Premier League and Community Shield trophies coming to Ballybofey

Premier League and Community Shield trophies coming to Ballybofey
The Donegal Branch of the Manchester City Supporters Club are bringing the Barclay’s Premier League Trophy and FA Community Shield to Donegal on Friday week.

The Donegal Branch of the Manchester City Supporters Club are bringing the Barclay’s Premier League Trophy and FA Community Shield to Donegal on Friday week.

The two iconic trophies will be on display in Bonners Corner Bar, Ballybofey - the home of the blues in Donegal - from 6.30pm on Friday, April 19.

Along with the three trophies will be three ex-City players who will take part in a Q&A session in Bonner’s at 9.45pm the same evening.

The players - Johnny Crossan, Gary Owen and Paul Lake - played for City during three different eras at Maine Road. The evening will be rounded off with a soccer quiz at 10.30pm (teams of four, €10 per team).

Paul Lake was a member of Manchester City’s FA Youth Cup winning side of 1986, and made his first-team debut on 24 January 1987 against Wimbledon. A versatile player, he made appearances in almost every outfield position, though midfield was generally regarded as his strongest position.

Lake won six England under-21 and England B caps, the first coming in September 1988. Solid performances at this level led to many experts tipping him for a bright future in the England team, including Bobby Robson, the England coach of the time.

However, a misfortune with serious injuries meant this was not to be. Installed as team captain at the centre of defence, a seemingly minor knee injury sustained near the start of the 1990/91 season was later diagnosed as a ruptured cruciate ligament, resulting in a two year absence.

At the start of the 1992/93 season Lake made his comeback playing in midfield for the inaugural Premiership campaign, his return described by then City Manager Peter Reid as, “like having a brand new £3,000,000 signing.” However, after eight minutes of his second game since returning (away at Middlesbrough), the ligament snapped again.

After a long struggle with injury, including 14 operations and only four reserve team appearances, Lake retired from playing in 1996 after 110 league appearances for the club.

Gary Owen made 103 league appearances for City between 1975 and 1979. With 22 caps, he is one of the most capped players for England Under-21s, but never made it into the senior team.

He was also capped seven times for England B. With the under-21s he won the 1982 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship, in which he scored two goals in the final against West Germany. Owen started his career with City, with whom he turned professional in 1975 and made his debut aged 17, against Wolves in March 1976.

After winning the League Cup earlier in the year, in October 1976 Owen scored his first goal, against West Ham. In 1979 Owen was sold, as part of City manager Malcolm Allison’s clear-out, to West Bromwich Albion, despite being a strong fans’ favourite.

Johnny ‘Jobby’ Crossan played with City for a two year period between 1965 and 1967 and was captain of the City team which won the Second Division Championship in 1966. Crossan began his career playing for Derry City in 1954, where he played as an inside forward before moving to Coleraine in 1958.

In May 1959 the inside forward signed for Dutch Champions Sparta Rotterdam, where he was first called up to the Northern Ireland squad. He went from there to Standard Liège, where he played in the semi-final of the European Cup against Real Madrid. I

n 1963, Jobby returned to football in the UK when he was signed by Sunderland, with whom he made it to the First Division. He then signed for Manchester City who were playing in the Second Division. As team captain, he helped them make their way into the First Division, before moving on the Middlesborough during the 1967/68 season. Crossan won 24 caps for Northern Ireland, scoring ten goals.

All three players have many stories to tell from their careers - you can hear what they have to say on the night. Although City are likely to be handing over the Barclays Premier League trophy - which they won in such a dramatic fashion last season - to the other side in Manchester next month, it’s a great chance for blues in Donegal and the surrounding area to get to see both trophies up close.

Admission to see trophies is strictly by ticket only. A very limited number of tickets for non-members of the Supporters Club are available from members of the Donegal Branch or from Bonners Corner Bar priced at €5 for adults and €1 for kids. Tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis. Admission to the Q&A session with the three former City players is free.