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Best 5 City Managers In Post War History

Manchester City head into this season with their fans full of expectation of what their side can expect to do.

Most fans dare not dream of winning the league, winning cups and competing with Europe’s elite clubs in the most high profile club competition.

This season, however, City fans can realistically dream about all the above. Under Roberto Mancini fans have seen themselves finish higher in the Premier League than they ever have since it’s inception in 1993.

They have seen a City squad lift the FA Cup, the first time since 1969 and the first trophy since 1976 and all this while having a striker finishing joint top league scorer and a defense that was unbelievably scrooge like.

But who exactly has been City’s most successful post war manager? Here are my top 5.


5) Peter Reid,

Even though he was hired as Manager after the departure of Howard Kendall, Peter continued to play for City, becoming I suppose in a way Manchester City’s most successful Player/Manager of all time.

Reid started his management responsibilities on the 5th November 1990 and his first game was a defeat at home to Leeds Utd.

However that would just be a blip on an otherwise good season.

That year we would finish 5th in the Division which incidentally the last time we finished the League above neighbors, United.

The following season Reid guided City to a second successive fifth place finish.

This would turn out to be the last season before the Premiership started. City notched up 20 wins that season, the most in the top flight since the 1977/78 season.

The first season in the Premiership saw the beginning of the end for not just Reid but also then chairman, Peter Swales.

It would be both guys last full season at City. For Reid’s part, City’s League form was still acceptable, finishing ninth (out of a Premier League of 22 teams).

It is, in my mind at least, best not to dwell on what might have happened had City and Reid continued the partnership. Reid was given just four games in the new season before his dismissal and Brian Horton was appointed.

Peter Reid’s Managerial Stats: Games: 115

Won: 48

Draw: 28

Lost: 39

WIN % 41.7

4) Kevin Keegan,

Say what you want about Keegan’s overspending (and I have said a lot already in the ‘Top 10 Worst City Transfers’ article) this guy certainly steadied the good ship City!

Before Keegan arrived at City we had been promoted or relegated every season for the past five seasons, including the depths of the third tier of English Football.

Our first season back in the EPL saw us finish 9th, very respectable considering the inconsistency of previous years.

Kevin brought City fans exciting and memorable games including the last ever Maine Road derby game when City beat neighbors United 3-1.

The following season he went one better. With City in their new home he masterminded a 4-1 win in the derby, sending him instantly into Legend status.

Think 3-0 down at the half in an FA Cup tie away to Spurs and also think Joey Barton, probably your most influential player at the time sent off. Think all this and who would you want giving the team talk? Keegan had that situation and with Macken’s last minute goal City pulled one of the most talked about FA Cup comebacks of all time, City on the right end of a 4-3 result.

Keegan’s Managerial Statistics: 

Games Managed: 151

Wins: 64

Draws: 35

Lost: 52

WIN % 42.4

3)Joe Royle,

It was a tough decision to put Royle higher on the list than Kevin Keegan, but I feel that his time at City was more of an influence to get us where we now are.

Royle inherited a team from Frank Clark that had been decimated by debt, bad management and a lack of leadership.

When arriving at City his first task was to try to avoid relegation to the third tier of English Football.

Although he did manage to pick up 18 points from the remaining 15 games it was not enough to avoid the drop. It was important, for financial reasons and just pure pride that City bounce straight back.

This task was made tougher with the departure of City icons. Rosler, Kinkladze and Beardsley all followed Ian Brightwell out of Maine Road.

To be fair, Royle’s first full season didn’t start as he would have hoped, winning only seven games going into December. With promotion looking out of reach City went on a rampage, losing only three more for the rest of the season and securing third place and a playoff position.

We all know what happened that day at Wembley with City performing another breath taking comeback to secure the promotion.

1999/00 saw City fans regain hope as Royle guided City to back to back promotions and back to the EPL. Sadly though that would be as good as it got for City under Royle. The first season back was also another relegation season and City slumped back down.

Joe Royles Management Statistics:

Games managed: 145

Wins: 61

Draws: 40

Lost: 44

WIN % 42.1

2) Roberto Mancini

Despite the great season last go around, the Italian finds himself at the Number Two spot.

With last seasons league finish and highest points tally in the Premiership, City under Roberto Mancini look a really good proposition for the future.

Next week City will kick off their first adventure into the Champions League when they host Napoli at the Etihad Stadium.

Fans are buzzing with the way the team have started the season and certainly it is not impossible for the Italian to mastermind more trophies, in fact it is expected.

Add to this City’s first Cup win since 1976 (defeating United on the way!) and years from now Roberto Mancini could well be looked on as City’s most successful manager.

Roberto Mancinis Managerial Statistics: (Up to 9/5/2011)

Games Managed: 62

Won: 35

Draw: 13

Lost: 14

WIN % 56.5

1) Joe Mercer,

As if there would be any doubt. The legendary manager, Joe Mercer tops the list as Manchester City’s most successful league manager in their post war history.

Joe took over at the helm at City in 1965 despite doctors warnings not to.

Joe brought in a youthful coach in Malcolm Allison and together the embarked on what would turn out to be City’s most successful era to date.

His first season in charge was a promotion season, as Champions, losing only five games in the process.

As a side note, Mercer also guided City on a good cup run, which only came to an end after the third game against Everton at the Quarter Final stage.

Two years later he had led City to only the second League title in their history. Wilf Wild had delivered the previous one but that side had developed over several years, rather than the two under Mercer and Allison.

Joe had led City from obscurity to winners in two years and that new found tradition would continue.

The next season Mercer led City to the Cup Final and a Neil Young goal against a plucky Leicester side gave City the victory and another trophy. In 1970 he eclipsed even that by winning the League Cup, defeating West Brom 2-1 in March and the European Cup Winners Cup in April.

This also was the first time an English team won both a domestic and foreign trophy in the same season.

Joe Mercer Managerial Statistics:

Games Managed: 263

Won: 109

Draw: 77

Lost: 77

WIN%: 41.4


Written By: PA Cityboy


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