Man City before Abu Dhabi takeover: 2006/07 Premier League season made history


Manchester City are many people’s favourites to win the Premier League title this season.

With top-class talent such as Kevin De Bruyne, Ruben Dias, Ederson and Jack Grealish adorning their remarkable squad, it certainly wouldn’t be surprising if they won a fourth title in just five years.

In fact, the Citizens are fast becoming one of the most successful clubs of the Premier League era having won the title in the 2011/12, 2013/14, 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2020/21 campaigns.

Man City’s rise since 2008 takeover

It really is an impressive achievement that has thrust City right amongst the Champions League elite, but lest we forget that things weren’t always quite so lush and lovely at the Etihad Stadium.

Besides, there can be no denying that the takeover of Sheikh Mansour’s Abu Dhabi United Group in September 2008 was the turning point for City’s fortunes.

It was a lucrative move that allowed the Citizens to splash the cash on some of the world’s best players with Pep Guardiola’s regime alone having seen almost £1 billion in transfer spending.

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Remembering Man City’s 2006/07 season

And all things considered, the upturn in fortunes was pretty rapid because City’s 2006/07 campaign, which concluded barely more than a year before the takeover, was a complete and utter disaster.

While you might be familiar with City’s humiliating 8-1 defeat at Middlesbrough that came the following season, we wanted to turn your attention to a lesser-known low in their history books.

For context, Stuart Pearce was the man in the dugout and City’s squad included the likes of Darius Vassell, Richard Dunne, Sun Jihai, Stephen Ireland, Ousmane Dabo and Daniel Sturridge.


Just 10 league goals at home

City finished in 14th place with 11 wins, nine draws and 18 defeats, which might not sound too horrendous until you bear in mind that they finished just four points above the relegation zone.

However, perhaps the most egregious fact about the campaign was that City only managed to score 10 league goals at home all season long, which was an all-time low in the Premier League.

According to the official Premier League website, Huddersfield Town matched the record with just 10 goals in 2018/19 before Fulham finally broke the feat last season with only nine strikes.

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Man Citty

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But wait, it gets better because City didn’t even manage to score a single Premier League home goal after New Year’s Day. Yes, that’s right, they embarked on an astonishing 124-day drought.

In that time, the Citizens lost at home to Blackburn Rovers, Reading, Wigan Athletic, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Manchester United, while seeing out 0-0 draws with Charlton Athletic and Liverpool.


Further 2006/07 woes

City had also shipped four goals apiece in defeats away to Blackburn and Wigan earlier in the season and finished up scoring fewer times than two of the clubs that were relegated that year.

In fact, Joey Barton proved to the club’s top goalscorer in the Premier League that season with just a measly six goals, while centre-back Distin was the fourth leading marksmen on just two goals.

There was even further on-pitch drama because this happened to be the season in which Ben Thatcher landed his infamous elbow challenge on Pedro Mendes.



In what is widely regarded as one of the worst tackles in Premier League history, Thatcher was suspended by City and received an eight-game ban and £80,000 fine from the FA.

Marry that to the fact that City were dumped out of the League Cup to third-tier Chesterfield and it really does round off an abysmal year for the club.


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So, sure, it’s not as bad as plummeting all the way down to League One for the 1998–99 season, but it’s pretty horrendous when you consider David Silva was signing just three years later.

And with only a decade spanning City scoring just 10 goals at home and Guardiola being unveiled as their coach, it really goes to show how an injection of money can quickly change your fortunes.

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