Can I have a P please, Bob?
Our alphabetical countdown continues apace with a collection of gems from Gillingham to Poland…
An Emmanuel Adebayor hattrick secured a routine Europa League victory for City in October 2010, but it was the visiting fans that lingered far longer in the memory and in the stands.
Named for the Lech Poznan supporters who inspired it, The Poznan swept across Manchester and made it all the way to Wembley in 2011.
The dance, with supporters linking arms and turning their backs to the action, quickly became a trademark goal celebration among fans – and when an emotional FA Cup run came to an end with victory against Stoke in the final the players returned the gesture, walking over to the fans and doing the Poznan on the Wembley turf.
Kevin Keegan’s first City signing in the summer of 2001, Stuart Pearce captained City to promotion to the Premier League in his final season as a player.
In the last of his 38 league appearances for the club, on the final day of the season, he was handed the chance to reach his target of 100 career goals from the penalty spot in the dying minutes – but he missed, denying himself the Hollywood ending his 24 years in the game thoroughly deserved.
He remained at the club as a coach, and in March 2005 became caretaker boss following Keegan’s departure. An impressive run of form saw him offered the top job permanently, and he came agonisingly close to leading the Blues into Europe at the end of that same season.
Again, a last minute penalty was the former England international’s undoing. This time it was Robbie Fowler who stepped up with City drawing 1-1 against Middlesbrough and needing three points to secure a UEFA Cup place, only for his kick to have exactly the same outcome as his manager’s three years previously.
Pearce remained at City for a further two seasons, but his time came to an end after the home goal drought of 2006/07 that could not be reversed by his daughter’s toy horse, ‘Beenie’ as mascot.
‘Psycho’ has since gone on to manage England u21s, the Great Britain Olympic team and former side Nottingham Forest.
Two minutes to change the course of history…
Now remembered as one of the most important moments in the club's rich and varied past, the Wembley date with Gillingham in 1999 followed one of the darkest periods City fans have endured to date.
Relegated to the third tier in May 1998, supporters watching Premier League football just two years earlier were now booking trips to Macclesfield, Northampton and Preston.
However, 12 months’ later and the blue half of Manchester decamped to North London for the play-off final and one last chance at bouncing straight back to Division One. With one minute of normal time remaining, the situation looked bleak, with opponents Gillingham holding a 2-0 lead and already planning their post-match party.
But Kevin Horlock and Paul Dickov, named forever treasured in City folklore, had other ideas. Horlock grabbed one back to set hopeful Blue hearts afluttering once more and suddenly, with the final whistle about to blow, Dickov was sliding across the Wembley turf and the scores were level.
Total pandemonium ensued in the City end, but fortunately the players kept their heads with a penalty shootout looming. Nicky Weaver was the hero of that particular piece, saving two spot kicks to ensure it was City who headed straight back up to Division One.
Paving the way for the return to English football’s top table permanently in 2002, it left City in the ideal position to tempt HRH Sheikh Mansour into investing, and just 13 years after Maine Road played host to Division Two football, Vincent Kompany was lifting the Premier League trophy.
The cousin of another City great, Alan Oakes, Glyn Pardoe still holds the record as the club’s youngest ever player after making his City debut aged just 15.
Born in Winsford, the versatile Pardoe played almost every position for City during a 15 year career at Maine Road, and was a mainstay in Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison’s magnificent side of the late 1960s and early 1970s – winning the Division One title, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup in the space of three years.
Predominantly a left back, Pardoe scored 22 goals in a City shirt, famously netting the winner in the 1970 League Cup final against West Bromwich Albion at Wembley.
A bad injury later that same year sidelined the defender for almost two years and severely hampered the rest of his professional career, which ended with his retirement in 1976.
Truly a one club man, Pardoe stayed on at City on the youth coaching staff for a further 16 years, helping to develop many of the players who lifted the 1986 FA Youth Cup.
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