Manchester: The City Years

Kevin Keegan, OBE

Kevin Keegan, OBE

Born: Armthorpe, Doncaster, 14th February 1951

23rd May 2001 - 11th March 2005

Former Liverpool, Hamburg, Southampton, and Newcastle hero, Kevin Keegan arrived at City after managing Newcastle, Fulham and England. Despite his pedigree, his appointment brought a mixed response from supporters and the media. Some were euphoric and considered what he had achieved in club football; others felt that putting him in charge of a club with a history of unpredictability was asking for trouble. Fortunately, Keegan’s appointment brought tremendous excitement to the Blues from the start.

City were transformed from the rather downbeat side relegated in 2001 into an exciting, attacking team. Keegan’s side oozed talent and the fans loved it. They idolised Keegan, and appreciated everything he had achieved during a whirlwind year. His signings seemed perfect. His approach was refreshing. His enthusiasm was contagious.

For many the League Championship success in 2002 had rekindled a spirit amongst the club and its supporters that had not existed since the 1970s.

Following promotion to the Premiership, Keegan made a number of high profile signings, including Nicolas Anelka and Peter Schmeichel. A memorable 3-1 victory over United in the last ever Manchester derby at Maine Road helped City finish the season in 9th place.

City struggled the following season, and were knocked out of the UEFA Cup in the second round by Polish minnows Groclin. Despite a heroic 4-3 victory against Spurs in the F.A. Cup (which saw City 3-0 down at half-time, and reduced to 10 men), the league form was poor and City finished 16th in the league.

2004–05 brought better form for City, but Keegan agreed to leave as manager on 10 March 2005 after telling the chairman his desire to retire from football at the end of the season. He was replaced by Stuart Pearce, who was appointed as caretaker manager.

All history and statistical material has been produced based on the research and writing of Manchester football historian Gary James ( It is maintained by Ric Turner & Gary James. All text remains the copyright of the original contributors.

Gary's book, Manchester - the City Years: Tracing the Story of Manchester City from the 1860s to the Modern Day, is available to order on Amazon.