25 years on - City's critical moment

Manchester City celebrate play-off win in 1999
[Getty Images]

While Manchester United were busy winning their third trophy of the Treble, Manchester City were preparing for the play-off final in England's third tier.

It was 25 years ago and Manchester City beat Gillingham to win promotion back to the First Division (now the Championship) and stop the rot.

But that's not even half the story. If you think final day drama and late goals have defined Manchester City over the last decade - this is what started it all.

At 2-0 down with five minutes to go, Kevin Horlock and Paul Dickov rescued the game to take it to extra time before Nicky Weaver was the penalty shootout hero in goal.

If you're over 30, you don't need telling how significant that was or how important it was in reviving Manchester City and helping to create the modern day Blues. If you're under 30, you'll have been educated on it.

There are many with stories of leaving at 2-0 (my own family has that story). For many it was a rare glimpse of silverware as City were caught in the middle of a 35-year wait for a major domestic honour.

It's a proper sliding door moment. What if City hadn't come back? Would they have sat in League One forever more? Would the Abu Dhabi investment have ever happened? Probably not.

Paul Dickov recently carried out the Premier League trophy to the side that had just won a fourth league title in a row. Being in the Premier League back then was the target.

So to those that played, those that were there, those that watched on their TVs and those that listened on the radio - a timely reminder that every success City enjoy now is a little sweeter when you flick the highlights back to that day 25 years ago.