David Gill has praised Manchester City for their “unbelievable” work in developing the local area but says they will “never” have the international appeal of Manchester United.
Manchester City currently sit top of the Premier League table after a 100% start to the new season, and having won two league titles in the last four years, will have high hopes of adding a third triumph to that list.
The club has also worked hard to enhance their global reputation, but speaking to the Daily Telegraph, former United chief executive Gill feels City’s lack of history will always hold them back.
“I’m not being arrogant here but it will never be as big as Manchester United in Asia and certain markets,” Gill said.
“Look at Liverpool, the club haven’t won the league for so many years, but they are very popular in Asia.
“The big teams with history and heritage, like Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Real Madrid, have that.”
Nevertheless, Gill was quick to praise Sheikh Mansour for the way he has made an impact at City and he feels the club is very well run.
“They made mistakes but they now have a very good team and you can’t argue with that,” he added. “I think you also have to give credit to their vision, so to speak.
“What they’ve done in conjunction with the Manchester city council in east Manchester is fantastic. If Sheikh Mansour decided he wanted to sell the club tomorrow, what he’s left there, in terms of the development of that whole area, is unbelievable and is great testament to what they have done.
“Clearly, they have raised their game and it is a very well run club. It’s very exciting for the Premier League. They will, without a doubt, be a long-term player and a force to be reckoned with for many years.
“And I think Manchester United have got to respond to that as well as other clubs.”