Mark Hughes

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Posted by sonny 04/18/2009 @ 02:11

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City chairman says Hughes will be manager next season -
The Manchester City chairman says Mark Hughes, above, will remain in the manager's job next season. Photograph: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images The Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has confirmed Mark Hughes will remain as the manager next...
Tottenham Hotspur 2 Manchester City 1: Mark Hughes checks on David ... -
Mark Hughes was in Madrid last night on a scouting mission to run the rule over Spain forward David Villa and Argentina striker Sergio Aguero. By John Ley at White Hart Lane City-bound? Mark Hughes watched David Villa and Sergio Aguero as Valencia...
Mark Hughes says his first Manchester City season deserves more praise -
Manchester City manager Mark Hughes believes he deserves more credit for his side's performances this season. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images Mark Hughes, the Manchester City manager, has reacted to questions about his future by saying that his...
Tottenham 2-1 Manchester City: Spurs grab late winner -
City manager Mark Hughes was fuming about the penalty decision, made four minutes from the end, when Micah Richards was alleged to have fouled substitute Frazier Campbell going for a Defoe cross. "It was a poor decision," said Hughes....
Football Talk - This is London
Ferguson credits former United striker Mark Hughes with originating the hairdryer nickname. Hughes once said: “He would stand nose-to-nose with you and just shout and bawl and you would end up with your hair behind your head....
The Daily Fail: Why Doesn't Anybody Like Me? Mark Hughes Reveals ... -
They're just about the biggest land animals in the world, mostly from Africa, we like to think they never forget - and apparently, when they walk into a room, Mark Hughes doesn't see them. So, he's not happy that fellow Europa League contenders such as...
Mark Hughes stays true to the long-haul game at Manchester City -
Mark Hughes says Manchester City face a difficult task against United's world-class players. Photograph: Jon Super/AP The story of Manchester City's life is that everything they do is dwarfed by Manchester United. Mark Hughes's players have won their...
Hughes believes injury hit Johnson could be back in time for new ... - Daily Mail
By Sportsmail Reporter Manchester City boss Mark Hughes has reassured Eastlands supporters that Michael Johnson could be back from injury for the start of the new season if his injury rehabilitation goes to plan. The highly-rated England Under-21 star...
Hughes rules out Raul move - The Press Association
Manchester City boss Mark Hughes has dismissed talk of a bid for Real Madrid striker Raul, claiming it is the latest example of agents trying to take advantage of the club's vast resources. Reports in Spain at the weekend suggested City would offer...
Hughes quashes Raul link - Setanta Sports
by Richard Field , 08 May 2009 Manchester City boss Mark Hughes has rubbished reports in Spain that City have tabled a £35 million bid to sign Real Madrid's talisman Raul. As City get ready to face arch-rivals Manchester United this weekend, Hughes has...

Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes juli 1991.JPG

Leslie Mark Hughes (born 1 November 1963 in Ruabon, Wrexham, Wales), nicknamed Sparky, is a former Welsh international football player and currently manager of Manchester City. As an international footballer, he made 72 appearances and scored 16 goals.

During his playing career, he was most notable for his two spells at Manchester United, but he also turned out for Barcelona of Spain, Bayern Munich of West Germany, as well as the English clubs Chelsea, Southampton, Everton and finally Blackburn Rovers, before retiring in 2002.

He won a host of medals during his playing career, including two Premier League title medals, four FA Cups, three League Cups and two European Cup Winners' Cups. He also collected an FA Cup runners-up medal and a League Cup runners-up medal.

His reign as Wales manager was his first managerial post; he was appointed in 1999 and remained in the role until 2004, though failing to qualify for a World Cup or European Championship during his five years in charge, although he came close to securing European Championship qualification in 2004.

Hughes joined Manchester United on leaving school in the summer of 1980 but did not make his first team debut for three years - in a 1–1 draw away to Oxford United in the FA Cup, in the 1983–84 season. Like many other United legends, "Sparky" quickly became a favourite by scoring on his debut and establishing himself as a regular first team player. He was a key player in United's run to the 1985 FA Cup final which resulted in a 1–0 win over Everton. He was also their top scorer in the 1985-86 season, where they led until February having won their first 10 league games of the season, before a dismal second half of the season saw them slip into fourth place in the final table.

In the summer of 1986, Hughes was surprisingly sold to Barcelona for £2 million. Manager Terry Venables was hoping for him to be a successful strike partner for Gary Lineker but Hughes was a disappointment in his only season at Barcelona and was subsequently loaned out to German club Bayern Munich for the 1987–88 season, where he regained his form.

Hughes was one of many British players who departed to the continent during the mid to late 1980s, as higher wages - coupled with the opportunity of playing in European competitions after English clubs were barred as a result of the Heysel disaster in 1985 - tempted them abroad.

In May 1988, Hughes returned to Manchester United, now managed by Alex Ferguson, for a then club record of £1.8 million. As he had done in his first spell at Old Trafford, Hughes proved to be a dynamic goalscorer and was a key player for the club over the next seven years.

He was voted PFA Player of the Year in 1988-89, his first season back in England, though United disappointed in the league and finished 11th. A year later, he scored twice as United drew 3-3 with Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final, before a Lee Martin goal in the replay gave United their first major trophy in five years. A year later, Hughes scored both goals against old club Barcelona as United lifted the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. They also reached the Football League Cup final that year, but United suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to a Sheffield Wednesday side managed by Ron Atkinson, who had been Hughes's manager in his first spell at Old Trafford. He was also voted PFA Player of the Year again this season.

A year later, Hughes suffered the disappointment of missing out on a league title medal as United were pipped to the title by Leeds United, but had some compensation in the form of a League Cup winner's medal. A year after that, he finally collected an English league title medal as United won the first-ever Premier League title. Hughes collected yet more silverware in 1994 as United won the league title as well as the FA Cup, with Hughes scoring in the final. He also scored Manchester United's consolation goal in their 3-1 defeat in the 1994 League Cup Final at the hands of Aston Villa at Wembley in that season. In doing this, he became only the second player (after Norman Whiteside in 1983) to score in the finals of both the domestic cups in the same season. This has since been achieved a third time by Didier Drogba in 2007. Hughes came close to winning both the Premiership and FA Cup again in 1995, but a failure to beat West Ham on the final day of the season and the inability to score an equaliser against Everton in the FA Cup final a year later condemned United to their first trophyless season in six years.

In April 1994, he scored a spectacular equaliser in the final minute of extra time in the FA Cup semi-final against Oldham Athletic, a goal which has been described by many as one of the finest ever scored by any Manchester United player.

1994–95 was Hughes's last season at United as he agreed to join Chelsea in a surprise £1.5 million deal. There had been speculation about his future at United since January that year, as the arrival of Andy Cole had put his future in the first team under doubt, though he was given a lifeline in the first team after Eric Cantona received an 8-month ban for assaulting a spectator against Crystal Palace. There was also talk that Cantona would be on his way out of Old Trafford, as Internazionale were interested in signing him, but when Cantona signed a new three-year contract Hughes knew that Cantona was likely to be straight back in the side after his suspension finished on 30 September 1995, and knew that his best chance of first-team football would be away from Old Trafford.

