On today of all days it is an obvious comparison to make, but then football very often has a habit of conveniently ignoring the obvious.
Less than 12 months ago Roberto Mancini climbed onto an open-top bus to show off the Premier League trophy, just as Sir Alex Ferguson will today. Informed observers heralded the potential dawn of a fascinating battle for supremacy in Manchester and in British football.
Well, what a letdown. Mancini and City have failed and he will pay for it with his job.
He had his chance though. With two trophies under his belt and a seemingly bottomless drawer of cash to plunge into, this season really could have seen the beginning of a shift in power. But City stuttered and stagnated, barely treading water. Despite finishing second it was a pretty spineless title defence.
So, if Mancini goes, then so be it. That is the modern way.
But what should never be the ‘accepted model’ is the manner of his departure, which has been painfully public in its handling by the club.
We talk a lot about respect in football - mostly about behaviour on the pitch - but here is an example away from the playing surface and it doesn’t really do the game any favours.
Mancini is by no means the first to be humiliated like this, and his pay-off means he won’t have to work again if he doesn’t want to. But his case proves that respect is about so much more than how the players conduct themselves.
If Manuel Pellegrini does come in, then both Manchester clubs will be led by two new men whose most recent jobs have been managing two middling teams to relatively modest success.
Both face enormous tasks. But ask yourself this: would you rather be leading a club that has just said goodbye to its manager of 26 years, or one for whom an FA Cup, a Premier League title and a second place-finish all in three years simply won’t cut it?
It’s the modern way.