Sunday, September 18, 2016

Manchester City Greatest All-Time Team

2012 Premiership Title
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Manchester UnitedLiverpoolArsenal,
ChelseaTottenhamManchester CityEverton, Ipswich
Aston VillaNewcastle UnitedNottingham Forest
Leeds UnitedLeicester City.

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for the club.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

The club's most successful period was in the late 1960s and early 1970s when they won the League Championship, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup under the management team of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison. After losing the 1981 FA Cup Final, the club went through a period of decline, culminating in relegation to the third tier of English football for the only time in their history in 1998. Having regained their Premier League status in the early 2000s, the club was purchased in 2008 by Abu Dhabi United Group and has become one of the wealthiest in the world. Since 2011 the club have won six major honours, including the Premier League in 2012 and 2014.
Cup Winners' Cup Final winner 1970

GK: Bert Trautmann (Germany)
Bert Trautmann was a former POW who decided to remain in England after the war.  He signed for Manchester City in 1949, where he replaced Frank Swift.  He turned from the most hated player in England to a fan favourite.  He was the hero of 1956 FA Cup winning team. In his prime, he was known as one of the best keeper in the world.  He was credited for healing the German-British relations after the War.  In 2004, he was awarded an honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
Bert Trautmann
GK: Frank Swift (England)
Frank Swift was widely to be considered the greatest English keeper before the emerge of Gordon Banks and Peter Shilton.  He was an all-time great with Manchester City, where he played from 1933 to 1949. Because of the Second World War, his international career was limited to 19 times for England, where he played after the War. He also played in 14 wartime internationals. He died in the Munich Air Disaster in 1958, while working as a reporter.

GK: Joe Corrigan (England)
Joe Corrigan began his career at Manchester City in 1967. He spent 16 seasons at Manchester City, winning the Cup Winners' Cup and League Cup twice, while also earning 9 England caps. He left in 1983 to play for Seattle Sounders, then returned to England for spells with Brighton & Hove Albion, Norwich City and Stoke City. A neck injury forced him to retire in 1985

RB: Tony Book (England)
Tony Book spent a large part of his career in Non-League football with his home town club Bath City, before entering league football with Plymouth Argyle in 1964. At the age of 31, he joined First Division Manchester City, where he became captain. Under Book's captaincy, Manchester City won 4 trophies, making him the most decorated Manchester City captain of all-time. He played for them between 1966 to 1974. He was the joint FWA Footballer of the Year winner in 1960 with Dave Mackay.
Tony Book
RB: Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina)
With Manchester City, Zabaleta has won all three of English football's major honours: the FA Cup (2011), the Premier League (2012 and 2014), and the League Cup (2014). Before joining Manchester City, Zabaleta played for Espanyol, where he won the 2005–06 Copa del Rey.  Zabaleta represented Argentina at the 2011 and 2015 Copa América, and was part of their team which finished as runners-up in the 2014 World Cup. 

CB: Sam Coward (England)
Sam Cowan played centre half for Manchester City for 11 seasons, captaining the team in the early to mid-1930s. He is the only player to have represented Manchester City in three FA Cup finals, as a runner-up in 1926 and 1933, and as a winner in 1934. Internationally, he gained three England caps between 1926 and 1931

CB/DM: Mike Doyle (England)
Mike Doyle made a total of 570 appearances for Man City scoring 41 goals before joining Alan Durban's Stoke City in 1978. Stoke gained promotion to the First Division with him being a part of the defence. He left for Bolton Wanderers in January 1982.  He spent a season and a half at Burnden Park and ended his career with a season at Rochdale.

CB: Vincent Kompany (Belgium)
Vincent Kompany is widely considered one of the best center-back of his generation.   He played for Anderlecht and Hamburger Sv before joining Manchester City in 2008. In 2011-2012, he became the captain of Manchester City, leading his club to win the Premier League that season, their first league title in 44 years.  At time of writing, he earned over 70 caps and played at the World Cup Finals in 2014 and 2018. He was the captain for the 2014 World Cup team.
Vincent Kompany
CB: Dave Watson (England)
Dave Watson played for Notts County, Rotherham United, Sunderland, Manchester City, Werder Bremen, Southampton, Stoke City, Vancouver Whitecaps and Derby County as well at the England national team where he won 65 caps. He played in the European Championship in 1980, but he never played in a World Cup Finals. He remains the most-capped England player never to play in a World Cup finals match.

