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City ready to challenge United for title

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Dan Walker | 13:08 UK time, Wednesday, 24 August 2011

My first full-time job as a sports reporter was for a local radio station in Manchester. One of my tasks was to take in Joe Royle interviews – the then manager of Manchester City - and edit them for our Saturday show. They were always entertaining.

I remember him having an argument with a collection of journalists over the quality of a striker called Robert Taylor. Taylor had scored against City in the Division Two play-off final of 1999 for Gillingham and was snapped up by Royle about six months later.

One of the assembled voices had referred to Taylor as a “pub player” in his commentary and Royle was not a happy bunny. “You’ve got to realise that I have to work within a budget!” he said. “Who do you expect me to bring in... Ronaldo?”

I was reminded of that story when City splashed another bucketload of cash this week. Samir Nasri is the latest man persuaded that the future looks bright in laser blue.

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The days when supporters used to call our football phone-in to defend their often-booed captain Richard Edghill and sing the praises of Kevin Horlock (or Super Kevin Horlock) seem an awfully long way away.

Even the excitement at the arrival of Kevin Keegan, and the dazzling skills of Eyal Berkovic and Ali Benarbia, have faded into the shadows created by the current crop of superstars.

On the day Keegan arrived, there were hundreds of fans outside the club reception. He made a joke about his mother telling him never to play near the “Maine Road” – everybody laughed. His name was all over the Manchester Evening News that night and he was talking about stealing some of the limelight away from Sir Alex Ferguson’s lot down the road. City fans believed he could do it.

Keegan left Manchester in 2005. In the six years since, things have changed immensely. Ronaldo isn’t playing for them but, if he (the Brazilian Ronaldo, that is) was in the prime of life - and a few stones lighter - he might well be tempted.

Two seasons ago, I asked Mark Lawrenson about the future for Manchester City on my first Football Focus. He predicted that they would win the league within three years.

That’s why I’m backing them to do it this year. Manchester United look slick again and Ferguson has built yet another impressive young squad but, if manager Roberto Mancini can get his team to click (and importantly the bosses believe he can) then they will be mighty close to the league championship come May.

One man who is particularly impressed with Mancini’s transfer dealings is Rafa Benitez - back on Football Focus last weekend.

I’ll be honest with you, I used to be a Benitez doubter. I’d sat through hundreds of press conferences and interviews with the Spaniard and never been entirely convinced that he was a football colossus. I was wrong.

I’ve written in the past about how he divides opinion but you don’t have to spend long in his company to realise how much he knows and how passionate he is about the game.

Now I don’t want this blog to turn into a “how much did Benitez really spend at Liverpool” debate because, frankly, it’s boring. I would love to see how he does when he dips his toe into management again.

The Aston Villa job wasn’t right because the club were not willing to spend the money needed to make the top four. He will be back but, as he said last week, it’s all about the “right opportunity” and he might have to hang around for a while.

After the show, Stoke defender Danny Higginbotham, Benitez and I had a 10-minute chat just outside the studio. Higginbotham was firing questions at the former Liverpool boss, who was responding with remarkable story after remarkable story.

You know it’s a good tale when a Premier League footballer’s jaw drops. Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger, David Moyes and Sergio Aguero were some of his specialist subjects but – as per usual – the conversation ended with a Spanish smile and a “keep all that to yourself... right?”.

There is no Benitez on Football Focus this week but we’ve got another packed programme for you. I need to remind you that we are on at 1130 BST this week.

You’ll hear from Nani and John Terry (amongst others) and we’ll hopefully grab a word with Uwe Rosler. He also played for a very different looking Manchester City but has been through an awful lot since and is now the Brentford boss.

If you have any questions or comments about Football Focus, you’d like to suggest something for the show or you can tell me whether to put Rooney or Aguero in my fantasy league team then put your thoughts below.

I’ll come back to answer some of your queries and if you want to keep up to date with all the thrills and spills of Football Focus you can find me on Twitter at twitter.com/danwalkerbbc

Don’t forget - an early start at 1130 BST on BBC 1. Tell your friends.

 

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Uwe Rosler is certainly from a very different generation of City footballer, but he seems to have gotten off to a good start with Brentford. Seemed a rather surprising move at the time to put someone with no managerial experience at that level in a job like that, but they have got off to a pretty handy start in the league. It would be good to see what might be termed a less fashionable club from League 1 that hasn't been in the Premier League doing well. They showed they're a good Cup team last season so hopefully they can do well in the League too this time around.

    I think Aguero in the long term will be a better choice for your fantasy team. Particularly if you combine him with David Silva. Although Aguero didn't put his chances away the other day, they were lined up for him by the likes of Silva pretty consistently. Being that they seem to be much more attack minded this season, it should provide plenty of opportunities for goals/points. And we all know what points make. Rooney has got off to a decent start too, but once Hernandez comes back into the team, I think he might nick more of the chances than Rooney.

    Larry Grayson

  • Comment number 2.

    based on how the 2 teams have been assembled and the play they have produced so far and the manager of course there is still only one team in my view. city are threatening tho.

    1st time post on your blog Dan so i'll be.....

    paul newman

  • Comment number 3.

