‘I used to be Man City chairman who rejected Wimbledon merger and Rangers feeder provide’

David Bernstein, the legendary chairman who saved Manchester City, remembers the membership’s darkest hour when it almost died.

He was the person who in the end rejected a proposal to merge the membership with Wimbledon previous to the south London membership being dissolved in 2004. And when Scottish giants Rangers wished to make City their feeder membership, Bernstein’s response was simply as agency.

It’s protected to say that Bernstein is the person who rescued City throughout their most difficult instances in additional methods than one. He additionally performed an important position within the deal that moved the membership to the City of Manchester Stadium and made the Blues a horny funding for Sheikh Mansour.

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Bernstein celebrated his eightieth birthday final May, the day earlier than the crew he has supported all his life had been awarded their seventh Premier League title. 68 years earlier, on the day of his bar mitzvah, he had been glued to a black and white TV as City gained the FA Cup.

Bernstein’s contribution to the Manchester City story is simply as important because the Abu Dhabi prince who reworked the second-best crew on the town into European champions. Perhaps much more so. When he took over as chairman from Francis Lee in March 1998, the Blues had been simply a few months away from being relegated to the third tier of English soccer for the primary time of their historical past.

But the one approach wasn’t up. City trailed Gillingham 2-0 going into harm time of the Second Division play-off ultimate when a miracle occurred. Kevin Horlock and Paul Dickov turned legends for Manchester City once they scored objectives that modified the membership’s destiny. Bernstein reckons these objectives had been much more essential than Aguero’s epic 2012 title-winner.

Paul Dickov was Manchester City’s hero of their Division Two play-off ultimate in opposition to Gillingham at Wembley

City gained that day on penalties, and it led to massive issues like shifting to a brand new stadium. This transfer was a giant deal when Sheikh Mansour determined to purchase the membership in 2008. Bernstein instructed the Mirror: “I’m not sure too many of City’s younger fans understand the significance of Paul Dickov’s equaliser – or, for that matter, Kevin Horlock’s goal.

“Manchester City would not have died if we hadn’t been promoted, however it will have been a good distance again as a result of I’d have needed to oversee big spending cuts. The transfer to the brand new stadium most likely would not have occurred – and that was a key component in Sheikh Mansour’s determination to purchase the membership in 2008. It was a tricky time to be a City fan. The membership was extraordinarily susceptible.”

Sheikh Mansour
Manchester metropolis proprietor Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan again in 2010

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He additionally spilled the beans on some wild concepts that had been floated again then, like merging with Wimbledon or turning into a feeder membership for Rangers!

Bernstein stated no technique to these alternatives. He knew City followers would have been livid. He will get it as a result of he is a City fan himself. And Bernstein thinks perhaps it was good he was in cost, as another person may not have gotten how particular City are as a membership.

He continued: “There was an offer to take a short-cut back to the Premier League by merging with Wimbledon. A month after we beat Gillingham came a letter from Rangers chairman David Murray that would have turned us into their feeder club.

“Both proposals acquired brief shrift, in fact. City followers would have torn Maine Road down! I understood that, as a result of I used to be certainly one of them. Looking again, maybe it was lucky I used to be chairman as a result of somebody who did not perceive the membership could have been tempted.”

Man City might have turn into a feeder membership for Rangers

Wimbledon, who performed at Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park earlier than going bust, had been dissolved in 2004

Bernstein’s tenure as chairman got here to an finish in 2003, simply earlier than City moved from Maine Road. He stepped down after key shareholders John Wardle and David Makin succumbed to supervisor Kevin Keegan’s demand to signal Robbie Fowler. Bernstein was apprehensive that City had been stretching their funds too skinny. His fame in soccer was so excessive that he later turned the chairman of the FA.

Bernstein has penned a e-book about his time at City. ‘We Were Really There’ is a gripping learn for each City supporters and people who argue the membership had no historical past earlier than 2008. He said: “Some people don’t like what City have become but, in my opinion, football is big business. What I don’t understand is why investors from the Middle East get a level of criticism that owners from the United States and Russia seem immune to.

“City’s house owners haven’t simply constructed a soccer membership. They have helped to redevelop a big space of East Manchester. Of course, City have 115 costs hanging over them – and if they’re discovered responsible their achievements will likely be tarnished.

“But I’ve nothing however admiration for Pep Guardiola. If City win a fourth successive Premier League title and retain the Champions League this season, you would need to say he has constructed the most effective membership crew English soccer has ever seen.”