverpool on Thursday night.
Pardoe is a true City icon who still holds the distinction of being the youngest player to ever play for the Club at first team level, having made his debut at the age of 15 years and 313 days back in 1962.
A hugely talented left-back, Pardoe went on to secure League, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners Cup winners’ medals in a career that saw him make more than 375 appearances for the Club.
But he says watching the progress of young midfielder Tommy – whose other grandfather was the late, great fellow City icon Mike Doyle - and his Academy colleagues over the course of a memorable campaign that has already seen Gareth Taylor’s Under-18s secure Premier League Under-18 Cup glory has been every bit as rewarding.
“It’s been just brilliant watching Tommy and the team do so well,” said Glyn.
“I will be there to watch the final and I can’t wait and I would be so chuffed if they could win.
“I got to the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup when I was playing but never the final so Tommy has already done one better and if we win I’ll probably never hear the last of it!
“He’s a great lad and he’s been brought up around football what with having his two Granddads play for the club.
"He’s gone to the ground since he was five and I think he’s been at the Academy since a similar age.
“I’ve seen some players in my time, but I’ve never seen anyone with a better attitude than Tom.
“I thought mine was good but his is different class and he’s so confident – not cocky – and he can play.
“He gets on with all the lads – they are all his mates and he’s very humble. He just needs that little bit of luck now to take him on.
“At my age, it's lovely to see – I’m 70 odd now and he’s 17 and to see that City connection continue is just brilliant.
“And seeing Tommy and the lads win the FA Youth Cup would top off everything.”
For his part, 17-year-old Doyle says he and his Academy colleagues are eager to cement what has already been a marvellous campaign by claiming what remains youth football’s most prestigious prize.
“Winning the Under-18 Premier League Cup win was a great achievement, but the FA Youth Cup is the one that everyone really wants,” said Doyle.
“We’ve worked hard all season long and to get through to the final is a massive thing for us.
“But we don’t just want to settle for that. Now we want to go on and win it.
“We know it’s a big game against what will be a tough Liverpool side and we know what’s riding on it but we’re calm and looking forward to it.”
And Doyle said success at the Academy Stadium on Thursday night would maintain a proud family tradition in the tournament.
“He may not have won it as a player but my Grandad did win it as youth team coach with the 1986 side,” Tommy points out.
“We always have a good laugh and compare each other’s experiences at Youth level.
“All the older players I speak to know how big this is. We're just going to go out and give everything we have and hopefully we can get a good result and win it our way, playing the way we do.”