After ending Manchester City's long wait for silverware and tipping English football's balance of power to the blue half of the city, Roberto Mancini established the perfect platform to dominate the Premier League - and perhaps Europe - for years to come.
The Italian had wealth beyond his rivals to draw on and a collection of the best players in the world at his disposal.
How did it all go so wrong in the space of 12 months?
Poor dealings in the transfer market, the appointment of new personnel in the technical staff and an apparent lack of motivation among players are the underlying factors in City's undoubted regression this season, ultimately costing Mancini his job.
From a position of strength, City is now back behind Manchester United and likely to face fresh challenges next season from a Chelsea team set to be revitalized with the hiring of Jose Mourinho, as well as from a Liverpool team widely expected to continue its improvement under Brendan Rodgers. Lucrative new commercial deals signed this season could see Arsene Wenger finally spend some money at Arsenal, too.
It's been one step forward and two steps back for City. A golden opportunity could have been lost and it may be hard to recover.
All signs are pointing to City appointing Manuel Pellegrini as its new manager. The Chilean is highly respected in Spain after his impressive body of work at Real Madrid, Villarreal and Malaga but he will be new to the demands of the Premier League.
Having conquered the Premier League once, City's Abu Dhabi ownership want to see the club established as a force in Europe and challenge the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich on a consistent basis.
City has failed to make it out of the group stage in either of its two seasons in the Champions League, with three points from six games this season an embarrassing total.
With its resources and ambition, the City job remains an attractive one and the task of knocking United off top spot once again will provide the new manager with all the motivation he needs. With Alex Ferguson gone, the chances of that happening surely improve.