With Manchester City FC set to take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a World Football Challenge (WFC) friendly on Bell Pitch at Empire Field on Monday, July 18, whitecapsfc.com will take a closer look at the English Premier League (EPL) giants in the build-up to their arrival on Canada's west coast next weekend.
Following today's introduction, the six-part series will look at the EPL club's coaching staff on Monday before looking at City's defenders on Wednesday. City's midfielders will be profiled on Thursday, while their talented set of strikers will be featured on Sunday. The final feature will look at City's goalkeepers on the day of the match, Monday, July 18.
Founded in 1880 under the original name, St. Marks (West Gordon), Manchester City Football Club play in the world-renowned English Premier League. City are owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who took ownership of the club in 2008. Considered one of the richest clubs in world soccer, Manchester City have won many accolades during their 130-year existence. They captured two English Football League First Division titles (1936-37, 1967-68), five English FA Cup titles (1904, 1934, 1956, 1969, 2011), two English League Cup titles (1970, 1976), three English FA Charity Shield titles (1937, 1968, 1972), as well as the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1970.
In the past decade, Manchester City re-invented themselves by developing a new culture and reviving their classic brand. In 2003, 'The Citizens' moved to the 48,000-seat 'Etihad Stadium' in Eastlands, Manchester, after previously inhabiting their traditional home of Maine Road from 1923 to 2003. City have also transformed their efforts on the pitch with a third-place finish in the 2010-11 EPL campaign and earning a berth in the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League 'Group Stage'. City also claimed their fifth English FA Cup title when they beat EPL rivals Stoke City FC in the final at Wembley Stadium on May 14.
Manchester City possesses some of the best talent currently playing in world soccer today. Spaniard David Silva, who won the 2008 UEFA European Championship and 2010 FIFA World Cup titles with his country, joined City in 2010 and scored 15 goals in his inaugural season. Along with a plethora of talented players like Vincent Kompany, Nigel De Jong, Yaya Toure, and Joe Hart, Manchester City currently boasts one of the most formidable-looking squads in England and Europe.
City's coaching staff is comprised of some of the brightest and most sophisticated soccer minds available. Roberto Manchini was named City manager in 2009, with Brian Kidd serving as his assistant. David Platt, Attilio Lombardo, and Fausto Salsano round out the City coaching staff, while Ivan Carminati and Massimo Battara oversee duties as goalkeeping coach and fitness coach, respectively.
While Manchester City are predominately known for their EPL squad, City’s perspective on youth development closely follows their winning mentality. Manchester City Academy’s primary goal is to develop young players for the future, a concept incarnated by Albert Alexander in the 1920's. After the successful development concept produced immediate results, City developed a second development team in 1955. After three decades, Manchester City Academy was brought to fruition in 1998. The venture has produced 35 players from within their system since that time, which is the highest production rate in the EPL. City will also field a reserve squad, which will compete in the 2011-12 NextGen Football Series. The U-19 league follows a UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League-style format, with the concept intended to promote opportunities through continued development and to produce high-quality talent inside the competitors' domestic countries.
As is the case with more successful soccer clubs, the backbone and heart of Manchester City is provided by a massive support base that are very loyal to their club. After their stadium move in 2003, City’s average attendance consistently reaches over 40,000 fans per match. They rank sixth overall in EPL home attendances, with an estimated core fan base of over two million supporters. With a broad range of supporters groups and passionate fans worldwide, Whitecaps FC should prepare themselves for the singing of 'Blue Moon', which will undoubtedly be heard and chanted throughout the July 18 friendly at Empire Field.
With Manchester City in North America preparing for their upcoming EPL and UEFA Champions League campaigns, friendlies such as these may become an annual occurrence for Whitecaps FC and British Columbia soccer fans in the coming years. Yet, the prestige of hosting world-class squads such as Manchester City is an opportunity not to be missed.
On Monday, July 18, 2011, at 7 p.m. PT, Vancouver Whitecaps FC will face this year’s English FA Cup winners, Manchester City FC, in an international friendly. Fans can purchase these tickets at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centres, online at ticketmaster.ca, or Charge-by-Phone at 1.855.6.GO-CAPS(1.866.646.2277).