    City will be a lot closer this year and I like the improved attacking style of this team.

    Hopefully the blog won't turn into how much did Rafa spend, though best not to be too optimistic.

    But did 'Fantastic Mr Facts' give you any more facts Dan?

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm of the opinion that Rafa is an absoloute footballing genius and would love him up at Newcastle! Although the fatty that signs the cheques doesn't have a cheque book so its not gonna tempt Benitez.

    Man City are looking good this year, they seem more willing to push forward and leave gaps in behind which makes for exciting football for a neutral. I would say the sheer squad depth and quality at Mancini's disposal may be the difference come the back end of the season when injusries play a part. Fergies young players are excellent but they lack the experience and quality down the road.

    In my opinion anyway :)

    Oh and you should totally have Rooney and Aguero, just pick a rubbish midfield.

  • Comment number 5.

    I think we need to hear more about these stories Rafa has been telling you!

    BTW - Always go for Wazza!

    MUFC

  • Comment number 6.

    I believe Uwe Rosler managed in Europe:

    see below:

    After making a full recovery from lung cancer, he returned to Lillestrøm SK, and took the managers seat in 2005. He led Lillestrøm to two successive fourth place finishes in the league, and also took them to the final of the Norwegian Cup in 2005 and the Royal League final in 2006, subsequently losing both. These results failed to satisfy the Lillestrøm board, and on 13 November 2006 he was sacked from his position along with assistant coach Gunnar Halle.[15]

    Rösler was appointed manager of Viking FK, another Norwegian team, on 22 November 2006,[16] replacing Tom Nordlie, who took over Rösler's old job at Lillestrøm SK in an ironic turn of events. In the 2007 season he lead Viking FK to a third place in the Norwegian Premier League.[17] On 18 November 2009 it was announced that Uwe Rösler was leaving Viking FK.[18]

    On 31 August 2010, he was hired by Molde FK on a short-term contract. During Molde's last eight games of the season, he doubled the team's total number of points, didn't lose once, and saved them from relegation.[citation needed] Despite this, he was replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjær in November 2010 ready for the start of the 2011 season.[19][20]

    The season is fresh, at this juncture last year both WBA and Blackpool had started off well. I do believe CITY are playing with a little more swagger, which I feel evolved from their FA Cup win. If you watch the CITY games at the back end of the 2010-2011 season they played well.

    I love the CITY midfield. De Jong is key, also Silva, and Johnson provides width. The speed to which CITY break is fantastic and they usually have 4-5 supporting players including Richards. (by the way if Richards is not in the next England squad it will be a travesty, he has been excellent for the last 8 months)

    Early doors, early doors.

  • Comment number 7.

    After seeing the Spurs game I am really impressed how ManU won handily in the end with a revamped side. They were far more entertaining than City.
    Mancini must win the league with the players at his disposal or he will be sacked ( can you imagine Fergie being in that situatio?!)
    And why buy Nasri when they have Silva?

  • Comment number 8.

    Rooney OR Aguero? Why not both!

  • Comment number 9.

    City won away to Bolton and for the first time Mancini played a more attack minded game. However it seems this was forced upon him because De Jong was left out because he was caring a knock.

    So he went with Yaya, Milner and Silva.
    From a city fans point if view, I hope he has learnt from this and realises that just the one defensive midfielder is more than enough.
    Especially against the prems 'lesser' teams.

    Not sure what would be his strongest line up though.
    Kolos ban is up soon. Will he stick with Lescott?
    Will he pick a fully fit Tevez ahead of Dzecko and Aguero?
    Nice selection headache to have.

    For city's next game I would go with-

    Hart

    Richards
    Kompany
    Lescott
    Kolarov

    Yaya
    Milner(awesome in Sunday)
    Nasir

    Silva
    Dzecko
    Aguero

    His long term starting XI remains open to debate.

    I've got a feeling though, Chelsea will have a good go at Utd this season.
    Maybe offer more of a challenge than City.

    Loosing makes you stronger.
    Sounds funny but maybe city need to finish 2nd, learn from the experience
    And then maybe they will be ready to win the league.

  • Comment number 10.

    Why buy Nasri?

    Ask any CITY supporter and they will tell you the same thing, we need a creative left sided midfield player, simple.

    Silva is given license to roam, thats what makes him special.

    In addition I believe MR. Mancini wants 2 similar type players for key positions. Plenty of games this year, plenty of opportunities.

  • Comment number 11.

    I really want City Fans to talk about the old days and how it feels to be where they are as opposed to when they were in the old division 2 - it much feel weird to go from relatively successful to awful and then to where we are now... discuss?

  • Comment number 12.

    With potentially a 60 game plus fixture list City will need both Nasri and Silva because of injuries, Suspensions (unlikely) with Mancini resting players every single member of the squad will get enough games in to satisfy not only their own ambitions but to help the whole squad gell and they will.

    Mancini is getting it right and apart from a bit of tweeking in the back line I honestly think City will win the title and have a long run in the Champions League....

  • Comment number 13.

