The Citizens have been transformed over recent seasons into serial winners across domestic competitions. Ahead of next Saturday's clash with Leicester City on Filbert Way (3pm BST kick-off), let's explore some of the most glorious occasions in of the past 30 years...
The Manchester club were aiming for back-to-back promotions after a dramatic Division Two play-off final win in May 1999.
It’s hard to believe it, given Manchester City’s current place among the elite of world football, but back in 1998/99, the Citizens were playing in the third tier of English football. That season, under the guidance of Joe Royle, City finished in third and would enter the division’s play-offs. Courtesy of a 2-1 aggregate win over Wigan Athletic, Man City headed to Wembley for the Second Division play-off final, where they would face Tony Pulis’ Gillingham, who were making their first-ever appearance at the national stadium. After a goalless 80 minutes, the game came to life to spark one of the craziest finales to a football match. Carl Asaba and Robert Taylor gave the Gills a 2-0 lead, having scored in the 81st and 87th minute respectively, and seemingly won promotion for the Kent side. However, Man City had other ideas, with first Kevin Horlock on 90 minutes and later a 95th-minute equaliser from future Leicester striker Paul Dickov took the game to extra-time. With no side able to break the deadlock in the additional 30 minutes, the final went to a penalty shoot-out. Horlock scored the Citizens' first from the spot, before Paul Smith missed for Gillingham. Dickov’s penalty was saved by Vince Bartram, the Gillingham goalkeeper who was also best man at Dickov’s wedding, before Adrian Pennock missed Gillingham’s second. Whilst John Hodge netted the Gills’ next penalty, Guy Butters’ miss coupled with Terry Cooke and Richard Edghill’s successful penalties lifted Manchester City into the First Division following the most memorable of play-off finals.
Pep Guardiola has taken the Manchester City project to new levels over the course of his spell in charge.
In 2008, the landscape of English football – and football across the world for that fact – shifted massively, as the Abu Dhabi United Group completed the purchase of Manchester City Football Club. From that year on, the Abu Dhabi United Group, founded by HRH Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, spearheaded a complete transformation of Manchester City, which saw huge investment into the club’s infrastructure and playing personnel. In the years to come, Manchester City would become established as one of the powerhouses of world football, competing for silverware each year, while performing in the UEFA Champions League regularly. Under the management of, first Roberto Mancini, followed by Manuel Pellegrini and, currently, Pep Guardiola, Manchester City have been consistently competing for Premier League titles and all domestic trophies. Since 2008, huge names in world football have been established whilst wearing City blue, including David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Agüero, who scored a remarkable 260 goals before departing to Barcelona this summer. Off the pitch, the Abu Dhabi United Group have also overseen the incredible development of the Etihad Campus; a facility that includes City’s Etihad Stadium, a state of-the-art training facility for all of Manchester City’s teams and offices for club staff across the entire operation. Away from Manchester City, the Abu Dhabi United Group also own MLS side New York City FC and A-League team Melbourne City.
Legendary striker Sergio Agüero was given a fitting send off after 10 years at City.
Martin Tyler’s iconic commentary from the final game of Manchester City’s 2011/12 Premier League season will forever be remembered as the perfect accompaniment to one of the division’s most memorable moments. With City competing with Manchester neighbours United for the Premier League title on the final day of the campaign, City hosted Queens Park Rangers while United travelled to Sunderland. Both teams were level on points; however City’s goalscoring had given them a significant advantage on goal difference. A victory for United and a draw for City would be enough for the red side of Manchester to claim the title. A win for City would take the title to Etihad Stadium for the first time in the club’s history. Manchester City took the lead through Pablo Zabaleta before half-time, before Djibril Cissé levelled for QPR after the interval. An ugly altercation involving former Man City midfielder Joey Barton and a number of home players saw Barton dismissed on 55 minutes and disrupted the game. Things looked to have swung in United’s favour thereafter. The Red Devils, 1-0 up against Sunderland, also benefitted from Jamie Mackie’s goal, 10 minutes after Barton’s red card, to give the visitors the lead over City. Cue Edin Džeko, who rose highest to head home David Silva’s corner on the 92nd minute to equalise for City. With the final whistle blown in Sunderland, winners United were forced to wait for the whistle back in Manchester. Home fans in Manchester’s nerves were being tested to the limit, needing a goal in the dying seconds to snatch the title from their illustrious neighbours. With City pushing forward, Mario Balotelli managed to poke the ball to Sergio Agüero in the box. The Argentine’s clarity and composure enabled him to smash the ball beyond Paddy Kenny to send fans into delirium; running off with his shirt swinging around in a celebration as iconic as the commentary accompanying it.
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