Top quality Manchester City signings

After three wins and a draw from Manchester City’s opening games, Pep Guardiola is, quite rightly, not phased that his all conquering Centurions are ‘languishing’ in fourth place in the Premier League.

Unbeaten and unbothered, City’s Catalan genius, said the season doesn’t ‘get going properly’ until after the first international break of the season, with Fulham next up at the Etihad.

£60m man – Riyad Mahrez was City’s only major summer signing.

It looks as if all of those on international duty have reported back to Manchester injury free. It helped that Argentina and Brazil saw fit not to include the likes of Sergio Aguero, Nicolas Otamendi, Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho in their squads. Leroy Sane played a few minutes for Germany before leaving to be present at the birth of his daughter, whereas Ederson asked to be left out of Brazil’s squad, as he became a Dad for the second time.

In addition, David Silva’s welcome retirement from Spanish duties and Raheem Sterling’s enforced rest with a back injury means many of City’s stars were kept out of harm’s way. Danilo’s recovery from an ankle injury sustained in the World Cup was an added bonus, leaving Pep with a full strength squad, barring long term absentees, ‘King’ Kevin De Bruyne and crocked Claudio Bravo.

King Kev crocked – KDB’s injury is a big blow to the start of City’s defence of the Premier League title.

The knee ligament injury to playmaker extraordinaire, KDB is undoubtedly a big blow to City. The loss of the brilliant Belgian would cripple most teams, but such is City’s strength in depth, they should ‘get by’ until a fit and refreshed De Bruyne returns, hopefully sometime in November.

His absence makes the £60m summer acquisition of Riyad Mahrez all the more vital, as City seek to defend their Premier League title and mount a serious assault on the Champions League.

Surprisingly, Mahrez was City’s only significant senior summer signing, albeit his switch from Leicester City was for a club record fee. Considering The Foxes were demanding £90m+ in the January transfer window, the Algerian attacker represents excellent value. It was a feather in the cap of the oft and much maligned Txiki Begeristain, that City made an apparent saving of £30m within the space of barely six months.

Mahrez has come to Manchester City to add to the Premier League winner’s medal he won with Leicester.

It’s a feather that was swiftly plucked from said cap, when, for whatever reasons of skullduggery, double dealings or plain dishonourable conduct by others, City’s Director of Football couldn’t deliver the new holding midfielder that Pep craved.

The need to ease the workload on the ageing legs of 33-year old Fernandinho, and start succession planning, was a top priority for Pep. Napoli’s Jorginho had looked a shoe in for the role, week after week after week during the summer break.

As we know he ended up at Chelsea amid what some might describe as ‘dubious goings-on’, but the net result was the same – only one major City summer signing.

Jorginho chose the wrong shade of blue when he opted for Chelsea over City.

Already the rumour mill has City linked to possible January bids for Borussia Dortmund’s Julian Weigl (23), Napoli’s Piotr Zielinksi (24) – although God knows why City would go anywhere near a deal involving Napoli’s notorious Chairman, Aurelio De Laurentis – or, closer to home, Wolves’ Ruben Neves (21).

Over the past 10 years, Mark Hughes, Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini and now, Pep Guardiola, have signed some of the greatest players ever to play for Manchester City.

Hughes – for all his shortcomings – had the foresight to bring an understated Pablo Zabaleta, along with a comparatively unknown Vincent Kompany, to the then City of Manchester Stadium in 2008, just prior to ‘the money’ coming in.

10 years and counting – Captain Fantastic Vincent Kompany celebrates his time at City with a special shirt framed by Autograph Art.

Bobby Manc attracted Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Yaya Toure and Edin Dzeko to the Etihad, whereas Manuel Pellegrini didn’t do too badly, signing Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling.

Of course Pep has taken City to well chronicled, record breaking heights, helped by the likes of Ederson, John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, Kyle Walker, Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy, Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus.

There’s every expectation, Mahrez will be instrumental in City’s quest for the big trophies in the foreseeable future.