He left Old Trafford for the second and final time in June 1995 when he was sold to Chelsea for £1.5 million, in a summer that also saw the departures of players such as Paul Ince (to Internazionale) and Andrei Kanchelskis (to Everton). However, United still managed to achieve more success without Hughes, with the team winning the double for the second time in the subsequent season. Ironically, Hughes scored for Chelsea in both of their Premier League fixtures against Manchester United in 1995-96; a 4-1 win for United at Stamford Bridge in October and a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in early December. He was on the losing side as United beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup semi-final that season, less than two years after he had scored one of United's goals in their FA Cup final triumph over Chelsea.

Hughes was one of the key players in Chelsea's resurgence as a top club in the late 1990s, forming an unlikely strike partnership with Gianfranco Zola and helping to freeze out Gianluca Vialli (who became the club's player-manager in February 1998). He put in match-winning performances against Liverpool and Wimbledon in the FA Cup in 1997, and Vicenza in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup a year later en route to Chelsea winning both trophies. In winning the FA Cup, he became the only player in the 20th century to win the trophy four times. He ended his Chelsea career with 39 goals from 123 games and was transferred to Southampton for £650,000 in July 1998.

He was signed for Southampton for £650,000 by manager Dave Jones as a replacement for David Hirst. Unfortunately, the goals failed to flow and Hughes was pushed back into midfield where his experience helped Southampton maintain their Premiership status. His 2 goals for the Saints came against Blackburn Rovers, who he was later to join, and a memorable volley at home to Newcastle United on 15 August 1999. Hughes suffered with disciplinary problems throughout his career, and in his first season at The Dell he received 14 yellow cards, a total which has never been exceeded in the Premier league.

When Glenn Hoddle arrived as Southampton's manager, Hughes did not fit in to his plans and he left for Everton. By now, Hughes was winding down his career as a player and in August 1999 he was appointed national coach of the Welsh football team, although he moved outside of the top division for the first time in his playing career in 2000–01.

He played a key role in getting Blackburn Rovers promoted from Division One in 2001. He also lifted the League Cup with Blackburn in February 2002, before finally hanging up his boots in July 2002 a few months short of his 39th birthday.

Mark Hughes was appointed Welsh national coach in 1999. Initially appointed on a temporary basis alongside Neville Southall to replace Bobby Gould, Hughes had soon done enough to earn himself a long-term contract, with Southall soon leaving the set-up. When he had taken over Wales were going through a bad patch, but in the five years with Hughes in charge Wales came close to qualifying for Euro 2004.

In their qualifying group Wales beat Italy—only to be denied a place in the final tournament after losing to Russia in the playoffs.

Hughes quit the Welsh national side in September 2004 to take charge of Blackburn Rovers in the FA Premier League, the last club he had played for. His key aim was to keep Blackburn clear of relegation which he succeeded in doing, whilst also taking the club to an FA Cup semi-final for the first time in over 40 years.

In his second season, Blackburn surprised even the most optimistic supporters by finishing inside the top six of the Premiership and qualifying for the UEFA Cup, beating teams such as Chelsea, Manchester United (twice) and Arsenal along the way. After just missing out on the League Cup final, his team sealed their spot in Europe by defeating champions Chelsea 1–0 at home.

On 4 May 2006, Hughes and assistant Mark Bowen signed new three-year contracts to remain at Blackburn until the summer of 2009.

Hughes then set about creating a formidable side at Ewood Park. He entered the transfer market, bringing in players such as Benni McCarthy (£2 million), David Bentley (£500,000), Ryan Nelsen (free), Stephen Warnock (£1.5 million), Roque Santa Cruz (£3.5 million), and Christopher Samba (£400,000). Rovers finished 10th in the Premier League in 2006–07, and reached the UEFA Cup round of 32, where they were knocked out by Bayer Leverkusen 3–2 on aggregate. Rovers faced Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final, their third consecutive semi-final since Hughes took charge. The match ended in defeat 2–1.

He won the October 2007 Award for the English Premier league manager of the month, and eventually led Blackburn to a league finish of 7th in 2007-08, Hughes' final season in charge at Ewood Park.

On 2 June 2008, Manchester City sacked manager Sven-Goran Eriksson. Hughes was reported to be the first choice of City owner Thaksin Shinawatra to replace Eriksson. However, interest was also reported from Chelsea, who had recently sacked their manager, Avram Grant. Blackburn Rovers confirmed on 2 June that they had agreed to allow Hughes to talk to Manchester City.

On 1 September 2008 Man City were taken over by the Abu Dhabi United investment group, who made large amounts of transfer funds available to Hughes, allowing City to break the British transfer record and sign Robinho from Real Madrid for £32.4m. Hughes was very active in the January 2009 transfer window, signing Wayne Bridge from Chelsea and Craig Bellamy from West Ham United as well as pursuing a number of other targets including an potential world record bid of £100 million for Kaká of Milan (which eventually was unsuccessful).

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Mark Hughes (basketball)

Mark Hughes (born October 5, 1966, in Muskegon, Michigan) is a retired American basketball player and current coach.

He has played collegiately for University of Michigan (1985-89) and was the captain of the 1989 NCAA Championship team. On the professional level, he was under contract (but has not played in any regular season games) with the Detroit Pistons (1991) and the Toronto Raptors (1996) in the NBA. He has played professionally in France and Italy (for Scaini Venezia in 1991-93).

He was the head coach of the Grand Rapids Hoops of the CBA from 1997 to 2002, the team he has also played for from 1995 to 1998.

He worked as an assistant coach in the NBA for the Orlando Magic (2002-04) and Sacramento Kings (2006-07).

During the 2007-08 season, Hughes worked as a scout for the New York Knicks.

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Mark Hughes (politician)

Dr William Mark Hughes (18 December 1932 – 19 March 1993) was a Labour politician.

Hughes was Member of Parliament for Durham from 1970 to 1983, and the (slightly renamed) City of Durham from 1983 to 1987, when he stood down. From 1975 to 1979, he was also a Member of the European Parliament.

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Mark Hughes (rugby league)

Mark Hughes (born 15 December 1976 in Kurri Kurri, New South Wales) is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer of the 1990s and 2000s. He played club football for the Newcastle Knights in the Australian National Rugby League (NRL) and later for the Catalans Dragons in the European Super League. He primarily played at fullback or in the centres.

Hughes played eight seasons with the Newcastle Knights and was a member of both premiership sides in the club's history. In his debut season he was on the wing in Newcastle's maiden Grand Final victory over Manly in the 1997 Optus Cup final. He subsequently shifted to the centres and enjoyed a second premiership title with the Knights in 2001.

Injuries hampered Hughes' later career and limited his representative appearances. At the end of 2005 he left the Knights to join French club Les Catalans for the 2006 European Super League season.

Hughes was selected for all three games for the New South Wales Blues in the 2001 Origin series where he played at fullback.

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Blackburn Rovers F.C.

Chart showing the progress of Blackburn Rovers F.C. through the English football league system from the inaugural season in 1888–89 to 2007–08 when Blackburn came seventh in the Premier League

Blackburn Rovers Football Club is an English Premier League football club based in the town of Blackburn, Lancashire. It is one of only three teams to be founder members of both the Football League and the Premier League, the others being Aston Villa and Everton.

Blackburn Rovers Football Club was established in 1875, and in 1888 became a founding member of The Football League. In 1890 Rovers moved to its permanent home at Ewood Park. Until the formation of the Premier League in 1992, the majority of the club's success was pre-1930 when they won the league and FA Cup on several occasions. Their relegation in 1966 was followed by 26 successive seasons of football outside the top flight.

