When you think of great Manchester City Goalkeepers of the past then the first two names off the tongue may be Frank Swift and Bert Trautmann. Younger fans may look to Nicky Weaver, certainly his iconic run the length of Wembley in the Division 2 Playoff finals leaves somewhat of an impression.
Thirty one years ago today though, another legend hung up his gloves, and made his last appearance for City. Joe Corrigan took up his position between the posts for the first time in a League Cup tie against Blackpool. The seasiders took City to a replay after Joe let the ball go through his legs for a Blackpool goal, that would be uncharacteristic of Joe. Joe again started and this time the City team prevailed away from home, 2-0.
That would be the last for Corrigan for exactly seventeen months when he would start in a League game against Ipswich. Joe was never seen as a long term solution for City and it was actually a few years before Corrigans full potential would be recognised. In fact Joes City career seemed to be coming to an end when City signed Keith McRae but would fight back and get his place back into the starting lineup. This was in large part down to Joes determination and the help of Malcolm Allison who worked closely with Joe setting a harsh regime which encompassed everything from improving his goalkeeping skills to weight control.
In fact Corrigan would be starting for City over 600 times over the course of his career at City that would span almost 16 years and for five seasons starting August 1975 he only missed one game, notching up 209 appearances. He was a big man and a good handler of the ball and great shot stopper however he could be aerobatic when needed also. Corrigan won two League Cup and a European Cup Winners Cup medal. Joe was also on the payroll, although not on the field, for City's 1969 FA Cup Final.
He left City for America and the Seattle Sounders in 1983 before eventually returning to England with Brighton then Norwich and Stoke, both the latter on loan deals.
When he returned to play Manchester City as a Brighton player he was labelled a traitor by some supporters. This was due to the fact that he had left City during their relegation season but with how much he gave for City at his time there, you can see that was unfair and untrue.
In the FA's 100th running of the FA Cup Final in 1981 Joe was voted Man Of The Match, but am sure would have swapped that for a win that day and avoid the replay, although he would get another Man of the Match award in that one too!
In fact, one of his greatest saves also came in another FA Cup game against Leeds when he turned, mid air, to parry a shot over the bar. In the late 1970's and early 1980's it was Corrigan's determined performances that kept City in games and in 2004 he was inducted into the Manchester City Hall Of Fame. The following year, the official magazine held a poll to find City's best keeper, which Joe won.
Corrigan played for England while at City with his only defeat coming against Scotland. Despite his undoubted skill he found himself short on International caps, just nine, as the other two keepers in the country at the time were Ray Clemance and Peter Shilton. He retired in 1985 when whilst playing against QPR on their artificial turf he received a serious neck injury. Howard Kendall did bring the City Legend back to his home in a role as City's goalkeeping coach, although when Peter Reid took over Corrigan once more found himself leaving City again.