Football News

How Chelsea’s £21m signing in 2005 kept Man City in business, according to Stuart Pearce

By CJ Smith

Published: 20:02, 18 May 2019 | Updated: 16:37, 14 September 2021

Stuart Pearce has hinted that Chelsea’s £21m signing of Shaun Wright-Phillips in 2005 kept Manchester City in business.

City crushed Watford 6-0 in Saturday’s FA Cup final to complete a first-ever domestic treble in the men’s game in England.

How did Chelsea save Man City? Five key things to know…

  1. City won the FA Cup on Saturday to complete a domestic treble.
  2. This was City’s fifth major honour in the past two seasons and their tenth since 2011.
  3. But prior to Sheikh Mansour’s investment in the club, City hadn’t won a trophy since the 1976 League Cup.
  4. The club often struggled financially and even dropped into the English third tier in 1998.
  5. Former boss Stuart Pearce has revealed he had no choice but to sell Shaun Wright-Phillips to Chelsea in 2005, with the £21m fee needed to keep the club afloat.

Saturday’s triumph is also Pep Guardiola’s fifth major honour in three years since taking over at the Etihad, while the club itself has won 10 major trophies in the past eight years.

But it wasn’t always so easy to support City, with the club sinking as low as the English third tier and struggling financially during the decades leading to this golden spell.

And Pearce, who managed City between March 2005 and May 2007, has revealed how his hands were tied when Chelsea made a £21m offer for then-star man Wright-Phillips.

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Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Saturday’s cup final, Pearce said: “A complete transformation. I remember when I was manager and I was told if I didn’t sell Shaun Wright-Phillips, the club would go bust.”

Guardiola: We need UCL success to be the best

City’s dominance of the English game over the past two seasons has been immense, with the Citizens racking up 198 points across the 2017/18 and 2018/19 Premier League campaigns combined.

On top of that, they’ve also won two League Cup titles and beat Watford 6-0 in Saturday’s FA Cup final, securing a first-ever men’s domestic treble in English football in the process.

This has led to many pundits suggesting this City side could be the best English football has seen but Guardiola has a different view.

The City boss has pointed to his side’s consecutive Champions League quarter-final exits in the past two campaigns as a reason why they cannot yet be considered ‘the best’, with Liverpool and Spurs knocking them out in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

“We have had a fantastic couple of seasons but to be considered the best I think you have to win the Champions League,” he said ahead of Saturday’s Wembley clash.

“Our standard in that competition has not been as good as the rest of our work, I admit. That is something we need to address because it is still our dream to win it.”