In 1992, Blackburn were promoted to the new Premier League a year after being taken over by local steel baron Jack Walker, who installed Kenny Dalglish as manager. In 1995, Blackburn became league champions, having spent millions of pounds on players like Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton. However, the title-winning team was quickly split up and, in 1999, the club were relegated. They were promoted back to the Premiership two years later, just after Walker's death, and have been in the top flight ever since. During this time they have qualified for the UEFA Cup four times: once as League Cup winners, twice as the Premiership's sixth-placed team and once via the Intertoto Cup.

The club's Latin motto "Arte et labore", which was used by the town council before the club were formed, literally translated means "by art and by labour".

The club Blackburn Rovers was the idea of John Lewis and Arthur Constantine during a seventeen-man meeting at the Leger Hotel, Blackburn on the 5 November 1875. The club's first secretary was Walter Duckworth, and Lewis was its first treasurer. Many of the initial members were wealthy and well-connected, and this helped the club survive and rise beyond the large number of other local teams around at the time. Blackburn has had a particular strong history of football, Rovers weren't the town's only side in the 19th century; other rivals included Blackburn Olympic F.C. (1883 winners of the FA Cup) and Blackburn Park Road F.C., among others.

The first match played by Blackburn Rovers took place in Church, Lancashire on 18 December 1875 -- and was a 1-1 draw. Although the make-up of the team was not recorded it is generally thought to be: Thomas Greenwood (goal), Jack Baldwin, Fred Birtwistle, (full-backs), Arthur Thomas, J. T. Sycelmore (half-backs), Walter Duckworth, John Lewis, Thomas Dean, Arthur Constantine, Harry Greenwood, Ed Youngson (forwards), in a 2-2-6 formation.

At the time, the club had no ground of its own and no gate receipts. The only income came from members' subscriptions, which totalled £2 8s 0d during the first season.

During the 1876–77 season, Rovers finally gained a ground of its own by renting a piece of farmland at Oozehead, on the west side of town facing Preston New Road. The ground was little more than a meadow with a pool in the middle that had to be covered with planks and turf for matches. But it did allow the club to collect gate receipts totalling 6s 6d for the season. Occasional games were also played at Pleasington Cricket Ground.

Subsequently Blackburn Rovers rented Alexandra Meadows, the home of the East Lancashire Cricket Club, for their matches. The inaugural game at Alexandra Meadows was played against Partick Thistle, the most prestigious club Rovers had played until then. The result was a 2–1 win for Blackburn, with two goals from Richard Birtwistle.

On 28 September 1878, Blackburn Rovers became one of 23 clubs to form the Lancashire Football Association. On 1 November, 1879 the club played in the F.A. Cup for the first time, beating the Tyne Association Football Club 5–1. Rovers were eventually put out of the competition in the third round after suffering a heavy 6–0 defeat by Nottingham Forest.

Controversy erupted during 1880 when the club used players not from Blackburn to fill in for unavailable team members — this violated what, at the time, was considered an important principle of the LFA. The situation became worse at the start of the 1881 season when a Darwen player transferred to Blackburn Rovers. The move caused a great deal of bitterness between the clubs and local populations. Accusations of professionalism began to fly, with Darwen accusing Blackburn Rovers of offering the player in question, Fergie Suter, improved terms. However, Suter had initially moved to Darwen from Scotland and given up his trade as stonemason to play for the club. So the professional/amateur divide was already blurred. Nevertheless, subsequent matches between Blackburn Rovers and Darwen were fractious affairs both on and off the pitch. The teams were drawn against each other in the fourth round of the Lancashire Cup, and the clubs refused to agree on a date for the match. As a result the LFA ejected both teams from the competition. This type of controversy would only be resolved five years later in 1885 with the legalisation of professionalism.

During the 1881–82 season, the club continued to rent the facilities at Alexandra Meadows, but began to look towards a move elsewhere. As the leading club in the area, it was felt that Rovers needed its own ground. A ground was leased at Leamington Street and £500 was spent on a new grandstand capable of seating 600-700 spectators. Boards were placed around the pitch to help prevent a repeat of the crowd troubles with Darwen, and a large ornate entrance arch was erected bearing the name of the club and ground.

On 25 March 1882 the club won through to the final of the F.A. Cup against the Old Etonians. Blackburn Rovers was the first provincial team to reach the final, but the result was a 1–0 defeat by the Old Etonians. There was no repeat of the previous season's success during the 1882–83 season, when Rovers suffered a bitter defeat 1–0 at the hands of Darwen in the second-round. Local rivals Blackburn Olympic went on to be the first provincial team to actually win the F.A. Cup. Rovers finally won the F.A. Cup on 29 March 1884 at the Kennington Oval, with a 2–1 victory over the Scottish team Queen's Park F.C. Had it not been for this cup success the club would have folded leaving Blackburn Olympic the primary team in Blackburn. The same teams played the F.A. Cup final again the next season, with Blackburn Rovers again emerging victorious, with a 2–0 score. Rovers repeated this success yet again the next season, winning the final against West Bromwich Albion. For this three-in-a-row of F.A. Cup victories, the club was awarded a specially commissioned silver shield and given the unique privilege of displaying the club crest on its corner flags.

The 1885–86 season was the birth of the legal professional footballer, and Blackburn Rovers spent £615 on player wages for the season. Despite the new professionalism, it was a disappointing season for the club — an unusually high number of defeats would culminate in Rovers losing its three-year grip on the F.A. Cup when it lost 2–0 in the second round to the Scottish club Renton on 4 December 1886 at the Leamington Street ground. Further defeats followed in the other major cups that season.

On 2 March 1888, William McGregor, a Birmingham shopkeeper and a committee member of Aston Villa Football Club, sent a letter to five clubs — Blackburn Rovers among them — suggesting that twelve of the leading clubs should organise a series of home and away matches between themselves. With the introduction of professional players, it seemed natural that better organisation should be brought to the complex and chaotic system of friendly and competitive matches prevalent at the time. On 22 March 1888 John Birtwistle represented Blackburn Rovers at a meeting of a number of clubs at the Anderton Hotel in London. This meeting, and subsequent ones, led to the creation of the Football League, with Blackburn Rovers as part of it. Rovers finished the inaugural season of the league in fourth place, and unbeaten at home.

Blackburn Rovers again reached the F.A. Cup final on 29 March 1890 at the Kennington Oval. The club claimed the trophy, for the fourth time, by beating Sheffield Wednesday a hefty 6-1 — with left forward William Townley scoring three goals and becoming the first player to achieve a hat-trick in the F.A. Cup final. The summer of 1890 brought yet another significant event in the history of Blackburn Rovers with the decision to move again. The choice of new home was Ewood Park, and it remained the club's home for the next century or more.

Ewood Park was built in 1882, the idea of four local businessmen, and it had hosted a number of sporting events. In 1890 Blackburn Rovers purchased the ground and spent a further £1000 on refurbishments to bring it up to standard. The first match was played on 13 September 1890 against Accrington, with a 0-0 draw result.

