26 September 2008

Football History: Manchester City (Premier League)

Manchester City's original incarnation came about as Gorton Athletic in 1880. In 1887 they amalgamated with West Gorton to become Ardwick FC. 1894 saw the final change to Manchester City. Promoted to the first division in 1899 City have been in the top flight for the majority of their history.

Interesting pieces of trivia along the way include winning the Championship in 1937 and getting relegated the following season despite scoring more goals than any other team in the First Division. Another unique achievement was both scoring and conceding 100 goals in a seaon (1957/58). Just prior to this in 1956 City beat Birmingham in the FA Cup Final when legendary goalkeeper Bert Trautman played on after breaking his neck. Maine Road witnessed the highest ever attendance at a League ground when City played Stoke in the 6th Round of the FA Cup in 1934 in front of a crowd of 84,569.

City's most successful era was in the late 60's and early 70's under the managerial reign of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison. After winning promotion in 1966, the team featuring legends Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee and Francis Lee won the League in 1968, FA Cup in 69, Cup Winners Cup, League Cup and Charity Shield in 70.

However, since then, they have mostly been in the shadow of their neighbours, with City flitting between divisions for much of the 1980s and 1990s. A succession of managers tried and failed to bring the good times back to the club, but successes were mostly short-lived and almost always followed by disaster. When Kevin Keegan took over, they were back in the First Division after a brief stay in the top flight, and he guided them up as champions in his first season.

In 2002/03, he helped them avoid relegation, and they finished the season by saying goodbye to Maine Road before moving into the new 48,000-capacity City of Manchester Stadium, originally built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. It was all change again in the summer of 2007, as Thaksin Shinawatra bought the club and set his sights on competing at the very top. A year later he sold the club to the even-richer Abu Dhabi United Group, putting City up there with the very richest clubs in the world.

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