When Brian Kidd was named caretaker manager of Manchester City on Monday, it brought me down memory lane. As a young Fort Lauderdale Strikers ball boy, Kidd had been one of the goal scoring heroes of mine. In 1982, when the Strikers signed Kidd, it was such a big deal that my family and I set out on the road for a five hour drive north to Jacksonville to see the legendary attacking player’s first game in the bumblebee Strikers kit. Unfortunately that night, the Jacksonville Tea Men, featuring former Fort Lauderdale Strikers goalkeeper Arnie Mausser, beat the Strikers 3-1 and it was a long trip home lamenting Kidd and what he had not brought to the table.
However, Kidd would soon come good and he scored 33 goals in 44 games for the Strikers before the team moved to Minnesota to play the final NASL season in 1984 and play indoor soccer. As a young ball boy but aspiring footballer at the time, I admired Kidd’s skills: Not simply technique but his understanding of positioning and his clinical often one–touch finishing/poaching. Watching him up-close from just over the touchline at the historic Lockhart Stadium was a treat for any youngster, especially myself.
Next week Kidd will return to the United States as caretaker manager of Manchester City. The Blues have a two game US tour which begins in St Louis on May 23 and culminates in New York on May 25. As a native Mancunian who spent four seasons playing in the United States, Kidd is uniquely qualified to lead City on this tour. In fact, in City’s previous US tours, Kidd has spoken more often to the media than he has back home since many American soccer fans and journalists connected more easily with him than with David Platt or Roberto Mancini.
Let us not forget that Kidd was an instrumental behind-the-scenes player in Sir Alex Ferguson’s building of Manchester United into a dynastic power in English football and one of the most popular football clubs in the world. Kidd was seen celebrating with Ferguson just over the touchline in a famous image when United clinched the first Premier League title in May 1993. Kidd left Ferguson and United during the treble winning season of 1998-99 to become a manager in his own right at Blackburn but after Rovers’ relegation in May 1999 and a bad start to the following campaign, Kidd was relieved of his duties.