As we build-up to the 172nd Manchester derby, ManCity.com examines some of the sky blue icons from the fixture in years gone by…
We kick-off with a City legend from recent times – a man who sent Maine Road into raptures in the final derby at our old home, Mr Shaun Goater.
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A key figure in the transformation of City’s fortunes between 1998 and 2003, Leonard Shaun Goater actually came through the youth ranks across town although he never made an official appearance for United, leaving for Rotherham in 1989.
Goater spent seven years in Yorkshire and scored 70 league goals before he moved to Bristol City in 1996 where he enjoyed two goal-laden campaigns, attracting the interest of Joe Royle who was battling to keep City in Division One.
Sadly, the Blues couldn’t beat the drop and fell to the third tier for the first time in the Club’s history but Shaun was integral in the sensational rise that followed, scoring the winning goal against Wigan in the play-off semi-final to set up that unforgettable Wembley showdown with Wigan.
In 212 appearances for City, Shaun netted an incredible 103 goals and he was handed the captaincy for the final game at Maine Road and his last game for the club, against Southampton in 2003.
Maine Road, 9 November 2003
City supporters will never let Gary Neville forget the day he fed the Goat… Shaun’s 99th goal for City could hardly have been any more memorable.
It was November 9 2003 and the final-ever derby at Maine Road when the Bermudan wrote his name into Manchester derby folklore with a double that consigned United to an emphatic 3-1 defeat.
For the first of his brace, Goater dispossessed one of City’s pantomime villains in Neville on the byline and then went on to clip the ball around Fabian Barthez.
A goal so delicious in so many ways that it birthed a witty new chant from the home faithful ("Derby day, the scores were level, then the Goat was fed by Neville.")
He wasn’t finished there, capping an incredible day with his 100th strike for City which made it 3-1 - a beautiful clipped chip over Barthez after he held off the challenge of Laurent Blanc.
In his own words…
It was a fast, exciting game, but when Marc Vivien Foe played a long ball up front he miscued it and it was heading out for a goal kick. As the ball rolled towards the line I thought “I could make this bad ball into a good ball”.
Gary Neville seemed to be trying to shepherd the ball out as I chased him down, and I could see the ball was going out. I expected him to shield it as I challenged him, but he then decided to play it back to Fabien Barthez.
I anticipated his next move and out in a block tackle and the ball stayed in play. I edged him out of the way, took the ball in towards goal, but there was nobody for me to square the ball to. I was on my own so I went along the goal-line and tried to angle back in a little before hitting the ball low past Barthez and into the net.
We went in 2-1 up, at which point I heard “Feed The Goat!” at it’s loudest ever. The fans had also come up with a new song “Who let the Goat out” and I thought “I’m having that one! I liked the tune and it reminded me of Summer in Bermuda so I was very happy with the City fans’ latest release!”
We held out comfortably to win 3-1 and I walked off to an incredible rendition of “Feed the Goat” followed by “Who let the Goat out” what an amazing way to end a fantastic day. This was the first time City had beaten United in 13 years.