MANCHESTER DERBY: Chronicles of the age-long Manchester football clubs’ rivalry

Mancherster derby rivalry
The Manchester derby is an age-long rivalry between the two Manchester clubs


As the 2018/2019 English Premier League’s Manchester derby approaches, we take a dive into the chronicles of the age-long rivalry that exists between the two giant Manchester clubs. The fierce rivalry between the Manchester clubs dates back to the 19th-century Victorian era – but has become more fierce and competitive in recent years as we have never seen before.

Manchester United is undoubtedly the biggest and most successful football club in England or English football since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, winning an impressive 13 trophies out of the possible 26 trophies since 1992. But Manchester City is now the reigning champions of England as Spanish manager Pep Guardiola helped guide the City team to a record 100 points last season to win the English Premier League title for only the third time.

It appears that the years of Premier league dominance by Manchester United during the Sir Alex Ferguson era is long gone. The years when Manchester United won seven out of the first nine premier league trophies between 1992 and 2000.

Here, we take deep dive into how the rivalry between these two Manchester clubs have metamorphosed throughout the years since the premier league began.

Hills, Bumps, and Valley

Manchester United enjoyed their best and most successful season during the 1998/1999 football league season when they won the “treble” (3 trophies). They won the premier league, English FA Cup and European cup for the first time 30 years. In that same year, their fierce city rival, Manchester City were playing in the third division of English football.

Meanwhile, since Sergio Kun Aguero scored that last-minute winner in 2012 against Queens Park Rangers (QPR) in the last match of the season to win the league title for Manchester City, Manchester United’s dominance of English football has since been on the downward spiral.

Manchester United produced their best performance in terms of league position and total points gained in the premier league since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager in 2013 when the finished in 2nd place behind bitter city rivals Manchester City, yet Manchester city finished the league 19points better than Manchester United.

Is it now safe to say Manchester City are now the dominant team in Manchester?

War of the Moneybag

Manchester City seems to be winning the financial battle over their city rival and neighbor Manchester United.

Although, in the first 10years since the inception of the premier league era between 1992 and 2002, Manchester United have spent more money than their noisy neighbors in the transfer market.

But since the takeover of Manchester City by the Abu Dhabi Group in 2008, there has been a significant tilt in the balance of financial power in the direction or favor of Manchester city. They wasted no time in splashing the cash when they broke the British transfer record in 2008 with the £32.5m signing of Robinho.

In the last ten premier league seasons, Manchester city has outspent Manchester United in the transfer window seven times, and have spent £300m more than Manchester United in the transfer window.

Manchester city’s biggest spend came during the first two years of Pep Guardiola’s era in as manager, while Manchester United’s biggest spend came during the first year in charge of Louis van Gaal. Manchester United’s British transfer record-breaking signing of Paul Pogba from Juventus for £93m is still over 50% in excess of the £60m amount Manchester city paid Leicester city to acquire Riyad Mahrez.


The managerial history of both the Manchester clubs is clearly and undoubtedly different.

While Manchester United kept faith with one manager in Sir Alex Ferguson for over 26years – including the first 21years of the premier league era, they have had three managerial changes since the retirement of Alex Ferguson in 2013.

On the other hand, the noisy neighbors Manchester City have appointed 17 different managers including caretaker managers during this same period as Manchester United with each of the managers spending less than 2years on the average.

Manchester Derby

In this category, Manchester United still holds the upper hand and bragging rights in terms of premier league head to head with 21 wins in their 42 meetings.

Manchester United have scored a total of 63 goals in all their 42 Manchester derbies with Manchester city, while their rival has scored 55 goals in the process. Manchester United have failed to win back to back derbies since 2010 while Manchester City has won four consecutive Manchester derbies under manager Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini before being blown away in a 4-2 defeat in 2015. Manchester United was also demolished in their home ground in 2011 when they were trashed 6-1 at Old Trafford – a result which remains the biggest winning margin in a Manchester derby till date.

However, Manchester was able to manage a very important victory away from home against their bitter noisy neighbors last season to prolong their premier league title-winning celebrations.

Manchester City will host Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday 11th November 2018 in the first Manchester derby of the 2018/2019 Premier League season. The Manchester derby this year is with mixed feelings as Manchester is going through a rough patch in form as they currently sit in 7th position on the premier league table while their bitter rivals are sitting pretty comfortably at the top of the premier league table.

Whether football is mathematics or not, we’ll wait till Sunday to find out. Until then, we can only speculate.



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