    9.At 15:59 24th Aug 2011, Zeemo wrote:

    For city's next game I would go with-

    Hart

    Richards
    Kompany
    Lescott
    Kolarov

    Yaya
    Milner(awesome in Sunday)
    Nasir

    Silva
    Dzecko
    Aguero

    Zeemo, I may play Glichy instaed of Kolarov due to the pace of Lennon, he seems to skin any CITY fullbak he has faced over the last 3 years.

    I loved the way Milner played Sunday but I find it hard to leave out De Jong, he does a great job in possession and defending.

    Just a view.

  • Comment number 14.

    We're certainly ready to challenge...but win it? who knows! I think it'll be a 3 horse race at the end...Liverpool will be there for a good while but don't think they'll Win the league! Nasri is a great addition as we can't rely on Silva in every game! I have defended Mario Balotelli to the bitter end in the past but the way Edin has started and Carlos still here (for now) I really cant see where he will fit in! I think the only edge that UTD have is winning mentality (certainly not better players) Very Very excited about the season :) CTID

  • Comment number 15.

    Man Utd fan here. I think City will be challenging this year but whilst they may have better players, on average, than even United they dont play as well as a "team" so United will wib it with City 2nd.

    Anyway an interesting thought, would Benitez be a perfect replacement for Wenger if they fail to stay in the CL or when they fail to win anything for a 7th year? He would have money to spend, and when he had it at Liverpool he bought the likes on Torres, Reina and Xabi Alonso. Forgetting the zonal marking blunders in his final year he had a good defnsive mind which Arsenal desperately need... Just a thought!

  • Comment number 16.

    7 because Silva and Nasri are different type of players. Both are technically excellent but Silva's passing game is far superior and he can spot the passes and through balls which only the likes of Fabregas and Xavi can. Also Silva is far more consistent. Rarely have i seen him have a bad game.

    City have an amazing pool of talent at the disposal. Money can't buy you success but it sure as hell can give you all the tools to be successful. Time will tell..

  • Comment number 17.

    If City can convince me they can win ugly i will start to believe they are serious serious contenders to challenge united.

    Mind you, they do have an amazing squad now and an attacking force of tevez aguero nasri and silva is just frightening.

    How should city line up from now on? How do they accomodate all of these wonderful talents?

    Well the way i'd do it is go with a similar formation to the one my team peterborough united play, the diamond.

    -----------Hart-----------

    Richards--Kompany--Lescott--Clichy
    --------De Jong------

    Yaya------------Nasri

    ------silva-------

    Tevez/dzeko----aguero.

    Frightening really. If City could purchase another world class centre half to partner kompany i think they could even be challenging for the champions league.

  • Comment number 18.

    @16 - Not sure thats 100% Pretty sure I read a stat that Nasri completed more killer balls (i.e.goal chances/final 1/3) Followed by the likes of Modric/Silva etc... correct me if i'm wrong

  • Comment number 19.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 20.

    9 and 13.

    The terrifying thing is that you could pick all of City's best players in one team, and still have enough left for a potential top 4 team with the remains. My personal first choice is as follows:

    Hart
    Richards Kompany K Toure Clichy
    Y Toure De Jong
    Nasri Silva
    Dzeko Aguero


    And (though I will use Hart twice) look what we have left!

    Hart
    Zabaleta Lescott Onuoha Kolarov
    Johnson Barry Milner
    Tevez Adebayor Balotelli

    The quality of the squad is such that it wouldn't be immediately apparent which one is the first choice XI (though Onuoha may give it away), which suggests there should be strong competition for places. Silva and Nasri are far from undroppable when they have Johnson and Milner fighting for their spots. Hopefully (if you're a City fan) this won't translate into too much pressure, leading to a lack of composure in front of goal, but Dzeko seems to be brimming with confidence, and Aguero does not look fazed by the Premier League so far, despite his misses at Bolton.

  • Comment number 21.

    Man City are going to have a superb team this year.

    I think they'll push for the league all the way and here's why. Some managers are naturally attacking minded, such as Ferguson, Dalglish and Wenger, while some are naturally defensively minded, like Mourinho, Bentiez and Mancini.

    Defensive minded coaches I believe are concerned with clean sheet first, and goals later. It's an admirable stance to hold, but it relies and on attacking game that can tick over by itself. And now Man City have added some unbelievable attackers to their ranks, when they do have the ball in the final third, there is a much better chance this season than last, that they will end up sticking the ball in the net.

    I think the general concensus is that their best team is:

    Hart

    Richards Kompany Lescott Clichy

    de Jong Yaya Toure

    Silva Aguero Nasri

    Dzeko

    With Tevez being able to be called upon until January at least. Defensively they are strong, physically. They have muscle, height and pace and a quality young keeper. Lescott definitely isn't up to the standard they aspire to be at, but it's not a massive problem right now. Clichy is similar: good, but not top drawer.

    Then in midfield they have the best defensive midfielder in the league, an absolute enforcer in Nigel de Jong. Toure is a terrific all round central midfielder, he'll help out at both ends.

    Then, the exciting bit, comes in attack. There is so much flare, movement, pace and goals in that attack. If they can find the balance where they can play those four in attack, then they'll batter many a team, and be competitive in all of the big games this year.

