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Why are Manchester City called “Sky Blues” and “The Citizens”?

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola prepares his side ahead of a huge Premier League clash on Sunday with his team just one point ahead of Liverpool

Soccer Football - Champions League - Quarter Final - First Leg - Manchester City v Atletico Madrid - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - April 5, 2022 Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith
LEE SMITHAction Images via Reuters

Pep Guardiola dismissed discussion of Liverpool recovering a 14-point deficit to Manchester City, claiming the January gap “was fake” due to the Reds’ games in hand.

There is just a point between leaders City and second-placed Liverpool heading into their encounter on Sunday, which many are billing as a title decider.

Manchester City Manager Pep Guardiola
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Manchester City Manager Pep GuardiolaChloe Knott - DanehouseGetty

But back in mid-January, Liverpool were in third, 14 points behind City – who had a 13-point advantage over Chelsea.

“I’m going to tell you something: 14 points, it was fake. You were wrong,” Guardiola said ahead of the game at the Etihad Stadium. “[Liverpool] had two more games in hand. It’s fake.”

The City manager therefore refused to criticise his team for allowing that significant gap to be closed.

Premier League 2021/2022

1M. City732343
Full classification
Upcoming matches
M. City - WatfordS-23/04 10:00
M. City - BrightonW-20/04 15:00
M. City - LiverpoolS-10/04 11:30

*Data updated to date April 8th, 2022

“I have to analyse the games where we dropped points — Crystal Palace, especially, and Southampton,” he said. “We were brilliant, I would say more than brilliant. We were not effective, we were not clinical, but we were brilliant. “We won against Southampton in the FA Cup quarter-finals 4-1. It was miles away worse, worse than the game where we drew 1-1 when we could’ve won 4-1. But it’s football, it’s unpredictable.

Guardiola vs Klopp
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Guardiola vs Klopp

“It was the same with Crystal Palace. Crystal Palace are in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, and we were amazing the way we played. It’s football.”

And Guardiola is not surprised by Liverpool’s recovery, declaring them “one of the best teams in decades”.

‘It’s Liverpool, one of the best teams in decades in this country, in Europe’

Pep Guardiola (Man City)

“When we were 14 points ahead of Liverpool, even myself I could not believe it because I know the incredible opponent we have to face,” he added. “It’s Liverpool, one of the best teams in decades in this country, in Europe.

“The reality is one point right now, this is the normal reality. It’s an honour to be there, to fight to beat them to win the Premier League.”

The origin of ‘Sky Blues’ & ‘Citizens’

The nickname of the ‘Sky Blues’ is taken from the club’s playing shirt colours. City have been wearing sky blue as their main club colours ever since 1894 when they were originally known as Ardwick FC. The original shirts were a combination of a light sky blue and a blue-green shade.

With the name change to Manchester City in 1894, the club adopted the colours of Masonic pale blue along with white shorts with sky blue and white being main colours of Freemasonry at that time in history.

The ‘Citizens’ moniker is simply a play on the word ‘City’ as part of the club’s name though there are certain supporters feel that the name is a badge of authenticity with the fans being true Mancunian citizens as opposed to supporters of their Old Trafford neighbours with Manchester United traditionally attracting many fans well away from the catchment area and city of Manchester.