The 1890-1891 season saw Blackburn Rovers win the F.A. Cup for fifth time against Notts County F.C. with a 3-1 victory — but this success marked beginning of a downturn in the fortunes of the club, and a long lean period would follow. During the 1896-1897 season the club stayed in the first division only as the result of a decision to increase the number of teams. The season did, however, mark the beginning of Bob Crompton's 50-year association with the club, both as a player and eventually as an F.A. Cup winning manager.

The final years of the 19th century brought little success for Blackburn Rovers and several narrow escapes from relegation.

Blackburn Rovers continued to struggle during the early years of the 20th century, but the results began a gradual improvement. Major renovations were made to Ewood Park: in 1905 the Darwen End was covered at a cost of £1680 and the new Nuttall Stand was opened on New Year's Day 1907. During the first three decades of the 20th century, Blackburn Rovers were still considered a top side in the English league. They were league champions in 1912 and 1914, and F.A Cup winners in 1928, but the F.A Cup win was their last major trophy for nearly 70 years.

Blackburn Rovers maintained a respectable mid-table position in the First Division until they were finally relegated (along with Aston Villa) from the top flight (for the first time since the foundation of the league) in the 1935–36 season. Their final match prior to relegation was a triumph. By the last game of the season, they were already certain to be relegated, but at Villa Park, they beat the home side, thus dragging the only other team of the original Football League who had never been relegated, Aston Villa, with them. They struggled in the second division for the next two seasons, until winning the Second Division title in the final season before the war.

When the league resumed after the war, Blackburn Rovers were relegated in their second season (1947–48) and remained in the second division for the following ten years. After promotion in 1958, they again returned to the mid-table position they had occupied in the earlier part of the century. During this time, they seldom made a serious challenge for a major trophy - although they did reach the 1960 FA Cup final when managed by Scot Dally Duncan. Rovers lost this game 3-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers after playing most of the game with only 10 men on the field. Full back Dave Whelan was lost during the game to a broken leg, the game being played in the days before substitutes were allowed. Despite losing, cup final man of the match was future Scotland manager Ally MacLeod (left winger MacLeod scored 47 goals in 193 appearances for Rovers). During the 1960s Blackburn Rovers had several players who made it into national teams. They were again relegated from the First Division in 1966 and began a 26-year exile from the top division.

During the 1970s, Blackburn Rovers bounced between the Second and Third Divisions, winning the Third Division title in 1975, but never mounted a challenge for promotion to the First Division despite the efforts of successive managers to put the club back on track. They went up as runners up in the Third Division in 1980 and have remained in the upper two tiers of the English league ever since. In 1988-89 they mounted their first serious promotion challenge for many years, and reached the Second Division playoff final in its last-ever season of the home-away two-legged format - but lost to Crystal Palace. A defeat in the 1989-90 Second Division playoff semi-finals brought more frustration to Ewood Park, but the following season saw the club taken over by local steelworks owner and lifelong supporter Jack Walker (1929-2000).

Jack Walker's takeover was too late to save Rovers from finishing a dismal 19th in the Second Division at the end of the 1990–91 season, but the new owner had made millions of pounds available to spend on new players. Blackburn Rovers began the 1991–92 season with Don Mackay still manager, but he was soon sacked to make way for Kenny Dalglish - who had resigned as Liverpool manager some months earlier, after a six-year spell in charge had yielded five major trophies. Dalglish made several substantial signings during the season. After his appointment Rovers climbed the league, eventually opening up a significant gap at the top of the table. It seemed a foregone conclusion that Rovers would win the Second Division title, but an unexpected twist followed. Rovers lost six games in a row, causing them to fall out of the play-off places, but Rovers fought back and a 3-1 victory at Plymouth got Rovers to the final play off place. The club had got to the play-offs three times previously without success. The semi-final was against Derby County but Blackburn Rovers got off to a bad start as Derby went into a two nil lead. Rovers recovered strongly in the second half to win 4-2. A 2-1 Derby win in the second leg couldn't stop Blackburn Rovers reaching the play-off final at Wembley where they beat Leicester City 1-0 thanks to a Mike Newell penalty. Newell, a former Leicester striker, had missed most of the 1991-92 season due to a broken leg, but his stylish comeback was enough to book Blackburn Rovers place in the new Premier League for 1992-93 - ending 26 years outside the top flight.

Rovers made headlines in the summer of 1992 by paying an English record fee of £3.5million for the 22-year-old Southampton and England centre forward Alan Shearer. Other expensive signings during the 1992-93 season included Chelsea defender Graeme Le Saux, Middlesbrough winger Stuart Ripley and Coventry striker Kevin Gallacher. An impressive Blackburn side remained in the title challenge for most of the season before finishing fourth in the final table, that season not quite enough for UEFA Cup place. Leeds midfielder David Batty and Southampton goalkeeper Tim Flowers were two key signings who helped Blackburn progress in 1993-94 and finish Premiership runners-up to arch rivals Manchester United. Rovers broke the English transfer fee record again a few weeks later when paying Norwich City £5million for 21-year-old striker Chris Sutton. Sutton's prolific striking partnership with Alan Shearer would be dubbed the "SAS", an acronym for "Sutton and Shearer" and the elite British special forces unit the SAS. Blackburn Rovers scored the 1000th goal in Premier League history. Mike Newell was on target in April 1993 in a 3-1 win at Nottingham Forest.

Early exits from the UEFA Cup, F.A Cup and League Cup were frustrating for Rovers in 1994–95, but turned out for the best as they could concentrate on the league and the challenge with arch rivals Manchester United for the Premiership title. During the season Blackburn Rovers suffered two highly controversial defeats by Manchester United. Firstly Henning Berg was wrongly sent off at Ewood Park with Rovers leading 1–0 as TV replays clearly showed he had won the ball from Lee Sharpe, with Eric Cantona equalising with the resulting penalty and Manchester United going on to win 4–2, and secondly an equaliser from captain Tim Sherwood was disallowed controversially at Old Trafford when Alan Shearer was ruled to have fouled Roy Keane in the build up, with United taking the game 1–0. Rovers led for most of the season but a 2–1 defeat at Dalglish's old club Liverpool on the final day of the season looked to have blown the club's dreams to pieces. But the news came through that their arch rivals Manchester United could only manage a 1–1 draw at West Ham United and the league title was back at Blackburn Rovers for the first time since 1914. Jack Walker's dream had come true: within five years of buying the club, he had taken them from strugglers in the old Second Division to champions of the Premier League.

Kenny Dalglish moved upstairs to the position of Director of Football at the end of the championship season, and handed over the reins to his assistant Ray Harford.

Blackburn Rovers made a poor start to the 1995-96 season, and found themselves in the bottom half for most of the first half of the season. Rovers also struggled in the Champions League and finished bottom of their group with just four points. A 7-0 victory over Nottingham Forest on the day of the official opening of the redeveloped Ewood Park and a 4-1 win over Rosenborg (including a nine minute Mike Newell hat-trick, which is still the fastest hat-trick in Champions League history) were two highlights of an otherwise disappointing seasons. Alan Shearer was instrumental again, becoming the first striker to score more than 30 Premiership goals in three successive seasons. Blackburn Rovers improved as the season went on, finishing seventh in the Premiership and narrowly missing out on a UEFA Cup place.

Alan Shearer was top goalscorer at Euro 96 and was linked to domestic and international clubs. The main talk in the national media was of Shearer joining hated rivals Manchester United. However Shearer was sold to hometown club Newcastle United for a then world record fee of £15million in the summer of 1996, and Rovers were unable to find a suitable replacement.

