Gary Neville believes there is hope for Manchester United and others despite Manchester City’s clear dominance of the Premier League over recent years.
Pep Guardiola’s City are champions again following a superb run of form in the second half of the season, winning top prize for the third straight year. The Blues have spent on their way to dominance, without doubt, but they haven’t been the biggest spenders, and so there is even more craft to their dominance than many give credit for.
Much of that craft comes from Guardiola, who has proved himself one of the best managers of all time during his career so far.
Improving under Erik ten Hag, United are hoping to be a lot closer next year, while Liverpool are expected to have a resurgence, and Arsenal will want to go even closer after putting together a fine campaign only to fall at the final hurdles. Even with the possibility if those teams getting back in the mix, City will be favourites again, but it won’t always be that way, according to Neville, who believes Premier League dominance follows a manager-related pattern.
“People at this moment are speaking about whether we are becoming the Bundesliga, that City are going to dominate forever, but I agree with Jamie - this is a Pep Guardiola situation,” said the former Red Devil on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football. “Just to calm people’s thought’s about competitive balance and whether City are going to dominate for the next 100 years...
“Let’s just look at what has happened in the last 50 years, 30 years in the Premier League and 20 years prior to that. If we look at the last 12 years from the first City title, we have had five different winners of the Premier League and Man City have won seven in 12. If we go back to the first 12 years of the Premier League, which is this here, we only had three winners - Arsenal and Blackburn, and Manchester United won eight out of 12. So, Guardiola has won seven out of 12 - along with Mancini and Pellegrini. Manchester United, under Ferguson, won eight out of 12, demonstrating what a great manager he was.
“If we go back to 72’ when Liverpool won their first title to 74’, to Bill Shankly, the Boot Room, Paisley and Fagan, they won eight in 12 as well. So, this idea that English football is going to get boring or ruined, we have seen this in four of the last five decades, that great managers, the best managers will create periods of domination, and this is what we are seeing now with Guardiola at City.
“If Guardiola was to leave City, that would become a lot more difficult for them. And other teams are spending more money than them at the moment, so it would start to equalise.”