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The day they were born: Kelechi Iheanacho

Born in Imo State, Nigeria on 3 October 1996, we look at events and connections on Kelechi's birthday...

Growing up idolising the likes of Kaka and Lionel Messi while also discovering a love of wrestling, Kelechi represented Taye Academy as a youngster and first drew global attention with a series of dazzling performances in the 2013 Under-17 World Cup – where he also picked up the Golden Ball award.

Just 20 today (3 October), the Sony PlayStation is two years older than City’s teenage goalscorer, at the time of his birth most of us wouldn’t have yet laid our hands on a mobile phone – although internet use was becoming more widespread.

So what do you remember about life in the UK in 1996? We run the rule over City, English football and popular culture on and around the day he was born…

GOALDEN BOY: Kelechi on target again...


The season following football’s “homecoming” as England hosted Euro '96, it was Manchester United who lifted the Premier League trophy, seeing off closest challengers Arsenal and Newcastle United.

At the other end of the table Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest were the teams who lost their places among English football’s elite.

Chelsea won the FA Cup in May 1997, ending their 26-year wait for a major trophy. The club’s manager, Ruud Gullit, also made history that season as the first foreign manager to lift a major trophy in the English game.

Widely written off at the start of the season, newly-promoted Leicester City defied the critics and gave their supporters a season to remember, finishing in the top half of the top flight and lifting the League Cup.

City, however, had been relegated at the end of the 1995/96 season and were unable to bounce straight back up, finishing 15th in a second tier that was then called Division One. Bolton Wanderers, relegated with them, topped the table throughout the season and were promoted as Champions with 98 points.


Due to the inconvenience of an international break, it wasn’t until nine days after the birth of their future striker that City took to the field again.

Queens Park Rangers were the opponents and the game drew a crowd of 16,000 to Loftus Road, where Ian Brightwell and Georgi Kinkladze rewarded the away fans for their journey south with a goal each to earn a 2-2 draw.

The 1996/97 campaign was a season of turbulence for City, who went through a trio of managers – Alan Ball, Steve Coppell and Frank Clark.

Uwe Rösler was the top scorer with 17 goals, but the Blues struggled in their first season following relegation from the Premier League and never threatened to bounce back immediately. Knocked out of the League Cup in the Second Round by Lincoln City, the only real source of cheer was an FA Cup run to the Fifth Round.

Things would get tougher too, with a spell in the English third tier awaiting once a further relegation was confirmed at the end of 1997/98. However, for the long-suffering fans, help would most definitely arrive in the summer of 1997, when Shaun Goater signed on the dotted line at Maine Road.


A whole variety of famous figures will be joining Kelechi in blowing out their birthday candles on 3 October.  Zlatan Ibrahimovic also shares Kelechi's special day – but also for the entertainment industry, with actor Clive Owen, and music stars Gwen Stefani and Chubby Checker also celebrating.


1          Breakfast At Tiffany’s - Deep Blue Something 

2          Ready Or Not - Fugees 

3          Seven Days And One Week - B.B.E. 

4          Escaping - Dina Carroll 

5          I Love You Always Forever - Donna Lewis


Independence Day


On 13 March, the world was shocked by events at a primary school in Dunblane, Stirling – a total of 16 children and a teacher were killed in the massacre which left the whole of the UK reeling.

In the summer, England hosted the European Championships for the first time in history, and the Three Lions lasted until the semi-finals before losing to Germany on penalties – nearly two decades later, spot-kicks remain the enemy of every England supporter.

On 10 and 11 August, Oasis played two shows to an audience of 150,000 per night at Knebworth. Over 2.6m people applied for tickets for the shows, then the largest ever demand for concert tickets in British history.


Petrol 52.9p per litre,

First class stamp 32p


(£15m, Alan Shearer, Blackburn Rovers to Newcastle United)

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