To get in the festive spirit, Typical City will be hosting an advent calendar in the run up to Christmas. Every day in December up until Christmas Day, one of the Typical City team will be sharing their memories of Manchester City throughout the years. You can expect to see recollections of special games, beautiful goals, memorable players and managers, and moments that define what it means to support City.
In this edition, Alex Timperley celebrates his favourite City player, Micah Richards.
When Micah Richards went to Fiorentina I felt sad because he’s my favourite ever City player and we’ll never get to see him play in our sky blue again. Technically he’s just on loan, but in reality he isn’t coming back. It’s over. The dream is dead.
Richards was the last proper academy first teamer we had (Hart and Boyata don’t really count) and that still means something. It is easy to understand why the famous Manchester City youth production line went offline following the Abu Dhabi takeover but there’s nothing like having one of your own play in your team’s shirt.
For a long time Richards was not only one of our own but also looked like a true star in the making, a powerful full back with every ingredient necessary to reach the very top. He is the youngest City captain and the youngest England defender in history. He was a key part of City’s first title win, putting in some outstanding performances on the right side against the very best, even keeping Pablo Zabaleta out of the team for long stretches.
The pre- and post-Sheikh Mansour eras could hardly have been more different, but Richards was one of the players who navigated the team and the fans through choppy waters when leadership was desperately needed.
He had a lot of injury problems in his later years at the club – Roberto Mancini likened him to crystal – which, combined with the emergence of Zabaleta as one of the world’s outstanding full backs, severely limited his playing time. He stopped getting picked for England for reasons which still baffle me. He ended up leaving the club he loves, and is loved by, to actually play football on a regular basis despite a new contract being enthusiastically offered.
Despite this his enthusiasm was never dampened. He took a leap onto the continent which few English players, stuck in an insular and self-obsessed Premier League, would ever attempt in order to get his career back on track. By all reports the fans out there are as keen on him as we are. He is adapting and we can be very proud of him.
I am hoping beyond hope that he goes on to be a huge success in Italy (or wherever he ends up) and one day comes back to us in a coaching role or something like that when his playing days are over.
It doesn’t get much better than an academy lad putting in hundreds of performances for your team, especially when they are as lovely and as talented as Richards.
Finally, his middle name is Lincoln which is really very cool.
Written by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter