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DRAIN ROAD; City have let pounds 50m worth of top talent slip away; SUPER SPORT ON THE LADS CITY SQUANDERED AND THE BOYS WHO COULD MAKE ROVERS GREAT AGAIN.

George Graham turned down the Manchester City job because he knew he would not have the pocket power to bring the glory days back to Maine Road.

But it might have been very different if City had cashed in on a galaxy of talent that has somehow slipped through their ranks over the last two decades.

Ryan Giggs will always be THE one that got away - but fed-up fans have got millions more reasons to mourn missed chances.

Although they recently snapped up Paul Dickov for pounds 750,000, City were notable absentees from the sensational summer of superstar signings.

And the barrage of big-money deals only served as a painful reminder of the players that have slipped through the Maine Road net in the recent, grisly past.

Three of the top close-season moves involved men who could have been City contenders.

And they complete a list of spurned stars that makes grim reading for Manchester's Blues.

ALAN SHEARER: Had a schoolboy trial at the club's Platt Lane training ground in 1984 but opted for Southampton instead. Now a pounds 15million world record striker.

IAN RUSH: Scout George Heslop brought the Welsh legend to City as a teenager but he was turned away and eventually signed for Chester City. Has since been involved in deals totalling pounds 6million.

GARY SPEED: Played for a Maine Road junior side but departed from the scene after problems travelling from his North Wales home. Moved for pounds 3.5million to Everton.

PAUL WARHURST: Actually made the grade albeit for a brief spell. Sold to Oldham for pounds 10,000 but has since been transferred twice for a sum of pounds 7million.

RYAN GIGGS: United fans will never let their neighbours forget how the pounds 10million-rated winger was at the Maine Road school of excellence for three years.

DAVID PLATT: Best known as a rare Old Trafford mistake but actually had an unsuccessful try-out with City before joining United as an apprentice.

EARL BARRETT: Another given away for next to nothing - to Oldham - and then went on to be involved in pounds 4million worth of deals.

In all, over pounds 50million of talent has somehow snaked through the City ranks - a galling thought for the Maine Road fans who are having to learn the stark reality of life outside the Premiership.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Dunn, Andy
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Sep 1, 1996
Words:386
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