A terrible start to the 1996-97 Premiership campaign saw Harford resign in late October with the club bottom of the division, having failed to win any of their first ten games. Relegation looked a real possibility, just two seasons after winning the league. The club immediately began the process of recruiting his replacement.

On 16 December 1996 with Rovers hovering above the relegation zone, it was announced at an Ewood Park press conference that Sven-Göran Eriksson had signed an "unconditional contract" with Rovers to take over as manager at the end of the season on 1 July 1997 when his contract with Italian Serie A club U.C. Sampdoria expired. The Swede had already visited Ewood Park and the club training facilities at Brockhall as well as sending representatives to watch Rovers' Premiership clashes on his behalf.

It was hoped that the signing of Eriksson would usher in a new era of success after the continuing difficulties following Ray Harford's disappointing tenure as manager. "Not only do I want us to be a top club in this country, I want European football to be the norm for us", said club owner Jack Walker. "If we get support as high as we want it and the public back us in every way they can then we could even consider the Walkersteel Stand". Eriksson's move to Lancashire would not come to fruition, however.

Roy Hodgson joined the club from Inter Milan in the summer of 1997, and appeared to have had a positive effect on the club. He marked his arrival with the signings of highly rated Swedish striker Martin Dahlin and promising defender Stephane Henchoz. Chris Sutton and Kevin Gallacher led a prolific attack, and were able to help the team overcome the disappointing form of Dahlin, who struggled with a back injury. UEFA cup football was secured with a 6th place finish, and there were plenty of entertaining games, such as a 4-3 defeat to Leeds which saw all 7 goals coming within the first 32 minutes, and a 5-3 success over Leicester at Ewood Park. Although some of these results went against them, it summed up Hodgson's newly installed attacking ideology. With European football coming up, and the prospect of a title challenge on the horizon, things looked promising at the start of the 1998/99 season.

However, Rovers made a poor start to the campaign and Hodgson was sacked in December less than an hour after a 2-0 home defeat to bottom side Southampton, a result that locked Rovers in the relegation zone. The £7.5m signing of young Southampton striker Kevin Davies was a disaster, with Davies only netting once, against Charlton in a rare win, in 24 games. To make matters worse, team captain and midfield enforcer Tim Sherwood was sold to Tottenham Hotspur, leaving the side without a leader. Brian Kidd, the hugely successful Manchester United assistant manager, was named as Hodgson's successor. However, he could not save them as the club slipped away, relegation was confirmed with a scoreless draw at home to Manchester United in the penultimate game of the season. So, just 4 years after lifting the Premiership title, Blackburn Rovers were now back in the second tier of English Football.

1999–00 was a massive disappointment for Rovers, who began the season as promotion favourites. Brian Kidd was sacked in October with the club hovering just above the Division One relegation zone, and first-team coach Tony Parkes was named caretaker manager once again. Parkes was eventually given the job on full-time time basis until the end of the season, but only remained in charge until March when the club appointed Graeme Souness as their new manager. The final humiliation of the season came in the form of a 1-4 home defeat to Manchester City, a result that secured them promotion, something Rovers should have but did not achieve.

Jack Walker died just after the start of the 2000–01, and the club dedicated its promotion challenge in memory of their benefactor. Fittingly, they returned to the Premiership after a much improved season, albeit that they finished second to Fulham. Blackburn Rovers relied on the form of their young stars Matt Jansen, Damien Duff and David Dunn and on the performances of goalkeeper Brad Friedel, whom Souness had previously coached at Galatasaray and whom he signed on a free transfer when he arrived at Rovers.

A statue now stands in the shadows of the Blackburn End, as a permanent tribute to Jack Walker.

The following season, Souness signed Dwight Yorke from Manchester United, as Matt Jansen was involved in a motor cycle accident during pre-season that left him with serious head injuries. Blackburn Rovers progress continued as they finished sixth on the last day, with an impressive 4–0 win away at Tottenham, to qualify for the UEFA Cup for the second season running. Again it was Duff and Dunn who shone brightest, while goalkeeper Brad Friedel was one of the league's best players, However, the club had to be content with a disappointing exit from the UEFA Cup to eventual finalists Celtic, despite this, the club went into the 2003-04 with great expectations.

At the start of 2003–04 the sale of fan favourites Damien Duff and David Dunn meant that Rovers were always going to struggle to emulate the previous season's form. With transfer funds would be available, Souness replaced Duff with the highly rated Australian winger Brett Emerton from Feyenoord and Stephen Reid, while Lorenzo Amoruso, the Rangers defender, was also signed. Henning Berg was among the other departures. The season started promisingly, as newly promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers were defeated 5-1 at Ewood. The signing of Rangers captain Barry Ferguson for £7.5 million prompted talk of a surprise title challenge. However, results dipped, and the club began a long sequence of home defeats that left them in towards relegation danger. Souness's job was put on the line, and the club eventually were left needing a late turnaround, inspired by little known striker Jon Stead, to avoid relegation back to the English first division. 15th place was secured by a run of 4 wins from the final 6 games, sparked by a 4-3 victory at Fulham.

Souness left just after the start of 2004-05 to take charge at Newcastle. Rovers appointed Welsh national coach Mark Hughes as his successor, a key player in the club's promotion and League Cup successes a few seasons earlier. Hughes secured Rovers Premiership survival for the 2004–05 season as well as an FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal, with Rovers finishing 15th once again, with Hughes's arrival coinciding with the team becoming one of the most solid teams in the league, thanks to astute signings such as Ryan Nelsen and Aaron Mokoena, and good motivational skills. He was able to strengthen the setup for 2005–06 with the £3.2 million transfer of much sought-after Wales international striker Craig Bellamy from Newcastle United. Following a 1–0 victory over league champions Chelsea F.C., Blackburn Rovers secured the 6th place in the league and a spot in the UEFA Cup for the 2006–07 season - their third European qualification in five years, and their sixth foray into Europe since 1994.

After qualifying for Europe, Rovers signed South African striker Benni McCarthy from Porto as a replacement for the departing Craig Bellamy. Blackburn Rovers finished top of their group and were drawn against Bayer Leverkusen; they suffered a narrow 3–2 defeat in the first leg of their tie against Bayer Leverkusen, but a 0–0 draw in the second leg saw them bow out of the competition. The club was busy during the January transfer window, signing David Dunn, Stephen Warnock, Christopher Samba and Bruno Berner. Rovers reached the Semi Final of the FA Cup in 2007, they defeated Everton, Luton, Arsenal (after replay) and Manchester City. However they would go on to be defeated by Chelsea in the semi-final, with the game going into extra time. Rovers finished the season 10th in the league, with McCarthy netting 18 league goals. The club also qualified for the Intertoto Cup, which they successfully came through.

To prepare for the 2007–08 season Rovers invested in three new players, signing Paraguay international Roque Santa Cruz from Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, Dutch under-21 star Maceo Rigters and young goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen. Blackburn would be knocked out of the UEFA Cup by Greek team Larissa, and also suffer a defeat to Coventry, in the FA Cup. Rovers confirmed an application to the following season's Intertoto competition. However, Blackburn lost 4-1 to Birmingham City on the final day of the season to deny them the Intertoto spot, which went to Aston Villa. Rovers ended in a respectable 7th. position in the Premiership, their third consecutive top half finish.

