Feed the Goat and he will score.

That is the chant that used to reverberate around Maine Road as Manchester City fans celebrated their much-loved striker Shaun Goater. Across five seasons the Bermudan went on to notch 104 goals for the Blues.

There was another chant too, conceived in their forward’s honour, one based on a novelty hit by the Baha Men that reached number two in the charts at the turn of the century.

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Who let the Goat out, the Kippax would sing, jubilantly adding a succession of ‘who, who, who’s usually after their cult hero had found the net once again.

Humour such as this was in plentiful supply in East Manchester prior to their transformative takeover in 2008 because frankly they didn’t have a lot else.  

Down the road, their arch neighbours United were dominating the footballing landscape, hoovering up titles and European honours in abundance. They were a formidable, highly polished machine, known and admired the world over.

Firmly in their shadow, City’s best moments came from escaping from the third tier after a year spent in purgatory or rejoicing in the occasional times when the club retained the same manager for two seasons running.

Indeed, one of the most popular football cliches at the time was that Blues got by on self-effacing humour, as they awaited the next calamity to befall them. It was a cliché because it was true. 

This however was less the case in 2002/03, the club’s final season at Maine Road before they moved to the recently vacated Commonwealth Stadium. 

United were still United, of course, confirming the sports betting odds by comfortably securing yet another league title.

Bolstered by the record signing of Rio Ferdinand at the back, they had that incredible midfield of Beckham, Scholes, Keane and Giggs, with Ruud Van Nistelrooy up top. 

The Reds were doing just fine.

But now City too, were on the up, recently promoted and with Kevin Keegan orchestrating thrilling, open football from the touchline. 

Despite not winning a derby since 1989, optimism was high leading into their November match-up, with City at home. 

It was optimism that swiftly turned to fantasia in the fifth minute when Nicolas Anelka put the hosts ahead, only for Ole Gunner Solskjaer to dampen the spirits of the packed old ground by equalising soon after. 

Halfway through the first half, City were holding their own, proving to be a threat on the counter.

And then it happened. A speculative long ball into the channel by Marc-Vivien found no-one and was heading harmlessly out of play, shepherded by Gary Neville. The least popular United player in this part of town seemed entirely oblivious to Goater chasing him down hard.

When he did realise, his instinct was to try and pass along the goal-line to Fabien Barthez in nets, but Goater was too savvy for this, sticking out a leg and blocking it. The ball bounced up kindly and the striker was through on goal, if at an unusually wide angle. 

Regardless, the king of Maine Road slotted it past the French keeper, snug into the corner.

It was Goater’s 99th goal for the Blues, adding his 100th after the break to complete a much-celebrated victory, and the truth of the matter was he cleverly pickpocketed Neville. 

Legend has always had it though, that the hapless full-back fed the Goat, and the Goat duly scored.

*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to Alamy*

Stephen Tudor is a freelance football writer and sports enthusiast who only knows slightly less about the beautiful game than you do.

A contributor to FourFourTwo and Forbes, he is a Manchester City fan who was taken to Maine Road as a child because his grandad predicted they would one day be good.