Top 10 players who played for Manchester United and Manchester City
A rundown of 10 of the best players who played for Manchester United and Manchester City.
1. Denis Law
Traditionally the definitive answer to any question involving players players who played for Manchester United and Manchester City. Law had two spells at City, but it was an 11-year stint at United spanning his heyday for which he is best remembered. His backheeled goal for City against United is one of the defining moments of the United-City rivalry. Believing the goal had relegated his former club, Law did not celebrate. Results elsewhere meant United would have been relegated anyway, but it’s the thought that counts.
2. Carlos Tevez
It is safe to say that Tevez was the first player whose move across the Manchester divide was accompanied by a billboard advertising campaign. Tevez is a rarity in this list in that, during his time at each club, he was held in equally high regard by both sets of supporters. It is safe to say that Citeh fans probably favour him a tad more at present.
3. Peter Schmeichel
Often slips your mind, doesn’t it? That is probably indicative of the fact that the vitriol between the two clubs has been ramped up considerably in recent years. The legendary United keeper played out the final year of his career at Maine Road. City won the Manchester derby at home and drew at Old Trafford that season to maintain Schmeichel’s undefeated record in the clash.
4. Andy Cole
Like Schmeichel, another member of the Treble-winning side who switched allegiances with minimal fuss. His partnership with Dwight Yorke and success at United is well-documented, but he did have a bright but short City career too. He scored nine goals in 22 games for City before injury ended his sole season at the club in March.
5. Brian Kidd
Perhaps the ultimate Manchester club swapper. Roberto Mancini’s assistant manager was once the loyal companion of Sir Alex Ferguson. He also clocked up a considerable number of appearances for both teams, playing just short of 100 games for City and just over 200 for United.
6. Billy Meredith
We’ve avoided delving too much into Victorian and early-20th century players for this list, but Meredith’s involvement is too great to ignore. He played more than 300 games for both Manchester clubs, making him by far the player with most combined appearances for the two clubs. No mean feat in itself, but when you consider the Welshman was banned for 18 months for bribing an opponent during his spell at City it’s even more impressive. [United fans, you can add your own jokes about trying to buy success since 1904!]
7. Sammy McIlroy
The Northern Ireland international had spent his prime at Manchester United with more than a decade at the club from 1971 to 1982. He then had a decent stint at Stoke, but his career was really winding down by the time he arrived at City in 1985. He made just 13 appearances for City.
8. Andrei Kanchelskis
A cornerstone of United’s unstoppable team of the early 1990s before, as was the tradition in those days, falling out with Fergie and being shipped out. He joined City for a loan spell during his time at Rangers, making 10 appearances.
9. Terry Cooke
One of the poor sods unlucky enough to follow David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs out of the United youth set-up, Cooke was always likely to be on hiding to nothing. In direct competition with Becks for a slot on the right of midfield, he managed just a handful of appearances for the club. Nonetheless, City paid £1 million to sign him in 1999. He briefly held down a first-team place before recommencing the merry-go-round of loan moves that had made up the bulk of his United career. We felt particularly inclined to include him after he featured in our English players abroad list.
10. Sir Matt Busby
Ah, we said represented both clubs! Busby’s playing career constituted what would today be considered a series of crimes against United fans. He played more than 200 games for City before endearing himself to the United faithful by clocking up 100 games for Liverpool. You hardly need us to tell you that his managerial career at United went pretty well.
Honourable mentions for Mark Hughes and Steve Coppell, who both did the reverse by playing for United and managing City.