Manchester City are one of the biggest clubs in the football world right now. They are managed by Pep Guardiola, who is regarded as one of the best managers in the world. However, even before him, many great managers have managed this club and have contributed massively to the club’s success. In this article, let us have a look at some of the greatest Manchester City managers ever.
Based on the success, playing style, win percentage, longevity, and fans’ opinion, here are the ten greatest Manchester City managers ever.
=10. Peter Hodge [1926-1932]
Hodge became Man City manager on 26th April 1926, at that time City had a game left in the season. A victory against Newcastle would have guaranteed survival but the game ended in a 3-2 defeat. Hodge had arrived too late to make a serious change to City’s League season.
In 1926-27, City missed promotion by just one goal, the narrowest margin in history. The following season, Hodge’s Blues were promoted as Champions. They were also the most-watched side in England with an average attendance of 37, 468 – a figure higher than any other League side.
Hodge continued to improve the side as the Blues embarked on a golden era of popularity and success during the 1930s. In 1929-30 the Blues reached third place in Division One, and in 1931-32 he guided City to an FA Cup semi-final where they were unfortunate to concede a goal in the final minute.
=10. Sam Ormerod [1895-1902]
Sam Ormerod was appointed as the manager of Manchester City in 1895. It was difficult for him to have total control of team affairs as both the previous managers, Lawrence Furniss and Joshua Parlby, were on the club committee. He still managed to achieve a great deal in his first season with City reaching the Test Matches (the equivalent of the modern-day Play-Offs) after finishing second.
After a few near misses, they were promoted to the Top Division in 1899 as Division Two Champions. This was the first season of automatic promotion and City, along with local rivals Glossop, became the first side to gain automatic promotion. It was also the first national success achieved by either of the Manchester sides.
City’s debut season in the top flight resulted in a comfortable finish in the upper mid-table, and this successful period earned Ormerod the nickname “The Wizard of Longsight“.
9. Kevin Keegan
Keegan became the manager of Manchester City in 2001, who had just been relegated from the Premier League. Keegan signed experienced international players such as Stuart Pearce, Eyal and Ali Benarbia. City were promoted as Division One champions after scoring 108 league goals. Keegan was the first manager in the Premier League era to win the Division One title with two different clubs.
In preparation for his second season as manager in 2002-03, he signed Nicolas Anelka, Peter Schmiechel and Vivian Foe. That season saw Manchester City win against Liverpool at Anfield and take four points from Manchester United, securing their Premier League status comfortably by finishing ninth.
Keegan also guided City into the UEFA Cup, qualifying via the Uefa Fair Play Ranking. Kevin Keegan left Manchester City at the end of 2004-05 season, after expressing his desire to retire.
8. Les McDowall [1950-1963]
Les McDowall is one of Manchester City’s longest-serving managers, managing from 1950 to 1963. Inheriting an ageing team and operating with limited resources, McDowall started well, earning promotion to the First Division in his first season in charge.
He also had the respect of his players, and as a former player, he worked exceptionally hard to help restore pride and bring back the glory days to Maine Road. He also led the club to two consecutive FA Cup finals in 1955 and 1956, winning the latter.
However, the early sixties were not great for McDowall’s men. With football changing it was necessary for the City directorate to replace McDowall with a man with a fresh outlook. City were relegated in 1963 and that ended McDowall’s city career. But for his overall contributions, he is regarded as one of the greatest Manchester City managers ever.
7. Tony Book [1974-1979]
Tony Book’s place in City’s history had already been assured by the early 1970s thanks to his exploits as a tremendous captain and player. However, his spell as City manager during the mid-seventies saw the Blues excite and entertain in another glorious period of football.
The first notable victory of Book’s management was a 1–0 Manchester Derby win, best known for the back-heel scored by Denis Law. In 1976, Book’s City side won the League final, making him the first person to win the competition as both player and manager.
City continued their run of form into the following season, enjoying an impressive league campaign where they finished in second place, only a point behind winners Liverpool. Book remained manager until 1979 when he was replaced by his former mentor Malcolm Allison. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest Manchester City managers ever.