Mens Team

Guardiola closes in on Mercer landmark

Guardiola closes in on Mercer landmark
Having signed a new two-year contract extension Pep Guardiola is poised to overtake Joe Mercer and become the second longest serving manager in City’s post-war history.

The Catalan officially arrived to take charge at the Club on July 1st, 2016 and since then has overseen a period of sustained success and excellence that has garnered universal praise.

A haul of eight major trophies to date have helped cement Pep’s place as the most successful manager in our 126-year history.

However, with his new contract taking his tenure at the Club through to the summer of 2023, the 49-year-old is also now primed to go on and create another notable City landmark.

During the course of his new contract extension, Guardiola will surpass Mercer and become our second longest-serving manager since 1945 when football resumed following the Second World War.

Les McDowall, who was in charge for almost 13 years between June 1950 and May 1963, holds the record for the longest spell at the helm in City’s storied post-war history.

But, prior to Guardiola’s arrival, it was the reign of Mercer which was principally held up as the gold standard in terms of achievements, values and core City philosophy.

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Mercer arrived to take charge at City in July 1965 and, together with coach Malcolm Allison, the former England international oversaw a golden period in our history.

Mercer’s unique combination of key skill-sets epitomised by a razor-sharp insight, abiding passion for attacking football and a warm, welcoming personality that had helped mark him out as such an accomplished player, proved even more astute qualities once Joe assumed manager’s mantle.

A league title, an FA Cup, the League Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup were all accumulated in his time as manager with Mercer spending more than six years overseeing City’s fortunes before his departure in October 1971.

Not surprisingly, in the following decades Mercer’s reign was the benchmark by which every subsequent successor aspired to.

And of all the City managers who have followed in his illustrious footsteps, it’s fair to say that Guardiola’s guiding principles of a beguiling, aesthetically beautiful brand of football, have established him as the modern-day manager Mercer would have been most in awe of.

Having spent four and a half years in charge of the Club to date, Guardiola’s reign is already the fourth-longest in terms of City’s post-war managerial longevity behind McDowall, Mercer and Tony Book who had a five-year spell in charge between 1974 and 1979

Now, with his future secured, as well as seeking to secure even more silverware over the next two and half years, during the course of that new contract Pep is poised to pen another notable chapter in his remarkable City story with November 2022 marking the date when he will overtake Mercer in length of tenure.

Guardiola’s City stewardship has already marked his longest-ever period managing a Club side.

In his magnificent managerial career prior to arriving at the Etihad, Guardiola first spent four seasons in charge at Barcelona between 2008 and 2012.

He presided over a remarkable period which saw the Nou Camp side earn worldwide plaudits as they secured two Champions League titles, three La Liga crowns, two UEFA Super Cups and two FIFA Club World Cups amongst a glittering overall haul of silverware.

After a year’s sabbatical with his family, Pep then embarked upon a new challenge in Germany with Bayern Munich, going on to spend three seasons at the Allianz Arena where he oversaw yet more glittering achievements.

Three Bundesliga titles, two German Cups, a UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup bore further testament to Guardiola’s unique vision and leadership acumen.

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And that success has only continued in the manager’s glittering spell in charge at the Etihad to date, with the Guardiola overseeing two Premier League crowns, three League Cups, an FA Cup and two Community Shields.

In that time his squad has established a new blueprint for all-round footballing excellence and rewritten English football history, with Guardiola’s Centurions becoming the first side in domestic top-flight history to record 100 points in 2017/18.

That was followed, of course, a year later by Pep’s Fourmidables – the 2018/19 campaign seeing the Club claim another remarkable, unique English achievement as we won all four domestic trophies on offer.

 It has been a period like no other in our history.

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From the day he arrived, the boss has spoken eloquently about how he has felt loved and appreciated at the Club.  

It’s clear the feeling is reciprocal.

And Pep gave a fascinating insight into his own pride and passion for City earlier this summer.

“I love this club. I love this club because I know the people here working for a long time,” Guardiola declared in July.

“We have our history. I love it. I like it and I like to work with the people I'm working with.”

Now we eagerly await the next exciting chapters in Guardiola’s compelling City story.

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