It's almost 10 years since Vincent Kompany joined Manchester City. Arriving shortly before the Sheikh Mansour takeover, the club captain demonstrates something of City's homelier past.
Speaking to Paul Wilson this week, the Belgian elaborated upon his passion for a club that has inevitably lost some of it's authenticity in seeking to become one of Europe's elite:
This club has given me so much, and I think I have given a lot back. I didn’t really expect any of this when I came to England but there’s a relationship now that’s going to grow and go further. Once I finish playing I’m still a Manchester City player for the rest of my life, that won’t change.
A colossal presence in the heart of City's defense as they mounted their ascendancy, it was the less favoured Richard Dunne, the man whose 'name doesn't roll off the tongue in Beijing', that demonstrated to Kompany the heart of the club that he had joined:
When I came to City there was a gap in the dressing room with regard to the club’s history. There was not a lot from the previous generation, Dunny [Richard Dunne] was maybe the only one in a position to tell us what players like Shaun Goater and Paul Dickov had done for the club. If you stay long enough you get to hear about all the club legends but it is more powerful when there is a direct link through the present players.
Having played over 350 games for City, Dunne was named Manchester City's Player of the Year on four successive occasions (2005-2008). With Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott and Kompany himself offering more fashionable defensive options in City's increasingly market driven approach to recruitment, Dunne was moved on.
Somewhat straddling both eras, Kompany, who has outlasted most, recalls the raucous nature of City's dressing room compared to the more sedate, quiet environment he had experience in Hamburg:
I can’t forget about the noise in the dressing room. It was loud ... Even reading a book, which I thought was sensible, would be too much for the manager.
Then I came to City and the place was bouncing. People playing pranks. Robinho and the kit man would be taking the mickey out of each other. Robinho and Elano would be doing keepy-ups with rolled up socks, making the rest of us feel like amateurs.
Throughout this transformative era for City, Kompany has shown a tremendous willingness in embracing each unexpected change - he has worked under four very different managerial regimes.
For Dunne however, the man who demonstrated the historical worth of a club that was inescapably 'losing its soul a bit' to the two-time Premier League winner, this new version of an old club was summed up with that market-driven rationale which deemed him surplus to requirements.