Mark Hughes made the most popular substitution of the campaign as City's season eased to a close with the 1-0 Premier League win over Bolton ... he sent on Glauber Berti for a joyous farewell to Blues fans.
The luckless Brazilian has become a cult hero for the City faithful after doing duty on the subs' bench a staggering 20 times without being called into action - until the 85th minute of today's finale.
Berti, whose contract expires this summer and is not expected to remain at the club, finally came off the bench to a great ovation to replace England international Wayne Bridge.
Glauber, a tad match rusty without even a minute of senior service, slotted in at left back and earned big cheers for his first couple of touches, and a mini-standing ovation when he went to take a throw-in.
Manager Hughes, who has been urged by fans to give their unlikely hero a run-out in recent weeks, earned a big cheer himself from an appreciative 47,000 near sell-out City of Manchester Stadium crowd.
The Blues boss noted: "He got a really great reception! I've not been able to give him the opportunities that maybe I would have liked, but I thought that today was a chance to do that.
"It was important to do it not only for the fans but also for the squad, because they were all keen that he got an opportunity to get on the field in a sky blue shirt. I must be going soft in my old age!"
It was another South American who snapped up the vital winning goal as early as the ninth minute. Felipe Caicedo was in the right place to finish off a brilliant set-piece move from a Robinho free kick.
Instead of whacking it at goal in a bid for his 15th Premier League goal of the season, Robi slipped the ball to Ireland, who lobbed forward for Micah Richards to deliver a grand cross with an overhead kick.
Hughes smiled: "That goal was planned on the training pitch. Felipe has done OK. He found it difficult initially but people forget how young he is. We've been a bit light on strikers and he's come in and showed an eye for a goal. He's not the finished article but he's got potential and he's made his mark."
Crowd favourite Shaun Wright-Phillips, ruled out on Friday, made a surprise appearance after a visit to the knee specialist proved more positive than expected.
Hughes said: "We thought if he could get through the game it would be an indication of whether the knee was able to stand Premier League football. He may get a reaction but if he doesn't then obviously he would be available for England."