Thursday, 4 October 2012

Paul Telfer - from Kenilworth Road to Parkhead via the Sky Blues

Connections between Saturday’s opponents, Bournemouth, and the Sky Blues are few and far between in recent years. One man departed trophy laden Parkhead after winning two Scottish league titles and, via retirement, rocked up at Dean Court following six years in sky blue and a total of 12 seasons with Gordon Strachan. Having scored on his City home debut he would end his time at Highfield Road carried off on a stretcher with a broken leg. The place was Villa Park, the leg was his and the end result was relegation. His name was Paul Telfer.

Telfer spent seven seasons with Luton before Ron Atkinson signed him in the close season of 1995 for £1.5 million. Until his departure in 2001 he appeared 225 times and scored on 12 occasions. A mainstay on the right side of midfield, Telfer overcame a quiet start to win over the City faithful, renowned for his stamina, heading ability and reliability as an unsung component of the Atkinson/Strachan era.

His first professional goal for Luton came at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane, coincidentally at the same Kop end he powered home a free-kick in the FA Cup quarter-final replay of 1998.
If fate decreed Telfer would have taken City to a semi-final at Old Trafford against Newcastle but as history points out the Blades levelled in added time and triumphed on penalties. Manchester City were on the receiving end of his home debut as he powered home a header from Ally Pickering’s fine cross in the match remembered for Isaias inspiring the Sky Blues. ‘Telf’ would have been a pivotal player in the second tier but departed when his contract expired reuniting with Strachan at Southampton and Celtic, playing in the 2003 FA Cup final against Arsenal. Following two brief retirements he played for Bournemouth and Gary McAllister’s Leeds side before moving into the coaching side and is now player-coach at Conference South side Sutton United... now there's a side with connections to the Sky Blues.

Joe Murphy, Richard Wood and Adam Barton are the only three players to play against MK Dons who also lined up at Yeovil on the opening day such is the wind of change at City. In Tuesday's game we controlled just 36% of possession against a side renowned for their ball retention. All the more frustrating then to see how wasteful we have become with throw-ins. Instead of a throw to feet and taking the return we resort to tossing up a hopeful lob in the forlorn hope the recipient will control the ball on their head, beat two men and find a team-mate. After working so hard to force opposition error I cannot understand the logic as we needlessly turn a throw-in into a 50/50 ball and surrender possession - basic skills, surely? A final comment looks at Murphy's contribution each time the ball threatens his goal and runs out of play. Instead of getting on with the game he'll leave the ball to berate whoever comes into his eyeline. I've never seen a City 'keeper waste so much time when he has the ball, if we're winning 1-0 with minutes to go then fine but that has hardly been the case in the last 12 months. Having said that I admire the way he controls his area and marshals his back four, I just wish he'd get on with the game.


  1. Never mind the throw ins. Murphy's long hoofs upfield after letting the other team time to get organised, gives away possession time and time again.

  2. Totally agree John - any advantage we've obtained is wiped out when he delays and then lumps it into the night sky.