A sizeable number of ex-City footballers down the years have been less than choosy regarding the company they keep when making other career decisions, hence why they have ended up at Leeds United. Still, the usual interest in the trip to Elland Road on Saturday cajoles us into reminding you of some of them. You’ll find here no Bremner nor Barmby, no Revie nor Mills – their involvement with both clubs is well documented enough. In the end, we narrowed it down after a bit of dawdling, and settled on these five…
1: Michael Bridges
Unquestionably a brilliant footballer and few would argue that the ruination of his career by injury was a genuine misfortune for not just the player himself, but for the game, as high things were expected of him when he burst on to the scene at Sunderland, prior to becoming one of the many big-name signings at Elland Road that would cause such excitement.
A product of the Wallsend Boys Club that yielded so many professionals, Bridges was an ice cool finisher but his ruthlessness in front of goal belied a real gift on the ball; two-footed, visionary, intricate and incisive, it was hard not to admire from afar, not least because his height – 6ft 1in – made him unusually tall for such a natural and cultured player. At Leeds, who made £5m for him, he was a revelation with a 19-goal debut season at the age of just 21 as a rejuvenated outfit finished third in the top tier and made deep inroads into European competition.
Then it happened.
In a European tie against Beşiktaş, aged still only 22, Bridges suffered an impossibly broken ankle which, there and then, ruined his high level prospects forever. Over four years he had numerous abortive comebacks with Leeds, with fresh injuries coming as a side order to the original one. Loan moves and a free transfer duly followed. In the end, it was in the less salubrious surroundings of Carlisle United where he began to build a “big fish, small pond” career, knowing his chances of playing top tier football again were nil.
Bridges was excellent at Carlisle, making an immediate impact and scoring plenty of goals, despite only staying nine months. That was when City came in with £350,000 for him in August 2006, one of two strikers signed by new manager Phil Parkinson.
He took a little while to settle, but nobody who ventured to Leicester on an autumnal evening will forget his spectacular long-range goal that earned City – and Parkinson – a first win, but injuries again got in the way and yet again, his potential went unfulfilled. When Phil Brown took over, he questioned Bridges’ attitude a lot. In almost three years on City’s books, he started just nine league games and scored just two league goals. For all of his clubs, Bridges was a classic case of what could have been.
2: Chris Galvin
England youth international who came through the ranks at Leeds in the 1960s but only played seven times in the league due to something of a strong, self-selecting midfield at the time.
He joined City in 1973 and stayed for six years, being one of the mainstays of a featureless, watertreading, barren decade that saw few flirtations with the top flight before a lousy relegation in 1978.
Galvin was never anything but a good, consistent footballer, but his stellar contribution to matches is always headed by memories of the two-step movement – the Galvin shuffle – he used to regularly deploy on opponents, not always successfully, which would often be more entertaining and darkly humorous than anything the team could achieve at the time.
He had a loan spell at York in 1976 which saw him score six goals, more than half his eventual league total for City, and he was given a free transfer towards the end of the 1978/79 season.
As he disappeared from view, his younger brother Tony was just starting to make inroads at Tottenham Hotspur, with whom he’d win domestic and European silverware.
3: Rui Marques
The Angolan defender was an import from Portuguese side Maritimo, joining Leeds in 2005 as a 27 year old. Yet his league debut in England was with City, whom he joined on loan in March 2006 as Peter Taylor’s side sought reinforcements in an awkward first season back in the second tier for 15 seasons. Marques played in the centre of a five-man defence at Ipswich as City drew 1-1, then got injured in training and went straight back to Leeds. His league debut for the club that actually purchased him came on New Years Day 2007, 18 months after his arrival, and he was part of a incredulously useless side that was relegated to League One that season, amid the chaos of the Bates regime and a ten-point administration penalty.
Marques stayed at Leeds until 2010, making 90 league appearances, and it’s safe to say his time at Elland Road isn’t remembered awfully fondly.
4: Ken DeMange
Uncompromising Irish international midfielder who emerged from the Home Farm academy of productivity to join Liverpool without getting a sniff of their first team, despite a debut for his country against Brazil, so went to Leeds in 1987. He had one season there, scored within seven minutes of his senior debut against Manchester City, and then left six months later when Brian Horton forked out a few quid for him to come to Boothferry Park.
There was something vaguely heroic about DeMange, who despite his Liverpool pedigree never looked like a properly comfortable footballer but was never slow in the tackle, earning him a hard man tag that got him into the side in 1988/89 under Eddie Gray, who remembered him from Leeds and kept his own signing Lee Warren out of the team. DeMange featured against his former Liverpool team-mates in the famous FA Cup fifth round tie of 1988/89 and played for four City managers in total before leaving in 1991 after relegation. Disillusioned, he retired on the spot aged just 26 to return to Ireland, before his London-based partner, an air stewardess, persuaded him to apply for a job as a baggage handler at Heathrow.
5: Andy Williams
Much-travelled midfielder who didn’t turn pro until he was 23 after a long induction to adult football via the non-league game, but afterwards had a consistent, if rather nomadic career in which City was his seventh different club.
Spells at Coventry and Rotherham led him to Leeds in 1988 where he was an unsung but trusted midfield runner as Howard Wilkinson’s side eventually won promotion back to the top flight after an eight year absence.
Like many other players of that side, he was regarded as dispensable when the new season began (see also Vinnie Jones) and he played for four different clubs in three years before joining City in 1995.
Injury initially kept him out of the team, but in the wretched 1995/96 side that hurtled unstoppably towards relegation to the bottom division he was a rare figure of reliability within a side of next to no character at all.
He was freed at the end of that season and went to Scarborough before going back to where it all started in the non-league game.
He later became a rent collector and financial adviser.