24 Jun, 2022 - 00:06 0 Views


MANCHESTER. The last time a Warrior made his debut at Old Trafford was in the Manchester Derby on February 10, 2008.

Benjani Mwaruwari had just been signed by City on transfer deadline day that month from Portsmouth.

He would only make 31 appearances during an injury-hit stay with City – but what a start he made as the Manchester giants met at Old Trafford on the 50th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster.

Now, in Benji’s own words, relive what it’s really like to make your debut in the cauldron of a Manchester Derby.

“I didn’t sign in time for the game against Arsenal due to a delay in the paperwork, which wasn’t cleared until Thursday morning, so the first game I was available for was United away the following Sunday.

“Sven-Goran Eriksson didn’t say too much and I started to train with the lads.

“I didn’t expect to just walk into the side just because I was a new signing, so I had no idea whether I would play against United or not.

“Most managers don’t pick the team until the day of the game so I’d say I didn’t know until midday on game day.

“I had come from Portsmouth so I didn’t read too much into the Manchester Derby ahead of the game. It was in the week building up to the match that I could feel the excitement, tension and expectation and it was then it sort of hit me and I thought, ‘yeah, this is a big match.’

“Of course, with it being the anniversary of Munich, this game also meant even more to the United fans so when there was a minute’s silence before the game and all the scarves went up – red and blue – I knew this was a special day and that I had to try and do something special, too.”


“We were winning 1-0 thanks to a goal from Darius Vassell. I think Martin Petrov took a corner at the end our fans were at and it was just on half-time.

“The ball was half-cleared to Stephen Ireland and he played it back to Petrov who put in a great cross and I think one of the hairs on my head had brushed it on the way and it ended in the bottom left corner.

“I remember Micah Richards had made a lunge to connect and so Edwin van der Sar couldn’t commit himself because I think he wanted to punch the ball clear.

“It was a great feeling and I ran off to celebrate in the corner in front of our fans.”


“I had been in the dressing room with Carlo the masseur and the TV was on.

“I think it was Britain’s Got Talent and there was this guy on from South America who won the show, but when the presenters were asking him how he felt, he couldn’t speak any English so he just started pointing at the fans as if to say ‘you, you, you and all of you’, so Carlo said that if I scored in the derby, that’s what I should do. 

“I did score and I did that celebration!

“I was staying at the Hilton in Manchester with my wife and kids and decided to go for a celebration drink with one of my friends.

“That’s when it really hit me because the club had assigned two bodyguards to go with me and make sure I was safe.

“Everyone at the bar was looking around wondering who it was and why they needed bodyguards.

“Any City fan I met wanted to buy me a drink, so it was a great day.” Manchester City.

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