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Son of Mike, the marauding winger who starred for the Town in the sixties, Summerbee senior was instrumental in bringing Nicky to the County Ground - and he first joined Swindon on trial in September 1987, after unsuccessful trials with Norwich and Leicester. After scoring a hat-trick in a trial game, Summerbee was led to believe he had been offered an apprenticeship - but when he arrived in Swindon, it proved to be a misunderstanding - but after another two week trial period, he eventually signed his YTS forms.
During his youth contract, Summerbee was more often than not utilised as a centre forward, or less regularly, in in father's old position on the right wing. Throughout his Town career, he would eventually drop back into more defensive positions. After signing his first professional contract with the Town in July 1989, he made his debut as a substitute in a 3-1 win over Wolves in September of the same year. It wasn't to be until the end of the following season that Summerbee made his full debut - with the Town safe from relegation, new manager Glenn Hoddle blooded him on the right side of midfield in a meaningless match at Port Vale in May 1991.
After Paul Bodin's departure in March, Swindon started the following season with no recognised left-sided defender - and with Hoddle reverting to his favoured sweeper system, Summerbee began the 1991/92 campaign in a left wing-back role, which he regularly appeared in until December. Unable to win a place in the Town's midfield, when Bodin returned in January, it meant a prolonged spell on the bench for "Buzzer", but he ended the campaign having made 34 first team appearances, and having scored his first goal in a Town shirt - netting Swindon's third in a 4-1 win at Huddersfield in the Rumbelows Cup in October.
It was the following season though when Summerbee would break properly into the Town side - starting the season in the right wing-back position, before moving into the Town's three man midfield in September. Then in March 1993, when regular wing-back David Kerslake was sold to Leeds, Summerbee dropped back to take this position for the rest of the season. It was from here that Buzzer became an integral part of the Town's line-up - more for his forward runs and crossing ability than any defensive skills - but with Paul Bodin on the opposite flank, it made Swindon a potent attacking force from both wings. The Town were promoted at the end of the season, after beating Leicester 4-3 at Wembley in the Play-Off Final - and Summerbee's form was recognised when he was selected as part of the England under-21 squad for the Toulon Tournament in France. After coming off the bench to make his international debut against Portugal, Buzzer scored a 25 yard screamer to win the second match against Scotland - and claim his place for the final against France, which England won 1-0.
Summerbee was one of the few bright sparks in the Town's Premiership season - and with the intense media coverage, it proved to be a perfect showcase for his talents. Buzzer missed just four matches all season, and he soon became renowned for his excellent wing-play and crossing, and not least his set-pieces - blessed with great shooting power, he even set the world record for the hardest recorded shot, clocking 87mph on the BBC's Record Breakers programme - and his first Premiership goal came from such a strike against Manchester City in September. As the season went on though, Swindon's relegation became inevitable, so too did Summerbee's departure - and a great display at Maine Road in February despite the Town's defeat, had Manchester City fans almost demanding his signature. Once the Town's relegation was confirmed, the media speculation intensified, and Summerbee sometimes seemed to be just going through the motions before leaving - a situation that soured his relationship with some of the Town fans.
After making his England B debut in May 1994, Middlesbrough and Blackburn both entered the race for Summerbee's signature - but there was only one place that he wanted to move, and that was Maine Road. He eventually signed for City in June, for a club record transfer fee of £1.5 million.
Eleven years later, having been released by Bradford City, Summerbee returned to Swindon on a non-contract basis in August 2005. Playing on the right side of midfield for a match against former club Nottingham Forest, he got a great reception from the Town fans, and despite lacking in fitness, he played seventy minutes, helping the Town to a 2-1 win, their first of the season. Though Summerbee stated that he would like to stay, when Town boss Andy King managed to secure the signature of Manchester United youngster Colin Heath on loan, it was decided that the club could not afford his wages, and he left the club just two weeks after rejoining.
date of birth
right wing back
right-sided attacking midfield
left wing back