Australian ex-Manchester City defender, Danny Tiatto, says they are the one club who deserve the fortune of wealthy foreign owners due to their outstanding support.
The Sky Blues arrived in Australia earlier this week and set up camp on the Gold Coast where 23-time Socceroo Tiatto, 42, currently lives.
Tiatto spent six years with City from 1998 to 2004 and played in all three of England’s top divisions as the club battled for stability before their takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008.
City have come a long way since Tiatto’s days, joining the club when they were England’s Second Division and enjoying double promotions and relegations too.
Amid all that, Tiatto experienced undying support and it’s that enthusiasm which makes him believe they earned their current prosperity.
“If there was any club which deserved a good bit of fortune and for someone to come in and get the club winning titles, it is City,” Tiatto told FourFourTwo.
“When I was playing in the old Second Division we were still getting sell-out crowds of 32,000 at the old Maine Road.
“It just shows you how passionate the Manchester City supporters are.”
That fan-base could grow with the club’s visit to Australia this fortnight.
City took on Adelaide United on Wednesday in a behind-closed-doors match which Tiatto attended, and face Melbourne City on Saturday before heading to Melbourne for matches against AS Roma (Tuesday) and Real Madrid (Friday) in the International Champions Cup.
Melbourne-raised Tiatto said he never imagined City would grow to their current incarnation, nor head for Australia for such an anticipated tour.
“A lot has changed - it’s gone 360,” Tiatto said.
“It’s a great achievement to get not only Man City, but Real Madrid and Roma down for this tournament. It shows you how well the game is going in Australia.
“As for City, when you’ve got owners with endless amounts of money bringing in the best players in the world to a club like Manchester City it is phenomenal.
“It’s definitely a contrast from when we were there anyway.”
Tiatto still follows City to this day and has fond memories of his six years at the club.
He said his time in Manchester was the best period of his career, even if it was a “rollercoaster”.
“Promotion was always a great achievement, from the old second division to the first, then up and down again,” he laughed.
“Playing in the Premier League against the world’s best was brilliant and beating Manchester United at Maine Road was always a great one for me as well.
“It was just always a pleasure playing with so many great players around you too. There was Nicolas Anelka, Robbie Fowler, Eyal Berkovic, George Weah and Peter Schmeichel.”
As for comparisons to the current crop, Tiatto holds fire, but believes the modern day group can fight back after missing out on the 2014-15 Premiership title.
“Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Yaya Toure, Zabaleta, Kompany and Joe Hart – they’ve got a world class squad,” he said.
“They might have missed out on the title this season, but they’ll be a force next season.
“The owners want that success and they’ll be dipping into their purses and shelling out a few more millions on players. They need to get a few more additions to challenge.”
Tiatto suffered a knee injury which required a full reconstruction two months ago, playing socially on the Gold Coast in an over-35’s competition alongside fellow ex-Socceroo Craig Moore, but will travel down to Melbourne for the two matches.comments