Manchester City’s three best teams

MANY people believe that the current Manchester City team is probably their best ever. It is certainly their most expensive and most successful although the club’s modern-day achievements are often dismissed due to the inflated investment made in the club. However, nobody can deny the quality of football being played by Pep Guardiola’s side or the depth of talent that has been assembled.

City have won 19 major honours but 10 of those have some since 2010-11. For many years, they were one of the big underachievers in the English game, the high spot being the period between 1967-68 and 1969-70 when they won four prizes.

In Game of the People’s 1001 Floodlit Dreams series, we are about to induct the following City teams in the roll of honour:


Jack Hillman, Johnny McMahon, Herbert Burgess, Sammy Frost, Tommy Hynds, Sam Ashworth, Billy Meredith, George Livingstone, Billie Gillespie, Sandy Turnbull, Frank Booth, Lot Jones, John Edmondson, George Dorsett, Irvine Thornley.

Manager: Tom Maley

Achievements: 1902-03 – Football League Division Two champions; 1903-04 FA Cup winners, Football League Division One runners-up.

Five year record (1901-02 to 1905-06): 18 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 5

Summary: Newly-promoted City beat Bolton Wanderers 1-0 in the 1904 cup final thanks to a Billy Meredith goal. They finished three points behind The Wednesday in the league, despite being top in the final week.

Manchester City’s Billy Meredith (l) charges down the wing

Key men:

Billy Meredith – Iconic winger who won 48 Welsh caps. A winger with superb balance and agility, capable of excellent crosses and long-range shooting. Banned from playing for his part in a bribery scandal, he joined Manchester United.

Billie Gillespie – Bustling centre forward who scored 126 goals in 218 league games for City.

Sandy Turnbull – Scottish inside forward who played for City and United. Also banned during the bribery scandal. Died in the first world war in Arras.


Harry Dowd, Ken Mulhearn, Joe Corrigan, Glyn Pardoe, David Connor, Tony Book, George Heslop, Tommy Booth, Mike Doyle, Alan Oakes, Mike Summerbee, Colin Bell, Neil Young, Tony Coleman, Francis Lee, Ian Bowyer, Tony Towers.

Manager: Joe Mercer

Achievements: Football League champions 1967-68, FA Cup winners 1968-69, Football League Cup winners 1969-70, European Cup-Winners’ Cup winners 1969-70.

Five-year record (1967-68 to 1971-72): 1 – 13 -10 – 11- 4

Summary: Exciting young team, managed by Mercer and coached by the innovative and often wayward Malcolm Allison. Attack-minded, with some exceptional individuals.

The victorious Manchester City players drinking a toast in champagne after beating Newcastle United by four goals to three at Newcastle to become champions in 1968.

Key men:

Colin Bell – High energy midfielder known as “Nijinsky” after the race horse. Signed from Bury and became one of the most dynamic midfield players of the 1970s. England international, 48 caps. Career ended by injuries.

Francis Lee – Stocky striker who was tenacious and direct. Signed from Bolton Wanderers, he won 27 England caps. Scored 112 league goals in 249 games before joining Derby in 1974.

Mike Summerbee –  Fiery right winger who was signed from Swindon Town. Won eight England caps.


Ederson, Kyle Walker, Danilo, Vincent Kompany, John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, Ilkay Gündogan, Nicolás Otamendi, Fabian Delph, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, David Silva, Riyad Mahrez, Fernandinho, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Agüero, Leroy Sané, Raheem Sterling.

Manager: Pep Guardiola

Achievements: Premier League champions 2017-18 and 2018-19, FA Cup winners 2018-19, Football League Cup winners 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Five-year record (2014-15 to 2018-18): 2 – 4 – 3 – 1 – 1

Summary: Outstanding footballing team built by wealthy owners, combining ruthless efficiency with individual skill and rapier-like finishing.

Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring the fifth goal during the FA Cup Final match at Wembley Stadium, London.

Key men:

Kevin De Bruyne – Versatile midfielder who rose to prominence at Wolfsburg after an aborted spell at Chelsea. Signed for City in 2015 for £ 55 million and became a pivotal figure in the club’s success. 72 caps for Belgium.

Raheem Sterling – Signed by City from Liverpool in 2015 for £ 44 million. A versatile player who can play as striker, winger or attacking midfielder. Has already won more than 50 caps for England.

Sergio Agüero – Outstanding striker who has scored 231 goals in 339 games since signing from Atlético Madrid in 2011 for £ 35 million. Classic centre forward with a high level of tactical intelligence.


There are other contenders for our roll call – the City league champions of 1937 that were relegated a year later, and the FA Cup winners of 1956. The fact is, this is City’s time, so it is more likely that the club’s best teams may not have taken the field yet. One thing is certain, the current regime at the club will undoubtedly insist on more trophies and more players being added to the list of great players who have represented Manchester City.



Photos: PA





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