history of manchester city fc
Manchester City were formed in 1880 as a church team under the name of St. Mark’s in West Gorton, Manchester, by two church wardens Arthur Connell and William Beastow, who wanted to use football, a sport widely gaining popularity as a means to provide a purpose to those affected by rising unemployment and violence in the area.
The first ever squad comprised of some local workers and the church’s cricket team players. They played their first ever game against the Baptist Church, Macclesfield, and lost.
The club changed its name from St. Mark’s to West Gorton in 1884, and then again to Ardwick Association Football Club in 1887, a year when they also settled at their new home ground, Hyde Road.
Ardwick participated in the FA Cup for the first time in 1890-91 season, and won their first game 12-0 against Liverpool Stanley, which remains a FA Cup record to date. The club won the Manchester Cup in 1891 and 1892, before finally joining the Football league, playing in the second division in 1892-93 season and finishing 5th.
With the aim of representing all the Mancunians, the club changed its name for one final time...yet, to Manchester City FC in 1894, becoming the first club to be bearing the name Manchester. And it’s only fair, since they are the only club in Manchester. In the same year, the club signed the legendary Billy Meredith.
After narrowly missing out on promotion to the first division through the earlier system of ‘test matches’, City were finally promoted to the first division in 1899 and in the process became the first ever club to gain automatic promotion.
In 1903-04 season, City won their first major title, beating Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup final through Billy Meredith’s goal. City also ended the season as runners up in the first division league, as Liverpool were relegated and were welcomed by Manchester United in the second division. Chelsea were yet to be founded.
Manchester City, a club that hadn’t been around in the football league for long in comparison to the giants of the time, did remarkably well and in completely unrelated news, were probed by The FA for financial irregularities the same year. Little came out of the probe so another one was carried out the following year, and this time, the club was found guilty of paying wages over the limit, which City argued was the case for every other club if at all they were probed too, while Meredith was accused of match fixing. A total of 17 players were fined and suspended for a year, while the manager was suspended from English football for life. City were forced to sell players to raise money for the fines. Meredith switched to Manchester United along with 3 other City players that reversed the fortunes for both clubs involved.
In 1923, the club moved to Maine Road at the Moss side, after a fire destroyed the main stand of Hyde Road. It had the capacity of holding a massive 85,000 people and contrary to the opinions of the football experts from outskirts of Manchester and Merseyside, the stadium regularly saw attendances exceeding 70,000.
In 1926, City beat Manchester United 6-1 at Old Trafford, reached the final of the FA Cup (their 3rd in 2 years) while playing without a first team manager but were relegated in the same season. Who’s even surprised?
In 1928, despite playing in the 2nd division, Manchester City signed players Eric Brook, Fred Tilson and Matt Busby while attracting an average crowd of 37,300 – the best in the entire football league. Decent.
In 1934, Manchester City registered an attendance of 84,569 vs Stoke City, a home attendance record yet to be broken. A month later, they reached yet another FA Cup final, their 2nd in as many years. But unlike the previous season, this time City did win their 2nd FA Cup title.
In 1936-37 season, Manchester City signed Peter Doherty, one of the greatest ever Irish players for a club record fee. He ended up as the highest goal scorer in his debut season for the club as City lifted their maiden First Division league title.
The very next season, ‘Typical City’ peaked. Starting the season as defending champions, City’s ruthless goal scoring form continued, scoring more goals than any other team (107) but this time they conceded 77 goals as well and were relegated. Beat that record if you can!
Football league remained suspended in the following years due to World War 2. Old Trafford was damaged in 1941 and City offered Manchester United Maine Road until Old Trafford could be repaired. The clubs shared the ground for 8 years!
In 1949, City signed Bert Trautmann from St. Helens. His signing sparked massive protests from the supporters as he’d fought as a German Paratrooper against the British in the war. His performances for the club over time made him a fan favorite eventually.
Ahead of 1954-55 season, City manager implemented ‘Revie Plan’, named after City forward Don Revie, simply because his role was key to the system – of playing as a deep lying centre forward. Players struggled with the system initially, but became a force once they got used to it. They reached the FA Cup final that year but lost.
The following season saw City win their 3rd FA Cup title, after heroics from Bert Trautmann who continued playing with a broken neck for about 15 minutes.
Manchester City continued with their history of adventures and set another record in 1957-58 season: Only side in top flight to score and concede 100+ goals in the same season.
In 1958, City legend Frank Swift lost his life in Munich Air Disaster, where he’d gone to cover Manchester United’s game with Red Star Belgrade as a reporter.
Manchester City adopted a new badge and appointed Joe Mercer as first team manager in 1965, in order to revive the club then struggling in the 2nd division. He appointed Malcolm Allison as his assistant and made important signings namely Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee. City were promoted to first division.
In 1967-68 season, City signed Francis Lee, Joe Mercer’s ‘final piece in City jigsaw’. And he was. City clinched the first division title, just 2 seasons after getting promoted. Malcolm Allison, always famous for his one-liners said this team is so good they’d be the first to play on Mars. He also claimed City would “terrify Europe” so we know what happened next. Yes, City finished 13th in the league next season and were knocked out of the European Cup (Present day Champions League) in the first round itself. But the team did manage to win their 4th FA Cup title, beating Leicester City in the final.
The following season, Manchester City became the first English club to win a domestic and European title in the same season, winning UEFA Cup Winners Cup as well the League Cup.
Things however weren’t as pretty off the pitch as they looked on it. A rift between Mercer and Allison resulted in City letting go the former and appointing the latter.
In 1973-74 season, former City captain and league winner Tony Book was appointed first team manager by chairman Peter Swales. City lost to Wolves in League Cup final. Former United player Denis Law scored the famous backheel goal for City on final day of the season at Old Trafford to confirm their relegation. Results elsewhere meant United would have been relegated either way but where’s the fun in that?
