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Is Manuel Pellegrini now Manchester City's Most Successful Manager Ever?

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Joe Mercer the all-time greatest until now?

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Manchester City head into the final part of the season with their fans full of expectation of what their side can achieve.

Up until recently most fans had dare not dream of winning the league, winning cups and competing with Europe's elite in the most high profile club competitions.

Now, they have seen the City squad lift the FA Cup, the first time since 1969 and the first trophy since 1976, two Premier League titles and. Now, two Capital One Cups. This is to be Pellegrini's last season in charge of the blues, and ironically, he could leave being the most successful manager in City history. Certainly, for many, adding another Premier League title, or (dare we dream) a Champions League title would certainly see him overtake Joe Mercer.

But, Pellegrini aside, 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 was also the last time we finished the League above neighbors, United until recently.

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 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 in other articles in my time) 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 to 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.

You have your side 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 seasons, the Italian finds himself at the Number Two spot.

With a Premier League title finish and an FA Cup, City under Roberto Mancini looked a really good proposition for a long time into the future. However, a poor display at his second FA Cup Final against Wigan sealed his fate, and he was replaced by the current departing manager.

He brought Champions League football to City, although never saw us out of the group stage, the potential was always there with Roberto.

Fans were buzzing with the way the team performed, and that 6-1 win against whoever that team in red was!

Add to this City's first Cup win since 1976 (defeating United on the way!) and years from now Roberto Mancini could will still be looked on as one of City's most successful managers.

Roberto Mancini's Managerial Statistics:

Games Managed: 191

Won: 113

Draw: 38

Lost: 40

WIN % 59.16

Trophies: Premier League, FA Cup, Community Shield.

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.

Mercer 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

Trophies: League Title, FA Cup, League Cup, Euro Cup Winners Cup and Charity Shield.


Just for comparison, Mercer did that in six seasons at City, Manuel has only had three and currently has a League title and two League Cups. Currently his record stands at managing City in 150 games, winning 94, 21 tied games with 35 defeats. That's a 62.7% win ratio, certainly enough to get him into the top three post war City managers but can he do more to overcome the mighty Mercer and Allison era?