City were light years behind United when their Emirati owners contested their first derby back in 2008 but their huge – and possibly dubious – investment has turned the tables
Oh, what happened to me, whatever happened to you? What became of Robinho – and Benjani? If the rise of Manchester City is anything to go by, all it takes to create an era of generational club football dominance is £2bn, the greatest manager of the modern age and the fevered dreams of an oil-rich Gulf state. It is a 10-year plan that has come into sharper focus this week, in a way that draws the eye back as well as forwards.
Sunday’s Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium will mark 10 years to the month since the first of these modern Manc clásicos in November 2008, 10 years on from the birth of City 3.0 under the club’s Emirati owners. It feels like an even more poignant anniversary given the sudden focus on those first five years, when a huge standing-start investment was required to ratchet up the playing squad to instant-contender status.