The Bermudan striker joined City from Bristol City for £400,000 on transfer deadline day in March 1998, a month after Royle had taken over with the Club battling to stay in the Championship.
But, as Royle reveals in the fascinating opening five-part series of our newly launched official Man City Podcast, the Goat had to not only get the better of opposition defences but also win over some sceptics.
That he more than achieved with the hugely popular Goater going on to score more than 100 goals for the Club and cementing his place in City folklore – not least with his famous brace against Manchester United in our 3-1 derby win in the 2002/3 campaign.
So much so that City fans initiated the song 'Feed The Goat And He Will Score' in Shaun’s honour. However, as our former manager recalls, initially it was a different story.
“I was getting letters about him,” Royle tells the Official Man City Podcast.
“Letters like: ‘How can you sign him to play for our club? We’re used to top-class strikers and he’ll never be a striker.’
“And then I think Shaun got something like three in six at the end of that season (1997/98) when we went down – he certainly scored a few goals.
“And then the next season, (there were more letters): ‘Well, I’m not sure he’s good enough for this division’ and then he scored the goals that got us up back into the Championship.
“Then (it was): ‘Well, you’ll have to replace him now we’re in the Championship.’
“And then of course he, too, now is a legend on the basis of scoring against Man United but also scoring goals for the club in the Premier Division.
“And a lovely guy by the way.
“You won’t find a bad word for Shaun Goater at Manchester City.”
City’s inspirational skipper at the time, Andy Morrison, is a fellow contributor to our first podcast and the former centre half echoed Royle’s words of praise about Goater’s qualities.
“Shaun scored many kinds of goals. He was good in the air and though he was never a great striker of the ball, he seemed to be able to find the angles and got across defenders and things would hit him in the right areas,” Morrison - who is now manager of Welsh club Connah’s Quay Nomads - told the official Man City Podcast.
“But he also had clever movement and that’s something that, until I marked him in training, you didn’t really see.
“Shaun was very good at actually looking at the player in the eye and then pulling and spinning and checking back his runs and was very clever with his movement.
“He had an almost extra two foot in his leg at certain times where he seemed to be able to stretch for things and it would hit the last toe and find the bottom corner and that’s a gift in itself to be able to keep getting into those right areas.
“He was also very brave - Shaun would never pull out of anything.
“If he got hurt, he got hurt. But he was always very alive in the box.”
The official Man City Podcast is launched today.
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