It was at the old Maine Road, as gusts of forceful winds swept the Platt End, that Shaun Goater scored the second of Manchester City's two goals to beat Macclesfield Town in the then equivalent of the Sky Bet League One fifteen years ago.
As the Dubai sun diminished on Thursday, the temperature still at 30 degrees celsius, City's rapid evolution, courtesy of Sheikh Mansour's substantial investment, was accentuated. High-profile friendlies, similar to City's trip to the United Arab Emirates to face Al Ain, to develop the club's worldwide brand were non-existent.
In a relatively uninspiring encounter, typical of post-season friendlies, the trickery displayed by Marcos Lopes and Stevan Jovetic provided entertainment yet the significance of the 0-2 victory is overpowered by the fixture's positive reflection of City's immense progression since Mansour purchased the club.
The Emirati owner has crafted City into a European powerhouse and a worldwide phenomenon, with a plethora of blue shirts sported at the stunning Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on Thursday evening. He has elevated them from an obscure Premier League side engulfed in the mediocrity of mid-table satisfaction to conquerors of Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena and twice Premier League champions in three years.
Despite the potential ramifications of breaching UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules, City have refused to abandon their promising academy, constructing a stunning Etihad Complex a road away from the Etihad Stadium. Their Elite Development Team, managed by Patrick Viera, is currently thriving, with starlets such as Marcos Lopez and Jordi Hiwala touted for first-team stardom.
On Sunday, as City celebrated their Premier League triumph, U18s captain Ashley Smith Brown, U11s skipper Conrad Egan Riley and Joel Labotierre of the U14s revealed the Premier League trophy, marching out into a jubilant Etihad Stadium.
It was a subtle statement from City, perhaps a message to FA Chairman Greg Dyke who had expressed his deep dissatisfaction, specifically "depression", over City's lack of English players and to UEFA who have disregarded City's community work around Manchester.
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