Under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola, Manchester City have evolved from a great side to one of the best in Europe. The trophy count speaks for itself, with the Blues’ grabbing their fourth Premier League trophy in just five years.
Their consistent triumphs have been coupled with entertaining football and they average 100 goals over the past four Premier League seasons. Their style has caught the eyes of fans worldwide, and the Indian Subcontinent remains no exception.
GOAL spoke with a few die-hard City fans, to understand the growing influence of Manchester City.
Manchester City fans in India express their growing love for the club
With City enjoying productive spells under Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini, their popularity in India gradually started to grow.
However, most Indian fans would agree that the Blues’ really burst onto the scene in the 2011/2012 season with the famous late Sergio Aguero goal that clinched the title in the 93rd minute of the game, an instance that has come to be known as 93:20 ever since.
“That’s when it all changed for us, I think,” an avid Manchester City fan and Delhi resident, Apoorv Ahlawat, told GOAL. He adds, “With 93:20, it felt like City had won over all the supposed giants that had bossed the Premier League era.
“It proved to supporters and the football world alike that City were not a team to be taken lightly. To be honest, the best thing about it was how our rivals were left biting the dust.”
Another Manchester City supporter for well over a decade, Parvinder Singh, feels the joining of Guardiola was the turning point.
“I’d argue that the fan base has skyrocketed since the arrival of Pep Guardiola. Everyone knew just how good his CV was up until that point, and the fans were excited for a new era of football,” he stated.
A similar sentiment is shared by Manchester City’s stadium tour lead Andy Begg who previously told GOAL about the swelling numbers of visitors coming to the Etihad since the appointment of the Spanish manager.
“Visitor numbers have steadily increased each year since the arrival of Pep Guardiola. We seem to increase numbers by 20% each year. It’s interesting to know that 60% of our tour's guests were from overseas, football fans visiting Manchester wanting to see the home of the PL Champions,” he said.
As the popularity of the Premier League grew, engaging with fans from all over the world became an important aspect for the big clubs. To make sure a worldwide audience is kept engaged, City’s social media interacts with fans in 14 languages.
City have also become the first football club to enter the Metaverse, with a replica of the Etihad being built in the virtual dimension.
Lifelong fan Prubhojeet Roy from Bangalore suggests that the reason behind that is the entertaining football City play.
“We were great under Pellegrini, but now we’ve really cemented our position as one of the best sides the footballing world has seen. Dropping a point in the League is now almost criminal, and anything under 90 points isn’t up to the mark,” remarks City fan Prubhojeet Roy from Bangalore.
“Such perfectionism has been the result of exquisite football that we’ve been playing, and that has naturally brought in a lot more support over the years. Who wouldn’t want to watch Kevin (De Bruyne) score a screamer or Joao Cancelo curling in those outside-of-the-foot assists?” he argued.
With the attractive style of football and their ever-growing trophy haul, City’s popularity is likely to increase over the next few years. The sky is the limit for Pep Guardiola’s men and with every triumph, the Cityzen tribe will only grow bigger and better in India.