Saturday, January 1, 2011

Manchester City vs Blackpool FC 15:00GMT

Manchester City: have spent 13 years in the Premier League since its inception in 1992. In the 2002/03 season, they became one of only two English teams to have qualified for the UEFA Cup through the 'Fair Play ranking'. This meant that the plush new City of Manchester Stadium was treated to European football just weeks after opening for the start of the following campaign.
Kevin Keegan and then Stuart Pearce, established the club in the Premier League, and under the latter, they finished in 14th place in the 2006/07 season. He was replaced by Sven-Goran Eriksson who guided the club to a ninth place finish in the 2007/08 campaign. City also secured UEFA Cup football via the 'Fair Play ranking' for a second time.
However, Eriksson was replaced by Mark Hughes in June 2008 and in September 2008, a takeover by the Abu Dhabi United group suddenly made City one of the richest clubs in the world. On deadline day, they smashed the British transfer record with a surprise £32.5m swoop for Real Madrid's Brazilian striker Robinho. However they failed in a £100m bid to sign Kaka from AC Milan in January 2009.
In December 2009 they sacked manager Mark Hughes and replaced him with Roberto Mancini who guided City to fifth, their highest Premier League finish. However they narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification.
Blackpool's: play-off final victory over Cardiff City ensured they would be the 44th different club to play in the Premier League.
The Seasiders clinched promotion by beating the Bluebirds 3-2 at Wembley where they twice came from behind.
They levelled within minutes of both the Bluebirds' goals, first through Charlie Adam's superb free-kick and then via Gary Taylor-Fletcher's brave close-range header.
Former Southampton striker Brett Ormerod hit the winner just before half-time and the Seasiders held on to become the first team to win promotion through all four divisions via the play-offs.
It was a remarkable achievement for a club which had been second favourites for relegation from the Championship at the start of the campaign.
They achieved their unlikely promotion with an average attendance of just 8,611 and immediately announced plans to increase the capacity of their Bloomfield Road ground from 12,000 to 16,000.

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