Understandably lots of City fans are worrying and stressing about the title, but don't lose sight of the bigger picture, things are pretty amazing right now. The majority of my life supporting City hasn’t been in the slightest bit glamorous, I wasn’t around for the good times, so my City history is more Christian Negouai and Neil Heaney than it is Colin Bell and Neil Young.
So as we look forward to a bright and exciting future, I think it is important to remember the past, and remember the bad days because after all that makes what is currently happening all the more sweeter.
I have decided to compile this list and look at the 6 (yes I know 6 is a random number!) worst players that I think have representing the club that I love during my lifetime watching City. Think how great David Silva looks now when he’s compared to dross like Jason Van Blerk, so without further ado, here are in no particular order the 6 worst players to represent City in my life time:
Ged Brannan – 1997 – 1998 – 42 Appearances & 4 Goals
Brannan began his career playing for Tranmere and he spent a 7 year period settled with the club. After making 238 appearances for the side he made the ‘big move’ to Manchester. He was signed by Frank Clark for £750,000 when City were in what is now the Championship, he was supposed to be one of the players that would help fire the club back towards the Premier League, sadly this never happened.
Clark brought some really poor players to City, in fact that period of our history is littered with some awful names, a few of which feature on this list. Brannan was a midfielder, and was soon relegated to the role of backup player, he simply wasn’t very good. He remained at Maine Road for just over 12 months before he was farmed off to Motherwell for £375,000…what a piece of business that was.
Steve McManaman - 2003 – 2005 – 35 Appearances & 0 Goals
City needed some flair and some invention and Kevin Keegan thought the former Liverpool player could provide that. Signed from Real Madrid, he made his debut in a game against Aston Villa and he was outstanding, but it was all downhill from there.
Looking back on it now, it could be argued that he had a positive effect on some of the youngsters coming through at the time, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Joey Barton and Stephen Ireland all probably learnt from him, but on the pitch he was a total waste of time. Often referred to as Steve McPointyman because of his infuriating spells stood trying to orchestrate moves with his hands, waving like some sort of conductor, his impact was minimal at best, and sometimes it was like playing with 10 men.
It just never really worked, he lost his place to Wright-Phillips and then he just came in and out of the side to little effect. Obviously in his day he was far from a bad footballer, but at City he was abject and other than his debut he brought absolutely nothing to the team, a sad sight all round!
Lee Bradbury - 1997 – 1998 – 40 Appearances & 10 Goals
At the time, the joke went ‘What do you get if you remove the ‘R’s’ from Lee Bradbury’s name?’. Sadly the punchline pretty much summed this deal up. Signed from Portsmouth again by ‘legend’ Frank Clark for £3million when the side was in Division 1, he was another of the big signings expected to help City back to the big time. Much like Brannan it never happened, he never really settled and the former solider didn’t last long.
He was relegated with City when they dropped down to Division 2, and things got no better at all, not long into the new season he was sold to Crystal Palace for £1.5million. He was a bit of a failure there as well however and he was ultimately sold back to Portsmouth for £900,000. He bounced around the lower leagues for the most part of his career and after a year in management at Bournemouth he now finds himself without a club.
Laurent Charvet - 2000 – 2003 – 23 Appearances & 1 Goal
Charvet was one of the players that Joe Royle brought to a resurgent City for their first season back in the Premier League, he had previously played for Newcastle and had been fairly impressive, his time with the blues however would never meet those standards, in fact he didn’t even come close. He was meant to replace a hopelessly out of form Richard Edghill but he never really secured the place, in all honesty he was pretty woeful.
When City were relegated back to Division 1 at the end of the season, Kevin Keegan took over and employed a 3-5-2 formation with wingbacks, Charvet was again given a chance to impress but he failed to improve and he soon slipped behind a very young Shaun Wright-Phillips and a resurgent Richard Edghill in the pecking order. He remained at the club until 2003 by which time City were back in the Premier League but in those 3 years he managed a meagre 23 games, he eventually moved back to his native France to play for Sochaux.
Gerry Creaney - 1995 – 1998 – 21 Appearances & 4 Goals
There are some very good reasons why City slipped down the leagues and had to endure the dark days, one of those was gross miss-management and some of the worst transfer deals in the history of football, Scottish striker Gerry Creaney was part of just one of those deals. City had Paul Walsh and Uwe Rosler leading the line, goals were flowing under Brian Horton but they were still slipping down the Premier League.
New chairman Francis Lee decided to sack Horton and bring in his mate Alan Ball, Ball decided that free scoring Portsmouth player Gerry Creaney was capable of playing at a higher level, and so a £1.5million deal was put together to bring him to the club. Only it wasn’t just money that was used, Ball also threw fan favourite Paul Walsh into the mix and thus one of City’s worst ever transfers was completed.
The club were relegated that season with Creaney making no impact whatsoever, he managed a lacklustre 4 goals as City went down with a whimper. The player never really had a career after that and bounced around the non-leagues, but he will always have that season in the top flight to remember, its just a shame the City faithful have to remember it as well.
Barry Conlon - 1997 – 1998 – 8 Appearances 0 Goals
Now generally I have tried to focus on players that played a fair few games for City as opposed to people who came in and were so bad they never really played, but Conlon couldn’t be missed out. I remember watching Barry during his brief stint at Maine Road, and seeing him roll around the pitch made me think that I too could be a professional footballer, he was really dire! The third player to make the list from the same era, but easily the worst.
The striker arrived at City from QPR and he made just 1 start and 7 substitute appearances. The important thing to remember about this period in the clubs history is how ridiculously short of money they were, and yet Frank Clark threw about what we did have like confetti on carthorses like this.
After he left City he plied his trade almost exclusively in the lower leagues and to be fair he never really excelled anywhere. I had the misfortune of seeing Barry again last season during a fruitless spell at Stockport County where he managed 0 goals in 10 games…his contract was terminated after a few months. He recently signed a deal with a Belgian lower league club, where he will be mostly getting to know the local Belgian beer i’d have thought.
So there we have it, there are other awful players that have been at City over the years, but for me, these are the worst that i've endured. Therefore just remember next time you are at Eastlands and you feel the need to rant about Gareth Barry misplacing another pass, it could be worse, we could still have Ged Brannan scampering around the field!