Manchester City F.C., famously known as The Citizens, is a professional soccer team that competes in the English Premier League. They are based in the City of Manchester.
Founded in 1880, Manchester City has grown into a dominant club within the last decade. They play their home game at the City of Manchester Stadium (Etihad Stadium). The stadium can accommodate 55,017 soccer fans. Manchester City trophy cabinet consists of 6 English league titles, 6 FA Cups, 7 EFL Cups, 1 European Cup Winner’s Cup, and 6 FA Community Shields.
The arrival of Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan (Sheikh Mansour) has transformed Manchester City into one of the World’s finest soccer team. The history of the club is a must-read for all soccer fans. Without wasting time, let us dive right into the formation of the Manchester club.
|Manchester City FC
|1880 as St. Mark’s
1887 as Ardwick Association F.C.
April 16, 1894 as Manchester City
|City Football Group
The Formation Of Manchester City
Manchester City was formed in 1880 by members of St. Marks Church. The objective behind the setting up of the team was to stop local gang violence and alcohol problems. Everyone was allowed to join the club.
The club’s first match was a 2-1 loss to a church team from Macclesfield. Their first win came against Stalybridge Clarence in March 1881.
Their early beginnings as St. Marks slowly but surely evolved, with the club being renamed Ardwick A.F.C. in 1887. In 1892, the Second Division of the English Football League was formed, and Ardwick A.F.C was a founding member.
Early Years And First Trophies Of The Citizens
In 1894, more changes came upon – the club was renamed Manchester City Football Club to represent Manchester’s entire City. It was also the year in which the squad started wearing their sky blue home jersey.
The Sky Blues enjoyed early success, promoting to the top tier in 1899 after winning the Second Division. The team also developed their first club crest and emblazoned it with the now-famous nickname – The Citizens.
In 1904, they became the first club from the City of Manchester to win a major trophy by lifting the F.A. Cup with a 1-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers. However, their early success was soon put on the back burner due to financial corruption allegations in 1904 – leading to the suspension of seventeen players, including club captain Billy Meredith.
Some years later, a fire outbreak at City’s Hyde Road stadium prompted the club to move to their new Maine Road stadium on Moss Side in 1923. It was the beginning of a slow period of relative obscurity for the club, with their next significant moment not arriving until 1934.
During the 1930s, the club reached two F.A. Cup Finals. In 1933, Manchester City lost to Everton in the finals. The Citizens were finalist again in 1934, and they defeated Portsmouth by 2-1 to lift the F.A. Cup again. During the winning cup run, Manchester City set a new record for the highest attendance in English soccer, as 84,569 fans watched the club’s match against Stoke City at Maine Road.
First League Title Of Manchester City
In 1937, Manchester City won the First Division league title for the first time in their history. However, the club suffered relegation next season. They were unable to defend their title despite scoring the highest number of goals during that campaign.
It took The Citizens a decade to achieve promotion back to the English First Divison. They gained automatic promotion after winning Division Two. The club would once again reach two consecutive F.A. Cup Finals. In the first final in 1955, City lost to Newcastle United. They eventually won the 1956 finals by a 3-1 win against Birmingham.
Second League Title And First European Trophy
Manchester City suffered relegation again in 1963. Consequently, there was a massive slump in match attendances. The future of The Citizens looked bleaker and bleaker. However, the appointment of the management team of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison resulted in instant success. During their first season, the duo helped the team top the Second Division and won promotion back to the First Division.
The arrival of several important players in 1968 turned the club into title contenders. Mercer and Allison delivered Manchester City their second League title that season. The club won the title in the last game of the season by beating Newcastle United 4-3. Manchester City neighbours Manchester United finished second.
More success followed for The Citizens as they won the F.A. Cup with a 1-0 win over Leicester City in 1969. In 1970, Manchester City completed a brilliant run in the European Cup Winners’ Cup by defeating Górnik Zabrze 2-1 to win their first-ever European trophy. In the same season, The Citizens also won the League Cup, thus becoming the second English side to accomplish a domestic and European Cup double.
