Adopted Mancunians: The people who have come to Man United or Man City and left as heroes- including George Best

Manchester City and United have been heavily influenced by personalities from across the world- here’s a round up of some of the city’s favourite adopted Mancunians

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Manchester is a city which is a hotbed of footballing heritage. On both sides of the city, players and managers have come from afar to make their mark on either Man City or Man United. 

Over the years, each club has enjoyed the bragging rights over the other on numerous occasions. This has been helped along by some memorable contributions from individuals who have gone down in history. 

George Best 

When a scout brought George Best to the attention of Sir Matt Busby, he was told “Boss, I think I’ve found you a genius”. Signed at the age of 17 after being born and raised in Belfast, Best would go on to be one of the best the game has ever seen. 

He made his debut in September 1963 and scored the first of his 179 goals for Man United in his second game. In his first season, United won the league title for the first time since before the Munich Air Disaster. 

Best went on to become a true club legend at Man United in a stay at Old Trafford which lasted almost a decade. His 361 league appearances in Red brought 136 goals; he holds the post-War record for the most goals by a United player in a single match – six versus Northampton Town, in an 8-2 FA Cup fifth-round mauling in 1970. 

Sir Matt Busby 

The man who brought George Best to Old Trafford, Sir Matt Busby came down from Orbiston, North Lanarkshire and revolutionised the way United played. Over a 25-year-period, Sir Matt Busby won the lot. 

Sir Matt took over the club in 1945 and three years later United won the FA Cup- the club’s first honour in almost 40 years. By the late 1950’s he had created a young and exciting side which had been dubbed ‘The Busby Babes’ by the press. 

Tragedy struck when the side were returning from a European match. Their flight attempted to take off at Munich Airport despite snow and ice covering the plane and runway. The plane crashed and ended the lives of eight players and the careers of two more. 

Sir Matt was badly injured and was in a severe condition for some time. However, the boss recovered and never stopped dreaming of European glory. In 1969, United triumphed over Benfica at Wembley to finally lift the European Cup.  

Sir Alex Ferguson

When it comes to legendary football managers, Sir Alex Ferguson is often mentioned in the same breath as Sir Matt Busby. Born and raised in Govan, Glasgow, Sir Alex is the most successful manager in British football history having won 13 league titles at Old Trafford. 

Getting the job in 1986, Sir Alex won his first trophy in 1990 lifting the FA Cup. In the 1992/93 season, he ended United’s 26 year wait for a league title.  

During his reign at Old Trafford, Ferguson also won the FA Cup five times and the League Cup on four occasions. United also claimed two UEFA Champions League trophies under his management, including the 1999 win in Barcelona with two stoppage-time goals in a 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich.

Sergio Aguero 

Over to the blue half of the city now, and a look at one of the most famous players ever to pull on the blue of Man City. Sergio Aguero was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina and he left for City for the start of the 2011-12 season- he would leave the Etihad nine years later a hero. 

In 390 matches in all competitions, Aguero scored 260 goals and helped City to title wins and domestic cup success. His first season saw him end the campaign with 23 league goals- but it’s fair to say it’s his 23rd and final goal of the season which is most fondly remembered. 

Scorer of the matchwinning goal Sergio Aguero of Manchester City celebrates with the trophy . (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)Scorer of the matchwinning goal Sergio Aguero of Manchester City celebrates with the trophy . (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Scorer of the matchwinning goal Sergio Aguero of Manchester City celebrates with the trophy . (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Aguero will always be remembered by City fans as the man who fired them to their first Premier League trophy. His last gasp winner against QPR sealed a 3-2 win and the Premier League title- snatching the trophy from the grasp of Manchester United. 

A True blue hero, Aguero left the club in 2021 but he made sure he left fans with plenty of great memories. One which can’t be overlooked was his goal contribution in City’s famous 6-1 win at Old Trafford back in 2011.  

 Vincent Kompany

Vincent Kompany was born in Uccle, Belgium and is regarded as a true leader on and off the pitch. He has been widely regarded as one of the best centre backs to ever play in the Premier League. Kompany was City captain through the title successes and FA Cup and League Cup success throughout the 2010’s. 

Kompany spent 11 years at Man City, playing over 350 matches in all competitions. His strong leadership and tough tackling nature made City fans fall in love with the Belgian very quickly. 

Known for his defence contributions, Kompany scored one of the most memorable goals ever seen at the Etihad in May 2019. The defender hit an effort from outside the box and into the top corner to seal a 1-0 win over Leicester- City won the title less than a week later.