On this day in 1942 a City legend was born in Preston. Mike Summerbee was the son of George and nephew of Gordon who all played professionally, albeit at lower league clubs. Mikes father George played at Preston but really in truth only completed a handful of first team games. Sadly George died at the young age of 40 in 1955 and would never see Mike reach the heights with City that he did.
We all know what he did on the pitch for City, lifting the League title, FA Cup, League Cup, European Cup Winners Cup and Charity Shield on two occasions in what was the era known for arguably its most gifted trio of 'Bell, Lee and Summerbee'
Nicknamed 'Buzzer' he was a bit of a practical joker and also a little bit of a temper. Team mates described him as a retaliate first guy. What is for sure is that he would always say when he didn't think something was right. The most recent example of this was after the Manchester derby at Old Trafford in the league meeting February 2010. After Jamie Redknapp and Dwight Yorke were gushing over United Mike piped up and questioned if he was right and there were actually two teams out there, as they'd only talked about one. He then went on to make the prediction of the century that no one until now has picked up on. The legend that is Buzzer stated early on that United 'will be looking over their shoulder because Man city are there' and continued later 'but we'll come here and we'll take them apart one day'. Well that one day was 23rd October 2011.
Outside of football though he did have several business ventures, one of the higher profiled one was a menswear business co-owned with United legend George Best. Mike is also one a couple of City players to star alongside Pele, Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine in the German POW film 'Escape To Victory'. He was in a documentary about Swindon Town in 1963 and 'Saturdays Heroes' about City. The Summerbees (Mick, Nick and George) were the subject of a Colin Shindler book called 'Fathers, Sons and Football' which is a good read for anyone interested in the Summerbees.
Mikes son, Nicky also followed in his fathers footsteps starting his career at Swindon before moving to City. However any thoughts that City had of another Summerbee led succesful City were short lived as both the club and player failed to live up to expectations and he moved on.
Mike, however, is still involved at Manchester City and makes appearances on the field for the club. He was there with Book and Lee to see City lift the FA Cup trophy and win the Premier League and as Club Ambassador his contribution to the club now is more low key than it was in the heady days of his playing career, however as you could tell from his appearance on Sky Sports a couple of seasons ago, his heart and passion for the club is still as intense as it has ever been.
Written By: PA Cityboy (www.facebook.com/pacityboy)