After two seasons away from the club, Joe Hart has finally made a permanent move away from the blues after he signed for Burnley for £3.5m.
Hart had loan spells at Torino and West Ham after finding himself out of favour under new boss Pep Guardiola. The Spaniard then came under fire from fans and pundits alike for what was seen as forcing the England international from the club. And that criticism was compounded as Hart’s replacement, Claudio Bravo, made a series of mistakes which lead to some demanding Hart return to the club. Pep however, stood by his decision and signed Ederson last summer, a move that all but confirmed Hart wouldn’t play for the club again.
From all at Bitter and Blue, best of luck at Burnley Joe.
But Hart isn’t the first fan favourite to lose his place at the club. Here, we take a look at some other fan favourites who left the club against the fans wishes.
Ian Bishop and Trevor Morley – 1989
When Howard Kendall arrived at Maine Road in 1989, the blues were struggling in Division One and faced the possibility of relegation after just one season back. Kendall’s first foray into the transfer market saw him make a move for West Ham winger Mark Ward. With finances short, Kendall decided to swap Bishop and Morley for the winger, a move that angered the Maine Road faithful. Bishop had become a key part of City’s midfield after moving from Bournemouth in the summer, while Morley had scored a last minute equaliser at Bradford the previous season to send City up. The fans eventually took to Ward and the winger played his part in ensuring City’s survival.
Andy Hinchcliffe – 1990
The home-grown left back was a popular figure at Maine Road. Making his debut against Plymouth Argyle in 1987, Hinchcliffe was part of a young City team that caught the attention of the league’s top clubs. City had resisted all attempts from the big clubs to sign their youngsters, but it was Kendall again that ended another City career when he sold the full-back to Everton. Kendall himself returned to Everton the following season and sold him again to Sheffield Wednesday.
Peter Reid – 1993
Peter Reid was player/manager at the start of the season, having been installed as boss when Howard Kendall returned to Everton. Reid was a popular manager with the fans, and had turned City in an attacking, exciting side that was finishing high in the league and even above neighbours United. City had started the season by drawing at home to Leeds, then losing at Everton and Spurs, both 1-0. Then chairman Peter Swales brought in John Maddock as general manager, and when City lost 2-0 at home to Blackburn, Maddock’s first job was to dismiss the City manager. The angry fans called for blood and demanded Swales and Maddock quit the club, and they finally got their wish when Swales resigned, allowing Francis Lee to take control.
David White – 1993
Although sometimes a frustrating player on the City wing, White had made himself a cult hero at Maine Road. One of the fastest players to play for the blues, White could skin almost any left back in the league. So it was something of a surprise when in December 1993, the winger moved to Leeds in exchange for David Rocastle. Although the former Arsenal man showed glimpses of his obvious talent, he would never replace the speedy winger and left the club at the end of the season.
Shaun Goater – 2003
The Goat had been a big part of City’s rise from the Third Division and had achieved legend status at Maine Road, but it wasn’t his departure that angered City fans. When he left, it was clear that Goater couldn’t keep with the pace of the Premier League and he moved to Reading for £500,000. However it was rumoured that if Goater played a certain amount of games for Reading that the Berkshire club would be forced to pay an add-on to the blues based on appearances. Goater played 43 times for Reading and the perceived lack of respect by his new club is was annoyed the City faithful.
Shaun Wright-Phillips – 2005
SWP was another home-grown attacker who had become a firm fan favourite over the years. His performances continued to attract the attention of the league’s top clubs, and the fans knew a big bid for the youngster was imminent. Arsenal made their move and offered £20m, which the club rejected, holding out for a better offer. Blues fans knew SWP would leave during the summer and expected the club to play hard ball. So when the board accepted a Chelsea offer of £21m, the fans were left outraged. Just an extra £1m for their star player had secured his transfer, and his move to the capital was confirmed.
Nigel de Jong – 2012
The blues had just won the title on the last day of the season, and part of the reason behind the title success was the tough tackling Dutch midfielder. But while the fans were looking to the club to strengthen, the board received a bid of just £3m for the City star. His sale on transfer deadline day to AC Milan rocked the fans, who spent most of the season chanting his name and demanding his return. To make it worse, the blues didn’t sign a replacement of nearly enough quality, meaning City lost the league title and cost Mancini his job.
Alvaro Negredo – 2015
The Spanish striker had joined the blues in 2014 and was an instant hit with the fans. Nicknamed The Beast, Negredo was scoring for fun in the first half of the season, and his work rate made him a instant favourite. A shoulder injury ruled him out at the start of 2015, but when he returned to the City line up, Negredo never regained his form. The fans wanted to give him another opportunity the following season, but he was loaned to Valencia and subsequently sold to the club.
Is there any fan favourites not on this list? Let us know who you hated to see leave the club.