Mike Doyle, former Manchester City captain and third on the club's all-time appearance list, died yesterday aged 64. Doyle played 558 matches between 1964 and 1978, during City's most successful period, culminating in his lifting the 1976 League Cup as captain.
The tributes for the defender – famous for his passion for the club – were strong from his former team-mates. "He was the heart and soul of Manchester City, the club meant everything to him," said Mike Summerbee. "Mike was somebody you always wanted alongside you when the going got tough. He was a great footballer, a magnificent servant to this club, and he was also a nice bloke into the bargain."
Doyle was well known as a life-long City supporter, a boyhood regular at Maine Road while growing up in Reddish. He joined City in 1962, at the age of 15, and made his debut two years later. By the time of City's First Division win in 1967-68, the passionate, assertive Doyle was a regular in the No 4 shirt.
The following year City won the FA Cup, and secured the League Cup and Cup-Winners' Cup in 1970. Doyle ascended to the captaincy in the mid-Seventies, and the highpoint of his career came in 1976. He was outstanding in the League Cup final, in which City beat Newcastle 2-1 and after which he lifted the trophy.
As a fierce City supporter, Doyle's deep antipathy for Manchester United was proud and public. He took great relish in celebrating in front of the Stretford End when scoring in City's 2-1 win at Old Trafford in March 1970. In March 1974 Doyle and United's Lou Macari were sent off for fighting in a Manchester derby at Maine Road, but refused to leave the pitch. Between March 1968 and September 1975, Doyle played in 16 Manchester derbies and lost only once.
After leaving City in 1978, Doyle had spells at Stoke City, Bolton Wanderers and Rochdale. He won five England caps between 1976 and 1977.