How Shaun Wright-Phillips wanted both teams to win when Manchester City won the Premier League

Article Image

Don Riddell sits down with Shaun Wright Phillips who reflects back on one of the most memorable moments in the Premier League - the day Manchester City defeated Queens Park Rangers to win the title.

Posted: Dec 4, 2019 8:20 AM
Updated: Dec 4, 2019 8:20 AM

These days the holy grail for Manchester City is arguably winning the Champions League for the first time in its history.

It's a sign of the club's remarkable development since the 2008 takeover by Emirati royal Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan's investment company Abu Dhabi United Group that seven years ago City's focus was very much on securing its first top-flight title in 44 years.

The 2011/2012 campaign was to deliver one of the most dramatic finishes to a Premier League season ever. For Shaun Wright-Phillips that day on May 13, 2012, remains etched in his memory.

You might think winning the Premier League title in 2006 with Chelsea would be at the top of Wright-Phillips' moments as a professional football player. However, Queens Park Rangers' defeat to City in 2012 might just surpass it.

Wright-Phillips was part of the QPR team that was dramatically defeated 3-2 by Man City on the final day of the season, handing them its first Premier League title and snatching it from its city rivals, Manchester United.

To be on the opposite team, trying to prevent the side he had come to love from making history, Wright-Phillips and Nedum Onuoha (also a former City player) experienced a "massive emotional rollercoaster."

"We love Man City, and obviously we wanted Man City to win a title for the first time," Wright-Phillips told CNN Sport's Don Riddell.

"Actually being on the pitch to witness that was a bit strange because at the same time we were fighting for survival so we didn't want to get relegated either."

READ: Lionel Messi wins sixth Ballon d'Or, one more than Cristiano Ronaldo

A long connection

Wright-Phillips joined Man City's academy as a 17-year-old and played in the first team for nine seasons over two separate spells.

Such was the affinity he had with the club that when he did leave, the former England winger was overcome by emotion.

"When I actually left, all the way down (to London), I actually cried like a baby because I never ever wanted to leave. I just thought as a kid, I'm just going to play for City forever."

Heading into the final game of the 2011-12 season, it wasn't just Man City's future that had yet to be decided.

QPR were at risk of relegation from the top flight of English football, battling with Bolton Wanderers for the final place in the league.

"We didn't want to get relegated," Wright-Phillips remembers. "That's the best way to put it. I wanted to play in the Premier League again for another year.

"We had to play on the break, we had quick players in attack, the pitch was big, so we had to soak up as much pressures as physically possible to try and hit them on the break."

READ: Could Red Bull Salzburg and Erling Braut Håland knock out defending champion Liverpool?

A mix of emotions

On a gloriously sunny day in Manchester, Pablo Zabaleta put City 1-0 up, but Djibril Cisse equalized shortly after the break.

In a dramatic turn, QPR's Joey Barton was then sent off, only for Jamie Mackie to put the London side 2-1 ahead. Wright-Phillips describes the feeling of going ahead as "awkward."

"We were doing what we need to do but then at the same time we're preventing the team that we support from doing something for the first time."

With Man United winning in Sunderland and City losing, the title looked to be once again heading for the red half of the city.

But, in the most dramatic way possible, Edin Dzeko and then Sergio Aguero both astonishingly found the net in stoppage time to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

While the Etihad Stadium descended into bedlam, Wright-Phillips and his QPR teammates sank to the floor unsure of whether their future in the Premier League was secured -- they were saved by Bolton's draw with Stoke City.

"When (the final goal) went in, no one was happy because at that time we didn't know whether we were still safe," he said.

"We just knew Man City we're going to win the title but then at the same time we couldn't really celebrate for Man City because we might have been getting relegated so it would just have looked all sorts of wrong."

READ: Dutch star Vivianne Miedema scores six as Arsenal breaks WSL record with 11-1 win

'Indescribable'

Having moved to Manchester as a teenager, Wright-Phillips developed a strong connection with the club.

And although he ended up on the losing side that day, the sight of Man City winning its first title since 1968 was "indescribable."

"It was amazing to see Man City after all, the last 10 years possibly of my career, what they've gone through, the swings and roundabouts and the highs and lows, especially for the fans to actually finally lift it," he said.

Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features, and videos

"I literally just stayed in the tunnel where the coach is and the bus just literally had to wait for me and Nedum because we were trying to see everybody lift it because we just felt like we wanted to witness it and it was just nice to be a part of it."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16322

Reported Deaths: 782
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds106626
Lauderdale76068
Madison75727
Neshoba72244
Jones68632
Scott66212
Forrest59239
DeSoto5598
Leake45412
Rankin4538
Holmes44130
Copiah3254
Jackson30914
Attala30718
Yazoo2914
Newton2834
Lincoln27829
Leflore27336
Oktibbeha26714
Monroe26725
Harrison2657
Lamar2485
Lowndes2419
Wayne2353
Pearl River21231
Pike20511
Adams20216
Washington1947
Noxubee1936
Warren19110
Lee1857
Covington1772
Jasper1664
Bolivar16611
Clarke15519
Smith15311
Lafayette1504
Kemper14911
Chickasaw14014
Coahoma1284
Winston1221
Clay1184
Carroll11611
Marion1169
Claiborne1145
Lawrence1081
Simpson1040
Grenada1003
Yalobusha976
Sunflower933
Itawamba907
Hancock9012
Tate881
Union867
Montgomery861
Panola853
Marshall853
Wilkinson859
Jefferson Davis813
Tippah7611
Webster673
Calhoun674
Amite651
Walthall630
Humphreys607
Tunica563
Prentiss533
Perry513
Choctaw482
Pontotoc453
Jefferson421
Tishomingo350
Greene331
Stone320
Quitman310
Tallahatchie301
Franklin292
George281
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18554

Reported Deaths: 651
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2284118
Jefferson1884103
Montgomery182343
Tuscaloosa82216
Marshall7059
Franklin5788
Lee55834
Shelby52220
Tallapoosa43266
Butler41918
Walker3812
Elmore3729
Chambers35926
Madison3464
Morgan2981
Unassigned2972
Baldwin2929
Dallas2873
Etowah26212
Lowndes25912
DeKalb2573
Autauga2395
Coffee2391
Sumter2287
Houston2265
Bullock2156
Pike2080
Colbert1872
Hale1799
Russell1770
Barbour1771
Marengo1746
Lauderdale1692
Calhoun1653
Wilcox1547
Choctaw15310
Cullman1501
Clarke1492
St. Clair1311
Randolph1287
Marion12411
Dale1230
Pickens1215
Talladega1175
Limestone1080
Chilton1051
Greene954
Winston910
Macon874
Jackson833
Henry812
Covington811
Crenshaw783
Bibb761
Escambia753
Washington726
Blount631
Lawrence510
Monroe452
Geneva440
Perry420
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Tupelo
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 71°
Columbus
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 71°
Oxford
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 68°
Starkville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather