Will Roberto Mancini Help Manchester City Become Next EPL Team To Buy a Title?
Since Sheikh Mansour bought Manchester City in 2008, the club have spent over 100 million pounds on expensive signings who they believe will bring them the success that the fans have craved for so long.
Sections of the media, rival coaches, and fans around England have suggested that they are trying to buy the title and are assembling a team of mercenaries. Taunts like these have been heard before and it is worth taking a stroll down Memory Lane to revisit some of the other teams that bought success.
Blackburn Rovers 1995
Blackburn Rovers were founding members of the Football League but they had fallen on hard times and were struggling to survive in the lower divisions when local tycoon Jack Walker arrived on the scene.
Jack sensationally lured former Liverpool coach Kenny Dalglish to the club and within a year they were playing top-flight football in a rebuilt stadium. Kenny spent a fortune to bring big name players to the club and the SAS strike force of Chris Sutton and Alan Shearer helped them win the English Premier League in 1995.
Robert Mancini Assisted Sven Goran Eriksson at Lazio in 2000
S.S. Lazio lived in the shadow of city rivals Roma until Sergio Cragnotti bought the club and handed his checkbook to a succession of coaches during the 1990's. Success finally came in 2000 after Sven Goran Eriksson spent ludicrous sums of money that no one else in Italy could compete with and assembled a team featuring big names such as Pavel Nedved, Claudio Lopez, and Marcelo Salas.
Gullit and Van Basten Won European Cup For AC Milan in 1989
Silvio Berlusconi is better known today as the Italian politician with a habit of making tasteless remarks but 25 years ago he was merely the wealthy owner of a football club called AC Milan. In 1988 he signed Marco Van Basten and Ruud Gullit, arguably the best players in the world. Fellow Dutchman Frank Rijkaard and a host of Italy's top players signed up too and the star studded team won the European Cup in 1989.
In 1993 Marseille Bought the Title in More Ways Than One
Marseille were one of the biggest clubs in France but had failed to match the successes of smaller rivals like Bordeaux and St Etienne. In 1990 unhappy owner Bernard Tapie started writing checks. Rudi Voeller, Didier Deschamps, Basile Boli, and a host of others arrived on big salaries and expectations were high.
They won the domestic title in 1992 and beat an even more expensively assembled AC Milan team in the 1993 European Cup Final. Sadly the triumph was short lived as it emerged that Tapie had also written checks to referees and opposing teams' players.
The Graeme Souness Years at Glasgow Rangers 1986-1990
During the early 80's teams like Aberdeen and Dundee United had broken up the Old Firm domination of Scottish Football but that soon changed when Graeme Souness arrived as Glasgow Rangers manager in 1986. Souness reversed the age-old trend that had seen Scottish players head South and instead he started recruiting the very best English players to move North of the border.
They had instant success and spent vast sums of money every year thereafter to maintain their stranglehold on Scottish football for the rest of the Souness era.
Galatasaray UEFA Cup 2000
Galatasaray had been the dominant force in Turkish football for years before they made their mark on the international scene by winning the UEFA Cup in 2000. They defeated English giants Arsenal in the final but their success was no accident. The Turkish team spent heavily to lure world class stars like Brazilian keeper Claudio Taffarel and Romanian superstar Gheorghe Hagi to Istanbul.
The domestic players they fielded were the best the nation had to offer and included Turkish greats like Umit Davala and Hakan Sukur. The money was well spent but once the funds dried up Galatasary and Turkish football in general returned to obscurity.
Jose Mourinho Brings Title To Chelsea in 2005
Roman Abramovich allowed his coaches to spend money like never before and in two years Chelsea rose from being also-rans to become the dominant force in English soccer. Jose Mourhinho didn't come cheap as the coach and he spent every penny he could to ensure the team of its first championship in over 50 years.
Figo, Zidane, Ronaldo, and Friends Won Title For Real Madrid in 2003
Real Madrid put together the dream team of soccer and won the domestic title in 2003. The sad thing was that before they spent over $30 million to add Ronaldo to the side, they had already been crowned European champions in 2002. When David Beckham joined the team after the 2003 domestic title it signaled the beginning of a trophy drought and proved that where egos are involved, less is more.
Manchester United 1992
Alex Ferguson may not like Manchester City trying to buy success but after six years of failure he had no problem doing the same thing in 1993. Eric Cantona, Mark Hughes, Brian McClair, Paul Ince, Mike Phelan, Steve Bruce, Neil Webb, and Gary Pallister were not homegrown and did not come cheap. They did though help Fergie buy his way to the English Premier League title in 1993.
John Barnes and John Aldridge Lead Liverpool to Success in 1988
Liverpool are in financial dire straits at the moment but in 1987 money was no issue and Kenny Dalglish replaced his aging squad with the hottest and most expensive players in the nation. Oxford United were quick enough to cash the big check but never recovered from the loss of John Aldridge and Ray Hougton to Liverpool.
Peter Beardsley of Newcastle and John Barnes of Watford each cost a million and while Liverpool enjoyed title success, Oxford and Watford were relegated with Newcastle following them a year later.