Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Blast From the Past: Paulo Wanchope

Wanchope- the Rubber legged, Costa Rican Genius!

I have noticed someone else has done an article today, but i will post it anyway!

I was actually looking Joe Royle on Wikipedia, reviewing his City career and i noticed a cut away remark about him and his conflict with Wanchope. I had forgotten Royle put Wanchope, the then record City signing at 3.6 million, on the transfer list. Famously Royle labelled his attitude as 'bigger than the club.' Royle wasn't a fan of temperamental footballers (he wouldn't enjoy the current squad), he had already sacked former World Player of the Year, multi coloured boot clad striker George Weah after 7 games! Wanchopes City career was saved by the sacking of Joe Royle, after he failed to keep City in the top flight.

Along came King Kev, who acted instantly to reassure Paulo and keep him on side. Keegan, of course, no stranger to the extravagant player, after he managed the 'unpredictable' but 'brilliant' Faustino Asprilla at Newcastle. Although Wanchope struggled with injury's during Keegan's 1st season, he still scored 12 goals in 15 games in a glorious season that saw City promoted as Champions. I have fond memories of team with a striker line of Anelka, Goater and Wanchope! We were seeing the type of form that 1st made Paulo famous in England, the amazing goal he scored for Derby Vs United. He was unpredictable on the ball, ultimately impossible to defend against in such form. His second season under Keegan wasn't as success. He pretty much missed the season through injury, which was a shame, as city finished 9th that season and qualified for Europe through the Fair play league.

The following season wasn't a very good for City, Wanchope featured more prominently this season, although he couldn't stay fit through the whole thing. Despite 17 goals from Anelka, City were terrible in Europe and in the league finishing 16th. This would be Paulo's last season for the blues, before he set off for Sunny Malaga. He only lasted a season in Spain before heading to a series of clubs in Qatar, Argentina, Japan and finally finishing his career in the USA.

Paulo Wanchope is actually one of my favourite old city players, despite his limited City career. I remember his fantastic skill on the ball, the ability to dribble through players awkwardly and still retain possession. Adebayor is similar is some regard to Wanchope, both players of exciting ability and being widely unpredictable . A career plagued by injury and controversy, he finished prematurely ( he's only 33). But I will always remember the Costa Rican legend for his brilliance.

Here's an overly dramatic tribute to the man himself!

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