We list Manchester City’s greatest managers, including what they are most remembered for.

Last Updated: 14/06/23 at 14:50

Manchester City have had a number of top managers at the helm. The most recent ones have contributed massively to the current success of the team, but you mustn’t forget about the former glory days.

Here are the six of the best managers Man City have ever had and why they are remembered fondly within the club.

Pep Guardiola: 2016 - Present

Most accomplished

Pep Guardiola is rightfully regarded as one of the greatest managers not just currently, but of all time in the history of football. It’s fair to say that Pep ranks higher than any of the past Man City managers.

The current Man City manager has led them to become one of the most dominant forces in world football, winning five Premier League titles, four League Cups, and one FA Cup. With all those accomplishments to his name, he boasts the biggest trophy haul of any Man City manager.

His biggest achievement to date with the Citizens is becoming the first team to win all the English trophies available in one season, winning the Community Shield, League Cup, FA Cup and Premier League in the 2018-19 season. Either that or the fact that he has a ludicrous 74% win percentage (calculated from statcity.co.uk).

Now, Pep has completed the roster by leading Man City to win the treble in the 2022/23 season. The team's manager hopes to keep momentum going as we enter the season ahead.

Tom Maley: 1902 - 1906

The first true great

Tom Maley is possibly the most important manager on this list. All the others may not have even come to be if it weren’t for the first truly great Man City manager in Maley.

Brother of Celtic legend Willie Maley, Tom Maley took over the role at Man City in 1902 after the side was relegated from the First Division. He got to work quickly, though, implementing a stylish form of football. Well, maybe stylish for the time.

He led City straight back to the First Division, winning the Second Division by just three points but with 95 goals scored and 24 conceded in 34 games.

Then, in their very first year back in the top flight, City finished second in the league to The Wednesday (now known as Sheffield Wednesday). Again, it was only three points in it.

However, despite losing out on the league, Maley helped City achieve their first major honour by winning the 1904 FA Cup.

Maley was involved in the 1905 English football bribery scandal, but we are focusing on the good here. And there is no doubt that the first manager to bring a major honour to the team deserves a place on this list.

Joe Mercer: 1965 - 1971

The mastermind behind the original golden era

Many may argue that Man City’s success has only come in the last 15 years, but Joe Mercer’s record states otherwise. A fine defender and captain during his playing days, this acted as a precursor to his successful Man City managerial career.

Mercer took charge in 1965, when the club were in the Second Division. In his first season, he guided them to the Second Division title to bring them back to the top-flight. Two years later in 1968, the team won the First Division championship for the first time since 1937.

That was succeeded by winning the 1969 FA Cup, and then the club's first cup double in the 1969-70 season, winning the League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup.

It’s no coincidence that Mercer appears second on this list - many people familiar with his achievements rank him second among the best Man City managers of all time.

Roberto Mancini: 2009 - 2013

Ushered in the new golden era

While Mark Hughes was the first manager appointed by the new City owners in 2008, it was Roberto Mancini who came in a year later that kickstarted City’s era of dominance.

Mancini started with winning the FA Cup in 2011, then followed that up with the sensational 2012 title victory, which was one of, if not the greatest ending to a league season, and City’s first top-flight division title since 1968.

The Italian’s first job when he took charge of City was to sort out the defence. The team he had inherited from Hughes was strong at the front but rather weak at the back, so Mancini sought to fix those issues.

While he was no revolutionary, Mancini worked out the problems with the defence and made it one of the best in the league in his first season. To this day, looking at how strong City’s defence still is, you could say they wouldn’t be this good now if it weren’t for Mancini.

He also brought into the team and subsequently introduced the world to some of the best talents the Premier League has ever seen, including Yaya Toure, David Silva and Sergio Aguero. Check out more Manchester City legends here.

Manuel Pellegrini: 2013 - 2016

First modern double

Looking back, Manuel Pellegrini’s role in City’s recent success was important as he was the bridge between the start and build to where the team are now. Pellegrini came in after Mancini for the 2013 season and worked them into the powerhouse team they have become now.

A slow start to the campaign quickly turned into a 20-game unbeaten streak in all competitions, and it all concluded with City’s first double since 1970 - this time winning the Premier League and the League Cup.

While Pellegrini was unable to achieve another league title during his reign, he did win one more League Cup in his final season. But most importantly, he instilled the values of ruthless attacking-style football that is still present in the team to this day.

Wilf Wild: 1932 - 1946

Longest serving

Wilf Wild will most likely be the most unknown name on this list, but he definitely earned his place. The 1932-33 season was his first in charge and he took City all the way to the FA Cup that year, coming away with an unfortunate 3-0 loss to Everton.

However, the very next season saw the Citizens reach the FA Cup final once again, but this time they walked out as 2-1 winners over Portsmouth.

In the 1936-37 season, Wild took things one step further and led the club to become champions of England for the first time. Regardless of the fact that City was relegated the very next season - even after scoring more goals than any other team that season - Wilf Wild is firmly cemented as a Man City legend.

It should be said that while Wild has the distinction of having the longest reign, his tenure was marred by the breakout of World War II, which brought about the suspension of the First Division from 1939 until 1946.

Les McDowall: 1950 - 1963

Most games in charge

Despite Wild holding the manager position for longer than anyone else, it is Les McDowall who has the most games served as manager. McDowall was in charge for a total of 592 games - a clear 240 games more than second place Wild.

McDowall took charge of the team for the 1950-51 season when they were in the Second Division. Working to build a solid team, the Sky Blues found themselves back in the First Division the following season.

McDowall was described as having tactics that were ahead of his time, and are actually used more in today’s game. Because of this, City played somewhat unremarkable football, as it surely would have been difficult for the players to understand their very different roles.

The “Revie Plan”, coined for the role of City’s main man in the middle, Don Revie, brought a short spell of success, with two consecutive trips to the FA Cup final in 1955 and 1956 ending with a loss the first year but a victory the second.

With the great Pep Guardiola still in command and a big season coming up for the Sky Blues, why not check out your options for watching England's most dominant side in the best seats in the house with Manchester City hospitality at the Etihad Stadium.