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Royle Autobiography - part 1.

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Seemingly, not a week goes by without another football autobiography hitting the shelves and the latest one to do so provides plenty of interest as far as City are concerned.
Joe Royle - The Autobiography is now in the shops and looking at the some of the extracts that have been published it does the lift the lid on plenty behind the scenes at City in what was a turbulent and eventful few years under his stewardship - covering relegation, the Wembley play-off win and successive promotion to the Premiership before it all turned sour with relegation from the Premiership which resulted in his dismissal.
The two main issues of interest to City fans will undoubtedly be the handling of Kinkladze and the issues regarding Royle being sacked.
Today I'll look at the Kinkladze issue and tomorrow the reasons and manner in which he Royle was forced out of City.
In fairness to Royle, he has never done a u-turn on why Kinkladze was sold and has always taken responsibility for the decision when he could have easily pointed the finger at a board who were undoubtedly desperate for money at that time. He never wavered from it being a decision based purely on footballing reasons.
"I had quickly made up my mind that I simply would not be able to lead City out of the wilderness with Kinkladze in the side," he states in the chapter 'Back In Business'.
"When I arrived at the club Georgi was the most popular player in the fans' eyes since City greats like Colin Bell, Francis Lee, and Mike Summerbee 25-years earlier. He had become THE reason the fans still turned up in their tens of thousands and therein lay the root of the problem. I wasn't blind to what lay behind our supporters' worship at the throne of King Kinky - in the long dark days at Maine Road he was a shining beacon who lit up the gloom with his flashes of genius".
Royle then goes onto explain the precise reason Kinkladze was sold:
"The straight answer is for the good of the team because Gio Kinkladze was not a team player. Gio had a disturbing habit of disappearing for long periods during games. That was especially the case when the team was playing away from home."
Apparantly, the defeat away to Port Vale near the end of the season (relegation from division 1) resulted in Royle telling Kinkladze he would never again play for the side.
Kinky though was an icon, a hero and a player who ignited dreams. I have never seen a player like him and neither Bernarbia or SWP (of more recent times) come close in my eyes to what he could achieve. Even now, seeing clips of him playing or remembering a particular move or goal can can still bring shivers down your spine. Royle is right - HE was the reason fans turned up and when he was sold that reason and that hope was taken away. THAT is the reason why I (and many more) can never forget that that was taken away from us.
There are many who feel that Royle was right to get rid of Kinky and that they way in which the club re-bounded with a stronger work and team ethic is testament to that but for me if Royle could have only added the players he did around Kinkladze then we could have become an even better side and it may have ultimately kept himself in a job.