The present-day system of loaning players between clubs only really began in 1967 and probably only took off in the couple of decades before the latest turn of the century, writes Malcolm Johnson.
Consequently, prior to the year 2000, there are not many players to look at who, like Tyler Walker, have played for City on loan before returning permanently at a later date. Of these, four played in promotion-winning campaigns as well as featured in a poll of City’s top 100 players – one of them placed at number three – while three won Player of the Season awards, one of them twice. Only one player could be branded as a failure of a signing, playing in a relegation side, while the others could be rated as worthwhile but average.
In all but two cases, the period on loan was clearly a prelude to the later permanent signing of the players, while the loan periods of the others were so far in the past that it must have been coincidental that they later came to City for another spell.
I have not included the handful of players whose loans were turned into permanent transfers without a break, in every case with a fee involved, such as Dennis Booth, Peter Grotier, David Felgate and Jae Martin. Although Booth’s case is slightly different in that his loan period was up to the end of the season with his arrival on a permanent basis coming during the summer. The first three of these would all be candidates to be listed among City’s best players of the last fifty years with Martin decidedly less so, although (I would say) not a complete flop.
Please note – Gary is planning a second article with some of the post-2000 players.