Saturday, June 10, 2023

Success for Manchester City – but is everyone thrilled about that?

Graham Fisher in Editorial, English Premier League 12 May 2011



Like many people I only feel I can offer slightly grudging and slightly jealous congratulations to Manchester City for achieving their aim of Champions League football. The less than impressive 1-0 win over Tottenham on Tuesday means that they will take their place amongst Europe’s elite next season. Of course, they also have the chance to win their first trophy in many years when they take on Stoke in Saturday’s FA Cup final.


Despite spending obscene amounts of money, £150 million in the last year alone, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for manager Roberto Mancini and his men. It has proved to be a difficult and complicated task to get these superstar, multi-million pound players torespect each other and play as a team.

Their man main and talisman, Carlos Tevez, has made it clear that he feels his future is elsewhere and seems to have a difficult relationship with Mancini. They even argued about how long Tevez should warm up for before coming on for the last ten minutes of Tueday’s game. The introduction to the club of the wayward Mario Balotelli has caused further unrest and reports of arguments and training ground bust-ups have abounded.


It is very clear that there have been some players who simply aren’t pulling their weight for the club, or at least are not prepared to pull in the same direction as everyone else. Coping with the egos of some of the players has been a tough task for Mancini, but he has managed to achieve some success despite that and deserves some credit.

The positives are that they are in the Cup final, they have qualified for the Champions League, they have more money than they know what to do with and they can now entice the sort of players only they can afford to the club in order to achieve more success from now on.


On the playing side there are also some positives. Joe Hart has done well in goal and looks like being England’s number one for a few years to come. Vincent Kompany has been outstanding at the back and is undoubtedly one of the best in the country. Nigel de Jong does a solid job and Yaya Toure and David Silva have been excellent signings. Carlos Tevez, if he can be persuaded to stay, will cause teams trouble all over Europe.

There are a few negatives as well. In the big games this season Mancini has set out his side in a fashion that is about as negative as a team can possibly be. Watching the game against Tottenham the other night as a neutral, we all said that City scoring was the worst thing that could happen to the game. We said it would end 1-0 and that Manchester City would stop attacking. That was exactly what happened and when Mancini took off Adam Johnson and put on Patrick Vierra, his views on how to play the game were clear for everyone to see.


A second negative is that the rest of the football world is looking on and sneering at City because we all think that anyone could simply buy success. It actually isn’t that simple but there is some truth in those sentiments. I don’t suppose City will care too much what other people think and they will probably rightly say that the rest of us are simply jealous.

The third negative is that the current playing staff are actually not good enough to make an impression on Europe and that Mancini’s style, with those players, will not work. The likes of Lescott, Zabaletta, Milner, Barry and Vierra are not good enough and Balotelli and Dzeko look to be challenging Fernando Torres to be the biggest waste of money in the Premier League. Of course, City can afford to go out and buy four or five world class stars if they choose to do so, but we have already seen that problems can arise if they do.


The Manchester City fans have been through an awful lot over the years and I am genuinely pleased for them that they are tasting some success after all those barren years. They have been loyal to the club whatever the circumstances and they deserve a bit of glory.

So, I offer my congratulations to the club but I do so reservedly as I cannot feel totally comfortable with how their success has been achieved.


Graham Fisher



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