The Manchester City legend whose career tragically ended before it began

Pep Guardiola is currently wondering what on earth he does with Manchester City’s captain, Vincent Kompany.

Kompany, a bona fide City legend and one of the club’s best ever defenders, has been ravaged by injury over the past six seasons, creating serious question marks over his future under Guardiola.

But back in the late 1980s and 1990s, there was a player at City whose career was tragically cut short by injury.


A player who was likened to Paul Gascoigne in terms of ability. A player whose loss was described like a “bereavement” by his psychiatrist. A player who is also a club legend, despite his career effectively ending before he turned 22.

That player, as you may well know, is Paul Lake.

Lake was more than just a promising players. Lake was an exciting talent for both City and England, and even captained the Blues at the age of 22.

But despite his dazzling ability, the player who had won the crowd’s hearts suffered a seemingly innocuous knee injury before the 1990-91 season began.


But the injury was later diagnosed as a ruptured cruciate knee ligament, and would prove devastating for Lake’s playing career. After two seasons on the sideline, Lake returned for City’s inaugural Premier League season in 1992, but shortly after his comeback against Middlesbrough began, his knee ligament snapped again.

Lake was never the same again. His rehabilitation consisted of 14 operations and a further four years before Lake finally accepted his career was over. He was 27 when he hung up his boots.

He was granted a testimonial game against Manchester United, but when it comes to Paul Lake, you can’t help but wonder the heights that talented youngster could have reached.

If you’re in the market for a Paul Lake-era Manchester City shirt, head to our marketplace 



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