Will Yaya be best remembered for his wonderful achievements on the field, or his scandalous comments off it? Either way Autograph Art played their part in his send off against Brighton last May.

While Txiki has to wait until 2019 at the earliest, to make amends for not providing Pep with the defensive midfielder he requires, there’s a man who works just 2.3 miles away from the Etihad Stadium, who hardly ever has difficulties getting big name players to sign. His name is Dave Knebel.

He’ll be known to some – not all – City fans, but when it comes to acquiring the finest Manchester City signed sports memorabilia, he’s the ‘Pep’ of his trade. Nobody does it better than Dave’s Droylsden-based Autograph Art business.

Read But Never Red is delighted to welcome Autograph Art on board as one of our new sponsors for the 2018/19 season – a campaign that we both, along with all Blues, hope will result in memorable moments, cups, titles and silverware for City, along with images, boots, shirts, footballs, gloves – you name it – that can be signed by Pep and his squad.

Take a seat with Sergio – Autograph Art produced this exquiste signed Aguero chair.

As official framers for Manchester City FC, Autograph Art’s credentials are akin to the travelling support who attended the Old Trafford, Manchester Derby in February 2008, as Sven Goran Eriksson’s team beat United 2-1 on the 50th Anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster – totally impeccable!

Authentic, creative and innovative, Dave and his team have been responsible for the high profile framed shirt, pitch presentations to Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta in recent times.

They didn’t sign for City but they did sign for Autograph Art – Messi and Ronaldo side by side!

Not only do they have the kudos and reflected glory of a close association with the Club, Autograph Art also believe in making highly sought after memorabilia available to fans on a range of different levels, catering for a wide variety of budgets.

Of course, we all want a framed City shirt signed by any or all of The Centurions, an item bearing Pep’s handwritten name, something tangible to treasure, along with the memories of recent glories and those yet to come. But, if you can’t stretch to the more expensive items, you could have your season card captured and framed in a special ‘Champions 18’ mount, as a lasting memento of a truly remarkable title-winning season.

What a belter – Fancy a signed boxing belt from World Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua? Autograph Art had this special commission.

A true Blue himself and a season card holder of many years, Dave’s first love is City, but business is business, so Autograph Art provide and frame memorabilia from an eclectic mix encompassing all sports, movies, music, entertainment – you name it – Dave and his team can frame it.

Walk into Autograph Art at 137-139 Manchester Road, and you could see anything ranging from World Heavyweight Champion, Anthony Joshua’s boxing gloves, to F1 World Champion, Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes driving helmet. It all depends what projects they have on the go at any given time.

Top Gear – How do you get a signed and framed F1 racing helmet from World Champion Lewis Hamilton? You’d best ask Autograph Art.

Dave said, “We pride ourselves on our ability and adaptability to provide one of the best framing services in the land. We’re passionate about what we do, we’re creative and we’ve invested in technology and equipment that enables us to transform ideas into reality.

“Our work encompasses bespoke and highly specialized commissions, right through to straight forward framing requirements for photos, prints and canvasses. We have access to stars and personalities in the sports and entertainment arenas and everything – everything – we sell is 100% genuine. Authenticity is key to our reputation.

In safe hands – A signed glove from City’s Premier League winning Ederson.

“As City fans ourselves we’re delighted to sign up with Read But Never Red and hope this will further enhance our profile, raise awareness of what we do with City as a club, but more importantly, what we can do for the thousands of RBNR readers.”

Let’s just hope City sign back into the Premier League with three points over Fulham and a winning start against Lyon in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

By David Walker


See the array of outstanding items on the Autograph Art website by clicking on their logo and link on our home page, or contact them for your own individual framing requirements on 0161 371 8080. @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu


  1. September 14, 2018  8:06 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Nice to have read but never red back Dave, excellent piece as well. Marhez is indeed a excellent signing, but I'm disappointed in some City fans saying he's crap. Alright he hasn't hit the ground running but give the guy time get behind him. Autograph Art looks like a winner to me.