Relegation To The Third Division
The 1970s saw The Citizens challenge for more honours, with a win in the league cup coming in 1976, courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Newcastle United. However, this would mark the end of a successful era for the club and the beginning of the worst decline in Manchester City’s history.
Despite spending big to sign new players, the performance of the team declined drastically. The 1980s and 1990s saw them swing between the First and Second Division, with the club changing coaches seven times in the 1980s alone. Yet, the club’s darkest period came in 1998, when Manchester City was relegated to the English Football League’s Third Division.
Return To The Premier League
Following their relegation, the club underwent massive restructuring and introduced greater fiscal control in a bid to return to the top tier. The strategy paid off as City won back-to-back promotions to return to the Premier League in 2000.
However, their return to the top flight wasn’t a memorable one, as the club was relegated again. Kevin Keegan, who joined City at the end of that season, led the team to an immediate promotion to the Premier League, as they were crown champions of Division One in his first entire season at the club.
City Of Manchester Stadium
In 2003, Manchester City bid farewell to the Main Road Stadium and moved to the new City of Manchester Stadium. After playing for 80 years at the Maine Road, The Citizens moved to their new impressive 48,000 capacity stadium. It marked the beginning of a new era and the return to the prominence of the club.
After mid-table finishes under Stuart Pearce’s management, City finally appointed a man with a proven pedigree. Sven Goran Eriksson joined the club in 2007; however, after less than a year at the club’s helm, the former England National Team manager was sacked and replaced by Mark Hughes.
Abu Dhabi United Group
In August 2008, Manchester was acquired by the Abu Dhabi United Group, a company owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Former owner, Thaksin Shinawatra, had no option than to sell the club after his political engagements saw his asset frozen.
Sheikh Mansour, arguably the richest man in the Middle East, provided the club with an influx of funds never seen before in English soccer. The club wasted little time to break the English transfer record to sign Brazil international player Robinho from Real Madrid. Players like Vincent Company, Gareth Barry, Kolo Touré, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Joleon Lescott joined the club in a bid to win silverwares.
Roberto Mancini And The Citizens
Despite having many star players at his disposal, Mark Hughes could not qualify The Citizens for the Champions League. By the end of the season, he was replaced by Roberto Mancini.
Capturing a title-winning coach with a high reputation in the game meant that City could attract major talents. It led the club to an unprecedented spending spree in the transfer market. Star players like Carlos Tevez, Yaya Toure, David Silva and Sergio Aguero were all signed during Mancini’s era.
The long wait for silverware ended in 2011 when City lifted the F.A. Cup with a 1-0 win over Stoke City. In the same season, the club qualified for the Champions League for the first time and changed their home stadium’s name to the Etihad Stadium in line with their new ownership and sponsorship.
The Historic Title Win
In the 2011/12 season, Manchester City finally ended their title drought by winning the Premier League in the most dramatic fashion. In one of the closest and contested title race ever, Manchester City and neighbours Manchester United went into the last game of the season on equal points.
A win against Queens Park Rangers (Q.P.R.) would guarantee an end to the 44-year wait for the League title, as The Citizens commanded a better goal difference.
City started the game poorly and was losing 1-0 to Q.P.R. It looked like The Citizens have thrown the title away as rivals Manchester United won their match at Sunderland.
However, Edin Dzeko scored in stoppage time to give the club a lifeline and keep their dream alive. With seconds to the game’s final whistle, an individual brilliance from Sergio Aguero saw the Argentinean dribble past the Q.P.R. defenders in the box to slam home the winner in the 93rd minute and finally deliver the club and its fans.
Domestic Success Under Manuel Pellegrini
Following the title win, Mancini was unable to get the same level of consistency out of his players in the League and Cup competitions and was eventually shown the door. However, the domestic success continued under the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini.
The Chilean took over from Mancini in 2013 and promptly built a City side that was very impressive. They won the league again in 2013/14 as Liverpool FC threw the title away with the iconic Steven Gerrard’ slip’ moment against Chelsea.
Pellegrini also won a Capital One Cup and two League Cups during his reign. The Chilean managed to sign the young Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling, who would become star players.
