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Manchester City F.C.

Manchester City Football Club is an English professional football club based in the city of Manchester. They are currently members of the English Premier League.

Originally formed in 1880 as St. Marks (West Gorton), they then became Ardwick A.F.C. in 1887 before changing their name to Manchester City F.C. in 1894. The club has won the League Championship twice, the FA Cup four times, the League Cup twice and the European Cup Winners Cup once. The club's most successful period was during the late 1960s and early 1970s, when they won several major trophies under the management team of Joe Mercer and his assistant Malcolm Allison, and with great players such as Colin Bell and Francis Lee.

However, the club has not won a major honour since 1976. The club's decline led to relegation twice in three years in the 1990s, meaning they spent one year in the third tier of English football. However, the club has since regained top flight status, the level at which they have spent the majority of their history.

History

Manchester City F.C. was founded as St. Marks (West Gorton) in 1880 by Anna Connell and two wardens of St. Mark's Church, who also worked in the nearby iron factory, in Gorton, a district in east Manchester. In 1887, they moved to a new ground at Hyde Road, in Ardwick just to the east of the city centre, and were renamed Ardwick A.F.C. to reflect their new location. Ardwick joined the Football League as founding members of the Second Division in 1892. Financial troubles in the 1893-94 season led to a reorganisation within the club, and Ardwick were reformed as Manchester City F.C.

City gained their first honours by winning the Second Division in 1899; with it came promotion to the highest level in English football, the First Division. They went on to claim their first major honour on 23 April 1904, beating Bolton Wanderers 1-0 at Crystal Palace to win the FA Cup; City narrowly missed out on a League and Cup double that season after finishing runners-up in the League. In the seasons following the FA Cup triumph, the club was dogged by allegations of financial irregularities, culminating in the suspension of seventeen players in 1906, including captain Billy Meredith, who subsequently moved across town to Manchester United. A fire at Hyde Road destroyed the main stand in 1920, and in 1923 the club moved to their new purpose-built stadium at Maine Road in Moss Side.

In the 1930s, Manchester City reached two consecutive FA Cup finals, losing to Everton in 1933, before claiming the Cup by beating Portsmouth in 1934. The club won the First Division title for the first time in 1937, but were relegated the following season, despite scoring more goals than any other team in the division. 20 years later, a City team inspired by a tactical system known as the Revie Plan reached consecutive FA Cup finals again, in 1955 and 1956; just as in the 1930s, they lost the first one, to Newcastle United, and won the second. The 1956 final, in which Manchester City beat Birmingham City 3-1, is one of the most famous finals of all-time, and is remembered for City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann continuing to play on after unknowingly breaking his neck.

After relegation to the Second Division in 1963, the future looked bleak with a record low home attendance of 8,015 against Swindon Town in January 1965. In the summer of 1965, the management team of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison was appointed. In the first season under Mercer, City won the Second Division title and made important signings in Mike Summerbee and Colin Bell. Two seasons later, in 1967-68, Manchester City claimed the League Championship for the second time, clinching the title on the final day of the season with a 4-3 win at Newcastle United. Further trophies followed: City won the FA Cup in 1969, before achieving European success by winning the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1970, beating Górnik Zabrze 2-1 in Vienna. City also won the League Cup that season, becoming the second English team to win a European trophy and a domestic trophy in the same season.

The club continued to challenge for honours throughout the 1970s, finishing just one point behind the league champions on two occasions and reaching the final of the 1974 League Cup. One of the matches from this period that is most fondly remembered by supporters of Manchester City is the final match of the 1973–74 season against arch-rivals Manchester United, who needed to win to be sure of avoiding relegation. Former United player Denis Law scored with a backheel to give City a 1-0 win at Old Trafford and confirm the relegation of their rivals. The final trophy of the club's most successful period was won in 1976, when Newcastle United were beaten 2-1 in the League Cup final.