    • September 14, 2018  9:03 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Doug. Been sidetracked on a project but need to dust off the RBNR keyboard. As for our new sponsors, Autograph Art are the best in the business for City and other sports memorabilia. In a world full of fraudsters and cheats they are 100% authentic with a wonderful array of items. Highly recommended if, as and when genuine, great quality framing or memorabilia is wanted.

  2. September 14, 2018  8:12 pm by Pete Lynch Reply

    Superb writing as always. Lets hope in addition to our stellar signings, young players like Foden and Diaz shine.
    Keep up the great work David.

    • September 14, 2018  9:05 pm by David Walker Reply

      Bit slow out of the blocks this season, but as Pep says' 'The season doesn't start properly until after the international break'. I took him at his word. Thanks fella.

  3. September 14, 2018  10:23 pm by Clive Vickerstaff Reply

    You're on the money as usual David , excellent reading !! i'm going to the shakhtar home game with my city mate . we live in Dorset and flying up early morning from Southampton , we'll hopefully pay a visit to Droylsden , have a look around Dave's AUTOGRAPH ART shop .

    • September 15, 2018  7:54 am by David Walker Reply

      You won't be disappointed at AA and hopefully you'll be delighted at the Etihad. Safe flight, happy signings and three Champions League points! Cheers. Don't forget your luggage allowance for your signed City memorabilia :-)

  4. September 15, 2018  10:18 pm by Susan Bookbinder Reply

    Great read as always Dave!

  5. September 16, 2018  11:22 am by Pete Reply

    As I like a bit of controversy... I'm not convinced that Mahrez is what we need, great player that he is. I'm not sure he brings anything extra to the table and on his recent showings I wonder if the price tag is weighing too heavily at the moment. Time will tell.
    Regarding Autograph Art I approached them at your recommendation last year as I needed a couple of signed City shirts framing. As a novice in this area it was great to speak to Dave Knebel who gave me a myriad of options at various prices. Eventually we settled for extra photographs and plaques both sourced by them. The result is excellent and this price tag does not weigh too heavily. He is clearly a blue so expect a long conversation about the blues if you collect in person. He clearly has great enthusiasm for them and his work. Highly recommended.

    • September 16, 2018  8:01 pm by David Walker Reply

      The jury is very much out on Mahrez but it's very very early days. He's a Premier League Champion and I think he'll come good and be value for money in this crazy transfer market. Glad your opinion of Autograph Art is better formed - they're definitely in a different league to their competitors. Great feedback, thanks Pete.

  6. September 16, 2018  5:05 pm by Richard Cooper Reply

    Am. writing this after the Fulham game which was very good but should have been 5 or 6.
    Am sure Mahrez will come good. To me he can seen a bit "rooted" on the wing without going looking for the ball. Bernado is an example of a player who took time to adjust to the Pep way and yesterday he was superb, along with Silva No 1, Ferna and Delph.
    At this moment it would appear (ignoring the unsavoury aspects of LFC) that Klopp has assembled a team to challenge our hopefully 2 consecutive Prem titles.
    Exciting season ahead and AA looks very good.

    • September 16, 2018  8:07 pm by David Walker Reply

      Great to hear from you RC. A RBNR blog without a RC comment would be like Christmas without a turkey :-) - only joking fella. Yes, we could have easily had 6 goals yesterday and we will have to be more clinical against the better teams in the PL and CL, but I think yesterday was a little bit about conserving energy and prepping for Lyon. Hope all these 'little' injuries e.g. Sergio, Delphino and Mendy are just that. Losing KDB was a big blow and last season's injury list was extensive...and we were still Centurions. Yes, the Scouse Scum seem to be the biggest threat, but it needn't be so great if only we had honest and competent officials every time we play them.

      Autograph Art are most definitely the DB's and come highly recommended - especially on all things MCFC. Thanks Richard.

  7. October 8, 2018  5:26 pm by stuartreed Reply

    Hi Dave good result yesterday. City grew into it
    not on twitter but just try this & pass it on
    Search in Google Maps "Gobshite" and see where it takes you Haha :)

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