With the imminent and breathtaking Newcastle United Takeover looming over the city, I wanted to take a trip over to Manchester, to review what followed in the aftermath of the biggest Takeover in recent years.
The Instant Statement
Manchester City wasted no time in completing the takeover, and making a statement to the entire footballing world. On 1st September 2008, previous owner Thaksin Shinawatra, who was suffering huge financial struggles tried to sell his majority stake in the club to multiple parties. He repeatedly faced rejected offers until an offer was made from the Abu Dhabi United Group to buyout his entire share.
Just hours later rumours began circulating that a deal had been agreed, the confirmation came not in the form of an announcement, but instead by smashing the British transfer fee record. Hours before the transfer deadline slammed shut, Manchester City announced that Robinho had been signed from Real Madrid for £32.5 million.
It took a further 3 weeks for all due diligence checks to be completed and an official announcement to be completed. If this applies to Newcastle, we can expect a club statement to be made at the beginning of May.
The First Phase
At the time of the Takeover, Mark Hughes was regarded as an exciting young manager. With the new owners entering player they decided to stick by the Welshman, hereby placing their trust in him to spend big in the transfer market.
The first season following the takeover is perhaps best described as inconsistent, with the club finishing in 10th position. The summer of 2009 was when the squad overhaul truly began.
Following the public and unsuccessful transfer saga of Kaka in the winter transfer window, the owners were not deterred from bringing big names to the blue side of Manchester. Brining Carlos Tevez in from Old Trafford sprinkled some lighter fluid onto the blossoming Manchester rivalry, while a billboard signalling ‘Carlos Tevez, welcome to Manchester’ being placed in the City centre certainly added the spark.
They went on to add Kolo Toure and Adebayor from Arsenal, Joleon Lescott from Everton, and Gareth Barry from Aston Villa, among others. The main factor among the majority of their signings was Premier League experience. We could replicate this strategy if our owners were looking for a secure strategy of squad improvement.
A further point to consider was the long-term success of Kompany, creating a legacy spanning across a decade. The Belgian was signed before the takeover, but could be deemed their most integral player. Will see see a similar case of a NUFC player, Lascelles maybe?
Following the revolutionary summer, Manchester City got off to a bright start, however a dip in form leading up to Christmas saw the club gain just 2 victories from 11 matches and marked the end of Hughes’ tenure at the club.
Labelled as ruthless by the media, this was a further signal of intent, with the recruitment of Roberto Mancini highlightingthe clubs future ambition.
Phase Two of the Revolution
Again, success was not instant for the Italian, however progress had been made. At the end of the season their best ever finish landed them a spot in 5th. Speculation again circled the managerial position, but the owners backed their man in the following summer.
In the second summer transfer window of the new era, they again went big. Jerome Boateng, David Silva, Mario Balotelli, Yaya Toure, Aleksandar Kolarov, Sergio Aguero and James Milner were brought to the team.
The following season was again Manchester City’s best season in terms of league position. Finishing 3rd, while being real title challengers throughout the 2010/11 season, highlighting the success of their business, sourcing talent from outside the Premier League.
In terms of recruitment, Manchester City first improved their squad by capturing Premier League players. Once steady improvement had been made, they reached the next level by bringing in exciting talent from abroad. This again could be a strategy which Newcastle try to replicate, allowing for risk-free progression initially, before exploring other markets for the very best talent.
A clear ambition had been outlayed before the 2011/12 season, to win the Premier League. The beginning of the season saw the team in imperious form, winning seven of their first eight matches, with scorelines including 5-1 away at Tottenham, 4-0 against Swansea, and 4-1 against Aston Villa.
In the ninth match of the campaign Manchester City travelled to Old Trafford. Already billed as a potential title decider the Manchester Derby had been redefined. In this unforgettable game Manchester City destroyed their local rivals 6-1 in their own backyard. Alex Ferguson’s first home defeat in just over 2 years truly defined Manchester City’s arrival among the Premier League elite teams.
It was the final match of the season however which provided the most drama. Who can forget? The local clubs were locked at 86 points, with the team in blue having an 8 goal advantage in terms of goal difference. Manchester United had won their match at the Stadium of Light and Manchester City were trailing to QPR 2-1 in the 91st minute. The title looked like it was heading to Old Trafford until the impossible happened.
In the 91st minute a corner was swung in by David Silva, Edin Dzeko rose highest to nod the ball in the back of the net and draw level. In what must have seemed like a lifetime, another minute then passed and Aguero had the ball on the edge of the box. He played the ball to Balotelli, the Italian returned the favour. Aguero took on his man. He drove across the goal. He buried the ball in the back of the net. In the 93rd minute of the final match of the season, City clinched their first ever Premier League title from their rivals.
In relation to our own Takeover, I would grab the opportunity of lifting the Premier League by 2024 with both hands.
Although Manchester City made substantial improvements to their playing squad, they also invested heavily in both the training facilities and the city. In 2014 they announced a brand new investment of £200 million to transform their training ground complex into the Etihad Complex.
With our Takeover nearly completion, the path our new owners will take are of course unknown. The wealth held by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund completely overshadows the rest of the Premier league. Our wealth will exceed the remaining clubs by 20x.
With this in mind we may still witness a strategy which focuses on guaranteed, and gradual improvement before we see huge funds invested into players from abroad.
All I can say on the matter is anybody coming into the club with a sense of ambition and intent, to put this amazing club at the top of the Premier league gets my full backing.
Who would be your ideal first signing?