Mens Team

City DNA #93: When Maurizio Gaudino was rugby-tackled by Boris Johnson

City DNA #93: When Maurizio Gaudino was rugby-tackled by Boris Johnson
There are some strands of City DNA that seem too bizarre to be true, and our 93rd offering of the season-long celebration of our 125th anniversary is both surreal and perhaps a little tenuous.

Nonetheless, here it is…

We will soon be publishing a Cult Heroes feature on Maurizio Gaudino, so we’ll not go into too much depth about his City career, other than saying the German playmaker was incredibly popular during his loan spell from Eintracht Frankfurt.

He arrived part-way through the 1994/95 season and was an immediate hit with the City fans.

Gaudino would make 25 appearances for City, scoring four goals including a winner against Liverpool at Maine Road.

Though everyone hoped the deal would be made permanent, the sacking of manager Brian Horton and a lack of transfer funds meant the deal never happened and Gaudino instead headed off to Mexico.

Fast forward 12 years and Gaudino returned to England but was by now 39 years-old and retired from playing.

But he still played in exhibition matches and accepted the offer to play in the 2007 charity fundraiser between England and Germany.

Played at Reading’s Madejski Stadium, the match was televised and featured a mixture of former players, celebrities and well-known personalities – one of them being future UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Now, while Boris is well known for his sporting activities – cycling, tennis and, when he was younger, rugby union – football was not one of them.

CITYZENS AT HOME

The moment that will be etched on Maurizio Gaudino’s mind for as long as he lives was the moment he received the ball on the right flank and saw a blond-haired England player approaching.

He played the ball around the advancing Johnson (then Lord Mayor of London) but the future PM had set off like a runaway train, made no attempt to tackle Gaudino but rather dived into his midriff, completely cleaning him out.

It was the oddest tackle you will ever see and left Gaudino writhing in pain on the turf for several minutes before he gingerly got back to his feet with a very apologetic Boris Johnson asking for his forgiveness.

Any City fans watching the live televised game would have suitably winced as the two players clashed but it was down to over-exuberance rather than any malice and – though perhaps Maurizio was speaking a few octaves higher for an hour or so - no damage was done.

And it was proof that Boris Johnson does indeed tackle things head on!

 

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