Plenty of Manchester City fans have been recalling one of the most bizarre substitutions in the club’s history from 15 years ago today.
On 15 May 2005, they hosted Middlesbrough on the final day of the Premier League season, with both teams vying for a UEFA Cup berth. City had to win to qualify for Europe but were being held 1-1 as the clock struck 88 minutes. [via mancity.com]
The stage seemed set for £5m striker Jon Macken to be deployed from the bench to find the crucial winner, but then-City manager Stuart Pearce had other ideas. Off came midfielder Claudio Reyna, to be replaced by…goalkeeper Nicky Weaver, with on-field number one David James sensationally utilised as an auxiliary forward. [via mancity.com]
Which of these Man City moments was the most bizarre?
James playing outfield
Why always me?
As if that wasn’t dramatic enough, James was involved in the incident which led to City winning a stoppage time penalty, taken by Robbie Fowler. Unfortunately, a weak effort from the ex-Liverpool striker was easily saved by Mark Schwarzer and Middlesbrough clinched the final European spot at the home team’s expense. [via mancity.com]
These Manchester City fans on Twitter looked back on Pearce’s shock decision to play James up front on an “entertaining” afternoon at the Etihad Stadium:
I was there. The ball hit the side netting when Fowler took the pen, and I jumped off my seat thinking it had gone in. I then went to sit back down and missed my seat. Summed up the day really. https://t.co/DPuFQnHrPd
— Steph Brawn (@BrawnJourno) May 15, 2020
Stuart Pearce was mental he had like his record signing striker on the Bench but he opts for the goalkeeper 😂😂 https://t.co/P3clHmI3CY
— Harry Butcher (@HarryButch98_) May 15, 2020
Oh to have been in Jon Macken's head when this happened https://t.co/yLACBj5fL9
— Jay Leno's son* (@omarmcfc01) May 15, 2020
I was there. At least it was entertaining.
— Miles Grady (@milesgrady) May 15, 2020
The worst managerial decision ever!!
— ian blair (@blairyib) May 14, 2020
I hate that the outfield strip was ready for him
— Doug (@DougStewart_) May 14, 2020
Man City fans, what did you make of James being used as an emergency striker that day 15 years ago? Comment below with your thoughts!
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