Friday, 8 December 2017

Coventry City Advent Calendar - My 25 Favourite Players - Day 8 - Michael Mifsud

After a slightly more personal instalment yesterday with Marvin Sordell, I thought that today I'd come back with a more relatable player that most people remember. Well, in fact if you remember him, and you likely do unless you've been living under a rock for the past 10 years, you'll have one night in particular that springs to mind when you hear the words "Michael Mifsud". In fact, the match in question puts a shadow over the rest of his City career he was that good.

Without even exaggerating, he's the best player to come out of Malta and is both their record appearance maker as well as goal scorer. On the morning of the 27th of September 2007, the papers held his name on both the front and back pages. One Italian newspaper referred to him as "il Messi di Malta" for his efforts the night before, as he orchestrated a 2-0 away victory at Manchester United the night before, netting both goals.

The first came when Michael Doyle spread it across the box, it looked to be trickling out but the 5 foot 4 magician didn't stop running, and managed to scoop it in from pretty much the byline with Kuszczak left sprawled on the floor. Over 11,000 City fans were in raptures in the away end, and still to this day hold the record for the highest ever away attendance at Old Trafford, but the carnage didn't end there.

His second came from a one two with Jay Tabb, in fact I'm fairly sure it was just a poor touch from Tabby, either way Mifsud smacked it first time from 20 yards into the roof of the net. With 20 minutes left, he'd given us an incredible feeling, we were actually going to be Manchester United away. It's one of the main cup ties you look for when the draw is done, and he'd ripped them to pieces all on his own. B Team or not, it was an incredible evening.

He was hot property from that point on, the 07/08 season was the high point of his career, but I think it all got too much for him. In the words of Stormzy himself, he got a bit too big for his boots towards the end of his Coventry career. We accepted a bid from Bristol City but right at the last moment he demanded more money and negotiations fell apart. In the end we had to release him as he never got close to his cup performances that year.

He was a free agent for 6 months yet still played every game for Malta, and ever since he's been hopping between clubs and has had 3 stints at Valetta, where he plays currently. He also still plays for his country despite being 36, and even managed to play both fixtures versus England in the World Cup Qualifying Groups. Even if deep down he only had one game which sticks out in the memory, he'll forever be remembered as the hero of "That night in Manchester".

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