Manchester City Football Club is one of the oldest clubs in England after having been founded in 1880 as St. Mark’s. Over time, there have been stretches where Man City has struggled, while at other times the club has been the very best in the country.
Today, we want to honor those managers that led Manchester City through those days of being at the top. Out of the dozens of managers that Man City has had, these five rank as the best. Before we start the list, some of the managers who just missed the cut include Les McDowall, Ernest Mangnall, Peter Hodge, Tony Book, and Sam Omerod.
You have to go pretty deep into Man City history to remember Wilf Wild, who got his start as part of the coaching staff with the club back in 1920. For more than a decade, Wild was an assistant who served under managers David Ashworth and Ernest Mangnall, and for most of his pre-managerial days was a secretary in charge of the admin side of operations. Peter Hodge was the last manager for Man City while Wild was still working in the front office, and he assumed managerial duties in 1932.
Wild held the position for 14 years and had a strong showing from the get-go as the squad advanced to the FA Cup Finals. Wild was the manager for 352 matches with Man City winning 158 of those. During his tenure, the club won a Charity Shield, an FA Cup, and one First Division Title. After retiring in 1946, he stuck around as secretary until passing away in 1950 at 57 years of age.
Joe Mercer had a legendary career as a player, spending 14 years as a midfielder for Everton and another nine for Arsenal. Mercer made 433 professional appearances and was briefly on the English National Team. He retired in 1955 after 23 years of playing professionally, and immediately went into a managerial role with Sheffield United. After three years there, he spent six managing Aston Villa before being named Manchester City’s manager in 1965.
Mercer has the second-most trophies in club history, winning one each of the major titles throughout Europe. This includes winning the English Premier League, the FA Cup, the League Cup, and the Community Shield. He’s the only manager to win the Winners’Cup/Champions League, as well.
Many will remember Italian native Roberto Mancini’s career from his playing days, most of which were spent with Sampdoria where he scored over 130 goals. He finished his career with Lazio and Leicester City, then became a manager after retiring in 2001. He took over Fiorentina and Lazio for brief stints, then had a four-year stretch with Inter Milan. In 2009, Mancini became Manchester City’s manager for four years.
Mancini had one of the top winning percentages in Manchester City’s history at 59.16% thanks to 113 wins in 191 matches. Mancini’s clubs won an FA Cup, Community Shield, and a Premier League title under his tutelage. He was relieved of his duties to make way for the number two manager (you’ll sense a pattern here).
Chilean Manuel Pellegrini spent his entire playing career with Universidad de Chile, making 315 appearances with the club. After he retired in 1986, he managed the team briefly and went on to take a long list of managerial jobs including Real Madrid from 2009 to 2010. In 2013, he finally settled in as he became Manchester City’s manager, finding success in his three years with the club.
Out of all of the managers who have at least 100 matches under their belt, Pellegrini has the second-best winning percentage at 59.88%, winning 100 of his 167. Pellegrini’s Man City squads won the English Premier League as well as two League Cups. Pellegrini left in early 2016 to pave the way for the number one manager.
Pep Guardiola had a fine playing career in the 1990s with Barcelona and retired in 2006 to rejoin the squad as a manager. He took over the Barcelona B squad in 2007 before being promoted the next year. Guardiola could be considered the top manager in the history of multiple major clubs, as he had strong runs with Barcelona and Bayern Munich before joining Manchester City in 2016.
Prior to Guardiola, no manager had won multiple top league champions in England. He wasted little time, however, winning the Premier League in his second season and then winning three more over the next four years. On top of that, Guardiola’s squads have won the FA Cup, several EFL Cups, and multiple FA Community Shields.