Manchester City are one of the biggest football clubs in the world, but they haven’t always been considered as one of Europe’s elite, so how did the Citizens get there?
Manchester City FC was formed in 1880 by St Marks Church and was originally known as Ardwick AFC. They became founding members of the English Football League at its inception in 1892. A couple of years later, they became Manchester City in a bid to represent the whole of the city.
City won their first of many major trophies in 1904. They beat Bolton in the FA Cup final, a game that was heald at Selhurst Park and finished 1-0. They first played at Hyde Road but a fire destroyed the main stand. This forced the club to move to a new ground, Maine Road in 1923.
What followed was a topsy turvy run in the league. Manchester City won their first top division title in 1937 but then somehow managed to get themselves relegated the season after. What makes this even more unusual is that they were the top scorers in the league!
They won the FA Cup for the third time in 1956, beating Birmingham 3-1. However, the injury to Bert Trautman overshadowed this. They say you have to be crazy to be a goalkeeper and he proved it as he broke his neck in the game but played on!
The ’60s and ’70s were a fantastic period for Manchester City. They won the First and Second Division, The FA Cup, The League Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners Cup. On top of this, they relegated Manchester United in 1974 when the ex-United striker scored a backheel for City to send them down.
However, in true Man City fashion, they then came crashing back down. They were relegated twice in the ’80s and then from the Premier League in 1996. Things went from bad to worse and after two more seasons, City found themselves in the third division of English football.
21st Century and Abu Dhabi Take Over
After another promotion-relegation double, manager Kevin Keegan got City back to the Premier League. He won the Championship in 2001/02, breaking points records along the way. In 2002/03 City played their final season at Maine Road. Fittingly, they beat Manchester United in the final season there for their first derby win in 13 years.
After this, they moved to the City Of Manchester Stadium. The new stadium seemed to steady the ship and City finished mid-table each season for four years. After this came the biggest change in the club’s history. In August 2008, Abu Dhabi United Group bought Manchester City and invested heavily in the squad. The stadium name also changed to the Etihad Stadium.
Within two seasons they had spent nearly £150 million bringing in Tevez, Robinho, Barry, Toure and Adebayor to name a few. Mark Hughes was also replaced as a manager with Italian great Roberto Mancini.
City won their first trophy under their new ownership in 2011, when they beat Stoke in the FA Cup final 1-0. This was the club’s first major trophy for 35 years! On top of this, they qualified for the Champions League that season.
2011/12 was the season that City really announced themselves as a European powerhouse. They beat Man United 6-1 and Old Trafford and also beat them to the title on the last day with a dramatic last-minute winner from Sergio Aguero.
Since then City has been the most dominant side in England. They have won the Premier League another three times, one of which was done with 100 points. Won the FA Cup once and the League Cup five times.
The only thing that they haven’t managed to do yet is win the Champions League. The main aim of the club now is to win the biggest competition in club football and is heavily investing in the squad to do so.
Pep Guardiola was appointed manager in 2016 and his best finish has been the quarter-finals. Manchester City go into the competition each year as one of the favourites but never quite make it.
City fans will now enjoy this period of stability and being at the top. With so much money invested in them it’s hard to see this disappearing. All they need now is to win the Champions League and the owners will have done all they came to do!