‘Man City success more strategic than Chelsea’ – Wright-Phillips on impact of billionaire owners


Manchester City and Chelsea have both benefited from the arrival of billionaire owners, with Shaun Wright-Phillips claiming the success enjoyed at the Etihad Stadium has been “more strategic”.

Those at Stamford Bridge were the first in English football to embrace the riches provided by foreign ownership when Roman Abramovich arrived in west London.

The Russian oligarch took charge of Chelsea in the summer of 2003 and immediately set about turning the Blues into a dominant force on domestic and European stages. Throwing money at that project allowed the likes of Jose Mourinho and Roberto Di Matteo to deliver Premier League and Champions League triumphs.

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A number of clubs have adopted a similar approach since then, with Sheikh Mansour acquiring City in September 2008. Considerable funds have been invested there, too, allowing for record books to be re-written in Manchester.

City have, however, stopped short of breaking the bank on individual deals, with Wright-Phillips considering their approach to have been built around a much bigger picture than merely a star-studded squad.

The former Chelsea and City winger told FootballFanCast: “From a mentality perspective, Chelsea’s success was instant and City’s was structurally built. From the facilities, the way they’ve bought players. I don’t think they have spent over £60 million on a player. They’re more strategic.

“Whereas, when Chelsea were doing it, it was just instant and it worked, but it’s something that would never work again.

“It’s the same if you look at Liverpool where it has been structurally done and they never had a massive takeover. When Jurgen Klopp came in he brought little things in slowly and I think that is a route a lot of clubs will go down from now on if they ever have a takeover.

“Despite that, Chelsea and Man City both had the same aspirations. They both wanted to win titles and play in the Champions League.”

Manchester City Premier League title 2017-18
Manchester City Premier League title 2017-18

While City’s vision is considered to have been more long-term than Chelsea’s pursuit of immediate results, the end goal was no different.

Wright-Phillips added: “I think the mentality has always been the same. All the managers that have been there have always known how big City is as a club, and they’ve all had the dream of doing the things they’re doing now. Sadly, in the past they didn’t have the budget to do it.

“I think Mark Hughes set the pace. It was incredible to play under him, he came with entertaining football, we played well on the break.

“I think we were sitting fourth when he got the sack. We couldn’t believe it, but that’s football. When a lot of money comes into the game, a lot of things change.

“As for them looking forward and changing, I think Man City always had the desire to be where they are now.”

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