Eleven Years On: 2011 FA Cup

Had we all been allowed to attend matches last season I would have marked the tenth anniversary of Manchester City’s 2011 FA Cup success with a programme feature. Sadly, Covid prevented that and now, a year on, I want to commemorate the eleventh anniversary of that FA Cup success. How time flies!

There are so many angles to that first major success of the modern era for Manchester City and it is impossible to cover them all here. Elsewhere on this website I talk about the 2011 FA Cup run, especially that semi-final win over Manchester United. If you’ve not heard it have a listen to this:

Today I’ll focus on the final itself…

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The Title Race Moves To Newcastle

On May 6 2012 the Premier League title race was to see Manchester City away at Newcastle. The Blues had two games left to play – away at Newcastle and at home to QPR – and inevitably the focus on both Manchester sides was hight. The global audience for the Manchester derby had been huge and that game had swung the advantage City’s way. Both Manchester sides had the same number of points but the Blues had the better goal average.

The Blues felt they could do win their first top flight title since 1968 with captain Vincent Kompany leading the way on the pitch:  “If we in at Newcastle we will win the title.  Sir Alex said that, so it must be right.  He has far more experience than me.”

Here for subscribers to the site is the story of what happened at Newcastle:

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Decisive Derbies: April 30, 2012

It was one of the most important Manchester derby matches of all time. Second placed City, who were still searching for their first League title since 1968, were to face League leaders United at the Etihad Stadium in a crucial game. United led the table by three points but City’s goalscoring exploits in recent games had swung goal difference back the Blues’ way. With two games left after the derby a victory for United would almost end City’s chance of winning the title, while a City victory would put the Blues in the driving seat.  

Here for subscribers to my site is the story of this monumental derby game.

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The 2011 All-Manchester FA Cup Semi Final: 1 Hour Special Audio

It’s FA Cup week AND Manchester Derby week, so the time seems right to post this special 1 hour long audio I produced last year on Manchester City’s FA Cup semi final victory over Manchester United at Wembley on April 16 2011. This recording looks at the game and the years between the 1976 League Cup success and the FA Cup glory of 2011. The 2011 semi-final was a crucial step in City’s journey since the 2008 takeover and I felt it was vital to do a special marking this.

So what’s in this special recording? Well, I’ve included exclusive material from interviews and recordings I’ve done over the years with Garry Cook, Brian Marwood, Roberto Mancini, Peter Barnes and Peter Swales.  Why Swales? Well, have a listen and you’ll hear why. Basically though I’m trying to set the tone for why the 2011 FA Cup semi final victory and overcoming Manchester United was so significant.

On Mancini… I include a few words from him recorded in 2011 and at one point he talks about the view that was then being expressed that City were ‘trying’ to buy success (now they say City ‘have’ bought success!). His words are a reminder that City have been having that particular criticism thrown at them for over a decade! Oh well, I wonder how long those criticisms were laid at other clubs who had seen major investment which propelled them forward?

Anyway, get yourself a brew and be prepared to be transported back in time. Here’s the recording:

If you enjoy the recording then please let me know, comment or subscribe to the site. If it’s of interest then, over the coming months and years, I’ll produce others like this highlighting key points in Manchester City – and Manchester’s – footballing history. It costs £20 a year to subscribe (it works out £1.67 a month) or £3 if you’d like to sign up a month at a time to get full access for as long as you subscribe (you can always try it for a month). It’s worth bearing in mind that the 2010 Manchester A Football History cost £24.95 and all subscribers will be able to access all of that for as long as they are a subscriber (plus all the other stuff of course). You can subscribe below.