In May 2008, Mark Hughes left Blackburn Rovers Football Club the club for the vacancy at Manchester City . Several names were mooted to replace Hughes, including former players Mike Newell and Alan Shearer. Other managers linked included former England Manager Steve McClaren and former Rangers boss Dick Advocaat, former Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers manager Sam Allardyce and Paul Ince, who took Milton Keynes Dons to the League Two title in 2007–08, was also linked with the manager's job. On 22 June 2008, it was officially confirmed by the Blackburn Rovers website that Ince had indeed been brought in to manage Rovers, signing a three-year deal with the club. Ince's first job was to persuade some of the wantaway players to stay.. On 4 July, Ince signed experienced coach Archie Knox.

Before the start of the 2008–09 season, regular goalkeeper Brad Friedel (Aston Villa) and England international winger David Bentley (Tottenham Hotspur) left the club for a combined fee of around £19.5 million. Goalkeeper Paul Robinson then became Ince's first signing on the 25 July for a fee of £3.5 million.

Although the 2008/2009 Barclays Premier League Season began well for Ince and Blackburn, with a win over Everton, other results weren't as good and on December 16, following a run of eleven games without a win, Ince was relieved of his duties at Blackburn. The next day, it was announced that Sam Allardyce had been appointed as Ince's replacement at Blackburn Rovers on a three-year contract.

In January 2008, the Dan Williams-led consortium interested in taking the club over withdrew interest. The club are prepared to sell and other groups are still interested.

On Sunday 20 April 2008, Blackburn Rovers were yet again linked with another consortium led bid. This time from new JJB Sports owner Chris Ronnie, and an Icelandic based consortium. Whether this will lead to a formal bid being presented to the Walker Trustees, is still yet to be seen.

However, on 6 July, it was revealed that Ronnie had pulled out of a bid to buy the club, and that Chowdery had a bid of £30 million pounds rejected.

The Rovers kit have always been fundamentally the same; two team colours split across the shirt. One sleeve and one side of the shirt would be each colour. The shorts started white and the socks dark blue. Although the sock pattern and colours would change, everything else, for the most part, hasn't been touched since 1905. Since changing to white shorts in recent years, the home kits have had dark blue shorts since 1904, when they were changed for a year, then rejected and changed back. Blackburn Rovers colours for 2007-08 as voted for by fans. For 2007-08 the traditional blue and white remains, however the away kit is a brand new idea using the existing away colours (black & red) for the first time in a halved formation.

During the 07-08 season the club were sponsored by Bet24 and their technical sponsors were Umbro. 12 March 2008 The club announced that Crown Paints would be their new club sponsor as of 2008–09, the Lancashire based company signed a three year deal with the club. For the 08/09 season, the club decided to relegate the Black and Red halved kit to being their 3rd kit, and decided to go with an all Black (shirt and shorts) kit as their away kit, with a small blue and white halved patch directly underneath the chin at the top of the shirt.

Blackburn played at Leamington Road from 1881 until 1890, when they moved to their current home, Ewood Park. Ewood is the oldest consecutive home of a Premier League team, Blackburn having been there longer than Chelsea and Liverpool have been at their present homes, even though their stadia were constructed first. This stadium sits on the bank of the River Darwen in Blackburn, Lancashire. Blackburn is one of only two football clubs (the other being the Wanderers) to win the FA Cup for three seasons in a row, retaining the exclusive right to place their club logo on the corner flags, despite these victories being achieved at their previous stadium. Ewood Park is also the only football ground in the Premier League to have a multi-faith prayer room.

Blackburn Rovers supporters have formed several support clubs related to the team, and almost all of them are partially focused on making trips to Ewood Park easier. In addition, although Rovers home games are the least attended in the Premiership for the size of the stadium, on average nearly an amount equal to a fifth of Blackburn (pop. approximately 100,000). Blackburn also have a very vocal support group when it comes to big decisions being made for the club, a support group created on a media site, objecting to the appointment of Sam Allardyce as replacement for outgoing boss Mark Hughes for instance.

There are also several official/non-official Rovers messageboards which are frequented by supporters from all over the world!

In January 2006 Blackburn Rovers Supporters Football Club (BRSFC) was formed by a group of Blackburn Rovers supporters through the clubs official message board. This team is not one of a group of breakaway teams such as FC United of Manchester (Manchester United) which was created by disgruntled fans in the wake of Malcolm Glazer's takeover at Old Trafford. BRSFC enjoys an affiliation with Blackburn Rovers Football Club and are registered with the Lancashire Football Association .

BRSFC are currently in an Internet based supporters league called The Northern Football Supporters League (NFSL) which features similar supporter run teams. Blackburn Rovers season ticket holders Warren Wolstencroft, Andrew Berry and Michael Nuttall currently run the team.

The table below shows Blackburn Rovers's final standings in past seasons.

62,255 v Bolton Wanderers, FA Cup 6th round, 2 March 1929.

£17m from Chelsea for Damien Duff in July 2003.

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Manchester City F.C.

Manchester City crest

Manchester City Football Club is an English professional football club based in the city of Manchester. They are currently members of the English Premier League.

Originally formed in 1880 as St. Mark's (West Gorton), they then became Ardwick A.F.C. in 1887 before changing their name to Manchester City F.C. in 1894. The club has won the League Championship twice, the FA Cup four times, the League Cup twice and the European Cup Winners Cup once. The club's most successful period was during the late 1960s and early 1970s, when they won several major trophies under the management team of Joe Mercer and his assistant Malcolm Allison, and with great players such as Colin Bell and Francis Lee.

However, the club has not won a major honour since 1976. The club's decline led to relegation twice in three years in the 1990s, meaning they spent one year in the third tier of English football. However, the club has since regained top flight status, the level at which they have spent the majority of their history.

Manchester City F.C. was founded as St. Mark's (West Gorton) in 1880 by Anna Connell and two churchwardens of St. Mark's Church, in Gorton, a district in east Manchester. In 1887, they moved to a new ground at Hyde Road, in Ardwick just to the east of the city centre, and were renamed Ardwick A.F.C. to reflect their new location. Ardwick joined the Football League as founding members of the Second Division in 1892. Financial troubles in the 1893-94 season led to a reorganisation within the club, and Ardwick were reformed as Manchester City F.C.

City gained their first honours by winning the Second Division in 1899; with it came promotion to the highest level in English football, the First Division. They went on to claim their first major honour on 23 April 1904, beating Bolton Wanderers 1-0 at Crystal Palace to win the FA Cup; City narrowly missed out on a League and Cup double that season after finishing runners-up in the League. In the seasons following the FA Cup triumph, the club was dogged by allegations of financial irregularities, culminating in the suspension of seventeen players in 1906, including captain Billy Meredith, who subsequently moved across town to Manchester United. A fire at Hyde Road destroyed the main stand in 1920, and in 1923 the club moved to their new purpose-built stadium at Maine Road in Moss Side.

In the 1930s, Manchester City reached two consecutive FA Cup finals, losing to Everton in 1933, before claiming the Cup by beating Portsmouth in 1934. The club won the First Division title for the first time in 1937, but were relegated the following season, despite scoring more goals than any other team in the division.

