Nicky Summerbee wasn't really destined for a move to Manchester City. The 22-year old England B international may have one of the most famous surnames in the club's history but, as a teenager, he shocked his father Mike by announcing he was a Manchester United fan. But Summerbee junior didn't let his allegiance get in the way of a good career move: He preferred City to Blackburn Rovers and Middlesbrough in a 1.5m move during the summer of 1994.
For the City faithful, the sight of the Summerbee name on the teamsheet conjures up emotional images of championship glory and European success. Mike (who once owned a clothes shop with George Best) was City's most versatile genius in its late 1960s and early 1970s heyday, winning championship and European medals and eight England caps. It was no great surprise when his son became a professional footballer. After joining Swindon as a school boy in 1987, Summerbee The Second made his professional début (aged 18) against Wolves in the old second division. By the end of 1993/94, Summerbee had played over 130 times for the Robins.
Much of the credit for his rise must go to Glenn Hoddle. Before Hoddle's appointment as Swindon manager, Summerbee was seen as something of a journeyman but Hoddle's coaching transformed his performances and, ultimately, the fee he could command on the transfer market. His effort and versatility enabled Swindon to play him at right back or as a right-sided midfielder. But City manager Brian Horton plans to use him in an attacking rôle. Assistant manager David Moss cites Summerbee's crossing ability as his strongest attribute alongside his 'sheer consistency'. With the long awaited return of the angular Niall Quinn and the sharpness of Mike Sheron and Uwe Rösler, a steady supply of Summerbee crosses could confuse many premier league defences. City desperately needs to cause more chaos in the opposition's penalty area than it did in the 1993/94 season: without Quinn and lacking a crosser of Summerbee's potential, the team didn't even average a goal a game and only managed to score 14 league goals away from Maine Road.
Moss had been keeping an eye on Summerbee for years and first recognised his potential while at Oxford United with Horton. In his frequent scouting trips to Swindon, Moss could not recall ever seeing the youngster have a bad game.
Summerbee has already won three England under-21 level caps in the Toulon tournament. Last season saw another international breakthrough when he gained his first England B cap.
Francis Lee's triumphant return to Maine Road has restored the club's belief in itself by harking back to the glory days under Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison. Summerbee senior is back at City on the commercial side and may take on a permanent rôle. However, Mike had no influence in the arrival of his son. The club is adamant it was 'purely Brian Horton's signing'.
After signing for City, Nicky told the Maine Road fans: 'I don't want to be known as the second Mike Summerbee but the first Nicky Summerbee.' Nicholas The First is one of the most promising wide players in English football. The hope is that he can succeed where, last season, David White and Rick Holden failed.
Nicky never looked comfortable playing for the blues, and he soon became the boo-boys 'favourite'. He probably enjoyed his best moments after Frank Clark arrived, but 11 months later he found himself on the train to Sunderland, in a swap deal with striker Craig Russell.
January 4th 2001: Bolton Wanderers have agreed a pay a nominal fee for Sunderland's out of favour winger Nicky Summerbee. The 29 year old is out on contract at the Stadium of Light this summer and has not played for his club this season having refused to sign a new deal last year and Bolton have swooped for him to boost their promotion bid from the first division. Summerbee was on the brink of a move to Bradford City four months ago only for the move to fall through over personal terms and it would appear that this is the only stumbling block for the new proposed move.
August 9th 2002: New Leicester City signing Nick Summerbee have agreed to play without wages for the time being as the Nationwide cash crisis hits hard.The player joined the Foxes on a non-contract basis this week and is likely to start on the subs bench for tomorrow's season opener against Watford.
September 3rd 2003: Former Manchester City and Sunderland star
Nicky Summerbee has signed a two-year deal with Bradford City. The 32-year-old
had been without a club since his release by Leicester City at the end
of last season and trained with a number of Nationwide League clubs before
agreeing terms with the Bantams. Summerbee was also offered a deal by
Burnley, but rejected it on the grounds that it was not long-term enough.