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City A to Z: U is for...?

We're entering the 'tricky letters' in our alphabetical encyclopedia of City folklore... Today, it's all about 'U'!

U is for Unsung Heroes


Earlier this year, we asked: who is City's ultimate unsung hero?

As @markbooth_mcfc explained at the time: "In an age of six-second Vines and glossy YouTube compilations, there’s a tendency to forget about those who carry out their work without fuss, away from the limelight.

"Come awards season in April and May, you won’t find these players on individual title shortlists or in goal of the season countdowns, but without them, the beautiful game would soon lose some of its allure.

"Terms like 'workhorse', 'water carrier' or 'destroyer' are often liberally applied with a dusting of disdain, diminishing the due acclaim for these few good men who stand as the counterpart to football's Match of the Day-friendly nutmeg merchants."

Amongst the figures nominated for the title at the time was Gareth Barry - and of course, the fans' favourite certainly fits into that category. Yet, there were others who have done enough to claim it whilst donning the blue shirt over the last decade, as Richard Dunne, Richard Edghill, Kevin Horlock and James Milner were also nominated for their efforts.

Does anyone else spring to mind - perhaps someone from an earlier era? You can of course, let us know on Twitter.

Barry

U is for UEFA Cup


City have appeared in the UEFA Cup (now known as the Europa League) on eight occasions but have never progressed past the quarter-final stage.

Their debut in the competition took place in the 1972–73 season but the Blues were knocked out in the first round by Valencia over two legs.

Four years later, they would suffer the same fate as Italian giants Juventus overcame a 1-0 deficit to emerge victorious, and the curse continued the following year when Polish side Widzew Lodz managed a 2-2 draw in the first leg and stalemate in the second, sending City out on the away-goals rule. 

The UEFA Cup run in the 1978-79 campaign proved much more promising and it was perhaps no coincidence that the first time the club had played the away leg first resulted in success. City defeated Twente, Standard Liege and impressively, AC Milan to reach the quarter-final stage, where they were knocked out by eventual competition winners Borussia Monchengladbach.

City would remain absent from the tournament until the 2003/04 season, when they qualified through the Fair Play Ruling. Having despatched TNS and Sporting Lokeren, the Blues then fell to Groclin in the second round.

The 2008/09 European adventure improved significantly, as City reached the quarter-finals but yet again fell to German opposition as Hamburg triumphed.

Two consecutive Round of 16 finishes in 2010/11 and 2011/12 followed before the Blues instead earned entry into the Champions League. They made their last Europa League appearance in the 2011/12 season, having been knocked out of the Champions League group stages and agonisingly lost out to Sporting in the last 16.

U is for Underwear


It's one thing taking off your shirt when you've scored a goal... it's another dropping your shorts!

Still, that's exactly what Stephen Ireland did after netting the winner against Sunderland with a rocket on Bonfire Night in 2007 - and the celebration certainly sent sparks flying.

Nicknamed 'Superman' for his heroic displays in Blue during a rollercoaster career with City, the Academy graduate opted to ensure his strike was remembered by showing off his underwear, emblazoned with the superhero's logo.

The act lit up an otherwise dull encounter but ended up with the midfielder landing himself in trouble with the FA.

Still, the powers that be decided a slap on the wrist would suffice and (fortunately), the fans were never subjected to Ireland's undies again!

The Irishman left the club in 2010, having made 109 league appearances for the Blues.

Ireland is Superman

U is for Upsets


Even today with the recent successes City have enjoyed in trophy competitions, fear continues to strike into the hearts of those long-suffering fans each time the Blues receive a cup draw which pits them against lower league opposition.

The reason behind it is simple: there's a risk of humiliating defeat - and on a number of occasions in City's history, that has been the case.

Cup upsets - or 'cupsets' as they are fondly known - are not a new phenomenon. In fact, the Blues have suffered them for quite a while. As early as the 1920s, Crystal Palace performed a memorable 'giant killing' over the Blues and ten years later, Hull inflicted the same feat.

In 1937, the champions elect would be made to suffer at the hands of Millwall - a particularly disappointing result which allegedly 'haunted' the Blue faithful at the time.

Since then, there have been many more similar setbacks - perhaps most notably, the infamous FA Cup defeat to Halifax Town in 1980 (dubbed by many as the worst result in the club's history).

Other conquerors have included: Brighton, Oldham, Doncaster, Middlesbrough and of course, Wigan, who earned a last-gasp win in the 2013 FA Cup final. Happy memories... not!

Aguero dejected v Wigan

So, there we have it… rather predictably we turn our attentions to “V” tomorrow – who or what should we include? Tweet us your suggestions @MCFC.

City A-Z: So far


A is for Aguero, Argentina and Ardwick

B is for Balotelli, Ballet on Ice and Berkovic

C is for Corrigan, Cricket and Curle

D is for Doyle, Dowd and Dzeko

E for Elano, Elvis the Eagle and Eriksson

F is for Flitcroft, Floodlights and Foe

G is for Goater, Gibson, Golden Goal

H is for Hart, Horlock and Huddersfield

I for Immel, Iheanacho and Ireland

J is for Johnstone, James and Jihai

K is for Kinky, Kippax, Keegan and Kennedy

L is for Lake, Lee and Lescott

M is for Maine Road, Mercer and Meredith

N is for Nash, Nicknames and North Stand 

O is for Own goals and Oakes

P is for Play-offs, Pearce and Poznan

Q is for Quigley, QPR and Quinn's disco pants

R is for Rosler, Revie and roundabout

S is for Silva, Summerbee, songs and substitutes

T is for Tevez, Trautmann and Tueart

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City A to Z: S is for...?

Our epic alphabetic saga is reaching its natural conclusion – while we stress about what we’re going to do when we get to “X”, take a look at the stellar slices of City served up by the letter “S”…