Manchester City were the team to beat in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The management duo of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison took City from mid-table anonymity in the Second Division to champions of England and they did it in style. Based around the huge talents of Mike Summerbee, Colin Bell and Francis Lee, City were entertainers as well as winners.
In their first season in charge, Mercer and Allison restored City to the top flight, winning the Second Division title in 1966. Just two years later they added the First Division title. In a period of unparalleled success for City, the FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup all spent time in the blue side of Manchester.
A proud club with a rich history, City fans had endured ten trophyless years before Allison and Mercer took over. Not since the great Bert Trautmann inspired them to victory in the 1956 FA Cup final had City lifted silverware. Trautmann is celebrated as a legend of the club, not least because he played most of that final with a broken neck after a collision with Birmingham's Peter Murphy. By 1965 however, City's attendances in the second division had dipped under 10,000 and the new bosses believed attractive soccer was the best way to get fans back to Maine Road.
Soon they were flocking to the ground in their droves to see Summerbee sparkle on the wing, Bell elegantly control the middle of the park and Francis Lee bang the goals in. And the trophies soon followed. In 1968 City won their second ever first division Championship, and their first for over 30 years. It was made all the sweeter by the fact that it came at the expense of arch rivals Manchester United, who finished the season two points behind City. City's 3-1 win at Old Trafford, inspired by Colin Bell, was one of the season's highlights as well as vital in the title race. The destination of the trophy was only decided on the last day with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Newcastle.
The following year Neil Young's goal against Leicester at Wembley was enough to secure the club's fourth FA Cup win and earned them a place in the Cup Winners' Cup. They went on to win that as well, beating Polish side Górnik Zabrze in the final. In all, City won five trophies between 1966 and 1972 in what many look upon as the club's golden era.
The years following City's golden era have been frustrating for their long-suffering fans. The club has spent a lot of time yo-yoing between the top two divisions of English soccer and in 1998 even dropped into the third tier. But since Kevin Keegan ensured promotion from the Championship in 2002 in record-breaking style, City have maintained their Premier League status and now appear to be heading into an era of unheard of prosperity.
With first the takeover of the club by Thaksin Shinawatra in 2007 and then the buyout by an Abu Dhabi-based consortium in September 2008, City can now lay claim to being one of the richest clubs in the world. Since that day in September being a City fan has become even more of a rollercoaster ride than usual. Brazilian superstar Robinho has arrived from Real Madrid as well as a tidal wave of rumours linking the club to players like Dimitar Berbatov and Kaka. Whatever the future holds for Manchester City, any new Blues side will be judged against the greats of the late 1960s and early 1970s.