Manchester City legend Georgi Kinkladze has been speaking to FourFourTwo about his time at Manchester City and the friendship that he made with two of the club's most famous fans while there.
Speaking in the latest issue of the mag - which stars new signing Jack Grealish - Georgian schemer Kinkladze said that he struck up a rapport with Oasis duo Noel and Liam Gallagher during the 1990s which remains to this day. Kinkladze explained how the Gallaghers' love of the club was similar to his own and how he'd never have left City for bigger things, because of the adoration he had for fans.
“Oasis always had my respect, as they were die-hard City supporters and wouldn’t miss a match unless they were on tour,” explains Kinkladze. “After performing at Maine Road once, they invited the City players backstage and that’s how our friendship started.
“We’re still mates to this day. I remember going to an Oasis gig in Moscow. The security guard was a City fan – he clocked me straight away and took me to Noel Gallagher. The concert was supposed to start at 3pm, but we spent two hours talking to each other, reminiscing.
“At 5pm, the organisers began banging on the door, trying to get him to finally go on stage! Whenever I’m back in Manchester, I always meet him."
Kinkladze departed City in the summer of 1998, with the team two divisions lower than when he arrived. But he has no regrets about staying for the full three years, rather than taking up one of the big offers he received after falling out of the Premier League.
“Never in my life have I or will I regret that,” he insists. “Firstly, there’s no point regretting things that happened decades ago. That’s not going to get you anywhere.
“I might not have won anything with City, but I saw and felt what I meant to the fans. I couldn’t have betrayed that trust. I’m not the kind of guy who abandons a sinking ship.
“Twenty-five years have passed since, but the supporters still remember me. Every now and then, a Georgian flag is waved there as a homage and I couldn’t have wished for more respect and appreciation. For an English fan, who you are is as important as your skill on the pitch. When you’re in peak form, they all cheer for you.
“But when you return years later with your career long over, and you see they still give you a standing ovation, that’s a feeling I struggle to put into words. During my time at the club, there were several cases when die-hard City fans would kneel down holding my posters with ‘Don’t Leave’ written on them in Georgian. How can you leave after something like that?
“I wish I could have won at least one trophy with City, but that doesn’t mean I’d have left for trophies – I’d do exactly the same again.”
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