Back in the early 2000s, Man City were just another ‘also ran’ club in the English Premier League. Yes, they play some pretty decent football at times, but they were certainly never serious contenders. Mid-table finishes were something that began to be celebrated as a success and ambitions were seeming to wane. Things all started to change from 2008.
Having just finished 9th in the table, in stepped the Abu Dhabi United Group and a takeover that was to go down in history. Since the takeover completed, Man City has gone on to win 5 EPL titles, as well as the FA Cup, and the League Cup. If you were to take a look at betting on EPL on sportsbet.io, season after season you will now see Man City as being one of the favourites to take the Premiership crown. What happened over those years to see a club being transformed?
A £1.5 billion spending spree
With the 2008 takeover completed, Manchester City embarked on a somewhat phenomenal spending spree. This started on the day the buyout was announced, with Robinho leaving Real Madrid to take his chances with, what had been until this point, a mediocre club.
Robinho certainly wasn’t to be the last great name to make the move. 2009 saw Carlos Tevez abandon rivals Manchester Utd and switch to a blue shirt. July – August 2010 saw an impressive £120 million being spent, securing great names such as David Silva and Mario Balotelli.
The inspirational Mancini
Man City had been under the leadership of Mark Hughes prior to the Abu Dhabi takeover. As is often the case, a great player doesn’t necessarily make the transition to being a great manager. Indeed, Man City were struggling under Hughes and 2009 saw his exit. Enter a certain Roberto Mancini.
Mancini was with the club until 2013. Not only did he bring the club its first trophies for some 32 seasons, but he also took the club out of the shadows of rivals Man Utd. Mancini was a true professional and his style ruffled feathers amongst players initially. He saw the training ground as a place of work and one where the workers are paid extremely well. In return, he expected them to work hard too.
The 2011 season, under Mancini, saw the club trounce Man Utd 6-1 and go on to win their first-ever Premiership title. Though Mancini would depart some two years later, what he achieved was instrumental in turning around the club’s fortunes.
The building blocks laid by Keegan
When looking at the astonishing success that City have had over the last decade, it is too easy to overlook these early steps. It was the legendary Kevin Keegan who led the club into the Premiership and the first time of asking and spent four years in charge.
Keegan was unable to find the magic touch once promoted, but it was the stability that he brought to the club that allowed the players to develop and flourish. This laid the all-important groundwork for what was to come. Had Keegan had the budget of Mancini, who knows what he could have achieved!