What a week it’s been for Manchester City. After qualifying for the Champions League mid-week for the first time in their history, Roberto Mancini’s team today won the 2010-11 FA Cup, their first trophy since the 1976 League Cup. While it wasn’t the entertaining spectacle many of us had hoped for, Manchester City controlled possession and created most of the chances in this game where Stoke City failed to turn up. Congratulations to Manchester City on winning one of the most historic trophies in English football.
Manchester City’s win Saturday is a turning point in the club’s history. Long seen as a B-rated side who have lived in the shadow of their more superior cross-city neighbors, Manchester City have now embarked in a new chapter in their history. A FA Cup win in their belts, they’ll walk into next season with a swagger, playing in the Champions League and having the expectations that they can make a run for the Premier League title.
However, this turning point also marks a change in how supporters of other clubs view and treat Manchester City. In the past, City had been a team that was often overlooked, one which was more of a distraction than a potential trophy challenger. Now however, with City’s win today and their Champions League qualification, Manchester City are — and will be — a force to be reckoned with. Many supporters, rather than congratulating City for a well-deserved FA Cup win, will start throwing out the cheap shots at City supporters. “They bought their way to victory.” “They’re a fantasy football team.” But while money helps clubs get closer to success, it doesn’t guarantee it. Clubs still have to go out there to win.
With the win Saturday, Manchester City have finally got the monkey off their back (the one about not winning anything for 36 years). They can now build on this platform and become a leader in the Premier League, and grow their international fanbase. Roberto Mancini’s squad will be touring the North America this summer, and they will hope to build the brand both in the United States and the rest of the world. Today marks a new chapter in the history of the blue half of Manchester. A future paved with success instead of heartache.
Today also marks a new era in the rivalry between Manchester United and Manchester City. The two clubs must feel on top of the world today. And this is just the beginning of a newfound story in the history of the Premier League. Two teams from the same city at each other’s throats.
The club has a lot to look forward to. A victory parade throughout the streets of Manchester one week from Monday. And then a Community Shield match in early August against Manchester United at Wembley. Right now for Manchester City supporters, it doesn’t get any better than this.