In 2007, Manchester City had been the subject of a takeover. Former Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had purchased the club an installed former England boss Sven Goran Eriksson as manager. The Swede immediately opened the chequebook and signed Roland Bianchi, Elano, vedran Corluka, Geovanni, Javier Garrido, Martin Petrov, Valeri Bojinov and Gelson Fernandes to virtually rebuild the entire team.
Sven took his new squad to the Boleyn ground on the opening day to face Alan Curbishley’s Hammers, and took the lead after just 18 minutes. The blues broke up a West Ham attack, with the impressive Elano collecting the ball midway into his own half. His driving run forward forced the West ham players to back off, and a clever flick took him past the last defender into the penalty area, where his cross was met at the far post by debutant Bianchi.
West Ham offered very little by way of resistance to start with, but gradually came back into the match, when debutant keeper Kasper Schmeichal saved well from West Ham debutant Freddie Ljungberg.
In the second half, the Hammers looked a different side, but still never looked like scoring. Bobby Zamora and Dean Ashton coming close for the home side, but the equaliser just wouldn’t arrive for the Hammers. With three minutes remaining, City made sure of the points when Geovanni finished after good work from Nedum Onuoha.
As the final whistle blew, the City fans celebrated the dawn of a new era. But it would be one that wouldn’t last…for now.