    If they don't do it this year, then to be honest, Mancini will have failed with the amount of money he has spent.

  • Comment number 22.

    I cannot help contrasting all these "strength in depth" comments about Man City with the current state of Arsenal- boy what radically different summers for the two clubs. As many have observed Man U have gone from strength to strength too. I'm just repeating what others have said, but form my point of view it is bad news.
    Now back to the antibiotics.
    Fred Keenor

  • Comment number 23.

    18. I don't know really but like i said they are different types of players in my opinion. Nasri is more comparable to Iniesta while Silva is more like Fabregas. If i had to choose one though it would be Silva. He's more consistent and can spot the kind of passes that you normally associate with Fabregas/Xavi.

  • Comment number 24.

    @18, that's also a function of Nasri being a second year starter in an established squad that was setup to play attacking football.

    Silva? First year in a hastily assembled squad that was setup primarily not to drop points.

    Little wonder last year's stats favor Nasri. It was apparent last term that Silva was liable to be a tour de force this year, and if Mancini wants to play attacking ball...

  • Comment number 25.

    If you trawl the blogs from the last few years and each August you will find plenty of support from our citeh friends that THIS will be their year. Go back far enough and you will see some even more deluded berties from August 1982 expressing their belief that come May '83 the title will be at Maine Rd.
    The only title won at legoland that year was the best jig by a bloke in a cream coloured suit that anybody had ever seen.
    As we near the £500m figure spent in 3yrs by a rich bloke...what do we make of it all? The days of 5/6 players from the academy are long gone,which suggest's a an improvement in class of player. Only Richards,bought from Oldham just before his 15th birthday,get's a sniff these days.
    The rest have been signed purely for the cash.
    When Nasri proclaims he would rather be in Barca or Madrid,he's not joking. When he prefers to sign for United,and due to politics he's prevented from doing so,well it's a free world and all that.
    citeh will mount a challenge finally. They could'nt really do anything else,could they? We will see Ballottery once again embarrass the club. We will see Tevez,after belittling Manchester during the summer,suddenly express undying love. We will see Mancini,when the pressure builds,revert to 10 man defence and settle for a point when 3 are on offer. And the bertie fans(bless) will follow the cringeworthy Posnan with the return of the bananas.
    My beloved Reds will keep their counsel(no pun)..will be benevolent when needed..say the right things at the right time..still see Liverpool as our biggest game..and hopefully,come May,be celebrating No20, which will be all the sweeter.

  • Comment number 26.

    Thanks for a good post Dan, nice to remind myself of Super Kevin Horlock (and Danny Tiatto et al.) Despite the obvious difference in class compared to today's players, they [mostly] tried ther best and going to Maine Road to watch the team in those days, you really felt as if you were PART OF THE CLUB. Perversely enough, I think back on those days as Happy Days! (easy to say that now I suppose).

    Although the team's fortunes took a dive, it was 'cool' to support City back then, almost cultish - the Gallagher brothers were in on it as well when Oasis were at their peak. The neutrals loved City as well. Poor lickle City!

    Now we are rich (well, it's true) and have a major trophy, and are finishing closer to the top of the league every year. And no-one likes us any more!! Of well, we'll get over it!

    I'll pick you up on one thing though, the future won't be laser blue, City are (thankfully) back in sky blue.

  • Comment number 27.

    After finishing joint second (on points) last season plus wining the cup and adding numerous extra high quality finished article players this summer to an already huge talent pool that has had some time to learn each others names, I can't see how City can fail to win the title this year.

    Utd looked good against Spurs but they always roll over at OT.

    No excuses for City, title or failure. And I recckon they are worth a few quid to win the Champions League too given the amount of players they have who can produce the sublime out of nowhere.

  • Comment number 28.

    @ 23 / 24 - agree entirely, for me Silva will be PL player of season this year!

  • Comment number 29.

    Man City will win the PL and dominate for years to come in the same way Chelsea did.

    How many Man Utd players would make their starting eleven? 2? And Chelsea's? 1 perhaps.

    Their squad strength is unbelievable, and Mancini looks like he has finally mastering PL tactics.

  • Comment number 30.

    Kinkladze was my favourite as a kid. Things have really changed a lot since those days of having a pretty poor team and dropping two tiers. It's an odd sensation really, at times it doesn't feel real. Is this the same club we used to see while freezing our backsides off at Maine Road and watching Shaun Goater bag yet another unlikely goal? Now they threaten to stride the international stage, where at one time the media radar hardly registered the existance of Manchester City FC. I don't want to lose our spirit, our soul. What made the club was the great fan base (30 odd thousand attendance in division 2) and their sense of humour. We never really took ourselves too seriously, and it's important we stay that way. Ask Kevin Keegan about the fans at our club, he'll have no end to the complements. He liked us, we liked him. If we fans stay true to our root (we're a working class club after all) then we should be fine.

  • Comment number 31.

    Rosler has had good experience managing in the dutch league before he got brentford gig

  • Comment number 32.