CB: Richard Dunne (Ireland)
Richard Dunne was capped 80 times between 2000 and 2013.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 2002, but did not play.  He played at Euro 2012.  For his club career,  he spent ten years with Manchester City. He moved to Aston Villa in 2009 and then, Queens Park Rangers in 2013.  He won Manchester City's Player of the Year award 4 straight times from 2004 to 2008, first player to win it 4 times.

LB: Glyn Pardoe (England)
Glyn Pardoe made his first team debut against Birmingham City in April 1962. At nearly 16 years of age he became Manchester City's youngest ever player, a record which still stands in 2016.  He was a one club man between 1962 and 1976.  He was part of the Manchester City team in one of the club's most successful era. The club won the league championship, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup in a three-year period between 1968 and 1970.
Glyn Pardoe
CB/LB/RB: Roy Paul (Wales)
Roy Paul played for Swansea, but his career stopped due to the outbreak of the Second World War.  In 1950, he was one of the British players who went to play for Millonarios in Colombia, which was then a league unsanctioned by FIFA.  He only lasted 10 days and joined Manchester City from Swansea for a record transfer for a half-back in 1950. From 1950-1957, he played for them.  At the international level, he had 33 caps for Wales.

CM: Colin Bell (England)
Bell is considered to be Manchester City's greatest ever player.  He won the league in 1967-1968, FA Cup in 1969 and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1970. While Bell is considered to be one of England's greatest midfielder, he was unable to showcase his talents in the world stage.  He was remembered as the substitute for Bobby Charlton at the WC Finals in 1970 against West Germany.  In 1973, he was a part of the ill-fated national team that failed to qualify for West Germany 1974.
Colin Bell
CM: Alan Oakes (England)
Oakes joined Manchester City in 1958, making his debut a year later. He picked up numerous honours at the club, including a Cup Winners' Cup winners medal in 1970, a First Division and Second Division championship medal in 1967–68 and 1965–66 respectively, an FA Cup winners medal in 1969, two League Cup winners medals in 1970 and 1976, and FA Charity Shield winners medals in 1968 and 1972. 

CM: Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast)
Yaya Toure is probably one of the best African player of his generation.  He went to three World Cup Finals at the 2006, 2010. He also represented them in six Africa Cup of Nations, captaining them to victory in 2015. Touré had stints with Beveren, Metalurh Donetsk, Olympiacos, and AS Monaco before moving to Barcelona in 2007. In 2010, Touré moved to Manchester City where he helped City earn their first league title in 44 years. He is among the greatest Manchester City players.
Yaya Toure
RW/FW: Mike Summerbee (England)
Summerbee made his league debut playing for Swindon Town in 1959 at the age of 16. He made more than 200 appearances for the Wiltshire club, scoring 38 goals. In 1965, Manchester City signed Summerbee.  Playing on the right wing, Summerbee was one of the most influential players in the Manchester City side which won four trophies in three seasons from 1968–70. Capped 8 times.

RW:  Billy Meredith (Wales)
Billy Meredith was a legendary player for both Manchester City and Manchester United. He was probably the greatest right winger in Manchester United's history, where he played between 1906 and 1921.  He was the oldest ever Manchester United player ever played. He gained 48 caps for Wales, for whom he scored 11 goals and won two British Home Championship titles.

LW/FW: Peter Doherty (Ireland)
Peter Doherty was an inside left.  He was one of the top players of his time, winning a league title with Manchester City. He also win the 1946 F.A. Cup with Derby County in which he scored in the Final. He also had a long career with Huddersfield and Doncaster Rovers. Doherty gained 16 caps for Ireland. He was in the first group of 22 players to be inducted into the English Football Players Hall of Fame.

LW/FW: Eric Brook (England)
Eric Brook is the all-time record goalscorer for Manchester City in all competitions. After playing amateur football for Wath Athletic, Brook began his professional football career with nearby Barnsley. He has been described as an 'unorthodox' outside left 'with a licence to roam'.  He won the 1934 FA Cup.  Capped 18 times.  Brook was involved in the famous Battle of Highbury game against the world champions Italy in 1934. 
Eric Brook
AM/CM: Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)
Kevin De Bruyne began his professional career at Genk in 2008. After an unsuccessful spell with Chelsea, he joined Wolfsburg.  He was named the Footballer of the Year in Germany while playing with them. In 2015, he joined Manchester City for a club record £54 million. Since 2010, he has played over 80 caps for Belgium. He helped Belgium to reach the semi-final at the 2018 World Cup Finals.

AM/LM: David Silva (Spain)
David Silva became a starter at Valencia in 2006 which forced Palbo Aimar to leave the club.  In 2010, he joined Manchester City helping the club to win their first Preimership in over 40 years. For Spain, he had over 120 caps from 2006 onward.  He was a key player throughout the period as Spain won the "triple crown": two European Championship and a World Cup.  He also represented Spain at every major tournament from 2008 onward.

FW/AM: Sergio Aguero (Argentina)
El Kun became at age 15 the youngest player ever to play in the Argentine Primera Division in 2003 when he played for Independiente.  In 2006, Atletico Madrid broke their transfer record to sign him.  He rewarded the club with the Europa Cup in 2010.  In 2011, he joined Manchester City. Again, he rewarded the club with an added time goal that won the Preimership for Manchester City's first ever title. At the time of writing, he had over 89 caps for Argentina since 2006.

El Kun
FW: Neil Young (England)
Neil Young made more than 400 appearances for Manchester City, Preston North End and Rochdale.  In total, Young scored 86 goals from 334 League games for Manchester City. He scored the only goal in the 1969 FA Cup Final.  He also scored a goal and caused the penalty that gave the City the second goal as City won the 1970 European Cup Winners' Cup Final. 

ST: Tommy Johnson (England)
Tommy Johnson started his professional career at Manchester City in 1919, and represented the club throughout the 1920s.  He holds the record for the most goals scored by a Manchester City player in a single season, with 38 goals in 1928–29. In 1930, he joined Everton, where he partnered Dixie Dean and won the league title.  He later joined Liverpool. He played 5 times for England.

FW: Francis Lee (England)
Lee played for Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City, Derby County and England. He won League Championship medals with Manchester City and Derby, and scored more than 200 goals in his career. In 2010, he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.  He holds the English record for the greatest number of penalties scored in a season, a feat which earned him the nickname "Lee Won". He was capped 27 times. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1970.
Francis Lee

Honorable Mention
Joe Hart (England), Denis Law (Scotland), Georgi Kinkladze (Georgia), Shaun Wright-Philips (England), Dennis Tueart (England), Ernie Toseland (England), Rodney Marsh (England), Joe Hayes (England), Shaun Goater (Beremuda), Micah Richards (England), Niall Quinn (Ireland), Sam Cowan (England), Dave Ewing (Scotland), Paul Power (England), Horace Barnes (England), Peter Barnes (England), Ken Barnes (England), Tommy Browell (England), Joleon Lescott (England), Roy Clarke (Wales), Fred Tilson (England), Raheem Sterling (England), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium), Ruben Diaz (Portugal),
Fernadinho (Brazil).

