I grew up on the south coast and then lived on the east coast of Scotland from 1965-69, so I saw very little of Nijinski and can’t add anything meaningful to the comparison. However, the awe in which he is held by those who did see him play speaks for itself. Only Bert Trautmann would seem to be held in anything like the same degree of esteem.
Despite being a lifelong City supporter I wasn’t settled in close enough proximity to Maine road to get to many matches before we moved to mid-Wales and my work was based in Salford Quays in 1992. We bought season tickets for the 1993/4 season when the 7-year-old Alphonso Jr in his pre-Trained Killer period hadn’t even dreamed of his first judo kit.. In the last 25 years I have missed relatively few home games and attended around a hundred or so away games which still leaves me a long way short of Slashers total!
It’s fair to say that the first 15 years of that was not a golden era for our club and the good times tended to be more about glorious promotions than the subsequent season ignominious relegation/s. Pre 1992 I had little animosity towards the United supporters. Those that I knew were non-Mancs of course, but so was I. It wasn’t until I worked in Manchester and attended all home games and a fair few away games too that I came to despise the smug superiority by association that epitomises their serried ranks of foreign legionnaires.
So despite many years a dedicated supporter I have but one player prior to the current regime and three since that have the quality that stands comparison with the best.
My warmest affection is held for AliB, because he came at a time when we our situation was pretty grim. A lot of money had been spent on the new Kippax whilst the quality of the playing staff sank to an all time mediocrity. KK raised the heads a bit and that promotion season, when we saw how a real footballer performed and transformed those around him, was AliB’s swan song. There is no doubt in my mind that had France Football not been managed by a racist moron and Ali B had been a couple of years younger when he arrived at Maine Road, he would have been up there with the very best to have pulled on the City shirt.
It is difficult to separate Sergio Aguero and David Silva because IMO they are both all time City greats. I put Merlin on the pedestal because he is unique in his ability to protect the ball whilst continuing to be fully aware of all around him. It is on Merlin and Yaya that Pellegrini was able to build his possession based strategy which Pep Guardiola has taken to a different level. Kun is a great all round attacking player with a clinical eye for goal, and he deserves the legend status he will carry when he retires from City, but Merlin is one of a kind, genuinely unique.
I love what I see from KDB, I have liked him from the start and my admiration for his style and all round ability has grown as Pep has developed his skillset and turned him into the player who now dominates the tactics and who is impossible to take out of the game without the use of violence which we will no doubt see attempted in the December derby. For him to rise above Merlin he needs to add longevity and consistency, both of which he is more than capable, and he needs a bit of luck that neither Kun or Merlin had, and that would be a couple of CL finals, maybe a win and a successful dominant run in the WC with Belgium leading to a Ballon d’Or.
Colin Bell was outstanding with some very good players around him. Merlin, Kun and KDB are going to have to be a level better than him if any of them are to equal let alone surpass the esteem in which Nijinski is rightly held. The timing is good for Kevin, he could do it, if he does we will have some great times watching it happen.
I think it’s a bit early for me but if he continues to perform at this level, then no question.
I heard something that made me laugh yesterday. It was what someone thought Maureen would be saying, making reference to that famous line from Jaws “I think we’re gonna need a bigger bus”. Made me laugh anyway.
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