Two seasons ago, England goalkeeper Joe Hart was relieved of his Number One jersey at City and replaced by a combination of Willy Cabellero and Claudio Bravo. The reasoning behind Guardiola’s decision was that he wanted a keeper that was good with his feet and could play the ball from the back. Sadly that didn’t happen as a series of mistakes by Bravo assisted the blues to a trophyless season.
Aiming to rectify the situation, Guardiola made the decision to break the transfer record for a goalkeeper and spend £35m on Ederson. The Brazilian made an immediate impact, solidifying the defence and playing the ball out from the back in the style Guardiola envisioned when he replaced Hart. And Ederson also claimed an assist against Huddersfield in August, when his direct ball set up Sergio Aguero to score the opening goal.
In total, the Brazilian kept seventeen clean sheets in the Premier League as City walked to the league title, and was a key player in City’s incredible winning streak and unbeaten run that remained intact until January. This included taking a kick in the face against Liverpool and making a double save at Old Trafford, where he saved a shot with his face.
But could Ederson to be ranked alongside some of the great keepers to grace the club? Let’s take a look at some of the other amazing keepers that stood between the sticks over the years
Frank Swift spent 17 years at Maine Road. Born in Blackpool, he joined City in 1933 as the blues beat off competition from Blackpool, Blackburn and Bradford for his signature. As is often the norm with new keepers, Swift conceded four goals on his debut, and also let in seven at West Brom.
In 1934, Swift was part of the City team that beat Stoke City 1-0 in an FA Cup tie at maine Road, which attracted a record crowd of 84,569 supporters, which is still a record attendance for a football match outside of Wembley. The blues FA Cup run also saw record gate receipts for the FA Cup semi- final, which the blues won 6-1 against Aston Villa. Swift played in the final against Portsmouth and decided against wearing gloves for the match, given the fact that the pitch was wet. At half-time, Portsmouth led and Swift blamed himself for not wearing gloves. Striker Fred Tilson told Swift he would score two in the second half and win the match. True to his word, Tilson did indeed score two goals and the bleus won 2-1. The result caused Swift to faint after the match, but recovered to receive his winners medal.
Following his retirement, Swift went into journalism, and went to Belgrade to cover Manchester United’s European Cup tie at Red Star Belgrade. Swift tragically lost his life on 6th February 1958, when the plane carrying the Manchester United team, along with Swift, crashed on take-off from Munich. Rest in Peace Frank – City legend.
If ever there is a name synonymous with goalkeeping at City, it is Bert Trautmann. The big German was a originally a prisoner of war after being part of the Luftwaffe during WW2. After the war, Trautmann refused to be repatriated with his native Germany, preferring to stay in England and the North West. He joined the blues in 1949 and suffered jeers wherever he played. His performances eventually won the nation over, and he achieved legendary status in the 1956 FA Cup final. With the blues 3-1 up, he bravely dived at the feet of the onrushing Birmingham City striker and made the save. Trautmann got to his feet and played on, making further saves to deny Brum further goals. It was only a few days after the blues lifter the trophy that it was discovered Trautmann had broken his neck in the challenge, and had played on unknowingly.
Trautmann left the blues in 1964 after 15 years service, making 545 appearances for City.
Joe Corrigan joined the blues in 1967 as understudy to Harry Dowd. The big 6’ 4” keeper had to wait for his chance, which finally arrived in 1969 following City’s FA Cup triumph over Leicester. The local boy then firmly established himself as City’s number one, winning the European Cup Winners Cup and League Cup in his debut season. Corrigan also won the League Cup in 1976 and was part of the team that lost the FA Cup final in 1981.
Corrigan made his England debut against Italy in 1976 and won 9 capos in total. He was part of England’s World Cup campaign in Spain 1982, but Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence were above the City man in the pecking order. After sixteen years and 476 appearances, Big Joe made the move stateside and joined Seattle Sounders for the princely sum of £30k
Widely referred to as the best goalkeeper never to play for England, City signed Tony Coton from Watford for just under £1m in 1990 by then manager Howard Kendall. At the time, he was one of the most expensive keepers signed by a British club. Coton started his career at Birmingham, making 94 appearances for the blues, before moving to Watford in 1984 for £300,000. Coton made a name for himself as the Hornet’s number one, making 233 appearances for the Hertfordshire club.
In his first two season, the blues finished fifth in Division One, but ninth in the inaugural Premier League season. The blues continued to drop down the league under successive managers, but Coton remained as the number one keeper. Coton was sent off in a match at home to Derby County in 1991 after bringing down County striker Dean Saunders in the penalty area. Coton protested but still received his marching orders. For the record, Niall Quinn went in goal and saved the subsequent penalty as the blues won 2-1 to relegate Derby. Coton’s career was cut short with injury in 1995, and he subsequently moved across town to join United for £500k.
Who would you have on the list of great City keepers? Let us know your thoughts.