A spectacular over head kick by Dennis Tueart sealed League Cup for City vs Newcastle in 1976. Next season, City missed the league title by a point and then entered a period of decline. Colin Bell had suffered a cruel injury a year before while City were losing key players and changing managers at pace. But whatever be the results on the pitch, City continued to remain one of the best supported clubs throughout this period, which is contrary to the popular belief, but a fact nonetheless.
In the 1980s, City reached FA Cup final once, were relegated twice, beat Huddersfield with a club record 10-1 scoreline while also beating Manchester United 5-1 in the ‘Demolition Derby’ at Maine Road.
1990s was a difficult decade for City. The club was one of the founding members of the Premier League and finished at 9th place in the inaugural season but struggled for the next 3 years. In 1994, Kippax, one of the largest terrace stands in the country was closed down. Peter Swales, who had been City’s chairman for 20 years was pressurized by the fans to leave the club following the recent struggles and was replaced by Francis Lee. But things only got worse. In 1994-95 season, the City squad was managed by 5 different managers!
Perhaps the best things to have happened at the club in years was the signing of midfielder Georgi Kinkladze in 1995. But it wasn’t enough to avoid what looked inevitable for years – relegation. More than the relegation itself, it was the manner which perfectly summed up the club. Going into the last day, City needed a win against Liverpool or a favorable result elsewhere. From 2-0 down, City drew level in the 78th minute which manager Alan Ball communicated to his team was enough to avoid relegation. Players then kept wasting time thinking they were safe. They were not! By the time they realized it, it was too late to find a goal.
In 1997, the club unveiled their new badge, this time with a motto as well that said “Superbia in Proelio” which translates to “Pride in Battle”. The next year City were relegated to the 2nd division for the first time in their history.
City only played one season in the 2nd division but it could have very easily been more if not for Paul Dickov vs Gillingham, arguably the most important moment in Manchester City’s history for without it, the modern day success might not have happened.
A year later and City were back in the top division. And a year later, down again. City then hired Kevin Keegan as first team manager who brought in some much needed stability, starting with winning back promotion in his first year.
In 2003, Manchester City bid goodbye to their home for 80 years, Maine Road and moved into the bigger City of Manchester Stadium. City also qualified for the UEFA Cup through Fair Play Rankings.
The first season at the new ground saw City register their highest ever average attendance, and 3rd highest in the league that season, only behind Man United and Newcastle. The season saw City pull off one of FA Cup’s greatest ever comeback, coming from 3-0 down at HT with 10-man to win the game 4-3.
In 2004-05 season, new manager Stuart Pearce decided to play goalkeeper David James upfront on the final day with City needing a win to qualify for Europe. The gamble almost paid off with City winning a penalty in the dying minutes, only for Robbie Fowler to miss it.
In 2006-07 season, City scored 10 goals in league games at home all season, none of them coming after the New Year’s Day.
In 2007-08 season, a year before the takeover City finished 9th in Premier League, doing a double over Man United, qualifying for the UEFA Cup while also winning FA Youth Cup.
Months later City were on the brink of a financial meltdown, with assets of the then owner Thaksin Shinawatra being frozen back in his country. Interestingly the financial struggles led to City making some shrewd investments, signing Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta, both costing under 10m.
Then came the news those in and out of the club wouldn’t have ever imagined, even less so at a time of a crisis. Abu Dhabi United Group purchased the club on 1st September 2008, and to make their intention known to everybody, signed Robinho from Real Madrid on the same day for a British record fee. Out of nowhere, Manchester City now had the richest owner in football.
The next year, City signed a sponsorship deal with the Etihad Airways, a kit deal with Umbro and a player deal with Man United to bring Carlos Tevez to Manchester. Mark Hughes was sacked in December 2009, and in came Roberto Mancini who took City to their highest ever PL finish before bringing in the likes of Yaya Toure and David Silva.
In 2010-11 season, City’s 35-year wait for a major trophy ended with a 5th FA Cup title. Later that Year City defeated Man United 6-1 at Old Trafford. In a matter of month, both ‘that’ banner and fans were gone from the Stretford End in a derby.
Agüero who had signed ahead of the 2011-12 season scored in dramatic manner in the 94th minute against QPR on the final day to seal City’s first league title in 44 years.
City looked set to dominate but instead went trophyless next season, including a ‘shock’ defeat to Wigan in FA Cup final that also led to Roberto Mancini’s sacking.
Manuel Pellegrini won a League Cup and Premier League double in his first season at the club. City were 9 points behind with 5 games to go; 3 for Liverpool. While City won all their games, Liverpool slipped in the crucial ones to hand City the title.
Next season, City went trophyless again.
In 2015-16 season, Pellegrini made some crucial signings in the form of Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling. Midway through the season it was announced world’s best manager Pep Guardiola would take charge of the club next season. City reached their highest ever Champions League stage, getting knocked out by eventual champions Real Madrid in the semi finals. City won League Cup final vs Liverpool after heroics from Willy Caballero in penalty shootout.
New manager Pep Guardiola started strongly but City’s squad started showing its age. Pep went trophyless for the first time in his career. It was time to transform the squad and City spent 100m+ on fullbacks alone, a vital position in Pep’s system.
The club broke all sorts of records on their way to becoming the first side in top flight English football to amass 100 points. City also won League Cup – Pep’s first trophy in English football.
Next season turned out to be even better. Pep’s City became the first side ever to win the English domestic treble, 20 years after Sir Alex Ferguson described it as an impossible feat to achieve. City suffered Champions League heartbreak, going out on away goals for the 2nd time under Pep. At the end of the season, Captain Vincent Kompany announce he’s leaving the club after 11 years.