Mens Team

Wright-Phillips on ‘special’ Derby goal

It’s the dream of every City fan: to play in the shirt – and score against United!

One man who was able to live that dream is a man who became an instant fans’ favourite and went on to play across three decades in sky blue – a 5’5” pocket rocket by the name of Shaun Wright-Phillips.

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Across two spells at the Club, which sandwiched a successful move to Chelsea, ‘SWP’ made 262 appearances, scoring 48 goals and providing 20 assists.

A product of City’s youth system who worked his way through the ranks (despite being told once he was too short to carve out a career in professional football), his blistering pace, delightful dribbling ability and accuracy from range deemed him an instant hero with the Blue faithful.

After making his debut as a teenager in our unforgettable campaign in Division Two, Wright-Phillips also played a small role in helping City to back-to-back promotions before establishing a place in the starting XI in Kevin Keegan’s glorious 2001/02 squad, making 38 appearances across all competitions.

His speed, flair and infectious personality, combined with his love of the Club, endeared him to the fans and he won the Young Player of the Year award on four successive occasions.

To this day, many regard ‘Shauny Wright Wright Wright’ as their all-time favourite player and everyone has a stand-out memory of the wing wizard.

Of his 48 goals, one certainly sticks out: a sensational strike which cannoned off the crossbar to seal a stunning 4-1 triumph over neighbours Manchester United at Eastlands in March 2004.

Lifelong City fans Jon Macken and Trevor Sinclair had already savoured their special moments, putting City 3-1 up after Robbie Fowler had opened the scoring inside three minutes.

With a two-goal cushion, Keegan’s men looked to be cruising to victory in injury-time but Wright-Phillips had other ideas, keeping the ball in on the right flank just inside the United half before driving forward and unleashing an unstoppable effort, which smashed in off the woodwork to cap a remarkable day for the Blue half of Manchester.

And oh, how he enjoyed it…

“It’s a weird story!” he laughed. “Obviously, it was late on in the game and we were already winning 2-1.

“I was tired and I thought the ball was going to go out but it basically wouldn’t go off the pitch!

“I thought: ‘Why not? Let’s try…’

“When I got to Wes Brown, I was like: ‘Alright, possibly I’m too tired to try and dribble past him after running the length of the field!’

“I thought that maybe if I was moving, I could get the ball off… To score that goal and especially to beat Man United was a very special moment for me.”

That perfect piledriver would prove to be arguably the most famous of SWP’s City career and one of two efforts against United: the other of which he nutmegged Paul Scholes before running goalward and drilling into the far post at Old Trafford!

As for that fabulous fourth at Eastlands… “Oh my word, some final charge, wasn’t it?!”

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