Manchester City go into the final day of the Premier League season in a commanding position to become champions for a sixth time in 11 years.
Success and trophies are now second nature to the blue half of Manchester, but that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, just over 20 years ago they were relegated to the First Division after finishing 18th despite having an impressive team under Joe Royal.
Having only gone up the year before after back-to-back promotions, spirits were high at Maine Road. But inconsistent form saw the Sky Blues slide down the table, eventually going down along with Coventry and Bradford.
Having been condemned to the second tier by Ipswich Town, City played their final game of the 2000/01 season at home to Chelsea. Daily Star Sport looks at the starting XI from that 2-1 defeat and what happened to them, along with some notable mentions.
GK: Carlo Nash
Nash is a name many probably remember reading on the subs bench more than the starting XI, and this was the case in this doomed season with Nicky Weaver normally preferred.
Nash become the club’s joint-no. 1 in the First Division and flittered between top and second tier with a number of clubs before hanging up his glove in 2014. Weaver stayed on at Maine Road until 2007 despite becoming back-up, eventually retiring in the same year as Nash.
RB: Richard Edghill
Edghill was another usual back-up given a rare start in this game, with the long-time City servant coming towards the end of his Sky Blues career at this stage. Laurent Charvet had been brought in for £ 1m as Edghill’s replacement the previous summer, but he underwhelmed, and actually retired not long after.
CB: Richard Dunne
Dunne was in his first season at the club when City got relegated, and he stuck by them, spending nearly 10 years at Maine Road and then the City of Manchester Stadium.
The man with the most own goals in Premier League history (probably wouldn’t remind him of that) and joint-most red cards, Dunne played in the top flight until 2015 with Aston Villa and QPR.
CB: Steve Howey
Another man in his debut season at the club, Howey was the joint-second most used player by Joe Royle in this campaign, along with Danny Tiatto. Howey chopped in with six goals too, sticking by City despite the drop.
Spencer Prior and Paul Ritchie both had plenty of game time at the back this season.
LB: Danny Granville
Ex-Chelsea man Granville was the club’s left-back for most of the season, and it looked as though he would stick by them in the First Division. However, that December Granville joined Crystal Palace, where he stayed for six years until he was done at the top level.
CM: Gerard Wiekens
Able to operate as a center-back, Wiekens played in the midfield-three against Chelsea, no doubt with Royle trying to add a little more steel into the middle of the park.
Wiekens had a rollercoaster time at City, being either relegated or promoted in each one before returning to boyhood Dutch club Veendam 2004 for the final five years of his career.
CM: Jeff Whitley
Youth academy graduate Whitley was no stranger to going down with City, and eventually joined Sunderland in 2003 after seven years at City.
This season proved to be Whitley’s only year in the Premier League as he joined Cardiff and Wrexham before hanging up his boots in 2008. Unfortunately, Whitley struggled with alcohol and drugs, but he now works for the PFA as a qualified counsellor.
CM: Mark Kennedy
A regular down the left, Kennedy struggled to live up to the billing at City, and joined the Wolves in the summer that followed relegation, becoming a bit of a journeyman in the second tier.
Alfie Haaland was perhaps more accustomed to play in central-midfield than Kennedy, but was not picked for this game.
FW: Paul Dickov
The first of an iconic front three, Dickov started less games than usual this term, with Darren Huckerby and Shaun Wright-Phillips now vying for spots.
Dickov left for Leicester after falling behind the former in the pecking order the following February, but returned years later, albeit unsuccessfully.
FW: Shaun Goater
A real fan-favorite at Maine Road, Goater was the club’s top scorer this season with 11, which might explain why they went down.
Goater actually works as a youth coach at City now, having returned to Bermuda towards the end of his career which he drew to a close in 2010.
ST: Paulo Wanchope
Iconic Costa Rican Wanchope was unable to prevent City from the drop this season, but did help them achieve promotion the next year, and stayed until 2004 before moving to Malaga.
A world tour ensued for Wanchope, who played in Japan, Qatar and Argentina before ending his career in the MLS.