Manchester City

True Colours: Man City's Premier League Promotion Kit

Ahead of Leicester City's Premier League encounter with Manchester City at Etihad Stadium on Sunday (4:30pm BST kick-off), LCFC.com remembers a memorable shirt from the Sky Blues' history.
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Manchester City had endured a turbulent decade during the 1990s, with relegations and false new dawns aplenty, but by the turn of the century, the Citizens were riding the crest of a wave and aiming for back-to-back promotions.

Man City, managed by Joe Royle, were desperate for a Premier League return after five years out of the top flight. In that time, they had slipped down to the third tier, the lowest position in their entire history.

Royle had been under pressure to deliver and guided Man City to a third place finish in what was then known as the Second Division, before reaching the play-off final against Gillingham in May 1999.

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Manchester City
Manchester City

The Manchester club were aiming for back-to-back promotions after a dramatic Division Two play-off final win in May 1999.

It proved to be one of the most thrilling finals in history as the Gills' two late goals, courtesy of Carl Asaba and Rob Taylor, looked set to seal their place in the second tier.

Incredibly, however, Kevin Horlock grabbed one back on 90 minutes before future Leicester forward Paul Dickov netted a 95th-minute leveller, dramatically taking the game to extra-time.

Nothing could separate the two teams after a further half an hour, leading to penalties, which Man City won 3-1, with goalkeeper Nicky Weaver the hero, saving two spot-kicks and sending the Sky Blues into the First Division.

There have been several iconic man City shirts from the 20th century, including the yellow and dark blue away shirt worn on that famous day at the old Wembley, and the home shirt from the 1999/00 season is no different.

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Terry Cooke
Terry Cooke

The Citizens' first outing in their new kit was a home defeat against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Made by Le Coq Sportif, who were replacing Kappa as Man City's kit manufacture, the shirt was unique for positioning the badge in a central position for the first time since 1975.

With the Le Coq Sportif branding above and shirt sponsor Eidos below, it was also the first campaign in which the video game publisher had appeared on the kit, replacing long-time sponsor, Brother.

Sporting a prominent dark blue collar as one of the shirt's stand out features, it also included a white trim on the sleeves and two thin, symmetrical white lines at the top of the shirt. It was completed with white shorts and dark blue socks.

Despite being a newly promoted side, Man City, in their new-look kit, took the second tier by storm, notching up 89 points and eventually finishing as runners-up to Charlton Athletic.

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Shaun Goater
Shaun Goater

Shaun Goater ended the 1999/00 season as City's top goalscorer with 23 league strikes.

After a shaky start, without a win from the opening two games of the season, Man City went on a five-game winning streak, which included dispatching Sheffield United 6-0 at Maine Road.

Shaun Goater, who was on the scoresheet that afternoon, netted 23 league goals and 29 in all competitions to finish as top goalscorer.

Another five consecutive victories before the turn of the year put the Citizens in a strong position, before a seven-game winless streak threatened to derail the promotion push, moving them out of the top two.

Following a 2-1 defeat at Barnsley on 11 March, Royle's men would not lose another league game, dropping just eight points and conceding just eight goals from there on in.

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Shaun Goater
Shaun Goater

A 4-0 victory over Fulham in January 2000 put City in a strong position heading into the second half of the season.

It would still go down to the final day of the season, however, when Man City, wearing their red and black striped away shirt, kicked off against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, knowing they needed a point to guarantee promotion.

Also in the hunt were Ipswich Town and George Burley's side moved into the driving seat after David Johnson put the Tractor Boys ahead and Matt Jansen also found the net for Blackburn.

But the ever-reliable Goater levelled matters at Ewood Park on the hour-mark and Christian Dailly's own goal soon had the Citizens ahead.

Mark Kennedy and Dickov made the game safe late on, rendering Johnson's second of the afternoon meaningless as Town missed out on an automatic promotion spot.

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Mark Kennedy
Mark Kennedy

City confirmed promotion back to the Premier League on the final day of the season, wearing their red and black striped away shirt.

Man City's promotion had been secured, sparking a pitch invasion from the strong away following, many of whom were wearing the now iconic sky blue shirt.

The same kit would also be worn during the Manchester club's return to the top flight, which would end in relegation back to the First Division.

There would be some highlights during the 2000/01 campaign, including a 5-0 victory over Everton and a run to the quarter-finals of the League Cup, but the 1999-2001 kit will be best remembered for the season in which City returned to the Premier League in style.

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