A long period of decline followed the success of the 1960s and 1970s. Malcolm Allison rejoined the club to become manager for the second time in 1979, but squandered large sums of money on unsuccessful signings, such as Steve Daley. A succession of managers then followed – seven in the 1980s alone. City reached the 1981 FA Cup final but lost in a replay to Tottenham Hotspur. The club were twice relegated from the top flight in the 1980s (in 1983 and 1987), but recovered to finish fifth in Division One twice in succession under the management of Peter Reid. However, this was only a temporary respite, and following Reid's departure Manchester City's fortunes continued to fade. City were founders of the Premier League upon its creation in 1992, but were relegated to Division One in 1996. After two seasons in Division One, City fell to the lowest point in their history, becoming the first ever European trophy winners to be relegated to English football's third tier.

After relegation, the club underwent off-the-field upheaval, with new chairman David Bernstein introducing greater fiscal discipline. City were promoted at the first attempt, achieved in dramatic fashion in a playoff against Gillingham. A second successive promotion saw City return to the top division, but this proved to have been a step too far for the recovering club, and in 2001 City were relegated once more. Kevin Keegan arrived as the new manager in the close season, bringing an immediate return to the top division as the club won the 2001-02 Division One championship, breaking club records for the number of points gained and goals scored in a season in the process.

The 2002–03 season was the last at Maine Road, and included a 3-1 derby victory over rivals Manchester United, ending a run of 13 years without a derby win. City also qualified for the UEFA Cup through the "Fair Play ranking", earning the club's first entry into European competition in 25 years. In the 2003 close season the club moved to the new City of Manchester Stadium.

In March 2005, Kevin Keegan left the club, and Stuart Pearce took over as caretaker, leading his side to an eight-match unbeaten run at the end of the season as they just missed out on European qualification. Pearce was rewarded by being given the manager's position on a permanent basis. The 2005–06 season started brightly for Manchester City; the club held a top-six position until November. However, form deteriorated in the second half of the season and City finished 15th.

In the 2006–07 season City struggled to score goals, particularly at home. The team created a new record for the fewest goals scored at home in a season in the top flight (beating Sunderland's 14 in 2002–03 and Woolwich Arsenal's 11 in 1912–13), scoring only 10 goals (having missed two penalties in the last two home matches) as City finished in fourteenth place. The season's troubles culminated in the sacking of manager Stuart Pearce and his coaching staff.

Pearce's successor, Sven-Göran Eriksson, took over City in July 2007, a year after resigning as England's coach. City won the first three games of the season (including the local derby to Manchester United), with no goals against, but were finally halted on the fourth game against Arsenal. However the team's performances at home saw them win ten consecutive home games from the opening home win against Derby on the 15th August, until the team lost to Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in the Carling Cup on December 18th over four months later. After that, despite doing the double over Manchester United, performances were far weaker than in the earlier half of the season. When it became clear with two matches still to play that Chairman Thaksin Shinawatra intended to sack Eriksson at the end of the season, it prompted protests from City fans. Two of their largest supporters' organizations were highly critical of Shinawatra's conduct in the matter, and said that he risked alienating the fans. With the club in some turmoil, City lost their last game of the season at Middlesbrough 8-1, but still qualified for the UEFA Cup through the Fair Play ranking. Eriksson took the team on a tour of Thailand and Hong Kong in mid-May, but was officially sacked on 2 June 2008 He was replaced by Mark Hughes two days later.

On transfer deadline day of the 08-09 season, the club pulled off a massive coup by beating Chelsea to the signing of Real Madrid's Brazil star Robinho for a British transfer record-breaking £32.5 million.

Colours and crest

Manchester City's home colours are sky blue and white. Traditional away kit colours have been either maroon or (from the 1960s) red and black; however, in recent years several different colours have been used. In the 04/05 season, the team wore a white shirt with purple shorts and white socks, while the following season, the away kit was all navy blue. During the 2006–07 season, they sported an all-black (with grey trim) second strip. However, when away to Premiership teams who wore predominantly dark blue as their first choice colours in the 05/06 and 06/07 seasons, the team generally changed to a third kit, which was yellow shirts with black shorts and socks. The club tried to justify the use of yellow as a Manchester City colour in an article in one of their match day programs, by saying that it was used in 1950s & 60s. The colour they were referring to was, indeed, amber with a maroon trim - and was very rarely used.

