In 1880, Manchester City football club came into being due to the efforts of Arthur Connell (the rector of St. Mark’s Church) and his daughter Anna Connell. The club’s original name was St. Mark’s, after the local church, and it was formed to keep the local populace – most of which was extremely poor – away from the life of drinking and crime.
Four years after its founding, the club was renamed to Gorton Association Football Club. Yet another name change happened three years later, and the club was now called Ardwick AFC. While the team wasn’t able to get a place in the Football league, created in 1888, it did get into the 2nd division of English football which came into being in April 1892.
It was while playing in the 2nd Division that the team changed its name to Manchester City in 1894. The name change, which was followed by the club playing its home games at Hyde Road two years later, saw City emerge the most popular team in Manchester. The rise in stature coincided with better performances on the pitch as the side earned promotion to the First Division in 1899.
The first silverware which came Man City’s way was the 1904 FA Cup, though the celebrations were cut short after it emerged that seventeen of the club’s players were involved in financial misconduct. This cycle of momentary pleasure followed by years of groping in the dark was to define City’s history. In 1935, for instance, Man City became the first English Champions in history to be relegated the following season.
The cycle of promotions to the First Division and relegations a few years later continued until 1998/99 season when City earned promotion to the Premier League. That kick-started a glorious chapter in the club’s history as, after its takeover by a UAE based consortium in 2008, the Blues emerged as one of the best teams in Europe, winning three league titles in their first decade under the new ownership.
In September 2019, various news outlets reported with fascination about Manchester City building the first ‘Billion Euro’ club in the history of the game. The club was ahead of the likes of 13-time European Champions Real Madrid and Qatar-owned powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain, a signal of how far Manchester City had come within a decade under its new ownership.
While the news was hard to believe for the common people, football fans, especially those who follow the Premier League, saw it coming from a long way. Ever since its takeover by UAE’s Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan's Investment company, Abu Dhabi United Group, which has strong ties with the government of the Middle Eastern country, City has outspent its rivals to pave its way to glory.
That said, while it has spent more than any other team on the planet in the decade spanning between 2010 and 2020, City haven’t spent money just for the sake of it. One example of how shrewdly the club parts with its dollars can be taken by assessing the composition of the squad which went on to acquire a record 100 points in the 2017/18 season, a record with no parallel in English football’s history.
The team which brought home that honor didn’t have one or two players with price tags over 100m, which is what you see with the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona. Instead, every player of the squad was carefully assembled to make sure that he was the best in his position. Which is why the club stream-rolled its way to the title with just one defeat whole season.
Yet another demonstration of the club’s judicious use of its money is its new training ground. Costing the somewhere between £150m and £200m, it contains 16 outdoor football pitches, one ‘secluded’ pitch which allows the player to train away from heavy winds, six different pools containing water at varying temperatures, and a 56-seat TV auditorium where players can review clips of their performance from the training pitches. Little wonder, then, that even Lionel Messi was impressed by it.
|19||Kevin De Bruyne||£350,000||28|
Source: Silly Season
Worst placement in the final table:
After being relegated from the 2nd tier of English football during the 1997/98 campaign, Man City finished the following season at 3rd place in the Third Division.
Least goals in a season:
Surprisingly, it is a relatively recent season which stands out in this regard. Man City, during the 2006/07 season, managed to score only 29 goals in 38 matches, making it the club’s worst-ever season in front of goal.
Most goals conceded:
The Blues conceded a whopping 102 goals in the 1962/63 campaign. Unsurprisingly, their leaky defense saw City relegated to Division Two at the end of that season.
Worst goal difference:
After scoring a respectable 58 but conceding a mammoth 102 goals, Manchester City finished the 1962/63 season with an inexplicable goal difference of -44.
Least points scored:
In a full season, Manchester City have always managed to get more than 29 points which they amassed during a 42-match 1949/50 season.
Man City managed a mere 8 defeats during all three of the 1949/50, 1986/87 and 2000/01 seasons.
The 1958/59 season saw Man City being on the losing side for a record 22 times in the league. What’s surprising to note is that they still managed to escape relegation at the end of that campaign.
Worst home record:
The Citizens were able to record only 4 victories at home during the whole of the 2000-01 campaign.
Worst away record:
During the 2000-01 league campaign, Manchester City won just 4 games on the road all season.
Starting from the club’s takeover by an Abu Dhabi based consortium in September 2008, there were always signs that City’s new-found strength was capable of making miracles. There was that 6-1 humiliation of Manchester United at Old Trafford. There was that first league title in a generation in 2012/13. Yet, it was to be during the 2017/18 season that the club would rewrite the record books.
Apart from being the first team in history to collect 100-points in a single season, City set multiple other records during that campaign: The most wins in a single season, the most goals scored, the longest winning streak, the highest aggregate possession, and the highest number of successfully completed passes in a single game. It was as if that records had taken a cue from the club’s rivals to surrender before the unstoppable Man City juggernaut.
So complete was City’s domination over the league that season that when Gabriel Jesus scored what proved to be the goal that would help the club put 100 points on the board, nobody was talking about what had already happened. Most of the pundits and fans of other teams were worried about the health of competition.
