They Think It’s All Over
The turn of the New Year marks the mid-way point in the football season. It’s the time of the year where the league tables really start to take shape, with teams beginning to realign their expectations concerning their final position in May. Clubs enter the January transfer market either trying desperately to hold on to their best players or deciding how much money they are going to plough into a campaign to avoid relegation (or spending inordinate amounts on defenders). There’s still a lot to play for though, and as many teams have proven in the past, a lot can change between January and the final-final whistle.
This season, however, things are a little different at the top, and we have one club to thank for that. Enter the blue side of Manchester and one of the most unbelievable winning runs in football history.
As of January 4th 2018, Man City are unbeaten in 30 Premier League matches since they lost 2-1 at Chelsea in April 2017. Of these, they have won 27, scoring 87 goals in the process. They have smashed Arsenal’s 2002 record of 14 wins in a row (they equalled it when they won the Manchester derby at Old Trafford) and therefore hold the English football records for most consecutive league wins (18) and most in all competitions (20). The only major record they don’t hold in terms of most wins is from the start of a season – Reading hold that record, winning their first 13 Third Division fixtures in the 1985/86 season (because football did exist before 1992).
Currently, City sit 15 points clear at the top of the table. Some bookmakers paid out on them to win the league in early December. It’s hard to see how they could possibly lose it from here.
In our construction piece this week, we look at when Manchester City said farewell to Maine Road and moved to their current home at the former Commonwealth Stadium.
I Am The Resurrection
In 2002, Manchester hosted the Commonwealth Games and for this occasion it was decided that a new stadium be built in the area. Manchester had actually unsuccessfully bid for the 2000 Olympics and proposed an 80,000 seater stadium to be part of this. For the Commonwealth Games, a smaller version of this stadium was proposed at the cost of approximately £112 million.
Paid for by Manchester City Council and Sport England, the stadium helped regenerate a large area on the outskirts of East Manchester. The regeneration of the area, however, pales when compared to how the fortunes of Manchester City F.C. were altered forever.
Reluctant to let the area become a white elephant, it was agreed that a long term solution be put in place. Work was proposed to transform the stadium into a ground more suited to football and without an athletics track. The whole internal ground level was lowered to accommodate a third, lower tier that was actually constructed previously but buried. At this point, the stadium technically only had three sides, with the North end being made up of temporary seating. This was removed and a proper stand was constructed to mirror the opposite side. A total of £22 million of the £40 million spent converting the stadium was paid for by the local council. The new football stadium was to be a gift to the new tenants.
Manchester City became the new tenants of the stadium for the 2003/04 season, a season in which they finished 16th in the Premier League. Rather than challenging for the title, City were more worried about relegation. They had only recently reemerged back in the top league from their drop to the third tier (now League One) and were a long way from being the club they are today, struggling in the shadow of their neighbour’s dominance. For the next few seasons, City invariably finished mid-low in the table. But in 2008, their shiny new stadium was the catalyst for a huge buyout by the incredibly wealthy Abu Dhabi United Group, who invested hundreds of millions in the club and infrastructure. Four years later, they pipped Manchester United to the Premier League title in the very last second of the season in arguably the most incredible moment in football history – securing their first top-flight title since 1968. The resurrection was complete.
Howay The Lads
Like the Premier League, we have a runaway leader in our Morson Fantasy Premier League. As we cross the midway point, Morson Group fleet manager David Robinson’s Looney Toons United are sitting 43 points clear at the top of the table.
For those wanting to know how this has been achieved, you can find his current team to the right (as of 4 Jan 18). He’s well on his way to the prize for winning the league, which is a signed shirt from a Premier League team of his choice.
There’s still plenty of time to go yet before the end of the season, so stay tuned.
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