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5th June 2022

Season review for local clubs

A review of the 2021/22 campaign for clubs based in Greater Manchester
Season review for local clubs

The 2021/22 season has almost come to a close. From the very peak of the Football League to the bottom, Manchester clubs have as always been in the limelight. Here I take a look at the varying season’s of local clubs.

Manchester City 

Position finished 20/21 vs 21/22

1st, 1st (after 35 games)

Successful season?

Manchester City ended the season in dramatic fashion with a 3-2 comeback win over Aston Villa, and were able to retain their title. For any other club in the country finishing top of the pile would be unqualified success. But not for Guardiola and his team of serial winners. No domestic trophies means they will have to settle for the Premier League title at most.

A two goal lead heading into the last minute of normal time against Real Madrid was still not enough, as they crashed out of the Champions League semi-final. Their season will end with mixed reviews, with Europe’s biggest prize still eluding the Etihad. 

Photo: Steffen Prößdorf @ Wikimedia Commons

Manchester United

Position finished 20/21 vs 21/22

2nd, 6th (after 37 games)

Successful season?

Having finished 2nd last year, and with an excellent summer transfer window signing Ronaldo, Varane and Sancho, United fans were optimistic for this season’s prospects. However, it has been a woeful season. Solskjaer’s dismissal did not bring improved results, and Rangnick’s interim appointment seems confused. There will be no Champions League football in Old Trafford next season. It has now been five years since they won a trophy, and Premier League success looks as distant as any period since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure.

Wigan

Position finished 20/21 vs 21/22

20th, 1st

Successful season? 

Wigan narrowly avoided relegation to League Two in 2020/21, having been placed in administration in July 2020. Under the new ownership of Talal Al Hammad they have pipped Rotherham to the title this season, as well as reaching the FA Cup 4th round and the semi-final of the Papa John’s Trophy. Will Keane finished League One top scorer with 26 goals. They will look to build on a triumphant season and secure stability in the Championship.

Photo: Dan Farrimond @ Wikimedia Commons

Bolton

Position finished 20/21 vs 21/22

3rd (in League Two), 9th 

Successful season? 

Bolton are another club who have faced serious financial difficulties in recent years. Finishing in 9th they never seriously challenged for back to back promotions, with manager Ian Evatt admitting “this season, I don’t think we were ready for it on and off the pitch”. However, it is a respectable mid-table finish for a side who will be looking to finish in the play-off spots next season.

Salford City

Position finished 20/21 vs 21/22

8th, 10th (with 1 game left)

Successful season? 

Salford have had a mesmeric rise through the football pyramid since their joint purchase by Peter Lim and a host of Manchester United’s Class of 92. A poor start to the season ended with a solid but disappointing mid table finish. The investment in the club demands constant improvement and failing to reach the play-offs means Gary Bowyer’s job is at threat.

Rochdale

Position finished 20/21 vs 21/22

21st (in League 1), 18th

Successful season?

Following a seven year stint in League 1, Rochdale were condemned to League 2. This was as a result of the Covid pandemic that caused an early end to a season, with points per game sending them down. Under the leadership of Robbie Stockdale they finished a lowly 18th, although their survival was never truly in doubt. Jake Beesley was top scorer with 4 league goals, and the Dales will be looking for a more exciting season next year.

Oldham

Position finished 20/21 vs 21/22

18th, 23rd

Successful season?

It has been a dire season for Oldham, dropping out of the football league for the first time in their 116 year existence. It also means they are the first team who have played in the Premier League and National League. Another club plagued by poor ownership, Latics fans took part in an on the field pitch protest against owner Abdallah Lemsagam on the final game of the season. The remainder of the game took place behind closed doors. Club legend John Sheridan could not do enough to stave off relegation, with nine losses in their last 11. They will welcome National League sides to Boundary Park from August.

Stockport

Position finished 20/21 vs 21/22

3rd, 2nd (with 2 games remaining)

Successful season?

 Stockport were able to gain promotion back to the Football League for the first time since 2011. It has been a memorable season for the club who could finish with 30 wins.  Ben Hinchliffe, Liam Hogan, and John Rooney all finished in the National League Team of the Season. They will compete against local rivals and fellow Greater Manchester teams Rochdale and Salford in League 2 next year. 

Manchester City women

Position finished 20/21 vs 21/22

2nd, 3rd

Successful season?

It has been a fairly successful season for Manchester City women. Finishing third they have qualified for the Champions League again, but lost 3-2 to Chelsea after extra time in the FA Cup final. They have scored at least 4 goals in 9 league games, and won the Manchester Derby at the Academy Stadium. A longer Champions League run and greater competition with Chelsea will be the aim for next year. 

Manchester United women

Position finished 20/21 vs 21/22

4th, 4th

Successful season?

Two consecutive 4th place finishes in their third and fourth season since re-forming should be viewed positively. In Marc Skinner’s first season they have finished 10 points above 5th place Tottenham, but the 3rd European place has eluded them. Alessia Russo finished top scorer, with a goals per game ratio of 0.51. 


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