Manchester – the world capital of football

man utd & man city

Manchester is synonymous with football and the rivalry and drive for power on the world football stage between the city’s two biggest teams has never been more ferocious.

Manchester United have historically enjoyed huge dominance in the local rivalry and since the introduction of the Premier League in 1992 have won 50% (13 out of 26) of the Premier league titles on offer. It has however been Manchester City who have enjoyed recent success winning 3 out of the last 7 Premier Leagues and the current season is no different with City again competing along with United’s other great rivals, Liverpool, to be the dominant team in the English Premier League whilst Manchester United struggle to earn a spot in the lucrative top 4.

The top 4 is so lucrative because it means qualification for the premier club competition in the world, the Champions League. United have had success in the tournament 3 times in their history most recently beating Chelsea on penalties in 2008 and most famously in 1999 when current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored a 93rd minute winner with United losing 1 – 0 going into injury time. The 20th anniversary of that famous night and famous season is being celebrated on 26th May at Old Trafford with various legends from Bayern Munich (United’s opponents on that night) and United, including Solskjaer who is scheduled to take part. Ticket info can be found here.

While City have enjoyed success in recent years domestically their best recent effort in Europe was reaching the semi-finals in 2015/2016 eventually losing to Real Madrid. At the start of the following season the owners of City appointed arguably the most successful manager of recent years, Pep Guardiola, in an attempt to win the ultimate prize in club football. The arrival of Pep in Manchester reignited his rivalry with another of the game’s most successful managers Jose Mourinho, who had joined United in 2016. Mourinho’s success was however limited and a turbulent time in Manchester came to an end at the end of 2018 meaning the latest chapter in the Mourinho/Guardiola rivalry never really lived up to expectations. Both City and United continue to challenge for the Champions League this season with United taking on Barcelona and City up against Tottenham Hotspurs in the quarter finals. 50% of the teams left in the Champions League are Premier League teams with England’s most successful team in Europe, Liverpool (5 time winners), joining City, United and Tottenham in the last 8 of the tournament.

Whilst City and United compete on the pitch they also compete off it as well. Since the arrival of Sheikh Mansour as owner of City in 2008, City have shown time and time again that they are a financial powerhouse on the world stage of football. One of their biggest statements was the signing of Argentinian superstar, Carlos Tevez in 2009 after he had finished a 2 year loan spell at Manchester United. After the signing was complete, City put up a huge blue sign in Deansgate with ‘Welcome to Manchester’ and Tevez in the background.

‘WELCOME TO MANCHESTER’ sign in Manchester after Carlos Tevez moved from United to City

City have also invested millions in the local area around their Etihad Stadium. The development of the Etihad Campus, their continued growth and popularity have brought thousands of tourists to the city of Manchester. Club captain, Vincent Kompany has also started a combined charity ‘Tackle4MCR‘ with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to address rough sleeping and homelessness on the streets of the city.

Having both City and United in the city and Liverpool only a short distance away helps attract millions of tourists to the region. The opportunities for UKEC Academy students to visit the stadiums and attend matches is a real bonus for the football enthusiasts who travel from various corners of the world to visit the capital of world football.

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