For years Manchester City was known as the ‘Noisy Neighbors’. Manchester United was getting all the glory while Manchester City was striving to find their place.
That hasn’t been the case over the last few seasons. Not only has Manchester turned from red to blue but so has the English Premier League as Manchester City has won the title three seasons in a row and is currently competing for an unprecedented fourth consecutive title.
2023 was a magical year for the crown jewel in the City Football Group. There are three major titles that an English football team can achieve. The Premier League, which is the top twenty teams in the league and the team who is atop the standings at the end of the season is crowned Champion. Manchester City, as noted, achieved that.
Then there is the FA Cup. A season long tournament amongst the top teams in England. The FA Cup represents the oldest football tournament in the world. As fate would have it, Man City was taking on Manchester United in the final. Proving once again that the tide had turned, Manchester City defeated their crosstown neighbours to hoist the FA Cup as 2022/23 Champions.
The third and only trophy that was left was the Champions League Trophy. This was the one that Manchester City had never won before. In 2023, Istanbul, Turkey was the site for the final between Manchester City and Italy’s Inter Milan.
The Champions League is also a season long tournament, but its participants are the best teams in Europe. On their road to the final City disposed of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Borussia Dortmund to name a few.
This was the trophy that had eluded City. They had gotten to a final before but came up short. Not this time. In front of over 70,000 fans at Ataturk Stadium, Manchester City defeated Inter Milan to raise the Champions League trophy.
The magical 2023 season wasn’t over there. By winning the Champions League, Manchester City were invited to participate in the UEFA Super Cup. A one game final between the Champions League winner and Europa Cup winner. In that game they defeated Spain’s Sevilla.
This past December they were invited to take part in the FIFA Club World Cup; A tournament of other champions from around the world and Man City went into Saudi Arabia and won that title as well. They are now known as the World Champions.
On the field Manchester City has an impeccable team. It would be difficult for one to find the proverbial weak link as manager Pep Guardiola and his staff have done what they can to bring in top players. Players like Erling Haaland, who scored 36 goals in his first 35 games with City. Players like Kevin DeBruyne, widely regarded as the best midfielder in the world. They have developed talent like Phil Foden whose youth career started at City, and he graduated to the first team.
Off the field the staff at Manchester City are just as passionate as the players. As someone who has had the privilege of visiting The Etihad Stadium on multiple occasions the guides who give the tours are probably the biggest fans of all. They speak with such unrivaled passion about the team and the years of struggle to the current time of dominance.
Every club has a fan base, history and stories to speak of. It was memorable being in Istanbul surrounded by so much Manchester City pride as they finally hoisted the Champions League trophy.
There are the naysayers who used to say Manchester City can’t win the Champions League. They now comment that Manchester City has only won one Champions League title while other clubs have won several. They can keep moving the goal posts but what isn’t in dispute, Manchester City is one of the biggest football clubs in the world.
2023 was an incredible season for Manchester City and they closed the year off with five trophies. Manchester City have gone from Noisy Neighbours to World Champions. They closed 2023 as the undisputed best team in the world and that is why I find them fascinating.