Updated: Friday, 15th February 2019 @ 12:37pm

No longer champions, but Manchester City legend Mike Summerbee insists cup final still means success

No longer champions, but Manchester City legend Mike Summerbee insists cup final still means success

Exclusive by Ross McLean

Legendary wingman Mike Summerbee insists reaching the FA Cup final combined with second-place in the Barclays Premier League still represents a successful season for Manchester City.

Roberto Mancini’s side are overwhelming favourites to secure runners-up spot in the league after defeating West Bromwich Albion and face Wigan Athletic in today’s Wembley showdown.

And Summerbee – who made more than 400 City appearances between 1965 and 1975 – believes FA Cup glory will help cushion the blow of losing their Premier League crown.

“We have had a very good season,” he told MM.

“It’s difficult when you don’t win the Premier League again but to go to a cup final is something very special.

“When we won the league in the 1960s, the year after we lost it but then we won everything for years.

“We’re in the cup final and hopefully we’ll finish second so as far as I’m concerned we’ve had a very good season.”

Summerbee – capped eight times byEngland– was in Joe Mercer’s City side that defeated Leicester City at Wembley to lift the 1969 FA Cup.

And despite a host of medals from his time at the club, the 70-year-old is adamant nothing quite compares to the joy of winning the country’s premier knockout competition.

“For me, the cup final is a very special occasion and if you’re lucky enough to win at Wembley it’s fantastic although it’s not the nicest place if you lose,” he said.

“There are a lot of famous footballers who have not got an FA Cup winners’ medal so to win is a very special moment that lives in your memory forever.

“Cup finals go very quickly, the ninety minutes passes by so fast but the whole day is brilliant.

“The build-up, going up Wembley Way, the stadium, coming out onto the pitch and being presented to a member of the Royal Family – it’s very special.”

The year after their 1969 cup triumph, City enjoyed success on the continent and brought home the European Cup Winners’ Cup after beating Gornik Zabrze inVienna.

And while Summerbee would relish history repeating itself, he is keen to focus on the here and now, believing City have their work cut out on Saturday.

“Everything is a priority when next season comes but it’s important to get this season over with first and then look forward,” he said.

“Wigan are a very good footballing side and they have a superb manager so it will be a very difficult game for us.

“When we played in the league at the Etihad Stadium they played exceptionally well against us and the year before they did exactly the same so it will be a very difficult game.

“League positions don’t come into consideration when you’re playing in an FA Cup final, you have to have a different approach to it.”

It is mooted Wigan chairman Dave Whelan will lead the Latics out at Wembley, where his top-flight playing career was ended 42 minutes into the 1960 FA Cup final.

And while football will take centre stage come Saturday evening, Summerbee – dubbed “buzzer” by his team-mates – believes such a tribute is befitting of Whelan.

“Wigan have a great chairman and it will be a very emotional day for Dave Whelan if he brings the team out,” he said.

“He broke his leg playing for Blackburn Rovers against Wolves many years ago and he’s a very good friend of mine, of Francis Lee and all the people at the club.

“It will be emotional for him and a great occasion.”

Image courtesy of Manchester City Supporters Club, via YouTube, with thanks

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