    Do BBC realise there are more teams in the Premier League than Man City? I'm seriously starting to wonder whether City have paid BBC to give them as much coverage as possible. A Directors box perhaps? I am getting a little bored with the whole thing. Isn't it obvious that a team that throws silly money around is going to be challenging for top honours? The real story would be if they didn't.

  • Comment number 33.

    Gavlaa @ 22 that is the side that is the side!

  • Comment number 34.

    30. thats a great post mate. I hope City never forget their identity. When you get so much in such less time its so easy to get your ego and pride mixed up, you wonder which is which. Lets be honest it has happened to many a clubs..

  • Comment number 35.

    @29 - I think you've set your self up for some abuse there my friend

  • Comment number 36.

    @13 Sheep (may I call you Sheep?)

    May have to agree to disagree then.

    My thinking was Kolarov can maybe bomb forward and keep Lennon busy defending. Add to that the Spurs RB (Corluka) will be faced with Silva, both Spurs players could have there hands full defending so Lennon doesnt get a chance to skin anyone.

    But using your thinking, faced with Lennon, I would pick Zabaleta ahead of Clichy.
    Argentinian full backs love a good, tricky winger to battle against!

    Milner - I've been arguing this point for ages. He is an awesome
    central midfielder. He was great when he played there for Villa.
    He's wasted wide on the right/left.
    If he was given a run in the centre he would get a chance to prove how good he actually is.

    Now im no city fan so may get slated for this but when hes running at defenders in the attacking half he reminds me of Gerrard in full flow.

    The reason im so interested in Milner even though im not a city fan?
    Maybe he could excel for England playing in that position.

  • Comment number 37.

    For me Man City have looked good but tehy have not yet being tested fully, when that happens then you can qualify if they are ready for winning the league.

    www.football-lad.com

  • Comment number 38.

    @29,

    Fallacious statements about that Blue team in London aren't going to make them true for that Blue team in Manchester.

  • Comment number 39.

    Dan- It does seem strange that Rafa is still hanging around in the North West? Maybe he's looking for a PL Manager's job to suddenly appear, lets think now, perhaps he is waiting for King Kenny to 'mess-up' at Liverpool, or maybe for SAF to retire at Man Utd, or David Moyes to get fed up at Everton, or Martinez to move on from Wigan, or....... just may be he's waiting for Manchini to fail at City? All that lovely Arab cash to spend, something he was short of at LFC!

    City did well last season, but the pressure on Roberto just keeps increasing, he has to win the PL this season, or perhaps the CL, maybe both, afterall he has enough top players now for 2 possibly 3 'top flight' teams. If City don't win one of the major prizes, i.e. PL or CL do you think Rafa will get a chance at the City Manager's job?

    Ironically with all the talk being about United's new GK making the grade (or not!), City 'achilles heel' this year could be in the No.1 position. Given was a excellent understudy for Hart, but if Hart gets an injury, not sure how that will pan-out!

    My money's still on SAF's 'know-how' to finish up with a 20th title, but City have earned their place at the 'big boys' table and will (have to) win something again this season.

  • Comment number 40.

    Here's my contribution playing 4-2-3-1
    Hart; Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; De Jong, Barry; Silva, Aguero, Nasri; Dzeko.
    That leaves Toure(Y), Balotelli, Johnson, Milner, Tevez, Zabaleta on the bench.

    No matter who you support, the prospects for City are immense. and before the Owed Trafford bitters get on this. remember, your current wealth was due to the G14 looking after themselves, 3 rights issues and 20 years of European money to swell the coffers. I acknowledge the achievements of the Salford lot over the years - but now our time has come (again). Blue Moon rising

  • Comment number 41.

    as an aside, on Mancini's survivability this season:

    CL + PL : Stays (obviously)
    CL + CL qualification (stays)
    PL + CL qualification (stays)
    Carling/FA Cup + CL qualification (might just stay)
    CL qualification alone (probably gone)
    Carling/FA Cup but no CL (probably gone)
    No Cup, No PL, No CL qualification (gone, obviously)

    That's how I see it anyway. Maybe the interpretation might be different to other people. I'm factoring in that he did a good job jast season which might bear significance.

  • Comment number 42.

    My money is still on Manchester Utd to win the title but on early evidence I think Manchester City look far more exciting whilst Utd appear to remain as functional as they were last season.

    http://thethoughtsofphil.wordpress.com

  • Comment number 43.

    31.At 16:42 24th Aug 2011, bongoal wrote:
    Rosler has had good experience managing in the dutch league before he got brentford gig

    ________________________________________________________________

    He managed in Norway (Lillestrom, Viking and Molde). He finished his playing at Lillestrom because he got the cancer and started coaching with this team once he was recovering from it. He did well in Norway with the teams he managed (cup final appearance for Lillestrom I think). I had him on a personal shortlist of trainers I wanted to coach my team IFK Goteborg before he went to England :)

  • Comment number 44.

    City and Chelsea are just about even imo, so both challenge United equally.
    Chelsea have the experience, whereas City have the ability, but as always there is a balance. The Blue Moon has certainly risen, but as of now it does not yet wield the power of the Red Sun.
    A united fan.

  • Comment number 45.

