Ali Benarbia is born in the Algerian coastal city of Oran on October 8, 1968. After just one year, Ali and his family move to the South of France where the youngster soon becomes fascinated by football. It won’t be until he is 17 that he signs for Martigues and remains with the French side for 10 years before going on to play for Bordeaux, Monaco and Paris St Germain.
After becoming a free agent, he eventually signs for City aged 33 after a trial at Sunderland fails to impress the Algerian playmaker. After a lunch at Carrington, Kevin Keegan convinces Ali to join City and immediately becomes a huge fam favourite, helping guide City back to the top flight at the first attempt with his brilliant vision and skill. After just one year at Maine Road, he is voted Player of the Year and stays with City for one more season before moving to Qatar.
City edge past Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest in the third round of the League Cup. Goals from Colin Bell and Joe Royle prove enough to beat the Second Division pacesetters in front of 26,536 Maine Road fans.
With City struggling in the league Malcolm Allison leaves after just over a year as City manager in his second spell with the club. Under the charge of Peter Swales, Allison was given a sizeable transfer budget, and broke the British transfer record with the £1.45m signing of Steve Daley, who struggled to deal with the hefty price tag.
A 21 year-old Richard Dunne joins City from Everton for a fee of £3.5m. The Republic of Ireland defender will go on to make 352 appearances for the Club over a nine-year period during which time he becomes the captain and is named MCFC Player of the Year for four successive years from 2005 to 2008.