Joe Hart today celebrates his tenth anniversary as a City player.
The Blues and England No.1 signed for the Club on 24 May 2006 for a bargain fee of £600,000 from his hometown club Shrewsbury Town after the teenager had been voted into the PFA League 2 Team of the Year.
Injuries to Andreas Isaksson and Nicky Weaver meant Hart made his City debut later that year and he kept a clean sheet after a 0-0 draw with Sheffield United.
He gained more experience by having loan spells with Tranmere Rovers and Blackpool and returned for the 2007/08 campaign as the Blues’ No.1, but the arrival of Mark Hughes as the Club’s new manager also saw the arrival of Shay Given and the Irish international was installed as the first choice custodian.
With his future in doubt and, having by now made his England debut,
Hart was loaned out to Birmingham City for the 2009/10 campaign and Hart excelled during his stay at St Andrew’s, making 41 appearances for the Midlands outfit and winning the club’s Player of the Year award
New boss Roberto Mancini recalled Hart for the 2010/11 season and he’s remained the undisputed No.1 ever since, winning two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, two League Cup triumphs (though was on the bench on each occasion) and the FA Community Shield.<
Hart has now made 342 appearances for the Blues and next season should move into the Club’s Top 20 all-time overall appearances list, with City legends Frank Swift, Bert Trautmann and Joe Corrigan firmly in his sights and aged 29, his best years are arguably still to come.
Firmly established as England’s No. 1 with 58 caps for his country, Hart who has skippered the Blues and his country on several occasions, continues to raise the bar each season.
His four Premier League Golden Glove awards and more than 100 Premier League clean sheets are further testament to his ability and when Lionel Messi calls you “a phenomenon”, you know you must be doing something right…
Happy anniversary, Joe!