Manchester City 2008/9
Reality did not quite live up to fiction for the blue half of Manchester during the last campaign.
The much-publicised multi-million pound takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group heralded a new era at Eastlands as City supporters finally saw the possibility of their dreams of overhauling local rivals United becoming reality. The summer capture of Brazilian Robinho from Real Madrid for the paltry sum of £30M+ led to a virtual hysteria over the ability of City to move for any player they wished.
Manager Mark Hughes had the unenviable job of making the reality on the pitch match the hype off the field and for a while results went City’s way. However, the end of 2008 saw the club sliding down the league and at one point they were threatened with being drawn into a long and painful relegation fight.
Hughes’ squad turned things around and they climbed away from danger ultimately finishing a relatively respectable 10th. A good UEFA Cup campaign in which they reached the quarter-finals complimented this upturn in form. Yet billionaire owners do not have a history of patience and the former Welsh international must be aware that his tenure could be time-limited if 2009/10 does not yield trophy-winning form in the early stages. He will not be without backing to add to the squad but the additions need to produce quickly if he is to go the distance next term.
Tags: Abu Dhabi United Group, Mark Hughes, UEFA Cup, Manchester City