For the 07/08 season, white pin stripes appear on the home and away shirts. The away kit is all purple in colour. There is also a third kit, which consists of a white shirt with a sky blue flash over the club badge, sky blue shorts and white socks.

The origins of the club's home colours are unclear, but there is evidence that the club have worn blue since 1892 or earlier. One prominent rumour places the origins of the sky blue kit with a link to free masonry. A booklet entitled Famous Football Clubs - Manchester City published in the 1940s indicates that West Gorton (St. Marks) originally played in scarlet and black, and reports dating from 1884 describe the team wearing black jerseys bearing a white cross, showing the club's origins as a church side. The red and black away colours come from former assistant manager Malcolm Allison, who believed that adopting the colours of A.C. Milan would inspire City to glory.

The current club crest was adopted in 1997, a result of the previous crest being ineligible for registration as a trademark. The badge is based on the arms of the city of Manchester, and consists of a shield in front of a golden eagle. The shield features a ship on its upper half representing the Manchester Ship Canal, and three diagonal stripes in the lower half, for the city's three rivers. The bottom of the badge bears the Latin motto Superbia in Praelia, which translates as Pride in Battle. Above the eagle and shield are three stars, which are purely decorative.

City have previously worn two other crests on their shirts. The first, introduced in 1970, was based on designs which had been used on official club documentation since the mid-1960s. It consisted of a round badge which used the same shield as the current crest, inside a circle bearing the name of the club. In 1972, this was replaced by a variation which replaced the lower half of the shield with the red rose of Lancashire. On occasions when Manchester City play in a major cup final, the usual crest is not used; instead shirts bearing a badge of the arms of the City of Manchester are used, as a symbol of pride in representing the city of Manchester at a major event. This practice originates from a time when the players' shirts did not normally bear a badge of any kind, but has continued throughout the history of the club.

Stadium

Manchester City's current stadium is the City of Manchester Stadium, a state-of-the-art 48,000-seater stadium situated in East Manchester ("Eastlands") and leased from Manchester City Council after the 2002 Commonwealth Games. The stadium has been City's home since the end of the 2002–03 season, when the club moved from Maine Road.

Before moving to the stadium, Manchester City spent about £35million on upgrading it and lowering the field of play from ground level (where it was during the Commonwealth Games) to below ground level, adding an additional tier of seating around the entire pitch and also building the new North Stand. The inaugural match at the new stadium was a 2-1 win over FC Barcelona in a friendly match, with the first goal at the stadium scored by Nicolas Anelka.

Manchester City have also used several other grounds during their history. After playing home games at five different grounds between 1880 and 1887, the club settled at Hyde Road and stayed for 36 years. After a fire destroyed the Main Stand in 1920, the club decided to look for a new site, moving to the 84,000-capacity Maine Road in 1923, which was nicknamed the "Wembley of the North" by designers. On 3 March 1934, Maine Road hosted the largest-ever crowd at an English club ground, when 84,569 attended an FA Cup tie against Stoke City. Maine Road was redeveloped several times over its 80-year lifespan, though by 1995 its capacity was restricted to 32,000, prompting the move to the City of Manchester Stadium. Its capacity of 47,726 is the 5th highest in the FA Premier League.

Supporters

Manchester City have a large fanbase in relation to their comparative lack of success on the pitch. Since moving to the City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester City's average attendances have been in the top six in England, though in the 2006/2007 season City's attendances fell slightly, to an average league attendance of approximately 40,000. Even in the late 1990s, when the club were relegated twice in three seasons and playing in the third tier of English football (then Division Two, now Football League One), home attendances were in the region of 30,000, compared to an average for the division of fewer than 8,000. Research carried out by Manchester City estimates a fanbase of 886,000 in the United Kingdom and a total in excess of 2 million worldwide.