    I think City will get the PL, LC, FA Cup and the CL... probably have the PL wrapped up by Christmas and give the fist team a rest and let the 2nd's (maybe 3rd's) wrap up the rest of the cups... :-D

  • Comment number 46.

    A very noble gesture of you, your u-turn on Benitez.

    Nothing whatsoever to do with actually listening to the man's opinions on the game, as opposed to what almost every journo did which was unfairly hound a man out of his job while totally ignoring what was exploding around him?

    But, if meant in good grace, good for you.

  • Comment number 47.

    Rosler is a legend. Keith Curle is a bigger legend. But the biggest legend of all is Ian Brightwell....Who says that City weren't glamourous back in the day.


    Lucas Radebe

  • Comment number 48.

    42.
    At 17:23 24th Aug 2011, thoughtfulphil wrote:

    My money is still on Manchester Utd to win the title but on early evidence I think Manchester City look far more exciting whilst Utd appear to remain as functional as they were last season.
    __________________________________

    If you think Utd are simply as functional as last year, you've proven your powers of observation faulty enough to make posting your blog address moot.

    I suggest you take any game you like of United's from last year, and the game v. Tottenham and simply count the number of one-touch passes attempted.

    If this is how much thought you put into your blogs, I'll pass thanks.

  • Comment number 49.

    @48 armamentarium stultorum

    Have you actually done the calculations or are you just having a grumpy, guestimating...we are the bestest in the universe stab in the dark?

  • Comment number 50.

    29.At 16:42 24th Aug 2011, dogeared wrote:
    Man City will win the PL and dominate for years to come in the same way Chelsea did.

    ___________________________________________________________

    Good one that, How many years did Chelsea dominate for?

  • Comment number 51.

    @29

    Neutral fan here trying to answer your question....How many Utd players would make City's first eleven??

    You are talking City's admittedly talented players up like world beaters and presuming united's to be rubbish.

    How many Champions League or Premier League or La Liga or Scudetto titles have the City team got between em?

    Anyway, based on actual achievement and performance over many years, and not on how pretty they are, or on how they have played in the last fortnight.

    United Players that would and should get in the City eleven:

    Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Rooney, Berbatov (or do you really think Dzeko is better), Valencia.

    And clearly there are one or two United players who will go on to be great and one or two who are a bit over the hill but still excellent.

    I know that in De Jong, YaYa and Silva - City have a midfield of real class and decent experience and that their young keeper is more established than United's.....but I wouldn't swap one of City's defenders for United's (although Kompany has matured into a very fine player) and with Aguero yet to play a month in the Prem, right now I would still take Rooney all day long.

    If Fergie buys a De Rossi or a Sneijder and Cleverley turns out to be as good as many people think he is, where then are City stronger than United?

  • Comment number 52.

    How about a gamble on Anelka this weekend? As your captain? Norwich at home looks like a banker with goals in it and he scored last week (and only £8.5million in the official game).

  • Comment number 53.

    I have no respect for a club that tries to take short cuts to long term success. I sincerely hope the buying players and buying trophies principle falls as fast as it rises, because it would be sad times if 20 years of PL domination of team growing (ManUtd, Arsenal) was permanently eclipsed by ridiculous spending by Chelsea and Man City.

  • Comment number 54.

    25.At 16:38 24th Aug 2011, 1878onwards wrote:
    If you trawl the blogs from the last few years and each August you will find plenty of support from our citeh friends that THIS will be their year. Go back far enough and you will see some even more deluded berties from August 1982 expressing their belief that come May '83 the title will be at Maine Rd.
    The only title won at legoland that year was the best jig by a bloke in a cream coloured suit that anybody had ever seen.
    As we near the £500m figure spent in 3yrs by a rich bloke...what do we make of it all? The days of 5/6 players from the academy are long gone,which suggest's a an improvement in class of player. Only Richards,bought from Oldham just before his 15th birthday,get's a sniff these days.
    The rest have been signed purely for the cash.
    When Nasri proclaims he would rather be in Barca or Madrid,he's not joking. When he prefers to sign for United,and due to politics he's prevented from doing so,well it's a free world and all that.
    citeh will mount a challenge finally. They could'nt really do anything else,could they? We will see Ballottery once again embarrass the club. We will see Tevez,after belittling Manchester during the summer,suddenly express undying love. We will see Mancini,when the pressure builds,revert to 10 man defence and settle for a point when 3 are on offer. And the bertie fans(bless) will follow the cringeworthy Posnan with the return of the bananas.
    My beloved Reds will keep their counsel(no pun)..will be benevolent when needed..say the right things at the right time..still see Liverpool as our biggest game..and hopefully,come May,be celebrating No20, which will be all the sweeter.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yawnnnnnnnnnnn

    Good Morning 1878 onwards.

    Different day, same old rhetoric.

    How have Utd stayed at the top? they bought the best players, because they had the most money. Simple formula.

    Let say Leeds come up this year. Now Leeds are a pretty attractive proposition for a potential buyer, namely, like CITY they have a loyal fan base, one that continues to flourish in times of adversity. You see that is why oue "Arab Friends" chose us. They saw a team with some decent history rise from the ashes and they chose to make them better. Now back to Leeds, they come up and attract investment, lets say a lot of money.

    Suddenly Leeds can compete with the top clubs in the transfer market. They have a 3-5 year strategic plan to get better year on year. Initial outlay will be substantial because they have to get better in a hurry.

    See my point.

    United was built on Mr. Edwards money (World in ACTION 1980), they got luck at the right time but still required a dodgey stock flotation to take them to a different financial level.

    CITY still believe in youth and if your good enough you get a chance. (Richards, Hart, Wright Phillips, Onhura, Boyotta)

    Our 3-5 Year plan is moving along and the ripping down of that obnoxious OT banner is testament of how far we have travelled.

    Enjoy.

  • Comment number 55.

    @54 - well said, such boring predictable drivel above! I think they don't like their perch being rocked....soon to be toppled? who know's but I'm enjoying the story/progress so far!

    Must be terrifying knowing that other clubs can also buy good players...MUFC have had it far too easy far too long and now they dont like it....bla bla bla and stop crying!

  • Comment number 56.

    My boyhood hero was Kenny Dalglish, but I would still rather have Rafa as Liverpool manager. He made mistakes (which manager doesn't?) but he's a master tactician and a red through and through. The FA missed a trick when the stuck by Sven for the 2006 world cup. If England had borrowed Rafa they could have won that tournament. When we won the CL we couldn't control a game through controlling possession as we weren't good enough. We had to do it through defensive positioning instead i.e. let the opposition have the ball but don't let them do anything with it. Rafa would have done the same with England.

  • Comment number 57.

    "I’d sat through hundreds of press conferences and interviews with the Spaniard and never been entirely convinced that he was a football colossus. I was wrong."

    No you weren't.

  • Comment number 58.

    55.At 18:45 24th Aug 2011, swindonbluearmy wrote:

    Thanks, its the same drivel every UTd fan comes out with. It's suddenly not fair!

    Life aint fair, we have paid our dues.

    Cheers.

  • Comment number 59.

    As for City, I don't mind them having their moment in the sun. It winds up their neighbours for a start. It is also a reward for the fans who were loyal and still turned-up in their tens of thousands when City were in the lower leagues. It isn't sustainable though. Rich people become rich, and stay rich, not by throwing money away. Despite winning title after title Chelski still make losses and it is only a matter of time before Abramovic says "enough." City are a few years behind Chelski but they will follow the same path. 19 home league games per season, maybe another 8 home games in the cups, 45k attendance per game at an average of £35 per ticket, gate receipts of about £42M over a season, average around £800k per week so enough to pay the wages of Tevez, Aguero, Toure and Nasri. The rest have to be paid from TV money, shirt sales etc. As for the transfer fees....... As a team they're going to win things but as a business they're going to be a disaster and nobody is going to carry on paying for that for very long.

  • Comment number 60.

    @ 57 United Dreamer Agree.

    Benitez was and is rubbish.

    @56 cheeseisthedevilswork

    Rafa was far to focused on Europe when it was the Premier league title that most Liverpool fans wanted to be challenging for. Perhaps if he had switched his focus he would still be at Anfield.

  • Comment number 61.

    "United was built on Mr. Edwards money (World in ACTION 1980), they got luck at the right time but still required a dodgey stock flotation to take them to a different financial level."

    Edwards got every penny he invested in United back out, and then some. Save us the garbage please.

    Got what luck? Everything we have achieved in the last 25 years has been through an inspirational manager and loyal fans. These fans made us the best supported club in 74 while in the second division and made us the best supported club in most seasons since then. That is where all the money came from, not Edwards. And there are plenty of clubs that floated, we were not alone. And we ended up being carpet-bagged to boot.

    You had money to waste and under Allison and Swales you pretty much chucked it away. So please, give up on rewriting history.

    City have been BAILED OUT and I would even add that the ONLY reason they have received the massive investment is due to the success of United. There is no doubt in my mind that the ABU Dhabi consortium has their eye firmly on the support base at United that the Glazers are doing their level best to alienate.

    But half a billion invested and the pressure will definitely be on Mancini especially with us relying on such a young squad. They will be expecting a premiership even more than the deluded faithful!

  • Comment number 62.

    But that said I WELCOME the Abu Dhabi money with open arms. They are investing in Manchester and as far as I am concerned that is the only thing I am interested in.

    If both clubs can share in the limelight then I for one will be delighted. We could become a city unrivalled in European football. And that will definitely keep Manchester on the map.

    Bring it on:-)

  • Comment number 63.

    62 - By "Manchester" do you mean "Greater Manchester" or "Manchester and Salford?" Or have you never been north of Swindon and therefore not know how far Old Trafford is from Manchester?

  • Comment number 64.

    #51 Good points Chaddyroar - I always question player for player comparisons as they are so often implicitly based on both their fees and the clubs they come from. So players that come through the ranks or who are bought very young, aren't rated nearly highly enough (unless they are from Arsenal for some reason).

    For so long I have heard our players compared poorly against other clubs because the likes of Giggs, Scholes and Gary Neville were overlooked because they came from the youth system and judged by their performances in a poor international side. Even Ronaldo was overlooked as top quality after Beckham left and we failed to get Ronaldinho.

