On the opening day of the 2007/08 season, a new look City side travelled to London to take on West Ham. With eight new and mysterious signings plucked from every corner of Europe funded by new owner Thaksin Shinawatra, and former England manager, Sven Goran Eriksson, installed as manager, there was air of optimism surrounding the club for the first time in years. After ending his tenure as England boss on something of a downer, Eriksson had a point to prove in English football and City’s performance against West Ham, and indeed the performances for the first quarter of the season, went some way to making that point.
Thanks to goals from Italian frontman Rolando Bianchi (remember him?) and Brazilian midfielder Giovanni, City ran out 2-0 winners on the day. The likes of Elano, Michael Johnson and Martin Petrov were instrumental in the attractive style of play that City adopted seemingly out of nowhere. After two years of unattractive and uninspiring football from Stuart Pearce’s side, the freedom that City began the season with against West Ham was a sight to behold for the travelling supporters.
To this day, the game stands out as one of the most memorable City away days: Manchester City playing to the Samba beat in the London sunshine. To make a great day even sweeter, the pundits on Match of the Day were full of praise for City’s performance which was an extraordinary feat at the time.
Sven Goran Eriksson said after the match:
I’m delighted. My first match in the Premier League and three points away – that’s really good. We played some really good football – not for 90 minutes because we suffered as well but we started well and the last 15 minutes we did very well again. If we are talking about points then it was the perfect start but we won’t get carried away.
City’s Starting 11
Kasper Schmeichel, Micah Richards, Vedran Corluka, Richard Dunne, Javier Garrido, Elano, Dietmar Hamann, Michael Johnson, Martin Petrov, Stephen Ireland, Rolando Bianchi.
On this day, Plain White T’s rose to number 10 in the UK Singles Chart with Hey There Delilah.
Written by Robert Toole