When Tom Cairney put one away against City for Fulham last season, we did a Famous Five on ex-Tigers scoring against us. Now Sone Aluko has followed suit, playing for the same club as Cairney, so we’ve done another round of ’em. It’s not as if there aren’t enough to choose from…
1: Keith Edwards
Edwards was genuinely as natural a predator as any other striker in City’s history, if perhaps not as obvious a team player as those before him. He joined City in 1978 from Sheffield United, scored a ton of goals in some seriously failing sides, and went straight back to Bramall Lane in a huff three years later after relegation to the bottom tier.
Edwards was not a popular figure by the end, making it clear that Fourth Division football wasn’t for him, a standpoint that might have held firm had the club he scuttled back to not also been demoted alongside City the year before. Edwards banged in 35 league goals on his return to South Yorkshire and the Blades won the title, but none of those goals came against City – for that, he needed an FA Cup tie the following season.
It was a simple process for Edwards; he scored the equaliser in a 1-1 draw in the first round tie at Boothferry Park, and then another in the replay at Bramall Lane which ended 2-0. They ended up in the third round, where they were defeated by Stoke, and Edwards ended up back at Boothferry Park in 1988 after detours via Leeds and Aberdeen. More prolific than ever, he topped the Second Division scoring charts in 1988-89 before Colin Appleton let him go again.
2: Marlon King
King was superb during his four month loan spell at City. Signed by Phil Brown at the start of the Premier League adventure in 2008, he led the line with strength, real skill, bravery and a self-belief that regularly overflowed into visible arrogance. It made him a great footballer, and also made him a massive idiot.
After scoring a winner against Middlesbrough from the penalty spot in December 2008, King went to London in the evening for a night out. He was then arrested for assault and City terminated his loan instantly, having already dealt internally with a fight between King and Dean Windass in a casino. He temporarily joined, of all teams, Middlesbrough and, still on bail, played against City in April 2009.
The vitriol aimed King’s way was incessant; you could tell that even the Middlesbrough fans weren’t exactly cock-a-hoop at having such a dubious character in their colours. However, when he scored the third goal in a 3-1 win (in which City were appalling) they cheered as loudly as at any other time. The goal was simple for a player of his talent, taking a loose ball as City left bodies up front and sliding it past Matt Duke with total authority.
The abuse he got from City fans as he celebrated, and then sauntered off the pitch victorious a few minutes later, was loud and long – and, as it turns out, justified, as he was eventually given 18 months for ABH and indecent assault, and was sacked by his parent club Wigan Athletic the moment his conviction was confirmed.
3: Andy Mason
This striker was nothing but insignificant to City fans who remember him clodding hopelessly about the pitch in the latter Terry Dolan era as neither use nor ornament prior to his departure early in the 1996/7 season, considered not good enough for City’s first campaign in the bottom tier for 13 years. He played ever so briefly for Chesterfield before joining Macclesfield, with whom he faced City in the first round of the 1997/98 League Cup.
The early stages of the competition were still two-legged affairs back then, and the opener at Moss Rose saw Mason subbed midway through the second half, his ineffectiveness summing up the goalless game itself. Two weeks later, he trotted on to the Boothferry Park pitch, giving off no air of superiority whatsoever, but still bundled in a 47th minute equaliser to Richard Peacock’s early strike.
Dumbfounded looks, guppy fish at feeding time, enveloped the old place, and extra time was ultimately required. As an away goal, Mason’s strike came within three minutes of winning the visitors the tie, only for Warren Joyce to grab a winner in the 117th minute. City went on to beat Crystal Palace, memorably, in the second round before losing at Newcastle in the third.
Mason, meanwhile, couldn’t make the grade even at Macclesfield, and started a long trawl around the non-league pyramid with Kettering at the end of that season. His goal at Boothferry Park was the only one he got for the Silkmen.
4: Stuart Pearson
It’s easy to argue a case for Pearson, a burly, fast-paced centre forward from Cottingham, as being the most successful player ever to begin his career with the Tigers. He played in four Wembley finals for two different clubs, winning a brace of FA Cups; he won two Second Division titles, again with two clubs; and was for a short period in the late Revie era of the England team, the first choice striker for his country.
The natural successor to Chris Chilton after the great man left in 1971, Pearson was never quite as prolific, taking stick from the terraces on occasion in the process, but impressed Tommy Docherty sufficiently during his brief tenure as assistant to Terry Neill for him to come back with a £200,000 offer in 1974 as manager of Manchester United.
Pearson was still in the Second Division when he moved to Old Trafford, courtesy of United’s infamous relegation the season before, and was part of a new broom of young, unproven but gifted footballers whom Docherty felt could define the remainder of the decade.
City hosted Manchester United in the autumn but Pearson missed the game, a 2-0 City win, due to injury. However, at Old Trafford in February 1975, Pearson scored one and made one for full back Stewart Houston as United ran out comfortable winners by an identical scoreline, and went on to win the Second Division title.
He was a runaway success at Old Trafford until 1979 when, with knee problems and Joe Jordan ahead of him in the pecking order, he joined West Ham United. He didn’t play against City again.
5: Alf Toward
The costliest goal by an ex-Tiger ever, explained in mesmerising detail here…