Manchester City was founded in 1880 as St. Mark’s (West Gorton) and was later renamed twice in 1887 as Ardwick Association Football Club before finally settling as its present name in 1894. Their home stadium was Maine Road for a long period of time ranging from 1923 till finally moving to the City of Manchester Stadium in 2003 which now stands as the Etihad.
Contrary to popular belief among masses, Manchester City does have a rich history and has contributed enormously to the beautiful game. People questioning the club’s past should also be aware that the second highest home attendance in English football till date stands at 84,569 people who witnessed City play against Stoke City on the 3rd of March in the year 1934 for the sixth round of FA Cup. City won the match 1-0 thanks to an Eric Brook strike and later went on to win the cup defeating Portsmouth 2-1 in which City’s Fred Tilson scored twice in the second half to bring home the prestigious cup.
The first Manchester club to win a major cup, City has had its share of highs and lows in the past. Rivals Manchester United did manage to overshadow the Blues along the years and now stand as the most decorated club in England. City has since then fought all the way from the relegation zone over the years to living the dream of snatching the league title from neighbours United’s hand in the last-minute of the league. Manchester City now enjoy a respectable position on the global level and have finished ahead of United each year after Alex Ferguson’s departure in 2013 in the Premier League. City is currently ranked 8th in the UEFA Club rankings (as of 2017) and is the only English club in the top 10.
Numerous players came in and out with just one motive to make Manchester City a greater force. Their hard work and determination has allowed City to grow along the years and make it into a superior club. Here’s a look at the top 10 players from the United Kingdom to ever play for Manchester City:-
(10) Paul Power
Born on the 30th of October 1953 in Opensaw, Manchester; the local lad went on to win 444 caps for the Blues from 1975-86. Playing as a left back, Power could also play flawlessly in the midfield. He scored 36 goals for City before leaving for Everton in the summer of 1986 where he was a vital part in the Toffees’ successful campaign and went on to win the Championship (now Premier League) that season. He scored for Everton against City at Maine Road on 29th of November 1986 but refused to celebrate to showcase his love for his home club. He had won the Player of the Year awards twice (1980-81 and 1984-85) during his stay at the club. Still going strong at 63 years of age, the veteran is now involved with the Manchester City academy.
(9) Mike Doyle
Predominantly playing for the Blues throughout his career, Doyle also made appearances for Stoke City, Bolton Wanderers and Rochdale. Born on the 25th of November 1946, Doyle played in various roles across the different clubs he has starred in. Doyle started playing at right back in youth level and made his senior debut against Cardiff City in March 1965, playing as a midfielder followed by numerous appearances as a forward. However, most of his appearances later in his footballing career were in central defence.
Doyle made a mammoth 570 appearances for the club, scoring 41 times in the period of 1975-86 and was also voted the club’s hardest player in City’s official magazine before joining Alan Durban’s Stoke City for a fee of £50,000 in June 1978. He played in 46 matches for Stoke in 1978-79 and helped them to gain promotion to the First Division and was central to their defence which kept 21 clean sheets that season. He continued attending City matches after retirement but his excessive drinking problem led to his liver failure. The veteran breathe his last on 27th of June 2011.
(8) Francis Lee
Starting his illustrious career at Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City manager Joe Mercer signed him for a club record transfer fee of £60,000 in 1967 after his successful stint at the Whites. Born in West Houghton, Lancashire, England on the 29th of April 1944, Lee has won League Championship medals with both Manchester City and Derby (joined in 1974) and has scored more than 200 goals in his playing career. In 2010, he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.
Soring a total of 148 goals in 330 appearances for the Blues, Lee holds the English record for the highest number of penalties scored in a season (1971-72), a feat which earned him the title Lee Won Pen. He was City’s top scorer for five years in a row from 1969-74 and had scored the all-important penalty in the final of European Cup Winner’s Cup against Gornik Zabrze in 1970.
Voted the player of the year once, Lee held the record for the most goals in Manchester derbies (10), equalling Joe Hayes’ record which was later on broken by Wayne Rooney in 2013 when he scored his 11th. After retirement, Lee shifted to business and ran a successful toilet roll manufacturing company. In 1994, Lee became the chairman of Manchester City after which the club suffered stressful years, displaying poor football and finishing on the bottom half of the table. Lee was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to football and charity.
(7) Peter Doherty
Argued by many City fans as the greatest ever to be a part of the club, Margherafelt-born Doherty had his career experience a standstill due to the World War II. A master playmaker of his time, Doherty notched up impressive performances for a host of different clubs, most notably for Manchester City. He started his career at Glentoran in the Irish League in 1931. Joining Manchester City on 19th of February in 1936 for a then-club record of £10,000, Doherty could not make an immediate impact in his first match for City against Preston North End but soon found his rhythm and became a free-scoring forward at the club. He made 130 appearances for Manchester City scoring 79 goals before leaving Maine Road to join Derby County. He led his country to the 1958 World Cup quarter-finals and won a league championship medal with Manchester City in 1937 and a cup winner’s medal with Derby in the 1946 FA Cup Final. Peter Doherty was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002.