Before we had Jimmy Grimble we had Garry Flitcroft. At the age of 12 years old Garry re-enacted the scene from the movie before that scene had ever been written! The scene where the United scout come up to Jimmy and tells him he wants to offer him a trial at United and Jimmy says thanks but he's had a better offer. The scout looks at Grimble and says 'What could be better than United?' to which Jimmy replies 'City!'. I like to think that in 1984 that was EXACTLY how it happened when Flitcroft turned down United for City.
Ten years later, after a loan spell at Bury, he would be turning out for the Blues as a substitute against Oldham, a game that ended in a 3-3 draw in Peter Reids last full season as City boss. Flitcroft would end up making 28 League appearances during that season and finding himself on the scoresheet five times. They were very important goals as well with two being winning goals against Coventry and Forest and two others being the only goals in 1-1 draws with Liverpool and Villa, both of which would end up in the top six that season. City would end up 9th and that would be the best City would get while Flitcroft was there, although that was nothing to do with him, rather the catastrophic behind the scenes events of that time.
In fact Flitcroft would appear a total of 142 times for City, some as Captain and scored 13 goals. Thirteen is unlucky for some but also being the most profitable player in a team with financial difficulties. As a result, Flitcroft was sold to Blackburn for 3.5million in 1996. His last game for City was a 2-1 win against Southampton. City would get relegated that very season and go on to struggle in Division 1 before succumbing to Division 2 whereas Flitcroft went on to become Blackburn Captain, playing 248 times for them, scoring fourteen times and serving them for ten years.
Aged only 24 when he left City it is clear that had we not had financial troubles at that time then he certainly would have spent his best years at City. Just like a lot of our quality players around that time we brought them up, gave them their experience then allowed others to reap the rewards.
As is sometimes the case, great captains go on to manage and it was no different with Flitcroft. In 2009 he took on the job with Leigh but left again, like City, because of the clubs financial situation. It is alleged that he and several players hadn't been paid for some time and when he left he took a bunch of his old players too. Now he is manager of Chorley and recently taken them up to the Northern Premier League at the first time of asking. Currently they are third in the NPL although they have played more games than the other teams around them. Another Flitcroft is also involved with the club with Garrys youngest brother Steve playing for the side.
Written By: PA Cityboy (www.facebook.com/pacityboy)