Manchester City is an old club which has had its successes long before Sheikh Mansour spilled golden oil over the club. From a hundred years back to modern days, strikers with the ability to inflict fear into oppositional defences with their goalscoring skills have graced the Citizens. But who were they and who was the best of them?
Here are the top 10 Manchester City strikers in history:
10. Naill Quinn
Nothing is sweeter than scoring a goal on your debut. Nail Quinn did it immediately after he transferred from Arsenal in 1990. The future Sunderland director bagged 22 goals that season and continued to score till the end of his City stay, accumulating 78 in 245 appearances.
He grew on the warm side of the fans with his brace against Manchester Untied despite his team losing 3-2, and by scoring a goal and saving a penalty as a replacement goalkeeper against Derby County.
If it wasn’t for circulate ligament injury, he might have contributed with even more.
9. Rodney Marsh
“Right, no beating about the bush, I have to hold my hands up: I cost Manchester City the 1972 league championship.” Marsh once expressed his regret about not helping the club win the title.
He joined that same year when the Citizens were four points clear at the top with nine games to go. He even bagged four goals to help but by the end of the season, Derby County had pipped City to the tile.
His guilt of not doing enough drove him to top the next year’s goal-scoring charts, but the tile still eluded. Marsh was skillful player capable of entertaining dashes but he was also considered a maverick who did not suit City’s team-oriented set up. He spent four years in the rainy city, bagging 47 in 152 matches.
8. Carlos Tevez
Tevez moved from United to City in 2009 with a loud ‘swisshhhh’. If at Untied he scored only on occasion, at City he was unplugged, untapped and unleashed. With his presence he lifted the mood of the team. In him the fans sensed a path to trophies after 44 years of none.
He was happy to deliver: the FA Cup in 2011 and City’s first Premier League in decades in 2012. Despite his undeniably key role, Tevez couldn’t help but stir things from time to time: his feud with Mancini which earned him a four-month exile from playing being just one.
In total, he netted the ball 73 times in 148 games before he bought a ticket to Torino.
7. Billy Meredith
Back when smiles blurred photos, Meredith joined Manchester City in 1894. His dazzling runs on muddy pitches, outspoken attitude and quirky character made him into football’s first and biggest star. He would often go out on the pitch in a shirt stained from his chewing tobacco habits or with a toothpick in his mouth: a true Health and Safety model. Near the sunset of his career, the 4-a-week footballer was also involved in a match-fixing scandal, something he denied to his death in 1958.
Meredith bagged 129 goals of City before helping their biggest rivals United with the league. Still, he remains a legend at City.
6. Peter Doherty
Joe Mercer who played against Doherty several times described him as ‘unplayable on his day’.
“He was built like a greyhound, very fast and elusive but with stamina, too. He had a Rolls-Royce engine in him.”
Mind you Rolls-Royce wasn’t particularly fast in those days but still classy. Doherty joined City in 1936 despite his wishes to remain at Blackpool. He joined a forwards line which boasted Eric Brook and Tommy Johnson, scoring 82 goals in 119 matches.
But City’s defence was so leaky that even the cannonballs up front could not save them from relegation in 1938. During the war, City had to travel to play a friendly match against an assembled German national side in front of Hitler. They were also required to salute him. Doherty remembers City players ‘merely decided to stand to attention.’ They lost the match 3-2, but not because their refusal to salute.
5. Francis Lee
When Lee was kneeling if front of the Queen to be knighted for his services in football in 2016, he must have thought about first goal for City.
‘The final piece of the jigsaw’, as Joe Mercer called him, joined City in 1967 and scored his first goal seven days later. City went on an 11-game unbeaten run while battling the first position out with their fiercest rivals Manchester Untied.
It was in the final match day when Lee capped his 16 debut-season goals with the fourth in a 4-3 win over Newcastle. This sealed City their first title in over 30 years, turning Lee into a fan favourite in a fraction of a second.
Lee found the net 112 times in 249 matches for City.
4. Colin Bell
Bell was a midfielder, so what is he doing on this list? Well, with the amount of goal he scored, he might as well have been a striker.
Bell transferred to City after a long battle by the club administration to gather the money and fight off interest from other clubs. For that they created a web of lies about his football skills. When they finally got him, the only thing Bell needed to destroy the negative images that had been created was to step on the grass.
Considered one of England’s finest, Bell had the stamina to claim every inch of grass for his own. During his 13 years at City, he scored 152 goals and won one FA Cup and one Cup Winners Cup.
3. Tommy Johnson
Manchester City defender Eli Fletcher went to his bosses was and threatened to quit if the club did not sign a certain teenage shipyard worker. Thus, Jonhson’s City career started.
He scored on his debut but had to wait almost three years for a regular first-team spot. With all cylinders firing, Johnson scored 38 in 39 games in a single season, a record that still stands today. By the time it was time to leave he had scored 158 goals for the Blues, his goals turning him into a firm fan favourite. The attendance dropped by 7000, when he left for Everton in 1930.
2. Eric Brook
Back when the telephone looked like something an SAS interrogator might use to get answers out of someone, Erik Brook donned the ridiculous pajama-like kit of City 1928. What were they thinking with kits like these?
These were tough times for forwards who often felt a stab of pain in their temples from routine defensive elbow actions. Strikers had to be just as tough, and Brook had good examples to look up at City in Tommy Johnson. By next season Johnson had scored 38 goals while Brooks could only show 14. Nonetheless this earned him his first England cap.
Brook never was a 20+ striker in his 11 years at City, but he had the consistency to accumulate 176 goals–an unbroken club record today.
1. Sergio Aguero
Back in 2005, 17-year-old Sergio Aguero was the gold treasure to dig in Football Manager. He grew to become the best striker in the game. In real life, this is not far from the truth. He’s been Manchester City’s most dangerous strikers for years and under several managers.
Short in stature but quick and explosive, he endeared himself to fans by gifting them the title with a literally last second goal on final match day in 2012. He gifted them with scenes never seen in football before.
Now aged 28, Aguero already has 150 goals for the Blues, and it’s only a question of time as he tops the club’s all-time goal-scoring charts.