Manchester City have teamed up with leading sports analytics company Opta to look back in detail at the 1999 Play-Off Final.

These days, Opta provide cutting-edge data for more than 30 sports in over 70 countries.

But back in this era, insights were few and far between, especially for a game in the third tier of English football.

However, now Opta, recognised by sports fans across the globe, have worked their magic to provide never-before-seen stats about the Wembley clash that set us on the path to glory.

Check out all 10 below.

1] Our two goal heroes on the day – Kevin Horlock and Paul Dickov – both share the same birthday. In fact, they were born on the exact same day – 1 November 1972. Horlock and Dickov were aged 26 on the day that made history. This game is the only time that two players born on the same day have scored in the same match at Wembley.

2] Paul Dickov arrived at Wembley in top form – scoring seven goals in his final nine appearances in the 1998/99 season. Remarkably, that was only one fewer than he scored in his first 37 matches that season where he bagged eight goals. City, as a while, had finished the season well, too. Between Boxing Day and the end of the 1998/99 season, only Fulham (56) picked up more points than Manchester City in the league (52). In that timeframe, City lost the fewest games (2) and conceded the fewest goals (12) of any team.

3] City didn’t lose a single game that Kevin Horlock scored in during the 1998/99 season. That was W8, D1. They were City 2-1 Colchester (October 1998), Oldham 0-3 City (November 1998), City 3-0 Fulham (January 1999), City 3-0 Millwall (February 1999), Burnley 0-6 City (March 1999), City 4-0 Lincoln (April 1999), Gillingham 0-2 City (April 1999), City 4-0 York (May 1999) and, of course, City 2-2 Gillingham (May 1999). Gillingham were also the only side he scored in more than one game against, bagging the second in the 2-0 win at Priestfield Stadium the previous month. Interestingly, City didn’t lose a match that Paul Dickov scored in that season either. His record was W8 D4.

4] Paul Dickov had the first shot in the match (16 seconds) the final shot in normal time (his goal, 90 minutes + 5) and the final shot of the entire match (115th minute). Dickov accumulated the most xG of any player in the match (0.52), had the most touches in the opposition box (9), had the most shots on target (3) and only Gillingham’s Robert Taylor (7) – who would play for City the following season – had more shots than Dickov in the final (6).

 5] Remarkably, our starting XI for this Wembley 99 game had never previously started a match together in the whole of the 1998/99 campaign. From the semi second leg against Wigan, for example, Joe Royle made one change for the final – Tony Vaughan dropping to the bench and replaced by captain Andy Morrison. Vaughan came on for Morrison just past the hour mark in the showpiece at Wembley.

6] City became the first team in Wembley history to score two goals in the 90th minute of a match. In fact, City didn’t score with any of our first 17 shots in the match, then scored with each of our final two in normal time. 

7] The 10 players who completed the most passes in the match were all from Manchester City. Richard Edghill was on top with 48, with Jeff Whitley in second with 45 and Kevin Horlock and Ian Bishop joint third on 36. Lee Crooks was fourth with 35 and Gerard Wiekens in fifth on 31. Terry Cooke and Shaun Goater were joint sixth with 26 with Paul Dickov in ninth on 24 and Michael Brown in tenth on 23. Playmaker Bishop finished joint third in the rankings despite coming on in the 61st minute as a second half substitute.

8] Gillingham will point to City winning it late on at Wembley but the stats suggest that the Blues dominated the game. City enjoyed 64% possession to Gillingham’s 36% while we had 26 shots to Gillingham’s 18. We enjoyed 391 completed passes unlike Gillingham’s 177 and our xG was 1.73 v 1.32 for the Gills. We had 27 touches in the opposition box while Gillingham had 23.

9] Paul Dickov, Kevin Horlock and Nicky Weaver are the first names that come up when you mention the 1999 Play-Off Final but, judging by the data, Richard Edghill should be hailed for his impact in the Wembley win. Not only did Edghill take over the captaincy when Andy Morrison go off, score one of our three penalties in the shoot-out, he also had the most touches in the match (102) and only Lee Crooks (177m) progressed the ball further up the pitch with ball carries than he did (126m). He was top for possession won with 10 tackles, one ahead of Crooks while he was also ranked first for passes with 48. 

10] City and Gillingham had opposing ways of playing under Joe Royle and Tony Pulis – and this is perhaps best summed up by these goalkeeping stats. Nicky Weaver was the only player to have a 100% short passing accuracy, competing all six of his short passes. His opposite number Vince Bartram was the only player to feature who didn’t attempt a single short pass, playing all 52 of his passes long.