Mens Team

Cult heroes: Nicky Reid

Nicky Reid could not have had a more dramatic or high profile start to his career when his was pitched in for his debut against Borussia Monchengladbach in the quarter-finals of the 1978/79 UEFA Cup.

Aged just 18, he found himself face to face with European Footballer of the Year Allan Simonsen, but more than held his own in a 1-1 draw at Maine Road.

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It had been Malcolm Allison who threw the youngster in at the deep end and Reid would be one of his few successes during a difficult second spell at Maine Road.

Reid was not in the man-mountain mould of the traditional centre-half, rather more like the old fashioned half-backs of a decade earlier.

In fact, many compared the Manchester-born teenager to a young Mike Doyle – high praise indeed – and he made his league debut a couple of weeks later in a 2-1 defeat at Ipswich Town and then filled in for the injured Kenny Clements for several games towards the end of the campaign.

Tough-tackling and brave, Reid soon became a crowd favourite and he started 22 league games the following season and in 1980/81 established himself with 37 league appearances as well as 14 of the Blues’ 15 cup ties that season, two of which were at Wembley.

A productive year, he also collected the first of six England Under-21 caps against Hungary.

The following season saw Reid at the heart of a major controversy that was no fault of his own.

Despite his impressive displays, the local boy made good was dislodged from the back four when John Bond signed his son Kevin to partner Tommy Caton at the heart of the City defence.

Reid wasn’t dropped, but instead moved into midfield where at times he seemed unsettled and distracted.

The City fans saw Bond junior - perhaps unfairly - as the reason Reid had been dislodged and he wasn’t exactly embraced by the supporters.

Bond was booed for a period and there was even a sit-down protest on the Kippax during one game by those in favour of Reid returning to his rightful role – a good 50% of the Kippax, as it transpired.

By the end of the campaign, Reid had actually played three more league games than Bond, but the next year City went down and Reid played only in fits and starts.

Unable to reclaim his central role in defence, he left midway through the 1983/84 campaign to try his luck in America only to return a few months later to resume his City career, scoring two late goals in three games after failing to score in any of the previous five years’ worth of matches.

Bond left the next year and Reid finally had his favourite position back and also a new partner in the form of Mick McCarthy.

The pair formed a solid spine that helped win promotion for Billy McNeill but Reid was played at right full-back during the following season with Kenny Clements drafted in from Oldham.

Certain managers clearly had a problem with Reid at centre-back.

Things had come full circle for Clements and Reid – and they had also swapped positions since they first played together back in 1979!

Reid hardly played the next season and instead left for Blackburn Rovers on a free transfer, clocking up more than 170 games for the Ewood Park outfit.

He made more than 250 appearances for City during a nine-year period and deserves to be remembered  as an excellent graduate of the Club’s youth scheme.

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