Home Football 5 Premier League Footballers to Have Played for Both Manchester City and Manchester United

5 Premier League Footballers to Have Played for Both Manchester City and Manchester United


It wasn’t all that long ago that a Manchester Derby would mean only one thing – a fairly routine victory for the red half of the city. In fact, for the first nine years of the Premier League (or ‘Premiership’ as it was then), City lost eight, drew two and won none. But all that has changed in the past few years.

The departure of Sir Alex Ferguson and Middle Eastern money heading City’s way has helped swing the pendulum. Now, Pep Guardiola’s Man City are runaway league leaders and arguably the most feared team in Europe. While their Jose Mourinho-led neighbours are lagging behind quite significantly. Less runaway and more runners-up, it’s a depressing picture for Man United fans used to the bragging rights.

City will go into this weekend’s match as deserving favourites. But as we look forward to the big rivalry, our minds turn to those players brave enough to risk the ire of half the city they live in and play for both clubs. In the history of the Premier League, very few have worn both the red and blue shirts of Manchester…

And here they are:


Andy Cole 

United: 1995-2001
Appearances: 195
Goals: 93

City: 2005-06
Appearances: 22
Goals: 9

Fan anger level: 2/5

Very few people remember that Andrew ‘Andy’ Cole started his career at Arsenal. He didn’t quite make the grade at the time and was shipped off to Bristol City and then Newcastle United, where he he lit up The Toon with 55 goals in just 70 appearances. This earned him a big money move to Old Trafford where he formed a fearsome partnership with Dwight Yorke and went on to play almost 200 times, netting nearly a goal every other game. During this spell he won five league titles, two FA Cups, a Charity Shield and even a Champions League.

It was a case of ever-so-slightly diminishing returns for Cole post-Old Trafford, though. His spell with City in the mid-2000’s was part of a section of his career that saw him sign for seven clubs in five seasons. Although, as ever, he found the net enough. 9 goals in 22 games as a Citizen isn’t a bad return, after all. Especially given he finished the club’s top scorer that season.


Owen Hargreaves

United: 2007-2011
Appearances: 27
Goals: 2

City: 2011-2012
Appearances: 4
Goals: 1

Fan anger level: 2/5

English-Canadian-German midfielder Owen Hargreaves had a rather meteoric rise. As a 14 year-old in Canada, he had very little interest in ‘soccer’. But a year later he took up the game, playing in a local amateur league. Another year later he took the plunge and moved to Germany, joining up with Bayern Munich’s youth set-up. Within two years he was playing for the senior side.

Some 150-odd impressive showings as a solid holding central sort soon saw him catch the eye of the England set-up, qualifying as he did via his English parents. He then became the only player to appear for The Three Lions despite having never lived in England. That changed in 2007, when he signed for Sir Alex’s mob and turned into an instant crock.

Injury blighted his four years at United, limiting him to less than thirty appearances. It was to be a bum knee that finally saw him quit. A specialist convinced him not to fully retire though and he eventually earned a short-term deal with Roberto Mancini’s City. A tiny handful of games later, the season’s end saw him retire for good. He was just 31.


Andrei Kanchelskis

United: 1991-1995
Appearances: 123
Goals: 28

City: 2001
Appearances: 10
Goals: 0

Fan anger level: 2/5

For United fans, the nineties produced players of star players in those snazzy lace-up red shirts to adore. But while Plenty loved Robson, McClair, Giggs, Ince and the like, the hipster’s choice was surely Andrei Antanasovich Kanchelskis. A mercurial sort and official ‘wing wizard’, this Russian – on his day – was unstoppable. United signed him from Shakhtar Donetsk for £650,000 in 1991 and got four good seasons out of him before he left for Everton.

A couple of clubs later (Rangers and Fiorentina), the Russian found himself on loan back in Manchester. But at City. One goal in ten appearances and he was was back to his parent club. A couple more seasons of middling about and then David Beckham’s predecessor was to step into low level management in Russia. It was a slightly ignominious tapering off to a career that burned so brightly in the early nineties. But he’ll always be one of our favorite players of the era.


Peter Schmeichel

United: 1991-1999
Appearances: 292
Goals: 1

City: 2002/03
Appearances: 29
Goals: 0

Fan anger level: 3/5

Peter Schmeichel upset a few die-hard United fans when he turned up for City in 2002, three years after departing United. Most didn’t begrudge him making a living too much, but the fact that the Red Devils couldn’t replace him with a goalkeeper capable of catching a ball for quite a few years didn’t help.

The Danish international was the best ‘keeper of his generation and arguably the greatest of all time. He’ll walk into almost anyone’s Best Ever Premier League XI. While only a few fans were really that annoyed at the ‘betrayal’, most – as we say – weren’t. Gary Neville, on the other hand, well… He didn’t take it very well at all. As the video above demonstrates. Ouch.



Carlos Tevez

United: 2007-2009
Appearances: 63
Goals: 19

City: 2009-2013
Appearances: 105
Goals: 57

Fan anger level: 5/5

Up to this point, the other four players on the list haven’t caused too much consternation among supporters. Not so with our final fella. The bullish Argentinian forward Carlos Tevez shocked everyone when he signed for West Ham, along with Javier Mascherano, back in 2006. Less people were surprised when the in-form striker moved up to United a year later. There, Tevez  scored 19 goals in 63 appearances. Two years later he did the unthinkable and took the big money offered by the newly-rich Manchester City.

He would go on to score plenty and help City to their first Premier League title. Which, understandably, Manchester United fans found rather hard to take. The hate was, and still is, very real indeed.

The latest installment in the drama comes this weekend.

The Manchester Derby is on at 5.30pm on Saturday night. Why not head down to your local Rileys and watch it with us?

Steve Charnock A freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card. Follow him on Twitter or follow him into the pub and buy him a drink.