It was Stuart Pearce’s second full season, and last, in charge of Manchester City. The ex England Internationals tenure could have ended in another relegation for the Blues, after it had started so well. When he took over from Kevin Keegan just over two years previous, he almost got is into Europe.
It would be the last season for both Stuart Pearce, and Chairman John Wardle. Selling the club to ex Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, Sven-Goran Eriksson took charge of team affairs. How much of that could have been possible had City found themselves in the second tier?
More from Man City Square
- Rodri believes City can have even more success this season
- Grealish, Stones, and Kovacic will NOT play tomorrow
- My Manchester City UCL Group Stage predictions
- After Injury Guardiola is back in Etihad
- Phil Foden Scores Opener for England Against Scotland
Manchester City would eventually survive, but barely. The writing was on the wall early on, with City winning only a single away game up until Boxing Day. A single draw, in the September against Everton, made it four points in away games before Christmas.
To make things worse, our home form wasn’t that great either. The ‘you score three and we’ll score four’ mentality of the Kevin Keegan era had long gone. City were now losing or, at best, drawing the majority of games.
As Christmas arrived in the Premier League, a 2-0 defeat at home to Bolton, with Joey Barton seeing red, summed things up. Ex Blue, Nicolas Anelka, scored the brace too, as if to rub salt into the wounds.. Incidently the manager of Bolton that day? Sam Allardyce.
That result left Manchester City only a point ahead of Blackburn, who were in 17th. The three wins in a row from boxing day until New Years day were cancelled out by a run of five straight defeats from the end of January until the middle of March.
So when Manchester City went to St James Park, on this day in 2006, a win was vital. Two of the bottom three were to win on that same day to add to the pressure. So, as City’s game entered its final fifteen minutes at 0-0, the Blues would have still been in a dogfight for survival.
It would be a lone strike from our Belgium International, Émile Mpenza, It was his shot, across future Blues keeper Shay Given, which gave City the lead. A desperate battle to hold on to the lead then played out the remaining minutes before City could celebrate a vital three points.
That victory put City on 36 points with seven games to go. Eventually finishing on 42 points the highest relegated side fell with only 38.