City owner Sheikh Mansour did not invest £350m for a day out at Wembley – he could have secured even the most expensive seat in the house on Saturday for less than the change he leaves in the ashtray of his car.
His mission statement when he took charge of Eastlands less than three years ago was to shift the balance of power from Red to Blue.
Roberto Mancini has weathered the muck and bullets of a turbulent first full season in charge to give the clearest indication yet that City can become a major force on the pitch, as well as in the transfer market.
Against a typically physical and dogged Stoke, City had the look of a team that befitted its huge cost – rather than 11 disparate individuals, as has sometimes been the case this season.
And in Yaya Toure they have a player who epitomises what money can buy, and must only embolden Mansour’s belief that the game’s biggest players can achieve his objectives.
Willed away from Barcelona, the midfielder’s intervention in both the semi final and final of the cup showed exactly the type of quality that money can buy.
But they can also help guide through the young England stars such as Adam Johnson, Joe Hart and Micah Richards, who have the hunger to succeed playing alongside the world’s best players.
“I’m sure we’ll go out in the summer and spend a bit more and try to get some even bigger players,” said Richards, who is expected to be offered a much improved deal in the summer following an impressive season for the Blues.
“It’s always nice to get the first trophy out of the way but it’s just a stepping stone for what we’re trying to do.
“The fans have supported us over the years with United doing so well and being so successful down the road.
“Now this is the start of something with the FA Cup and the Champions League, but we are a long way behind them.”
Udinese’s Alexis Sanchez and Inter Milan’s Wesley Sneijder, are the type of players to add extra flair, Inter’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema could provide the cutting edge that will have to be replaced if Carlos Tevez leaves while Bolton’s Gary Cahill is another possible target.
Toure and Tevez have proved that cash can buy class and will be the benchmarks when Mancini raids Europe’s elite this summer.
Mancini’s assistant, David Platt, believes this season’s success will convince the very best to join the City revolution.
“We’ve made a big step up this year in terms of the players that have come in,” he said. “As the season has gone on, we’ve become more self-assured.
“The next progression now is to go and compete for the title. Nobody is bragging about what we’ve done, we’ve got to make sure we do what we have to in the summer.
“By winning something and hopefully securing qualification to the Champions League we will hopefully become more attractive to the kind of players that will give us that next step up in quality.
“Hopefully we will have a successful summer in attracting the targets that we’ve got.
“We’ve got a target list that is pretty wide at this moment in time.
“We’ve got to narrow that down and make sure we add people that we feel will add quality to the squad.”
Platt wants to see a time when success for City is not judged by United’s achievements but their own.
“The football club has had to suffer, it has had to suffer in the shadow of another club that has done magnificently,” he said.
“They won the league and you can’t take anything away from them.
“We won’t be on a level with them until we start winning trophies on a regular basis.
“But to be in and around them on that level, to compete with them, is tremendous for the football club.
“What we will get eventually is a mentality change in the supporters so the be all and end all isn't necessarily to outdo Manchester United. The be all and end all will be to win trophies.
“It’s very difficult to them to understand that at this time. What got me the other week was when we were playing and Arsenal beat United. There was a big cheer around the ground.
“You can understand that there is a rivalry but in the cold light of day we can actually get third place if Arsenal drop points.
“If we start continuing to win games and continuing to win trophies then there will be a mentality change.
“What’s important is winning trophies rather than just winning derby matches.
“I don’t think it will be 35 years before Manchester City pick up another trophy.”