“It is difficult to take whenever you lose. But, when you lose like this, it is awful.”
The words of a disconsolate Sven-Goran Eriksson who’d just seen his Man City side humbled 8-1 by Middlesbrough in the last game of the 2007/08 Premier League season.
Middlesbrough had five different goalscorers, including a hat-trick from the spaghetti legged Afonso Alves, but we’re not interested in the winners.
There’s nothing that strips a footballer to his core like a brutal defeat. So where are the City squad now?
Goalkeeper: Andreas Isakson
Isakson signed off in style by conceding eight goals in his final City appearance.
He joined PSV to replace Heurelho Gomes in a deal that was presumably arranged before the Boro game and stayed in Holland for four seasons.
A move to Turkish side Kasimpasa followed before he re-joined Swedish outfit Djurgaden. With 133 caps for Sweden and ten Swedish Goalkeeper of the Year awards he’s not done too badly for himself.
Right-back: Sun Jihai
Sun Jihai is officially English footballing royalty.
He was inducted into the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame alongside Bobby Moore, Dennis Bergkamp, George Best and other certified greats.
No arguments from us. Who can forget that legendary season with Chongqing Lifan, or that goal he scored for Guizhou Renhe? What a player.
Centre-back: Richard Dunne
It’s a travesty that a Premier League record holder was forced to retire via the programme notes of Ireland’s match with Bosnia.
By then he had ensured his tally of ten own goals was unlikely to be beaten any time soon, especially with net botherer Martin Skrtel moving to Turkey.
Stints at Aston Villa, where he was named in the 2010 PFA Team of the Year, and QPR followed his ten-year spell in Manchester.
Centre-back: Vedran Corluka
Another who never pulled on a City shirt again.
Corluka established himself as a classy if somewhat error prone defender at Spurs, Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow, where he’s still playing.
Left-back: Michael Ball
Ball can look back on his career with pride.
Not only did he play once for England, replacing Chris Powell at half-time against Spain, he also played three cup games for future Premier League winners Leicester.
They were still in the Championship, but who’s reading the small print?
Midfield: Javier Garrido
Garrido hung about at City for a while until Roberto Mancini decided enough was enough and sold him to Lazio.
His claim to fame is being part of Spain Under-19’s European Championship winning side of 2004, alongside Sergio Ramos, David Silva, Juanfran and Roberto Soldado.
He ended his career at Cypriot side AEK Larnaca- once home to double Champions League winner Ivan Campo.
Midfield: Gelson Fernandes
Sven-Goran Eriksson couldn’t get enough of the tough tackling Swiss midfielder, signing him for Leicester when he was manager in 2011.
His finest moment came when he scored the winner against Spain in the 2010 World Cup.
He’s settled at Eintracht Frankfurt while his cousin Edimilson is trying to make his mark at West Ham.
Midfield: Stephen Ireland
Swung wildly between the best midfielder in the Premier League and a forgettable bench warmer.
When he’s good, he’s very good, but when he’s bad… you get the idea.
He was part of the deal that saw James Milner leave Aston Villa for City, before moving to Stoke where he’s currently
Midfield: Martin Petrov
Petrov went from winning the hallowed Intertoto Cup with Atletico Madrid to getting stuffed 8-1 with City in a year.
He survived the cull that came with City’s new money for a while before joining Bolton in 2010.
One season in La Liga, with Espanyol, was followed by a final season back in Bulgaria with CSKA Sofia.
Benjani was one of the first players to join City’s revolution under Thaksin Shinawatra’s free spending. No wonder he didn’t last long.
It was a deal which nearly failed to happen when Benjani fell asleep and missed two planes that were supposed to take him from Portsmouth to Manchester.
He secured cult hero staus after he was spotted with City’s away following when they travelled to Bournemouth.
Striker: Darius Vassell
He managed to pick up 22 caps for England despite only hitting double figures in the Premier League on one occasion.
Not that that dampened the spirit of 3,000 Ankaragucu fans who turned up to greet him when he signed for the Turkish club.
SUB: Joe Hart
A man who’ll be familiar to many as the one-time star of Head and Shoulder’s ad campaigns.
Was an England and City regular until a man with no hair came along and ruthlessly binned him off. Coincidence?
Has struggled at West Ham after someone swapped his wrists out for biscuits. Bourbons, if you were wondering.
Ready for a quick quiz? Who’s got more caps for Brazil- Elano or the two Juninhos (Paulista and Pernambucano)?
It is, rather surprisingly, City’s maverick Brazilian who had spates of flair and combustibility in equal measure.
Probably won’t be rushing back to India any time soon after his brush with the law.
SUB: Dietmar Hamman
It’s a little known fact that if you stare at Didi Hamman’s eyebrows for too long you turn into a German defensive midfielder.
Hamman’s stint in Manchester was his last experience of top flight English football before a move to MK Dons.
We’ll never be able to forgive him for putting the nail in King Kev’s England coffin.
SUB: Nery Castillo
Remember him? Nope, neither do we.
According to Wikipedia he was last seen playing for Rayo Vallecano in Spain.
Aside from that we haven’t got much to offer.
SUB: Felipe Caicedo
Caicedo did something neither Ronaldo nor Lionel Messi could when he scored in five consecutive South American qualifiers.
Was probably too young to really show his true colours when he came to Manchester.
Although, three goals for Lazio this season point to the fact that he’s probably just not very good.
Manager: Sven-Goran Eriksson
If ever a man was built to manage a Chinese Super League side it’s Sven, Sven, Sven-Goran Eriksson.
But, shortly after rejecting Wayne Rooney’s non-existent advances, he was given the hook at Shanghai SPIG and replaced by Andre Villas-Boas.
Come back to England Sven, we miss you.