Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Manchester City Legends: Shaun "The Goat" Goater

Shaun Goater. If you are my age, then Goater was, and probably still is,  the best player...EVER! Joe Royle bought the former, and underused (well, he didn't play once!), Manchester United player from Bristol City for £400, 000. I know right? City wouldn't pay so small for such a great player! Hehe. He came to us at a point where we were facing relegation. Despite scoring a few goals during the last parts of the season we were still relegated.

It was always the same in our household. Before we had Sky Sports News, we would have BBC Radio GMR on really loud from the kitchen and have the Ceefax page for football goals on in the background and the lot of us (well, back then there were only 3 of us sisters rather than 5!) would listen intently. And we all knew that Goater, who we then called "The Goat", was something special. 

The next season, 1998-1999, City were in Division 2. This was the lowest the club ever got to. The Goat continued to impress us, scoring an epic 21 goals. And, if you're at all privy to the history of Man City at the time, you'll know that we got through to the play-offs and... well, read it here. I will go as far to say that it was one of the best moments of my childhood. He may not have scored in that match, but he certainly played a big role in the run-up.

The next season, 1999-2000, he was even impressive. At this point, we had a song for him: "Feed the Goat and He Will Score". 29 goals! 29! And he scored the equalizer that led us to the Premiership. I clearly remember that very day. I couldn't watch the match because I was doing a rehearsal for Stockport's Our Town Story, to be shown at the Millennium Dome that November. Each day of the year was dedicated to a different town and the children had to play out their town's history in dance. That rehearsal, an epic 6-hour one went so slowly. And I watched the match that evening which my mother taped. 

Then after that its all a blur. We were relegated, again, back to Division 1 and slowly Goater was getting left out of the first team...until Kevin Keegan came in and he became the first player since Francis Lee in 1972 to score more than 30 goals in 1 season. Absolutely epic stuff! Unfortunately the arrival of Nicolas Anelka (ah! you forgot he once played for City before Chelsea didn't you?) saw his chances at playing in the first team severly limited.  In total Goater scored 103 goals in 212 appearances for Manchester City. After playing at several other clubs since his departure, he retired while playing for Southend in 2006. 400 Manchester City fans went to that match to mark the occasion. He went to the Manchester Derby a while back and expressed interest in working at City as coach. The picture above is a poster I have on my wall. It looks weird next to the Serenity, Star Wars and Planet Terror crap I have all over the place but suffice to say... it is my favourite.

To me, he is a reminder of a time when it wasn't all about the money. Don't get me wrong, there is still plenty of passion and tension in the beautiful game. But is it turning into a money game? Time will only tell.