Saturday, September 12, 2009

Manchester City: Fast Becoming the Most Hated Team In the EPL?

Newcastle United, in they hay-day were everyone's favourite second team, they were beautiful to watch. As is the current Manchester City team, but unlike Newcastle, this City team are beginning to get up peoples noses. Why?

As ever, there are a number of reasons, some of them are credible while others aren't. Let's take a look...

For a start, Manchester City have more money than possibly the entire Premiership combined. And at the very least they're "richer than astronauts" to quote Homer J.

In the space of one year, Manchester City have gone from sleeping giant to wide awake stomping screaming giant. They have spent roughly £200 million in that same period and have recruited some of the biggest names in world football.

Part of their overall strategy is to buy well known players, semi-galactico's if you will. As they strive to become better known in China, because to quote Garry Cook their Chief Executive "Richard Dunne doesn't roll off the tongue in Beijing."

This new found wealth has of course made many fans jealous.

Some are shouting from the roof tops that this is an outrage, one team shouldn't be allowed to buy all those star players and effectively buy the league.

They say that Manchester city should go back into their little box, and only aspire to be some fans second favourite team.

With that obvious wealth, Manchester City have been able to force transfers through. Robinho joined for £32m from Real Madrid, but he thought he was signing for Manchester United if you believe all that you read...

Everton were forced to sell one of their star players, Joleon Lescott, after City made it known they would treble his wages. Lescott then pretty much forced the transfer through.

Manchester City have also forcefully recruited at Arsenal, taking two of their established stars, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor, for some £40m. This even caused one of the Arsenal board members to question the sale asking "Why are we selling two of our best players to our rivals?"

Money talks Mr. Usmanov.

So far we've touched on two linked topics, money...and how City use it to force transfers through.

To be honest, I don't see either as an issue.

Manchester City are entitled to spend their money as they see fit.

In football there is always a bigger fish, it's the way of our economic world. It just so happens that City are currently the team with bottomless pockets.

Football has always had a team like this. Especially in England.

Funnily enough, Manchester City were England's richest and most powerful club in the early 1900's before the FA forced them to sell their star players and imposed bans on others after match fixing and over-payment allegations.

Wolves, Preston, and Burnley dominated the '50s, Spurs the early '60s, United the late '60s, Liverpool the '70s and '80s and so on.

The point being that the clubs I mentioned had massive pockets during those periods and bought the very best players available to them at the time. What City are doing now is no different, more power to them.

In forcing transfers through when clubs don't want to sell certain players, well, tough.

Everton forced Wolves to sell Lescott to them for £5m. They offered him better wages and a bigger stage and there is no difference between them and City. It's something every club does. Arsenal did it to sign Toure and Adebayor, Liverpool did it when signing Torres, and so on.

It's the way the game within the game works. It's not perfect but that's the way it is.

Just look at the whole Carlos Tevez transfer debacle. City fans cried from the same roof tops as opposing fans when they signed him ahead of United, Liverpool, and Chelsea.

With Tevez saying he turned down the £25m deal from United because he felt "unloved" and that he turned Liverpool and Chelsea down out of respect for United's fans because he "didn't want to join a rival club."

So he joined their city rivals?

In a deal reportedly worth £47m, almost double what the three leading Premiership teams were offering. I guess loyalty can be bought...

Elsewhere, Manchester City sold Richard Dunne to Aston Villa. This particular transfer was dealt with poorly by City.

Football is a cruel sport and business. Everyone is out for themselves first and the team next. Dunne, the club captain signed a new four year deal last summer, before the take over.

But as we all know his name "doesn't roll off the tongue in Beijing."

The writing was on the wall from the very day that Cook uttered those poorly chosen words.

As City went on their buying spree, Dunne met with Mark Hughes to discuss his future, and was assured that as captain he had one.

Two weeks later and Dunne is wearing claret and blue.

City are more than entitled to sell who they want. But Dunne has been with the club for nine years, recently signed a new contract, was promised a testimonial, was club captain, and was player of the year four out of the last five years.

Certain years, he single-handedly kept them up.

But as in all of football, the rule is "yeah...but what have you done for me lately?" Dunne just didn't fit with the direction that the club want to go.

It wasn't a footballing decision, it was a purely economic one, despite City laughingly and insultingly telling Dunne they needed to sell him to balance the books...

And while Everton fans barracked Lescott who had just signed a new four year deal, City fans said nowt while Dunne was sold, after signing a four year deal.

The glorious logic of football encased in two transfers.

I have sympathy for the way Dunne was treated by City. But the consolation for Dunne is that he is well paid and received compensation from City for the move to Villa.

In the glory years of the '70s and '80s players often stayed at clubs for their entire careers and all they got at the end of a stay with a club was a letter saying thanks for their service.

In this regard football has come on leaps and bounds.

And this is probably why it is very rare to hear ex-pro's giving out about how much money players earn these days.

It's cruel and heartless and they're entitled to earn as much as they can.

One minor thing that rankles me though is the way Emmanuel Adebayor celebrated his goal against Arsenal, and then his poor apology afterwards.

After racing 120 yards to celebrate at the far end of the pitch where the Arsenal fans were nestled, he blatantly goaded them.

This doesn't reflect on City as a club but on Adebayor as a person. A few months ago Arsenal were paying Adebayor and he was kissing their badge as he celebrated scoring, roll forward a few weeks and he's taunting the very fans he used to celebrate with.

A childish and immature thing to do, and it reflects on the mercenary character of Adebayor.

Give it a season or two and he'll be doing the same thing against City. Some players are just muppets. And I haven't even mentioned him kicking van Persie in the face while he was on the ground...

All in all, City are entitled to splash their cash how they feel. Every other club wishes they could do the same.

And as long as they play good football the media will stay on their side. Because as soon as they become Rafa or Jose functional, they will turn on them.

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