Men's Team

Pep chalks up another notable City landmark

Pep Guardiola’s new two-year contract extension follows hard on the heels of another eye-catching landmark chalked up by the City manager earlier this season.

At first glance, the date of September 26, 2022 wasn’t especially auspicious, falling as it did during that month’s international break.

But that day saw Pep chalk up his 2,278th day in charge of City – and in the process meant he overtook Joe Mercer to become the second longest serving manager in the Club’s post-war history.

Since officially arriving to take charge at the Etihad on July 1, 2016, Guardiola has ushered in a period of sustained success and excellence unparalleled in City’s proud 128-year history

A haul of 11 major trophies to date have helped cement Pep’s standing as the Club’s most successful-ever manager – as well as deservedly carving out his place as one of the genuine totemic figures in English football.

And with his new contract now taking his tenure at the Etihad through to the summer of 2025, the 51-year-old is ideally placed to further extend his remarkable record of success and City longevity.

Les McDowall, who was in charge at the Club 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 Pep’s tally of 374 competitive games in charge is now second overall only to McDowall who oversaw 587 matches in his time as manager, surpassing that of Ernest Mangnall and Wilf Wild who both held lengthy pre-war City managerial tenures.

However, prior to Guardiola’s arrival, it was the reign of the late, great Mercer which was held up as the gold standard in terms of achievements, values and establishing the core City philosophy of a commitment to a brand of vibrant, attacking football.

Mercer arrived to take charge at City on July 13, 1965 and, in tandem with visionary coach Malcolm Allison, the former England international oversaw one of the most memorable periods 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 the 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 he moved aside from the Maine Road hot seat to become general manager on October 7, 1971.

Mercer’s reign was the impressive benchmark by which every subsequent City successor aspired to.

Of all the City managers who have followed in Joe’s 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 six and a half years in charge of the Club to date, Guardiola’s reign is already the longest of his own stellar managerial career comfortably surpassing his successful spells at FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich prior to his joining City.

And in the course of that Etihad tenure, Guardiola has also surpassed the reign of Club legend Tony Book who had a fondly remembered five-year spell in charge between 1974 and 1979.

Now, with his future secured, Pep can devote all his energies to seeking to help secure even more silverware over the next two and half years and further add to a CV without compare in the modern game.

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.

And that success has only continued in the manager’s magnificent spell in charge at the Etihad to date, with the Guardiola overseeing four Premier League crowns, four 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.

And back-to-back league titles in 2020/21 and 2021/22 – the former dominated by the extra challenge of playing in a COVID-afflicted backdrop - offered the most compelling testimony that Pep’s City also marry consistency alongside their undoubted class and quality.

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

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.

Sitting down for an in-depth, extended chat with the Club in the summer, Pep also provided a fascinating insight into his own pride and passion for City.

“I’ve been since the day one, incredibly comfortable, for all the departments in the club and for the hierarchy of course, but especially working with these players,” Pep outlined.

“What can I say for the people on the street, in the stadium, how they take care of me and my family. That’s why I’m in the seventh season here. I didn’t expect it when we arrived.

“It is because I’m comfortable and importantly because we won a lot, and when you win a lot, that helps to continue, because this club right now, I’m sorry for the future, the standards are there, and all of us, we have to fight to maintain it there.”

Now we eagerly await the next exciting chapter in Guardiola’s compelling and enduring City story.

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