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Ian Brightwell

[Player Picture]

[Player Picture]


Born: 9/4 1968
Birthplace: Lutterworth
Nationality: England (0/0)
Height: 5`10" (178cm)
Weight: 11st. 7lb (73kg)
Position: Right Back or Midfield

League Appearances:

Season: Club: Games: Goals:
1986-1987 Manchester City 16 1
1987-1988 Manchester City 33 5
1988-1989 Manchester City 26 6
1996-1990 Manchester City 28 2
1990-1991 Manchester City 33 0
1991-1992 Manchester City 40 1
1992-1993 Manchester City 21 1
1993-1994 Manchester City 7 0
1994-1995 Manchester City 30 0
1995-1996 Manchester City 29 0
1996-1997 Manchester City 37 2
1997-1998 Manchester City 21 0
1998-2000 Coventry City 0 0
2000 Walsall (loan) 10 0
2000-2002 Walsall 71 0
2002 Stoke City 4 0
2002-2003 Port Vale 37 0
Total: 443 18

Ian Brightwell was born in Lutterworth in 1968, and was the middle son of former Olympic Medallists Ann Packer and Robbie Brightwell who rose to fame four years earlier in the Tokyo Olympics.

He was the longest serving member of the fabulous five (Lake, White, Redmond, Brightwell and Hinchcliffe who all won the FA. Youth Cup in 1985 and became first-team players shortly after). He was a genuine footballer who could play in various positions in the field, although most of his games he played in the back-four, or defensive midfield. Unlike his younger brother David he managed to establish himself in the team, although the couple did play a few matches together.

For many years Ian was a regular, and the clubs most experienced player. In 1992 he probably had his most consistent season as a City player, playing in 40 league games. I watched him in November that year when he scored a wonderful goal in the 4-0 trashing of Leeds United (with Cantona in the team). Ian advanced from his right back position and slotted the ball home after a great run. He had the fortune to play with such City greats as Niall Quinn, David White and Paul Lake, and was a part of the team that reached 5th position twice under Peter Reid.

Despite the highs at Maine Road some lows were sure to follow, especially when Brightwell missed three quarters of the 1993/94 season after snapping his patella tendon, and City’s successive relegations from the top flight to Division two, before being released by manager Joe Royle. Ian endured numerous managers, and even the Ball-post-Ball malice did not see him walk out on the blues. But after the poor 1997/98-season he was given a free transfer by manager Joe Royle, during the big clear out at Maine Road.

I was sad to leave City, but they were going down and I was out of contract as were Georgi Kinkladze who went to Ajax, Uwe Rosler to Kaiserslauten, and Kit Symons to Fulham. I didn’t want to leave City because it was the team I loved but Coventry were still in the Premiership. It was nothing to do with an unwillingness to take a pay cut, it was more to do with my ambition to play in the top flight and at the same time City needed to cut their payroll and they hadn’t offered me a new contract."

After an unsuccessful stay at Coventry, he went to Walsall where he played 71 more games helping them to promotion through play-offs. Stoke City brought him in at the end of the 2001/02 season for another play-off final, before he made his fifth and final move onto Stoke’s hated rivals Port Vale in the summer of 2002, linking up with his old Man City manager Brian Horton. He played out his final season at Vale Park, coming third in the Fans Player of the Year award before retiring at the end of the 2002/03 season. He was brought back to Vale as a coach a few months later after a ten day intensive course at Keele University for his UEFA coaching badges, and he was still registered to play for Vale in emergencies.

After 321 league games and 18 goals for the Blues Ian will be remembered for his determination, commanding presence, and his abilities as a team player. He was a True Blue as good as any.


Provided by: Svenn A. Hanssen, svenn@hanssen.priv.no