Pep Guardiola Era
In 2016, Josep “Pep” Guardiola was appointed as the manager of Manchester City. Notably known for his successful spells at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, the Spanish tactician was brought in to instil the club’s domestic success into the European front.
While Guardiola did not win any silverware in his first season, he did add several players to the squad in what was underlined as a transitory phase under his leadership.
Eventually, in his second spell at the club, Pep’s side dominated the Premier League in an unprecedented fashion. Manchester City won the title with a record-breaking 100 points. The team also broke several records in the process.
The Citizens holds the record for most wins in a season (32), which they share with Liverpool. Another record that Manchester City shares with Liverpool are the most consecutive win in the EPL (18). Guardiola men hold the record for the most goals scored in a season (106), and the most away wins (16).
In the same season, The Citizens defeated Arsenal F.C. by 3-0 to win the League Cup. In Europe, the team’s progress was halted by local rivals, Liverpool F.C. The Merseyside team, managed by Jurgen Klopp, defeated The Citizens by an astonishing 5-1 over the two legs of the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
The intensity of the rivalry between Manchester City and Liverpool was reaching its peak in England. However, as modern soccer fans would remember, the rivalry between Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp dated back to when both coaches challenged each other while managing Bayern Munich and Dortmund, respectively Bundesliga.
With the financial backing of the club’s owner, Guardiola was very active in the transfer market and splashed out to bring more star players to the club in a bid to impose his dominance in England and achieve success on the European stage.
In his third campaign, City continued to dominate on the domestic front by winning another Premier League title. However, this time, the club had to fight tooth and claw to retain the title against a resurgent Liverpool F.C. The Citizens needed a victory in the last game of the campaign to guarantee the title remained at the Etihad Stadium.
Despite trailing by 1-0, City fought back to win the game by 4-1 against Brighton and winning the league title by the smallest margin. More success was achieved during the 2018/19 campaign, as City defeated Chelsea on penalty shootouts in the League Cup final. They also won the F.A. Cup against Watford by a whopping 6-0.
In the Champions League, City’s progress was again halted by an English side in the quarter-final. This time, Tottenham won over two legs via the away goal rule, with the aggregate score being 4-4.
In the 2019/20 campaign, Pep Guardiola dominance in the English top-flight was put to an end by none other than Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool F.C., hence ruining City’s chance of winning three consecutive Premier League titles.
In the Champions League, the club managed to reach the quarter-final for a third consecutive campaign but again felt short. Lyon won the contest by an aggregate score of 3-1 to end Guardiola’s chance of winning his first European trophy with the Citizens.
The only consolation of the season came in the League Cup. City won the final over Aston Villa by 2-1, making it their third consecutive League Cup trophy.
UEFA Financial Fair Play Rule And The Present
Since the takeover of Manchester City by the Abu Dhabi United Group, The Citizens has demonstrated unprecedented spending power in the transfer market, raising regulatory institutions and fans’ eyebrows across the World.
Consequently, in 2020, the club was fined 30 million Euros by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (C.A.S.) and banned for two years from all UEFA competitions. The club was alleged to have breached the Financial Fair Play Regulations while failing to provide adequate evidence to the UEFA Financial Control Body.
However, Manchester City appealed for the ruling, and the C.A.S duly overturned it. Consequently, the ban from UEFA competitions was lifted. Nevertheless, C.A.S. found that the club failed to cooperate appropriately during the investigation; hence, the fine was reduced to 10 million Euros.
In the same year, Guardiola signed a two-year contract extension to stay until 2023 and maintain his club’s commitment. Despite being one of the most successful managers at Manchester City, there is growing pressure for Guardiola to deliver on the European stage.
The last decade has seen The Citizen become a dominant force in England and Europe. It is mainly thanks to the investment of the club owners. However, it’s not just wealth that’s taken Manchester City to the top of soccer; many clubs have historically splashed out with no resulting success. It’s a strategic approach to recruiting top players, developing the youth system, and signing astute managers/coaches who have turned them into a behemoth. They will aim at the much desired UEFA Champions League trophy next.