His move to QPR - who visit Spurs tomorrow - was to be the fresh start he needed but leaving was still a wrench.
"I have so many great memories of my time at City," he told the Daily Express. "I was a ball boy when Shaun Wright-Phillips was playing in the youth team at the age of 18.
"I used to do it just to get a ticket for the match and I had to sit in front of the away fans at Maine Road. I was the big one with the kit that didn't fit. I remember my debut for the academy - I played up front and scored five. In the Under-14s I scored 42 goals in one season.
"If strikers go through a phase where they stop scoring, the coaches think if you are a good size they will move you to defence and that is what happened to me.
"There were happy days, sad days. Beating United at Old Trafford, losing to United every other time. I'm happy to see the club where it is today knowing that I was involved.
"I guess Mancini just didn't fancy me. It was a big surprise being left out of the pre-season tour. I'd been part of every other manager's plans and I was in shock. But it has made me stronger."