Manchester City have a number of supporters organisations, of which three have official recognition: the Official Supporters Club, the Centenary Supporters Association and the International Supporters Club. There have been several fanzines published by supporters; the longest running is King of the Kippax and it is the only one still published.

Celebrity City supporters include boxer Ricky Hatton, also brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher of the Manchester-based rock band, Oasis. On 27–28 April 1996, the group played their first headline outdoor concerts at the Maine Road ground. Highlights from the second night featured on the video ...There And Then, released later the same year.

The City fans' song of choice is a rendition of "Blue Moon", which despite its melancholic theme is belted out with gusto as though it were a heroic anthem. City supporters tend to believe that unpredictability is an inherent trait of their team, and label unexpected results "typical City". Events that fans regard as "typical City" include City's being the only reigning English champions ever to be relegated (in 1938), the only team to score and concede over 100 goals in the same season (1957–58), or the more recent example that City were the only team to beat Chelsea in the 2004–05 Premiership, yet in the same season City were knocked out of the FA Cup by Oldham Athletic, a team two divisions lower.

Manchester City's biggest rivalry, inevitably, is with neighbours Manchester United, against whom they contest the Manchester derby. Unlike some other football rivalries in some other cities, such as Glasgow and Seville, the rivalry between City and United does not have its origins in religion and before the Second World War, when travel to away games was rare, many Mancunian football fans regularly watched both teams even if considering themselves "supporters" of only one. This practice continued into the early 1960s but as travel became easier, and the cost of entry to matches rose, watching both teams became unusual and the rivalry intensified.

A common stereotype is that City fans come from Manchester proper, while United fans come from elsewhere. A 2002 report by a researcher at Manchester Metropolitan University found that a higher proportion of City season ticket holders came from Manchester postcode areas (City 40%, United 29%). Within the City of Manchester itself the proportions were 17% City, 7% United. United had a higher number of season ticket holders living in Manchester postcode areas, as they had more season ticket holders overall, and the report contained a caveat that the number of City season tickets had since increased (the report was compiled before City's move to the City of Manchester Stadium), and following stadium expansion United have more than doubled their number of season ticket holders.

In the late 1980s, City fans started a craze of bringing inflatable objects to matches, primarily oversized bananas. One disputed explanation for the craze is that in a match against West Bromwich Albion chants from fans calling for the introduction of Imre Varadi as a substitute mutated into "Imre Banana". Terraces packed with inflatable-waving supporters became a frequent sight in the 1988–89 season as the craze spread to other clubs (inflatable fish were often seen at Grimsby Town), with the phenomenon reaching a peak at City's match at Stoke City on 26 December 1988, a match declared by fanzines as a fancy dress party. In the 2006/2007 season, City's FA Cup run to the sixth round of the competition saw the re-emergence of the inflatables craze, with hundreds of yellow and blue bananas being brought to cup matches.

In August 2006, the club became the first to be officially recognised as a "gay-friendly" employer by campaign group Stonewall (UK).

The official mascots of the club are the space aliens "Moonchester" and "Moonbeam", puns on the club's anthem Blue Moon.

They also have been voted the most loyal fans in the premiership by the BFFA (British Football Fans Association) just above the teams Liverpool and Portsmouth.

Ownership

The holding company of Manchester City F.C., Manchester City Limited, is a private limited company. The club has approximately 54 million shares in issue. In summer 2007, the major shareholders agreed to sell their holdings to UK Sports Investments Limited (UKSIL), a company controlled by former Thailand prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. UKSIL then made a formal offer to buy the shares held by several thousand small shareholders.

