Super-Kev was Frank Clarks first signing (£1.25m from Swindon on January 31st 1997) and was therefore Citys longest serving player when he left in September 2003. His debut was impressive, in the televised 4-1 win at Oxford, and he continued to impress as City secured safety in his first season.
The following season, 1997-98, wasnt quite the new beginning wed all hoped for. Clarks other signings failed to deliver and Horlock was shifted about. City were ultimately relegated on the last day but for me, Horlocks free-kick at Wolves in the run-in was typical of what he did for City. In a must-win game, he trotted over from left-back and planted a 20-yard free-kick in the top corner to put City 2-1 ahead. He could always be relied upon and would always fight to the last. Its just a shame when your keeper drops the ball in his own net and allows a deflected 85th minute equaliser to creep in (see Cardiffs number one).
In his 211 games for City, Horlock was used in a variety of roles but every time he adapted to Citys needs, never failing to deliver wherever he played. During the 97-98 season, he was often used at left-back or left-midfield, owing to a shocking lack of options, until Joe Royle realised his most effective role in time for Citys attendance boosting exercise in Division Two.
From a utility man Horlock became an attacking centre-midfielder who would get you ten goals a season. A player incapable of scoring an average goal who had a knack of scoring at the perfect time (its worth noting that City didnt lose when he scored until Liverpool away - Sept 00). Goals against Fulham and Millwall kept us on course before 4 in the last 9 games helped drag City out of the mire. We all remember Dickovs last minute goal that saved us at Wembley but how about the goal that pulled us back into the game to begin with?
Of course, Horlock was by no means flawless. It was often painful to watch him turn or track back in midfield and he had a bit of a petulant streak. The best examples were during that season when he was sent off for two late challenges against Northampton and famously for aggressive walking at Bournemouth. He was also tremendously one-sided, but what he lacked on his right he made up with on his left.
Once he engineered the ball onto his stronger foot he could spray it across the park like the best of them. When he teamed up with Mark Kennedy in the 1999-2000 season, back in Division One, he displayed that perfectly. City got off to a flyer with Goater and Kennedy banging them in, and Horlock chipping in from midfield and the penalty spot (yet even Gareth Taylor could score goals in that side).
In November, City were still riding high at the top of the table and on a wet Wednesday evening, he scored another peach from 25 yards to cap a 3-1 win over Barnsley. I went down to get my shirt the next day and as I proudly declared my desire to have Horlock 6 splashed on the back, the girl on the counter gave a rendition of Super, Super-Kev. The place was buzzing and it was largely down to Horlock.
A double against Grimsby, the second a last-minute stonker to win the game, maintained Citys spell at the top before Charlton stepped in to take the title. So down to the final day again and once more it was Horlock who kick-started City. 1-0 down and getting battered, his cross splits the Blackburn defence for Goater to knock in the leveller.
Horlock then struggled to make an impression in the Premiership but who didnt in the City side that season. In 2000-01 the goals dried up and when Keegan came in he was now more of a holding midfielder, allowing Ali to do all the pretty stuff. Nevertheless, he still managed picture-book strikes against Wolves, Bradford and Birmingham as City romped to the Division One title.
In Summer 1993, after the arrival of Paul Bosvelt and Antoine Sibierski, and with the promising Joey Barton pushing for places in the midfield. Also City had abandoned the 3-5-2 formation, giving Kevin one less place to battle for. When Kevin was told by the manager that his options was limited, he decided to move on to West Ham United and 1st division football. City recieved £300 000 for their, at the time, longest serving player.
Provided by: Ben Collins (FootyMad)