20 years later, a City team inspired by a tactical system known as the Revie Plan reached consecutive FA Cup finals again, in 1955 and 1956; just as in the 1930s, they lost the first one, to Newcastle United, and won the second. The 1956 final, in which Manchester City beat Birmingham City 3-1, is one of the most famous finals of all-time, and is remembered for City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann continuing to play on after unknowingly breaking his neck.

After relegation to the Second Division in 1963, the future looked bleak with a record low home attendance of 8,015 against Swindon Town in January 1965. In the summer of 1965, the management team of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison was appointed. In the first season under Mercer, City won the Second Division title and made important signings in Mike Summerbee and Colin Bell. Two seasons later, in 1967-68, Manchester City claimed the League Championship for the second time, clinching the title on the final day of the season with a 4-3 win at Newcastle United. Further trophies followed: City won the FA Cup in 1969, before achieving European success by winning the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1970, beating Górnik Zabrze 2-1 in Vienna. City also won the League Cup that season, becoming the second English team to win a European trophy and a domestic trophy in the same season.

The club continued to challenge for honours throughout the 1970s, finishing just one point behind the league champions on two occasions and reaching the final of the 1974 League Cup. One of the matches from this period that is most fondly remembered by supporters of Manchester City is the final match of the 1973–74 season against arch-rivals Manchester United, who needed to win to have any hope of avoiding relegation. Former United player Denis Law scored with a backheel to give City a 1-0 win at Old Trafford and confirm the relegation of their rivals. The final trophy of the club's most successful period was won in 1976, when Newcastle United were beaten 2-1 in the League Cup final.

A long period of decline followed the success of the 1960s and 1970s. Malcolm Allison rejoined the club to become manager for the second time in 1979, but squandered large sums of money on unsuccessful signings, such as Steve Daley. A succession of managers then followed – seven in the 1980s alone. City reached the 1981 FA Cup final but lost in a replay to Tottenham Hotspur. The club were twice relegated from the top flight in the 1980s (in 1983 and 1987), but recovered to finish fifth in Division One twice in succession under the management of Peter Reid. However, this was only a temporary respite, and following Reid's departure Manchester City's fortunes continued to fade. City were founders of the Premier League upon its creation in 1992, but were relegated to Division One in 1996. After two seasons in Division One, City fell to the lowest point in their history, becoming the first ever European trophy winners to be relegated to English football's third tier.

After relegation, the club underwent off-the-field upheaval, with new chairman David Bernstein introducing greater fiscal discipline. City were promoted at the first attempt, achieved in dramatic fashion in a playoff against Gillingham. A second successive promotion saw City return to the top division, but this proved to have been a step too far for the recovering club, and in 2001 City were relegated once more. Kevin Keegan arrived as the new manager in the close season, bringing an immediate return to the top division as the club won the 2001-02 Division One championship, breaking club records for the number of points gained and goals scored in a season in the process.

The 2002–03 season was the last at Maine Road, and included a 3-1 derby victory over rivals Manchester United, ending a run of 13 years without a derby win. City also qualified for the UEFA Cup through the "Fair Play ranking", earning the club's first entry into European competition in 25 years.

In the 2003 close season the club moved to the new City of Manchester Stadium. In March 2005, Kevin Keegan left the club, and Stuart Pearce took over as caretaker, leading his side to an eight-match unbeaten run at the end of the season as they just missed out on European qualification. Pearce was rewarded by being given the manager's position on a permanent basis. The 2005–06 season started brightly for Manchester City; the club held a top-six position until November. However, form deteriorated in the second half of the season and City finished 15th.

In the 2006–07 season City struggled to score goals, particularly at home. The team created a new record for the fewest goals scored at home in a season in the top flight (beating Sunderland's 14 in 2002–03 and Woolwich Arsenal's 11 in 1912–13), scoring only 10 goals (having missed two penalties in the last two home matches) as City finished in fourteenth place. The season's troubles culminated in the sacking of manager Stuart Pearce and his coaching staff.

Eriksson was replaced by Mark Hughes two days later on the 4 June 2008.

On transfer deadline day of the 08-09 season, the club pulled off a massive coup by beating Chelsea to the signing of Real Madrid's Brazil star Robinho for a British transfer record-breaking £32.5 million. The season started reasonably well, but a string of defeats left the team just above the relegation positions at the end of 2008. Better league results in 2009 (at home if not away) saw the team into the top half of the table by the end of March, and they also reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup.

Manchester City's home colours are sky blue and white. Traditional away kit colours have been either maroon or (from the 1960s) red and black; however, in recent years several different colours have been used. In the 2004/05 season, the team wore a white shirt with purple shorts and white socks, while the following season, the away kit was all navy blue. During the 2006/07 season, they sported an all-black (with grey trim) second strip. However, when away to Premier League teams who wore predominantly dark blue as their first choice colours in the 2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons, the team generally changed to a third kit, which was yellow shirts with black shorts and socks. The club tried to justify the use of yellow as a Manchester City colour in an article in one of their match day programs, by saying that it was used in 1950s & 60s. The colour they were referring to was, indeed, amber with a maroon trim - and was very rarely used.

For the 2008/09 season, the home shirt is sky blue, with a thick white line running from the collar to under the arm, on the left side of the shirt. On the right side of the shirt, a slightly darker shade of sky blue runs from the collar to the waist, with a navy blue trim. The crest and sponsor are centrally aligned. The away kit is a return to the popular red and black stripes. The shirt features black sleeves, and thin white piping between the black and red vertical stripes. There is a speckled watermark on the red stripes. The third shirt is a first for City - orange. The official name is 'blaze orange', and features the same design as the home shirt, yet with one navy blue sleeve, and luminous yellow trimming.

The origins of the club's home colours are unclear, but there is evidence that the club has worn blue since 1892 or earlier. A booklet entitled Famous Football Clubs - Manchester City published in the 1940s indicates that West Gorton (St. Marks) originally played in scarlet and black, and reports dating from 1884 describe the team wearing black jerseys bearing a white cross, showing the club's origins as a church side. The red and black away colours come from former assistant manager Malcolm Allison, who believed that adopting the colours of AC Milan would inspire City to glory.

The current club crest was adopted in 1997, a result of the previous crest being ineligible for registration as a trademark. The badge is based on the arms of the city of Manchester, and consists of a shield in front of a golden eagle. The shield features a ship on its upper half representing the Manchester Ship Canal, and three diagonal stripes in the lower half, for the city's three rivers. The bottom of the badge bears the motto Superbia in Praelia, which almost translates as Pride in Battle in Latin. Above the eagle and shield are three stars, which are purely decorative.

City has previously worn two other crests on their shirts. The first, introduced in 1970, was based on designs which had been used on official club documentation since the mid-1960s. It consisted of a round badge which used the same shield as the current crest, inside a circle bearing the name of the club. In 1972, this was replaced by a variation which replaced the lower half of the shield with the red rose of Lancashire. On occasions when Manchester City plays in a major cup final, the usual crest is not used; instead shirts bearing a badge of the arms of the City of Manchester are used, as a symbol of pride in representing the city of Manchester at a major event. This practice originates from a time when the players' shirts did not normally bear a badge of any kind, but has continued throughout the history of the club.

Since 2003, Manchester City have not issued the squad number 23. It was retired in memory of Marc-Vivien Foé, who was on loan to the club from Olympique Lyonnais at the time of his death on the field of play playing for Cameroon in the 2003 Confederations Cup.