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Match Stats for the 2011 FA Cup Semi-final

City 1-0 United (HT 0-0)

Yaya Toure 52

City: 25 Hart 04 Kompany (yellow card), 05 Zabaleta (yellow card), 13 Kolarov, 19 Lescott, 11 Johnson (Wright-Phillips 79), 18 Barry, 21 Silva (Vieira 86), 34 De Jong (yellow card), 42 Y Toure, 45 Balotelli (yellow card). Substitutes 12 Taylor, 38 Boyata, 07 Milner, 08 Wright-Phillips, 24 Vieira, 10 Dzeko, 27 Jo

United: 01 Van der Sar, 03 Evra, 05 Ferdinand, 15 Vidic, 22 O’Shea (Fabio Da Silva 84), 13 Park Ji-Sung, 16 Carrick, 17 Nani, 18 Scholes (red card), 25 Valencia (Hernandez 65), 09 Berbatov (Anderson 74). Substitutes 29 Kuszczak, 12 Smalling, 20 Fabio Da Silva, 08 Anderson, 28 Gibson, 07 Owen, 14 Hernandez

Referee: Dean

Attendance: 86,549

Eleven Year Ago Today – Dzeko’s First Goal!

On this day (30 January) in 2011 Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City team faced Notts County in the FA Cup. Edin Dzeko’s first City goal came on this day too!

In the build-up to the Notts County tie much was made of the fact that County were the world’s oldest League team and that they were facing the world’s richest club – as usual ignoring the hard fact that it was City’s owner that was wealthy not the club itself. Who’d have thought then that ten years later we’d still be hearing this same old claptrap!

Television, in particular, liked to build up the David and Goliath aspect to it.  For neutrals it added to the interest perhaps, but for the Blues it continued to give a false impression of the stage they were at in their development.  

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Sergio Agüero’s Retirement

Today (December 15 2021) Sergio Agüero has announced his retirement. The man is a true footballing legend (I don’t use that word lightly!) and deserves to be acclaimed for his incredible achievements and career. He has brought immense joy to millions throughout his career. As a tribute I am posting here a free to read feature on Sergio’s Manchester City debut on August 15 2011. Enjoy this flashback to a time before he became renowned in England for his major contribution to the Premier League!

Sergio Agüero’s Debut

Sergio Agüero joined Manchester City from Atletico Madrid for a fee reported to be around £35 to £38m depending on which sources were to be believed. During 2010-11 the player had netted 20 league goals for the Spanish side.  City boss Roberto Mancini commented at the time of the transfer:  “Agüero can play any position – he can be the main striker, he can play behind the striker, he can play left or right.  He is not tall but he is quick and strong and he can score a lot of goals.  Now he can play behind Dzeko, Carlos or Mario.”

The Premier League campaign opened at the Etihad Stadium – the City Of Manchester Stadium had been renamed during the close season – with the visit of newly promoted Swansea City. This was to be Swansea’s first season in the Premier league.  

New signings Stefan Savić and Sergio Agüero made their City debuts as substitutes that day while another summer arrival, Gael Clichy, started the match.  Clichy had made his first appearance at Wembley against Manchester United in the Charity/Community Shield the previous week.

The match opened in a worrying manner for City.  The team wore their new all-blue kit which had caused some fans to criticise the break with tradition (as it often does when City drop the white shorts – maybe I’ll write an article on City’s use of blue and white one day, comparing the successes in seasons with blue shorts to ones with white?) and the loss of white shorts, however it was not the kit that brought the worries in the opening period it was the pressure exerted by Swansea.  They came looking to make their mark following promotion and they did all they could to play football in a positive manner.  

Swansea pressured the Blues throughout the opening thirty minutes.  Mancini’s side clearly had the quality but the visitors seemed the more determined.  However, the Blues had been soaking up the pressure and taking stock of what Swansea had to offer.  Whereas earlier City sides may have become anxious during the period of pressure, the new Blues were more than equipped to deal with a determined opposition.  

The game remained goalless until the 57th minute when David Silva dodged past Leon Britton before progressing from City’s half and well into Swansea’s.  He passed to Adam Johnson, who raced forward, cut inside and then tried to curl a shot past the Swansea ‘keeper.  The shot was saved but the ball dropped in front of Dzeko who, from six yards out, sent the ball home.

A minute or so later Sergio Agüero came on for Nigel De Jong and within nine minutes of his arrival the Argentinian made it 2-0 with a simple tap-in.  Three minutes later he played his part in the third goal.  

Agüero lifted the ball over the advancing Swansea ‘keeper and then managed to hook it back to a waiting Silva on the penalty spot who sent his own shot into the net. 

