Cracking the Code: How Manchester City F.C. managed to break into the Premier League Elite

Chapter 1: A strange tale

In June 2007 Manchester City FC had just finished 14th in the English Premier League one point behind Newcastle United. The Premier League was dominated by the “big four”: Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Newcastle had participated in the UEFA Champions League three times between 1998 and 2003 while Manchester City had struggled with multiple relegations, weak economy, and gone through 10 different managers in 12 years.

By 2008, Newcastle had a turnover just shy of GBP 100 million, against Manchester City’s GBP 89 million. The two teams seemed destined to compete for a mid-table position, although Newcastle looked slightly better equipped for the challenge.

Fast-forward 13 years and the two teams have undergone completely different journeys. In 2020 Manchester City’s revenues were three times larger than Newcastle’s, and only surpassed by Manchester United.

Manchester City had during this period won 13 major trophies while Newcastle had been relegated twice. While Manchester City had managed to break the into the oligopoly elite of the Premier League, the likes of Newcastle were left struggling in a “strategic hell”.

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