1. Colin Bell
500 appearances, 155 goals
Known quite simply as The King amongst City fans, Bell is by common consensus the greatest player ever to pull on the sacred sky blue shirt. He joined the club from Bury in 1966 after being watched by Assistant Manager Malcolm Allison on a number of occasions. As local legend has it, City were initially unable to afford the asking price so Allison would sit amongst the other scouts and bemoan Bell's ability all game. "He can't head it, can't pass it, he's hopeless", he'd lament in the stands at Gigg Lane, until City secured his services in 1966. Bell possessed incredible stamina and speed, was a good tackler and a natural goalscorer. He was the complete midfielder. A disgraceful challenge from United''s Martin Buchan resulted in a terrible knee injury that Bell never really recovered from, and deprived City of their greatest ever player in his peak years. His emotional comeback on Boxing Day 1977 is an occasion still talked about by fans.
2. Bert Trautmann
Trautman served with the Luftwaffe during the Second World War, and was captured by British forces towards the end of the conflict and transferred to a prisoner-of-war camp in Lancashire. City's decision to sign an ex-German paratrooper in 1949 sparked mass protests but over time Trautman's performances won the City fans over. He firmly established himself in City folklore in the 1956 FA Cup final, when he broke his neck fifteen minutes from full time. Incredibly, he continued playing and was able to collect his winner's medal.
3. Peter Doherty
134 appearances, 82 goals
Some older City fans protest that Doherty was an even finer player than Colin Bell, but as I never got to see either of them play it's difficult to quantify (apologies to the Doherty contingent, but I never said this was going to be factually accurate, right?). Regardless, Doherty was a City legend and although his career was sadly cut short by the Second World War, he was a fantastically gifted footballer and fully deserves his place in the top three. Although I still think Babyshambles are rubbish.
4. Frank Swift
Tragically Swift's life was cut prematurely short by the Munich Air Disaster, whilst covering the game as a journalist for News of the World. Swift was a giant of a man, and famously fainted in front of the King after City won the 1934 FA Cup final. He was something of a innovator as a keeper, pioneering the long throw, and with 376 appearances is one of City's greatest ever players. But for Trautman he'd be widely regarded as our best ever goalkeeper.
5. Billy Meredith
393 appearances, 152 goals
Often dubbed "Football's first superstar", Meredith enjoyed a remarkable career. He had two spells at City and played his final game for the club aged 49. Sadly his legacy is somewhat tainted by a conviction for bribery (which led to him being banned for 18 months) and, more heinously, a spell at Old Trafford, but his achievements cannot be underestimated. A proud Union man, he fought continuously against the exploitation of footballers in the early part of the Century.
6. Alan Oakes
682 appearances, 34 goals
Oakes was the consummate professional, both on and off the field. A conscientious trainer and a model of consistency, he spent 17 years at the club and holds the record number of appearances for the Blues. He is the also the most decorated player in City's history, winning the League Championship, ECWC, FA Cup, two league cups and the Second Division Championship.
7. Franny Lee
340 appearances, 144 goals
Although his legacy has been somewhat tainted by his disastrous tenure as Chairman in the mid-90s, Lee was an integral part of City's most successful ever team. His strength and tenacity were admired by fans, and he had an uncanny knack of "winning" penalties and converting them (earning him the nickname Lee One Pen). He had balls too, famously going toe to toe with Norman Hunter whilst playing for Derby County. We won't mention his appointment of Alan Ball as City manager.
8. Eric Brook
496 appearances, 178 goals
City's all-time leading goalscorer, with 178 goals in 494 appearances, Brook was a strong player with a fieresome shot. He was an integral part of the 1934 FA Cup and 1937 League Championship winning sides, and his goalscoring record has never been surpassed. Brook was inducted into the City Hall of Fame in 2004.
9. Tommy Johnson
354 appearances, 166 goals
Johnson is the second leading goalscorer in City's history, and holds the club record for most goals in a single season (38 in 1928/29). He was an incredibly popular figure with supporters, and his transfer to Everton in 1930 sparked protests and even a boycott on the terraces.
10. Neil Young
416 appearances, 111 goals
Not the aging Canadian rocker, but the Fallowfield born forward with a devastating left foot. Whilst not as revered as his contemporaries Bell, Lee and Summerbee, Young was arguably City's most important forward during the Mercer-Allison period of success. His relationship with the club was soured after a promised testimonial failed to materialise, much to the consternation of City fans. Young died in 2011, aged 67, after a battle against lung cancer.