Squad Explanation
--Obviously, Sheikh Mansour's Abu Dhabi United Group turned the club into one of the best clubs in England.  I tried to mix the squad with players before or after Mansour's era.  The fans would always remember Sergio Aguero scoring the winning goal at the end of the last match of the season that gave Manchester City the title. 
-- Bert Trautmann, Frank Swift, Colin Bell, Billy Meredith, Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure are automatic selections.  I do not need to explain their selections. I also want to put Sergio Aguero on the list.
-- Colin Bell is still considered the Manchester City's greatest player, but the post-Mansour generation would have better players in the future.  But Bell is still a symbol of the club.
-- I decided to edit the team in 2021. In April, 2020, Manchester Evening News selected the top 50 players of all-time for the club.  The top 10 on the list were: Colin Bell, David Silva, Bert Trautmann, Alan Oakes, Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany, Eric Brook, Neil Young, Tommy Johnson and Yaya Toure.  Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium) whom I seriously considered was 13th.  I finally named him on the squad in 2021(see below).
-- Pablo Zabaleta, David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure helped Manchester City to win their first ever Premiership. 
-- Manchester City's victory at the 1970 Cup Winners' Cup remained as Manchester City's only trophy in Europe.  I selected the following players from that team: Joe Corrigan, Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee, Francis Lee, Tony Book and Alan Oakes.  The code of the group also won three other major trophies(1967-1968 First Division, the 1969 FA Cup and 1970 League Cup). 
-- When Bert Trautmann joined Manchester City, no one expected that the German could replace Frank Swift who was probably the greatest English goalkeeper ever at the time.  Of course, Swift also got onto the team.  Joe Corrigan edged out Joe Hart because he spent 16 years at the club. Hart also started his career well, but faded away quickly.  He still earned honourable mention due to his contributions to the 2012 Premiership. Alex Williams was also considered. 
-- Tony Book won four trophies with Manchester City, which made him the most decorated captain in Manchester City's history at the time.  He was the co-winner FWA Footballer of the Year in 1969 which was rare for a rightback to win.   Pablo Zabaleta was among the best fullback of his generation.  Kyle Walker might get a consideration in the future.
-- Richard Dunne won Manchester City's Player of the Year award 4 straight times from 2004 to 2008, first player to win it 4 times. Vincent Kompany captained the City's first ever Preimership title. 
-- Midfielder Alan Oakes was the key player during Manchester City's best period of time before Sheikh Mansour took over the club.  Mike Doyle missed out.  I am watching Fernandinho closely.
-- The wingers??? Eric Brook was the all-time record goalscorer for Manchester City in all competitions until Sergio Aguero (Argentina) broke it. Peter Doherty was the first group of players selected to the English Football Hall of Flame. Billy Meredith played for Manchester City longer than with Manchester United.  He played 12 years in his first stint and returned for another three years after he left Manchester United.  Mike Summerbee was a close friend of George Best when both played for clubs in Manchester.
-- Georgi Kinkladze was one of the first Soviet player to make a name in the West after the breakup of the USSR. He was named Manchester City Player of the Year twice. He followd the club to the First Division with the club, despite offers from bigger clubs.  He earned honorable mention status.
-- Ernie Toseland deserved a spot, but too many right wingers were already on my team. The same applied to Dennis Tueart. Georgi Kinkladze and Shaun Wright-Philips were also not included.  
-- David Silva was ranked second by Manchester Evening News for the City's 50 greatest players.
-- After Raheem Sterling won the FWA Player of the Year in 2019,  he became a very serious candidate to be on the team.  And I will probably consider Kevin De Bruyne in the future.  Ruben Diaz won the FWA Footballer of the Year in 2021. I also added Fernadinho to the honorable mention.
-- Denis Law's career at Manchester City was too short. He was probably remembered for scoring against Manchester United in the game that sent the Red Devils to the second division. 
-- The forward line remained  to be older. Neil Young, Francis Lee, and Tommy Johnson still remained on the team.
Carlos Tevez? His joining of the club represented a new era for the club.  He also won a Premiership. However, his controversial action against Bayern Munich in 2011 did not sit well with the fans.  He was originally on the team.  He edged out Roy Clarke (Wales).  In September 2021, I edited him out of them.  Instead, I took Kevin de Bruyne.  He was named the PFA Players' Player of the Year twice at the time of writing.

--  Trautmann was a great, great keeper and he had a sentimental story behind his career.  But in the end, I still started Frank Swift. 


  1. I think yaya, bell and de bruyne would make up a magnificient midfield. David silva, sterling and aguero in the front would break goal records without concerning about the back.