Mens Team

Goater and Dunne recall Benarbia magic

Special guest Ali Benarbia's appearance on Sunday’s We’re Not Really Here show stirred some happy memories for Shaun Goater and Richard Dunne.

Benarbia appeared as a remote guest during the Liverpool edition and his former team-mates paid homage to the Algerian genius who spent two unforgettable years with City from 2001 to 2003.

After watching a replay of Eyal Berkovic's stunning volley against Ipswich Town following Benarbia's chipped corner, Goat and Dunne waxed lyrical about the gifted playmaker.

“That goal, the technique, finish...absolutely brilliant. This is what Ali used to do,” said Goater.

“I used to check before the games ‘Ali, are you ok? Do you need a cup of tea? Do you need your ankle strapping?’ Because i knew if he was okay, I was going to be okay!"

Dunne remembered Ali arriving at the Club almost unannounced and creating an immediate impression during his first training session.


“We had a good side with really good players,” said Dunne.

“We would have had a good chance to win the championship anyway that season (2001/02), but you add someone of Ali’s quality into the team and it takes it to a new level.

“Even on the first day that Ali came in training - I think his first session was a Friday - he came in for about 40 minutes and went again and everyone was like ‘what was that!?’"

However, Benarbia says Dunne played an understated role in his success at City - and says Goater made him look even better!

The former PSG star had just turned 33 when he was signed by Kevin Keegan and admits his days of sprinting around the pitch were starting to fade.

“Richard was playing on the wings, overlapping and he was running for me!” said Benarbia.

“But Shaun made things even better. Every time I was thinking ‘thank you, Shaun’ because he always scored.

“And if he hadn’t, no one would remember my passes”

Dunne’s spell as an attacking full-back didn’t last too long.

The central defender was effective in the position, but soon became the rock of City’s back four so he, in turn, was happy when emerging talent Shaun Wright-Phillips took on the attacking full-back/winger role.

“I was really happy when Shaun Wright-Phillips came along!" smiled Dunne.

“Ali created my first goal for City, of course, and that’s when you start to know he must be good, because if I can score we must be doing well!”

Watch We’re Not Really Here ahead of every first team game with pre, half-time and post-match segments.

View all club partners