Ex-City defender gives candid insight into the club during turbulent nineties
Richard Edghill made his Premiership debut for City at the age of just 17, and went on to make 210 appearances for the club over a nine year period. Born in Oldham, Edghill came through the ranks of City's academy under the guidance of Tony Book and Glyn Pardoe, and soon became an England under 21 international.
Sadly for Edghill, a serious knee injury sustained at Elland Road in December 1995 hindered his progress and the defender admits he "lost a yard of pace" as a result. His injury coincided with a turbulent time in the club's history, as Francis Lee's boardroom takeover turned sour, culminating in a series of disastrous managerial appointments.
Despite the upheaval behind the scenes, Edghill remained at the club as City dropped into the third tier of English football for the first time in their history, By now comfortably the longest serving player at the club, he also played a pivotal role in City's renaissance as Joe Royle masterminded successive promotions and guided the Blues back to the Premiership. Indeed, Edghill even scored a crucial penalty in the 1999 Play Off Final shoot out victory against Gillingham and was named as club captain.
Given the fact that Edghill was a loyal servant, and was a local lad and academy graduate to boot, you would have assumed that he would be a popular figure with the fans, but that wasn't always the case. Edghill was subjected to some vicious abuse from the Kippax at times, particularly during a 2-1 home defeat against Coventry City in August 2000. The full back scored an own goal and was run ragged at times by Craig Bellamy, before being ignominiously substituted at half time. His City career never really recovered, and he was released at the end of the 2001/02 season, going on to play for the likes of Queens Park Rangers and Bradford City, before retiring in 2008.
Edghill tells his story in Once a Blue, Always a Blue and it is an interesting insight into life at the club during the turbulent nineties. Edghill is candid about issues such as the drinking culture at City, his relationship with the fans and his battle with depression following his knee injury. It's to Edghill's credit that there is no real bitterness in the way he was treated by both the club and the supporters at times; he comes across as a genuinely nice guy, as anyone who has met him will testify.
Edghill now works for the club in an official capacity doing matchday hospitality, and can scarcely believe his luck: "Believe it or not I actually get paid to watch Manchester City!". Given his years of loyal service, it's just reward.
The book is ghost written by Dante Friend, and is Friend's third book about his beloved Blues.
Once a Blue, Always a Blue: The Autobiography of Richard Edghill is available from Amazon.