Manchester City might be accused by some as “having no history,” but that statement sounds exceptionally stupid when you consider the club was founded in Gorton in 1880.
Quite the contrary. City have a rich and, frankly, incredible history – from Bert Trautmann breaking his neck in the 1956 FA Cup final (and playing on) to Mercer and Allison delivering seven trophies is seven years during the 60s and early 70s.
And don’t even get me started on Sergio Aguero creating the most iconic moment in the history of the Premier League.
Martin Tyler said “you’ll never see anything like this ever again.” And he’s right. City winning the Premier League two seasons after (in quite dramatic fashion after catching Liverpool and beating West Ham on the final day to clinch it) felt boring in comparison to the Aguero moment against QPR.
But in terms of significance, the Aguero moment doesn’t come close to the one I’m about to prattle on about.
A great goal? Yes. The first title in 44 years? Of course. Tears? Obviously. A pitch invasion? Absolutely.
But City should have coasted that game. QPR were down to 10 men thanks to the charming Joey Barton, and were, to be honest, a far inferior side to City, who were also playing in front of their own fans.
But all this started in 1999. Manchester United had just won the Treble, but Manchester City were facing Gillingham in the Division Two play-off final.
It doesn’t sound as glam as the handsome Argentine superstar Aguero banging one in in HD on the final day of the season, and it wasn’t.
City were 2-0 down in stoppage time, with Gillingham nailed on to win promotion. But then Kevin Horlock bagged, giving City a glimmer of hope. Then the most significant goal in Manchester City’s history happened: Paul Dickov scored.
Dickov went nuts when he equalised with seconds left of stoppage time, sending the game to extra time and, eventually, penalties, which City won (hats of to Nicky Weaver there).
They gained promotion to Division One and a season after that found themselves back in the Premier League.
A few years after that (including a stadium move and years with Richard Dunne as their best player) the club was bought by a super-rich Abu Dhabi consortium.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that, without Dickov scoring that goal, City may have been stuck in the doldrums for years to come. Sheikh Mansour may never have bought the club. And Sergio Aguero would have been playing brilliantly at another Premier League or European side.
So every night before you go to bed, get on your knees and thank Paul Dickov for everything he’s done for you.