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This is a chronological list of Manchester City managers, comprising all those who have held the position of manager for the first team of Manchester City F.C. and the club's predecessors West Gorton (St. Marks) and Ardwick. In the Football League era the club has appointed 34 managers; including pre-league managers and temporary caretakers more than 40 men have held responsibility for team selection.
The longest serving manager was Les McDowall, who was in charge from 1950 to 1963, a period of 13 years. The most successful Manchester City manager in terms of major trophies won is Joe Mercer, who won four trophies in six years from 1965 to 1971. Roberto Mancini was City's most recent manager; he was sacked on 13 May 2013 after three-and-a-half years in charge.
In the era before league football, the position of manager involved many secretarial duties, such as arranging fixtures and the upkeep of the club's ground. Few accounts of the club's off-field affairs in the 1880s survive, and it is unclear who managed the club (then known as West Gorton (St. Marks)) between 1882 and 1884. The club's earliest managers were also players; the first three known managers (Frederick Hopkinson, Edward Kitchen and Walter Chew) all played in West Gorton's first recorded match in 1880. By 1889 the club had moved to Hyde Road and renamed itself Ardwick A.F.C. Under the management of Lawrence Furniss, the club joined the Football League in 1892 as founder members of the Second Division. Furniss became chairman a year later, and he and his successor as secretary-manager Joshua Parlby were responsible for Ardwick reforming as Manchester City F.C. in 1894.
Under Sam Omerod the club achieved promotion to the First Division for the first time, and five years later Tom Maley became the first Manchester City manager to win a major trophy, the 1904 FA Cup. A financial scandal resulted in the Football Association suspending Maley and seventeen players in 1906, leaving Harry Newbould with the task of assembling a makeshift side at short notice. In 1912 Ernest Mangnall joined City from local rivals Manchester United, but was unable to replicate the success he had enjoyed with the Reds. Upon Mangnall's departure in 1924 the roles of secretary and manager were separated, with David Ashworth appointed manager and Wilf Wild as secretary. This arrangement continued during Peter Hodge's time as manager, though the roles merged again when Wild became manager in 1932. Wild became the club's longest serving manager, winning the FA Cup and League Championship during his fourteen-year tenure. By the time Sam Cowan replaced Wild the roles of secretary and manager were separated permanently. Cowan lasted only one season, and was replaced by Jock Thomson. He gained promotion, but did not make a lasting impact at the top level.
Les McDowall became manager in 1950, and managed the Blues for more league seasons than any other manager. Known for his tactical awareness, McDowall's implementation of a system known as the Revie Plan resulted in two FA Cup final appearances, a defeat in 1955 and a victory in 1956. McDowall resigned following relegation in 1963, and his assistant George Poyser became manager. Poyser proved unsuited to the manager's role, and was sacked in 1965. Joe Mercer was appointed, and the club's golden era began. Mercer became the club's most successful manager in terms of trophies won, winning the League Championship, the FA Cup, the League Cup and the European Cup Winners' Cup in his six years at the helm. Over time Mercer's assistant Malcolm Allison sought a progressively larger say in non-coaching matters, and in October 1971 he took sole control of the first team, with Mercer becoming "general manager".
During Peter Swales' time as Manchester City chairman the tenure of managers was frequently brief, as between 1973 and 1994 eleven managers were appointed. The first of these was Ron Saunders, after ill health had forced Johnny Hart to leave the post. Saunders was sacked after only six months, and club stalwart Tony Book took over. Book managed the club for five years, winning the League Cup in 1976. Malcolm Allison, who had rejoined the coaching staff in January 1979, made an ill-fated return to the manager's role later that year, a spell noted more for financial excess than on-pitch success. A further six managers (John Bond, John Benson, Billy McNeill, Jimmy Frizzell, Mel Machin and Howard Kendall) were appointed in the 1980s, with none lasting more than three years amid a series of promotions and relegations. An upturn in results occurred during Peter Reid's management, the club achieving consecutive fifth place finishes, but a deterioration in Reid's relationship with the board signalled the end of his spell at the club. Brian Horton arrived from Oxford to sceptical newspaper headlines of "Brian Who?", but developed a reputation for attractive football. Swales was replaced as chairman by former City striker Francis Lee. Lee wanted to bring in his own man, and in the 1995 close season he replaced Horton with Alan Ball, whose sole full season resulted in relegation.
In the 1996–97 season, even the turnover rate of the Swales years was surpassed, with five managers (three permanent appointments and two caretakers) taking charge of first team affairs during the course of the season. The third of these was Steve Coppell, the shortest serving manager in the club's history, who resigned on ill health grounds after 32 days as manager. The final of the five, Frank Clark, saw out the season but did not last much longer, losing his job in February 1998 with the club on the brink of relegation to the third tier of English football. Joe Royle was unable to prevent relegation, but subsequently achieved successive promotions to restore top flight status, though relegation a year later resulted in his sacking.
Under Royle's replacement Kevin Keegan the club changed division for a fifth successive season, setting club records for the number of points gained and goals scored in a season. Keegan remained manager for the club's move to the City of Manchester Stadium and beyond, making him the longest serving manager since Tony Book.
On 6 July 2007, Sven-Göran Eriksson became the first Manchester City manager from outside the British Isles, replacing the sacked Stuart Pearce, who had served for two years following an initial spell as caretaker. After just one season with the club, Eriksson was replaced by Mark Hughes in June 2008. On 19 December 2009, Mark Hughes was sacked and replaced by Italian Roberto Mancini.
Mancini subsequently became one of the most successful managers of the club in the modern era, and the first to win major domestic trophies since the 1970s. However, after 3 and a half seasons in charge, Mancini was sacked on 13 May 2013 following defeat in the FA Cup Final versus Wigan Athletic.
On 14 June 2013, Manuel Pellegrini was confirmed as the new manager of the club after signing a 3-year contract and is the third manager, after Roberto Mancini and Brian Kidd, to take charge of City under the ownership of the Abu Dhabi United Group.
As of 29 January 2014. Statistics include competitive matches only, pre-Football League and wartime matches excluded. Caretakers are shown in italics.
|Name||Nickname||Nationality||From||To||P||W||D||L||GF||GA||Win %||Honours and/or notes|
|Furniss, LawrenceLawrence Furniss||England||August 1889||May 1893||26||10||4||12||59||46||38.46||–|
|Parlby, JoshuaJoshua Parlby||England||August 1893||May 1895||59||22||5||32||129||146||37.29||–|
|Omerod, SamSam Omerod||England||August 1895||July 1902||240||111||50||79||433||354||46.25||–|
|Maley, TomTom Maley||Scotland||July 1902||July 1906||150||89||22||39||322||179||59.33||First non-English manager|
FA Cup 1904
|Newbould, HarryHarry Newbould||England||July 1906||July 1912||245||93||61||91||390||376||37.96||–|
|Committee||July 1912||September 1912||2||2||0||0||2||0||100.00||–|
|Mangnall, ErnestErnest Mangnall||England||9 September 1912||June 1924||350||151||117||82||500||457||43.14||–|
|Ashworth, DavidDavid Ashworth||England||July 1924||14 November 1925||59||20||13||26||113||121||33.90||–|
|Alexander, AlbertAlbert Alexander / Committee||England||16 November 1925||26 April 1926||31||13||8||10||80||56||41.94||–|
|Hodge, PeterPeter Hodge||Scotland||26 April 1926||12 March 1932||261||122||59||80||579||447||46.74||-|
|Wild, WilfWilf Wild||England||14 March 1932||1 December 1946||352||158||71||123||703||562||44.89||FA Cup 1934, First Division champions 1936–37|
|Cowan, SamSam Cowan||England||2 December 1946||30 June 1947||30||20||6||4||53||27||66.67||Highest win percentage of any Manchester City manager|
|Wild, WilfWilf Wild||England||August 1947||November 1947||16||5||5||6||20||18||31.25||–|
|Thomson, JockJock Thomson||Scotland||November 1947||February 1950||115||35||35||45||122||156||30.43||–|
|McDowall, LesLes McDowall||Scotland||June 1950||May 1963||592||220||127||245||1,049||1,134||37.16||FA Cup 1956|
|Poyser, GeorgeGeorge Poyser||England||12 July 1963||April 1965||89||38||17||34||159||137||42.70||–|
|Committee||April 1965||May 1965||5||1||3||1||4||5||20.00||–|
|Mercer, JoeJoe Mercer||England||13 July 1965||7 October 1971||340||149||94||97||518||358||43.82||First Division champions 1967–68, FA Cup 1969, League Cup 1970, Cup Winners' Cup 1970|
|Allison, MalcolmMalcolm Allison||"Big Mal"||England||7 October 1971||30 March 1973||78||32||21||25||119||106||41.03||–|
|Hart, JohnnyJohnny Hart||England||30 March 1973||22 October 1973||22||11||5||6||26||22||50.00||–|
|Book, TonyTony Book||"Skip"||England||23 October 1973||22 November 1973||7||2||3||2||7||3||28.57||–|
|Saunders, RonRon Saunders||England||22 November 1973||12 April 1974||29||10||9||10||38||33||34.48||–|
|Book, TonyTony Book||"Skip"||England||12 April 1974||July 1979||269||114||75||80||405||309||42.38||League Cup 1976|
|Allison, MalcolmMalcolm Allison||"Big Mal"||England||16 July 1979||8 October 1980||60||15||20||25||63||95||25.00||–|
|Book, TonyTony Book||"Skip"||England||9 October 1980||16 October 1980||1||0||0||1||1||3||0.00||–|
|Bond, JohnJohn Bond||England||17 October 1980||3 February 1983||123||51||32||40||171||152||41.46||–|
|Benson, JohnJohn Benson||Scotland||3 February 1983||7 June 1983||17||3||2||12||13||32||17.65|
|McNeill, BillyBilly McNeill||"Cesar"||Scotland||30 June 1983||20 September 1986||156||63||42||51||223||183||40.38||–|
|Frizzell, JimmyJimmy Frizzell||Scotland||21 September 1986||May 1987||42||10||12||20||40||61||23.81||–|
|Machin, MelMel Machin||England||May 1987||29 November 1989||130||59||27||44||225||179||45.38||–|
|Book, TonyTony Book||"Skip"||England||29 November 1989||5 December 1989||3||0||0||3||4||9||0.00||–|
|Kendall, HowardHoward Kendall||England||6 December 1989||5 November 1990||38||13||18||7||46||37||34.21||–|
|Reid, PeterPeter Reid||England||11 November 1990||26 August 1993||136||59||31||46||199||166||43.38||–|
|Book, TonyTony Book||"Skip"||England||27 August 1993||27 August 1993||1||0||1||0||1||1||0.00||–|
|Horton, BrianBrian Horton||England||28 August 1993||16 May 1995||96||29||33||34||118||130||30.21||–|
|Ball, AlanAlan Ball||England||30 June 1995||26 August 1996||49||13||14||22||49||70||26.53||–|
|Hartford, AsaAsa Hartford||Scotland||26 August 1996||7 October 1996||8||3||0||5||8||13||37.50||–|
|Coppell, SteveSteve Coppell||England||7 October 1996||8 November 1996||6||2||1||3||7||10||33.33||–|
|Neal, PhilPhil Neal||"Zico"||England||9 November 1996||28 December 1996||10||2||1||7||11||19||20.00||–|
|Clark, FrankFrank Clark||England||29 December 1996||17 February 1998||59||20||17||22||73||60||33.90||–|
|Royle, JoeJoe Royle||"Big Joe"||England||18 February 1998||21 May 2001||171||74||46||51||261||192||43.27||–|
|Keegan, KevinKevin Keegan||"King Kev"||England||24 May 2001||11 March 2005||176||77||39||60||299||223||43.75||–|
|Pearce, StuartStuart Pearce||"Psycho"||England||21 March 2005||14 May 2007||96||34||19||43||103||111||35.42||–|
|Eriksson, Sven-GöranSven-Göran Eriksson||"Svennis"||Sweden||6 July 2007||2 June 2008||45||19||11||15||51||58||42.22||First non-British manager|
|Hughes, MarkMark Hughes||"Sparky"||Wales||4 June 2008||19 December 2009||77||36||15||26||129||101||46.75||–|
|Mancini, RobertoRoberto Mancini||"Bobby Manc"||Italy||19 December 2009||13 May 2013||191||113||38||40||360||173||59.16||FA Cup 2011, Premier League champions 2011–12, Community Shield 2012|
|Kidd, BrianBrian Kidd||"Kiddo"||England||13 May 2013||14 June 2013||2||1||0||1||4||3||50.00||–|
|Pellegrini, ManuelManuel Pellegrini||"The Engineer"||Chile||14 June 2013||37||29||3||5||115||41||78.38||First non-European manager|
As of September 2013.
*Trophies include all major honours and Community shields. Lower league titles and local cups not included.
As of September 2013.