Instead, the majority of the pundits which were talking about the game were discussing how long City would be able to dominate the Premier League like this. With Pep Guardiola’s still at the club for at least 5 more years, there was fear among other Premier League sides that if City could maintain this form, and there was no reason why it shouldn’t, Premier League title race would become a procession for years to come.
Still, like night follows days, the best period in the club’s history was followed by a forgettable one.
Just three months before the September 2008 takeover of the club by Sheikh Mansour, City suffered one of the most humiliating defeats of their entire history, as a Middlesbrough side which had only recently been promoted to the Premier League defeated them by 8 goals to 1. So shocking was that result that at least 3 Man City players who started that game never pulled on the club’s shirt ever again.
Coming back to that fateful day, City started the game poorly as a first-half red card to defender Richard Dunne forced them to play the remaining game with ten men. Middlesbrough took full advantage of the resulting weakness in the City backline, went 2 goals up before the half-time whistle sent both teams to their respective dressing rooms.
With the scoreline still at a respectable 2-0, no one could have guessed the humiliation which was going to be heaped at the away side in the next 45 minutes. Boro came out of the tunnel-like a team with a point to prove, and they were 4-0 up in the blink of an eye as two quick-fire goals from Stewart Downing and Afonso Alves took the match away from City’s reach.
Much to the dismay of the Citizens, Boro were just starting. After a lucky deflection saw Adam Johnson’s effort hitting the back of City net, midfielder Fabio Rochemback scored a worldly from 35-yards to stretch the scoreline to 6 goals to nil. The seventh goal came shortly thereafter, and while City did grab a late goal, Boro scored yet another in injury time to complete the away team’s miserable afternoon.
Given the fact that the market is inundated with books teaching people how to deal with adversity in their lives, it is perhaps surprising for Manchester City fans of a certain age that no one has interviewed them when researching similar titles. After all, only two decades before Man City collected 100-points in the Premier League, it was trying its luck in the third-tier of English football.
On 3 May 1998, City played against Stoke City with an outside chance of escaping relegation to the third-tier of English football. Even for a club like theirs which had suffered more than its fair share of ignominies, this was a shame no City fan could even imagine. Yet, the takeover of the UAE-based consortium was still a decade away and so were their dreams of challenging at the top end of Premier League.
Coming back to that end of season fixture, City’s survival depended on two things. First, they had to defeat Stoke City who, like their hosts, were also battling relegation. Second, City had to pray that their rivals in the survival race slipped up. To their credit, City did what they could as they defeated Stoke with a hefty 5-2 scoreline.
Unfortunately for the club, results elsewhere had gone against them. With their rivals in the survival race winning their games, Manchester City, the one-time holders of the European Cup Winners Cup’, were now to try their luck in the Third Division. And that too after finishing at the last place in the Division Two of English Football.
Though they did get back to the Premier League within two seasons, that low the club suffered at the tail-end of 20th century still rankles in the collective memory of its fans. If anything, that gives them a perspective that behind all the glories which the club is collecting of late, there were moments long years like the 1998/99 campaign when theirs was the 2nd best team in its own city.
Here are some of the fun facts which you might not know about Manchester City
“Yo-Yo Club”: Before the takeover of the club by UAE based owners, Manchester City were known as a ‘Yo-Yo’ club. This term is used for teams that are regularly promoted and relegated in their history.
“You score, We Score”: In the 1957/58 season, Manchester City made an interesting entry into the record books. They scored 104 goals in that campaign but conceded 100 in return.
“Oldest Player”: When he came on as a half-time sub against Newcastle United on 20th April 1995, Man City goalkeeper John Burridge became the oldest player to play in the top flight of English football.
“Aguerooo”: When Sergio Aguero scored the late winner against QPR on the final day of the season to help Man City win their first Premier League title in over 4 decades, the iconic commentary of Martin Tyler made the moment more memorable for the Citizens who were watching the game on television.
“Relegated after being champions”: Man City are the only team in Premier League history who were Champions one season and relegated from the league in the following one. They earned that unwanted record by winning the League title in the 1936/37 season and getting relegated in the 1937/38 campaign.
“Goalkeeper playing as a striker”: On the final day of the 2004/05 season, then Man City manager Stuart Pearce made the inexplicable decision of playing goalkeeper David James in the role of the striker.
“Emptyhad”: During the 2018/19 season, Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, despite being officially sold out, averaged nearly 10,000 empty seats in the club’s every Premier League home game.
“No points for scoring goals”: In the 1937/38 season, Man City scored more goals (80) than any other team in the Football League. Ironically, they were still relegated to the 2nd Division.
“El-Plastico”: Fans of other teams allege that those who support Man City and Chelsea only do so because of the recent glories both these clubs have enjoyed. Hence the reason why they refer to every Man City Vs Chelsea game as El Plastico.
Details are provided on the age of players, games played, minutes played, goals conceded, games conceded with no goals, yellow cards, red cards, yellow cards.
CNN, Daily Mail, Sports Bible, The Sun
Official website of Manchester City
Wikipedia profile of Manchester City
Manchester City Twitter profile
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