‘He was no Tom Cruise!’ – Man City kit man lifts the lid on Sven-Goran Eriksson at Man City

Les Chapman, the long-time Manchester City kit man, has lifted the lid on what it was like working with former manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

The former England boss was in charge for an eventful season at City between 2007 and 2008, with the team starting the campaign well and fading away, eventually finishing in a respectable ninth position.

During his time at City, Eriksson also steered the team to a double over local rivals Manchester United and supporters were unhappy that he was let go with two years still to run on his deal.

Speaking to Nedum Onuhua’s Kickback podcast , Chapman has revealed that such popularity was shared by the players at the Etihad Stadium, with then-captain Richard Dunne paying tribute to Eriksson in the dressing room after his final game in charge – an 8-1 hammering at the hands of Middlesbrough.

“He has this aura about him and this reputation about him,” said Chapman, who now works for City’s media team. “He was so charming. The lads love him.”

“In fact, we played at Middlesborough and lost 8-1, when Richard Dunne was sent off. And we all knew that Sven was being sacked. [Thaksin] Shinawatra was the chairman at the time.

“And it’s the first time, the only time, I’ve ever seen Richard Dunne the captain stood up in the dressing room – and said ‘it has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with you, Sven, for the last two years. We’re devastated that you’re leaving and we wish you all the best for the future’.”

Chapman also spoke about Eriksson’s charismatic personality away from football, suggesting he enjoyed the social aspects of working in Manchester too.

“I remember Hasse Backe, his assistant, said they could go in a restaurant in Manchester and it would be empty – him and Sven – then in 10 minutes it would be packed.

“And there would be glamorous models walking over to Sven and giving him their card and saying if ‘you’re ever in London give me a ring.’ And as a physical specimen, he was no Tom Cruise!”

Despite finishing in ninth position during Eriksson’s only season in Manchester, the team did qualify for the UEFA Cup through the Fair Play League.

Eriksson has gone on to hold multiple managerial roles since leaving City, including spells with Leicester City, Ivory Coast and most recently the Philippines, a position he left in 2019.