By this time Mancini’s side were in total control of the match, although Swansea were still playing decent football themselves and certainly did not adopt negative tactics as many other sides may have done.  

Shortly before the end Agüero made it 4-0 with an absolutely brilliant swerving 30 yard shot.  Afterwards Mancini was delighted with his new signing:  “I’m not surprised by what I saw tonight.  Agüero has scored a lot of goals in Spain and Argentina – he’s a fantastic striker.”

Two debut day goals – significantly he was only on the pitch for around 31 minutes – made Agüero a hero from the start and caused the wider football world to look at City’s new signing as a hugely positive arrival to the Premier League.  

Highlights of the game can be viewed here: 

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/match-highlights/2011/august/city-v-swansea-60-seconds

Ten Years Ago Today – Sergio Agüero’s Debut

On this day (August 15) in 2011 Sergio Agüero made his Manchester City debut after signing in the summer of 2011 from Atletico Madrid. Here’s an article on his debut for subscribers to this site. Enjoy!

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Opening Winning Sequences

Pep Guardiola officially became Manchester City manager on July 1 2016 (five years ago today). When he arrived his opening run of competitive games prompted much discussion on the opening achievements of his predecessors. I ended up trawling through the opening months of every City manager to establish whether Pep’s opening results (ten successive wins!) were the best achieved by any Blues’ boss.

Here for subscribers is the result of that trawl…

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Happy Agueroooo Day!

On this day (May 13) in 2012 Manchester City faced QPR in a game that entered football folklore. It was the most dramatic end to a Premier League season ever experienced. For those who want to relive that day – of for those who were too young at the time to appreciate – here is a 3,400 word article on that day… Enjoy!

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Congratulations Manchester City

Last night Manchester City reached the final of the Champions League for the first time in their history. Manchester has now become only the second non-capital city to have had two teams reach a European Cup final. Manchester was of course the first British city to have two teams competing in the European Cup in the same season (1968-69).

Last night was a remarkable night and other records were established:

  • City broke the record for longest winning run by an English club in European Cup history (7)
  • They became the first English side to win 11 games in a single European Cup/Champions League campaign (they are one off equalling Real Madrid’s record of 12 games)

This Champions League win is an important step in the club’s journey and to celebrate I’m going to make my special 1 hour audio recording commemorating an earlier important step in this journey free to listen to until May 12th.

This audio recording was made to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Manchester City’s FA Cup semi final victory over Manchester United at Wembley (April 16 2011). To me that game was a crucial step towards the success that came over the ten years that followed, just like last night’s feels like a major step in the club’s development.

The audio recording looks at the years between the 1976 League Cup success and the FA Cup glory of 2011. The 2011 semi-final was a crucial step in City’s journey since the 2008 takeover and I felt it was vital to do a special marking this.

So what’s in this special recording? Well, I’ve included exclusive material from interviews and recordings I’ve done over the years with Garry Cook, Brian Marwood, Roberto Mancini, Peter Barnes and Peter Swales.  Why Swales? Well, have a listen and you’ll hear why. Basically though I’m trying to set the tone for why the 2011 FA Cup semi final victory was so significant.

On Mancini… I include a few words from him recorded in 2011 and at one point he talks about the view that was then being expressed that City were ‘trying’ to buy success (now they say City ‘have’ bought success!). His words are a reminder that City have been having that particular criticism thrown at them for over a decade! Oh well, I wonder how long those criticisms were laid at other clubs who had seen major investment which propelled them forward?

Anyway, get yourself a brew and be prepared to be transported back in time. Here’s the recording:

If you enjoy the recording then please let me know, comment or subscribe to the site. If it’s of interest then, over the coming months and years, I’ll produce others like this highlighting key points in Manchester City – and Manchester’s – footballing history. It costs £20 a year to subscribe (it works out £1.67 a month) or £3 if you’d like to sign up a month at a time to get full access for as long as you subscribe (you can always try it for a month). It’s worth bearing in mind that the 2010 Manchester A Football History cost £24.95 and all subscribers will be able to access all of that for as long as they are a subscriber (plus all the other stuff of course). You can subscribe below.

Subscribe to get access to the full site

£20 per year to access everything