Manchester City has a large fanbase in relation to their comparative lack of success on the pitch. Since moving to the City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester City's average attendances have been in the top six in England, though in the 2006/07 season City's attendances fell slightly, to an average league attendance of approximately 40,000. Even in the late 1990s, when the club were relegated twice in three seasons and playing in the third tier of English football (then Division Two, now Football League One), home attendances were in the region of 30,000, compared to an average for the division of fewer than 8,000. Research carried out by Manchester City estimates a fanbase of 886,000 in the United Kingdom and a total in excess of 2 million worldwide.

Manchester City has a number of supporters organisations, of which three have official recognition: the Official Supporters Club, the Centenary Supporters Association and the International Supporters Club. There has been several fanzines published by supporters; the longest running is King of the Kippax and it is the only one still published.

Celebrity City supporters include boxer Ricky Hatton, also brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher of the Manchester-based rock band, Oasis. On 27–28 April 1996, the group played their first headline outdoor concerts at the Maine Road ground. Highlights from the second night featured on the video ...There And Then, released later the same year.

The City fans' song of choice is a rendition of "Blue Moon", which despite its melancholic theme is belted out with gusto as though it were a heroic anthem. City supporters tend to believe that unpredictability is an inherent trait of their team, and label unexpected results "typical City". Events that fans regard as "typical City" include City's being the only reigning English champions ever to be relegated (in 1938), the only team to score and concede over 100 goals in the same season (1957–58), or the more recent example that City were the only team to beat Chelsea in the 2004/05 Premier League, yet in the same season City were knocked out of the FA Cup by Oldham Athletic, a team two divisions lower.

Manchester City's biggest rivalry, inevitably, is with neighbours Manchester United, against whom they contest the Manchester derby. Unlike some other football rivalries in some other cities, such as Glasgow and Seville, the rivalry between City and United does not have its origins in religion and before the Second World War, when travel to away games was rare, many Mancunian football fans regularly watched both teams even if considering themselves "supporters" of only one. This practice continued into the early 1960s but as travel became easier, and the cost of entry to matches rose, watching both teams became unusual and the rivalry intensified.

A common stereotype is that City fans come from Manchester proper, while United fans come from elsewhere. A 2002 report by a researcher at Manchester Metropolitan University found that a higher proportion of City season ticket holders came from Manchester postcode areas (City 40%, United 29%). Within the City of Manchester itself the proportions were 17% City, 7% United. United had a higher number of season ticket holders living in Manchester postcode areas, as they had more season ticket holders overall, and the report contained a caveat that the number of City season tickets had since increased (the report was compiled before City's move to the City of Manchester Stadium), and following stadium expansion United have more than doubled their number of season ticket holders.

In the late 1980s, City fans started a craze of bringing inflatable objects to matches, primarily oversized bananas. One disputed explanation for the craze is that in a match against West Bromwich Albion chants from fans calling for the introduction of Imre Varadi as a substitute mutated into "Imre Banana". Terraces packed with inflatable-waving supporters became a frequent sight in the 1988/89 season as the craze spread to other clubs (inflatable fish were often seen at Grimsby Town), with the phenomenon reaching a peak at City's match at Stoke City on 26 December 1988, a match declared by fanzines as a fancy dress party. In the 2006/07 season, City's FA Cup run to the sixth round of the competition saw the re-emergence of the inflatables craze, with hundreds of yellow and blue bananas being brought to cup matches.

In August 2006, the club became the first to be officially recognised as a "gay-friendly" employer by campaign group Stonewall (UK).

The official mascots of the club are the space aliens "Moonchester" and "Moonbeam", puns on the club's anthem Blue Moon.

They also have been voted the most loyal fans in the Premier League by the BFFA (British Football Fans Association) just above the teams Liverpool and Portsmouth.

The holding company of Manchester City F.C., Manchester City Limited, is a private limited company. The club has approximately 54 million shares in issue. In summer 2007, the major shareholders agreed to sell their holdings to UK Sports Investments Limited (UKSIL), a company controlled by former Thailand prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. UKSIL then made a formal offer to buy the shares held by several thousand small shareholders.

Prior to the Thaksin takeover, the club was listed on the specialist independent equity market PLUS (formerly OFEX), where it had been listed since 1995. On 6 July 2007, having acquired 75% of the shares, Thaksin de-listed the club and re-registered it as a private company.. By August UKSIL had acquired over 90% of the shares, and exercised its rights under the Companies Act to "squeeze out" the remaining shareholders, and acquire the entire shareholding. Thaksin Shinawatra became chairman of the club and two of Thaksin's children, Pintongta and Panthongtae also became directors. Former chairman John Wardle stayed on the board for a year, but resigned in July 2008 following Nike executive Garry Cook's appointment as executive chairman in May. The club made a pre-tax loss of £11m in the year ending 31 May 2007, the final year for which accounts were published as a public company.

Thaksin's purchase prompted a period of transfer spending without precedent at the club, spending in excess of £30 million, whereas over the previous few seasons net spending had been among the lowest in the division. Another initiative in the early months of Thaksin's ownership was the establishment of a network of partner clubs, with relationships with clubs in China (Shanghai Shenhua), South Africa (Thanda Royal Zulu), Russia (FC Moscow), Switzerland (Grasshopper-Club Zürich), Thailand (Chonburi) and Australia (Perth Glory).

On 1 September 2008, Abu Dhabi-based Abu Dhabi United Group Investment and Development Limited completed a takeover of Manchester City. The deal, worth a reported £200 million, was announced on the morning of 1 September. It sparked various transfer "deadline-day" rumours and bids such as the club's attempt to gazump Manchester United's protracted bid to sign Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham Hotspur for a British transfer record fee in excess of £30 million. Also, Real Madrid's Robinho became a Man City player on 1 September, just minutes before the Summer transfer window closed in a British record transfer fee of £32.5 million. Man City's new-found wealth sparked rumours of transfer targets, some perhaps started by players' agents, leading up to the January 2009 transfer window.

Manchester City's current stadium is the City of Manchester Stadium, a state-of-the-art 48,000-seater stadium situated in East Manchester ("Eastlands") and leased from Manchester City Council after the 2002 Commonwealth Games. The stadium has been City's home since the end of the 2002–03 season, when the club moved from Maine Road.

Before moving to the stadium, Manchester City spent about £35million on upgrading it and lowering the field of play from ground level (where it was during the Commonwealth Games) to below ground level, adding an additional tier of seating around the entire pitch and also building the new North Stand. The inaugural match at the new stadium was a 2-1 win over FC Barcelona in a friendly match, with the first goal at the stadium scored by Nicolas Anelka.

Manchester City have also used several other grounds during their history. After playing home games at five different grounds between 1880 and 1887, the club settled at Hyde Road and stayed for 36 years. After a fire destroyed the Main Stand in 1920, the club decided to look for a new site, moving to the 84,000-capacity Maine Road in 1923, which was nicknamed the "Wembley of the North" by designers. On 3 March 1934, Maine Road hosted the largest-ever crowd at an English club ground, when 84,569 attended an FA Cup tie against Stoke City. Maine Road was redeveloped several times over its 80-year lifespan, though by 1995 its capacity was restricted to 32,000, prompting the move to the City of Manchester Stadium. Its capacity of 47,726 is the 5th highest in the FA Premier League.

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Source : Wikipedia