Prior to the Thaksin takeover, the club was listed on the specialist independent equity market PLUS (formerly OFEX), where it had been listed since 1995. On 6 July 2007, having acquired 75% of the shares, Thaksin de-listed the club and re-registered it as a private company.. By August UKSIL had acquired over 90% of the shares, and exercised its rights under the Companies Act to "squeeze out" the remaining shareholders, and acquire the entire shareholding. Thaksin Shinawatra is chairman of the club and two of Thaksin's children, Pintongta and Panthongtae are also on the board of directors. Former chairman John Wardle stayed on the board for a year, but resigned in July 2008 following Nike executive Garry Cook's appointment as executive chairman in May. The club made a pre-tax loss of £11m in the year ending 31 May 2007, the final year for which accounts were published as a public company.

Thaksin's purchase prompted a period of transfer spending without precedent at the club, spending in excess of £30 million, whereas over the previous few seasons net spending had been among the lowest in the division. Another initiative in the early months of Thaksin's ownership was the establishment of a network of partner clubs, with relationships with clubs in China (Shanghai Shenhua), South Africa (Thanda Royal Zulu), Russia (FC Moscow), Switzerland (Grasshopper-Club Zürich), Thailand (Chonburi) and Australia (Perth Glory).

On 1 September 2008, Abu Dhabi-based Abu Dhabi United Group Investment and Development Limited completed a takeover of Manchester City. The deal, worth a reported £200 million, was announced on the morning of 1 September. It sparked various transfer "deadline-day" rumours and bids such as the club's attempt to gazump Manchester United's protracted bid to sign Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham Hotspur for a British transfer record fee in excess of £30 million. Also, Real Madrid's Robinho became a Man City player on 1st September, just minutes before the Summer transfer window closed in a British record transfer fee of £32.5 million. Man City's new-found wealth sparked rumours that City offered a blank cheque to Real Madrid for striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy, however Real refused. City were also believed to make a failed £50m bid for Liverpool FC striker Fernando Torres

Players and staff

As of 1 September 2008.

Current squad

Retired numbers

Since 2003, Manchester City have not issued the squad number 23. It was retired in memory of Marc-Vivien Foé, who was on loan to the club from Olympique Lyonnais at the time of his death on the field of play playing for Cameroon in the 2003 Confederations Cup.

Technical staff

Position Name
Manager Mark Hughes
Assistant Manager Mark Bowen
First Team Coach Eddie Niedzwiecki
Goalkeeping Coach Kevin Hitchcock
Head Physio Ally Beatie
Chief Scout Graham Carr
Youth Academy Director Jim Cassell

Hall of fame

The following players are members of Manchester City's Hall of Fame, and are listed according to year of Manchester City first-team debut (year in parentheses):

Notable former managers

The following managers have all won at least one major trophy with Manchester City (Totals include competitive matches only):
Name From To Played Won  Drawn Lost
Tom Maley 1902 1906 150 89 22 39
Wilf Wild 1932 1946 354 158 124 72
Les McDowall 1950 1963 592 220 127 245
Joe Mercer 1965 1971 340 149 94 97
Tony Book 1974 1979 269 114 75 80

Honours

Records

  • Record League victory — 11-3 v. Lincoln City (23 March 1895)
  • Record FA Cup victory — 12-0 v. Liverpool Stanley (4 October 1890)
  • Record League defeat — 1-9 v. Everton F.C. (3 September 1906)
  • Record FA Cup defeat — 0-6 v. Preston North End (January 1897)
  • Highest attendance — 84,569 v. Stoke City (3 March 1934)
  • Most League appearances — 561 + 3 sub, Alan Oakes 1958–76
  • Most appearances overall — 668 + 4 sub, Alan Oakes 1958–76
  • Most goals scored overall — 178, Eric Brook 1928–40
  • Most goals scored in a season — 38, Tommy Johnson 1928–29
  • Record transfer fee paid — £32.5 million to Real Madrid for Robinho, September 2008 (Also current British transfer record)
  • Record transfer fee received — £21 million from Chelsea for Shaun Wright-Phillips, July 2005

References

Footnotes

See also

External links

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