The five best Manchester City players before the takeover

It's no secret that Manchester City have become one of the biggest powers in world football. Since they got Qatari investment, the English club has managed to build an institution that has challenged and won every trophy available, making them one of the best teams in the world and having a group of players any squad would be envious of.

However, it wasn't always like that. Manchester City had decades usually sitting in mid-table or fighting for relegation, which is something that changed with the investment they got in recent times. So, before the money and the success, who were the best players in the club's history? Let's find out.

Richard Dunne
Richard Dunne (number 5) here struggling for the ball

5. Richard Dunne (2000-2009)

Irish defender Richard Dunne has often being brought up as a joke in social media as "the legend City had before the takeover", which is a shame because it undermines the legacy of a man that was their club captain and also one of their best players for almost a decade. And he was that during times of need.

Dunne was a massive player for City, playing consistently for the side, being their best players during a lot of different periods, and there have been claims that he was one of the main reasons they stayed up in the Premier League thanks to his contributions. And while that might not seem like a lot when compared to other players in recent years for the club, but the context of the institution has to be taken into account.

All in all, Richard Dunne was a very loyal servant to Manchester City, playing 352 matches, and being one of their greatest club captains, which is why he deserves a lot more respect and recognition.

4. Bert Trautmann (1949-1964)

German goalkeeper Bert Trautmann has arguably one of the most interesting stories in the history of football. Having served in World War II as a paratrooper for Nazi Germany, he was eventually captured and made a prisoner, although he was eventually set free after the war was over.

Trautmann started to live on a farm and play amateur football as a goalkeeper until he eventually proved to be good enough to make it as a professional. Long story short, he ended up signing for Manchester City in 1949, although not without his critics.

He was hated and booed during most of his early days at City, with fans failing to warm up to him because of his affiliation in the war, but he eventually proved his doubters wrong and became a legend for the club, having played 545 matches during his entire tenure at the club. In fact, he was so highly rated that Lev Yashin, the legendary goalkeeper of the Soviet Union, called him a "world-class goalkeeper".

One of those players that have been forgotten over the years at City, but one with a phenomenal story and journey in the game.

Joe Hart

3. Joe Hart (2006-2018)

This is a tricky one because Hart played most of his tenure with the Citizens during the Mansour years, but the truth of the matter is that he was signed from Shrewsbury Town in 2006, so he is a player since the days prior to the takeover.

Regardless, Hart is, after Ederson in recent years, the most prominent goalkeeper in City's modern history. He became a regular starter for the club prior to the takeover and added a lot of leadership and personality to a side that was in dire need of that. There weren't a lot of reasons to be excited for Manchester City in those years, but Hart made a name for himself as one of the most promising English goalkeepers at the time.

Of course, Hart would go on to play for City for almost a decade, winning multiple trophies, becoming a leader in the dressing room, and being a top performer in many different seasons, which is something worth taking into account. Even though manager Pep Guardiola showed him the exit during the latter's arrival in a less than ceremonious manner, Hart was a top-class performer for the club for a lot of years.

Due to how things have played out in recent years, Hart deserves to be on this list.

2. Georgi Kinkladze (1995-1998)

The Georgian playmaker is the very definition of cult hero, at least when it comes to Premier League players. However, he was a full-blown legend for Manchester City at a time when they were struggling a lot in the league and even got relegated to the third division of English football.

Be that as it may, signing Kinkladze was a step in the right direction. Georgi had played most of his career in Georgi, with short spells in Germany and a trial with Boca Juniors in Argentina (although he wasn't signed) in 1994, but it was his time with Manchester City where he really shined. This was the best period of his career and where he is most fondly remembered.

Kinkladze had a knack for scoring wonderful goals, had a diabolic left foot, and added that little bit of magic that a club like Manchester City was in dire need of. This is one of those players that need to be remembered a lot more often when it comes to this club before the takeover.

1. Colin Bell (1966-1979)

Colin Bell was one of the first true mavericks in English football, following the steps of Manchester United's George Best as the seventies' talented midfielder that had a knack for inconsistency, partying, and having a lot of charisma. He was one of the most talented players that City ever had before the takeover and one of the most loved by the supporters.

The thing that made Bell such a big figure at the club was the fact that he could have played in some of the best teams in the league and chose to stay there, constantly adding quality and entertainment for the club for almost fifteen years, which is saying a lot. And that is the kind of story that always need to be highlighted.
Nathan Annan is from South Africa and loves to write, and above all about his favorite sport, football. Nathan's interest in football was sparked late but after watching a few matches in his hometown of Johannesburg during the 2010 South Africa World Cup, he was hooked.