    On top of that we have a host of players written off for being supposedly poor who go on to have fantastic careers at their new clubs. Phil Neville, Howard, Shawcross, Rossi, Forlan, Pique, Bardsley to name a few. They struggle to get in the first team, get a bad rap because they can't make the impact but then suddenly make headlines at a smaller club. Because good as they are, they are not good enough for United.

    These days I look at the likes of Hernandez, Cleverly, Welbeck, Anderson, Rafael, Fabio and Nani and I see a similar story emerging. And believe me, we have some brilliant talents in Pogba and Morrison in the production line. The thing is we tend to buy excellent players very young and mould them into great players. Supporters of other teams notice this too late and keep thinking it is simply SAF's wizard like coaching skills, even cheating. And he is a great coach admittedly but the players are also extremely good. And this is often not recognised.

    Long may it continue.

  • Comment number 65.

    "63. At 19:38 24th Aug 2011, cheeseisthedevilswork wrote:
    62 - By "Manchester" do you mean "Greater Manchester" or "Manchester and Salford?" Or have you never been north of Swindon and therefore not know how far Old Trafford is from Manchester?"

    Greater Manchester - most people would never notice where the borough of the City of Manchester ended and Salford started because to most people with common sense it is the essentially the same city. Except to some blue-shirted nit pickers (who mainly reside in Stockport;)) that is. Maybe if they get a bit of success we can get back to talking about footie!

  • Comment number 66.

    "63. At 19:38 24th Aug 2011, cheeseisthedevilswork wrote:
    62 - By "Manchester" do you mean "Greater Manchester" or "Manchester and Salford?" Or have you never been north of Swindon and therefore not know how far Old Trafford is from Manchester?"

    And I've been to London where you are tripping over cockney scousers of a certain generation so save us the glory hunter bs!

  • Comment number 67.

    62.At 19:33 24th Aug 2011, United Dreamer wrote:
    But that said I WELCOME the Abu Dhabi money with open arms. They are investing in Manchester and as far as I am concerned that is the only thing I am interested in.

    If both clubs can share in the limelight then I for one will be delighted. We could become a city unrivalled in European football. And that will definitely keep Manchester on the map.

    Bring it on:-)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Actually this is a comment I agree with.

    I only bring up the finnancial debate with 1878onwards because he continuely brings up the CITY finances. (a bit like that blogger who goes on about Adam Johnson and Berbatov all the time)

    I agree its a special period in Manchester Football history that both teams are competitive playing attractive football, this can only be good and raise the profile of a great city.

  • Comment number 68.

    hollopool – it feels crazy; difficult to believe. We have had talented players – Kinkladze, for instance – in recent decades, but not such strength in depth until the mid-seventies at least (and I'm old enough to have seen Colin Bell play!).

    I do think, however surprising it might seem, that the new owners, while not from the area, are treating the fans better and, indeed, the club as a whole. Just look at the story of Paul Lake, who was appallingly treated by the club – and I am embarrassed by that – when it was locally owned, but has been given a decent job since the new owners took over. That's just one example.

  • Comment number 69.

    I would love to go FACT hunting with the FACT HUNTER himself Rafa. Get him back in the Premier League hes too entertaining.

    As for City, they will finish 2nd, and that is a FACT

  • Comment number 70.

    i just want to say i dont like man city because they are cheating SOB'S (1999 playoff final) but to say robert taylor is nobody ask any lower league defender of that time who they did not want to play against robert taylor wa one of the most gifted footballers not to have played in the higher leagues permentley

  • Comment number 71.

    Bonjourno

    Just firing this off at halftime in the Arsenal game. Thanks for all your comments thus far. An impressive depth of knowledge is being displayed from all quarters again - well most of them.

    If anyone in the world wanted a window in the heart of a true blue Manchester City fan then read Prophet Samuel #30. I'm a Crawley Town fan so I know all about spending money but you're always worried that people will forget when you lost to Merthyr Tydfil in the 1st qualifying round of the FA cup.

    #46 I think you have slightly misconstrued my sentiment there but I think I know where you are coming from.

    And... I know it's possible to have Rooney and Aquero in the same side but that means I have to put my school team in defence to keep the cost under 100 million.

    Keep those comments coming and enjoy the second half.

    Kenny Samson

  • Comment number 72.

    Nice one Dan, love the fact that you fancy City for the title based on a Lawro prediction..

    Hope Lawro keeps that up it's the surest way for them not to win anything lol!!

    They will go close though. After the spend they have made they have to but think they will fall short again this year. After that it's anyones guess. Utd are so highly valued these days will anyone try and usurp the Glazers?

    Doubt it. Keep investing in the kids it's paid well so far.

  • Comment number 73.

    Loving the second half, but that elbow in Walcott's face was out of order. Too much cheating going on from our continental friends this evening.

    Good to see Arsenal showing plenty of backbone tonight.

    David Rocastle

  • Comment number 74.

    Great win for arsenal tonight, gutsy very gutsy.

    Now lets see a gutsy performance at OT.

  • Comment number 75.

    Well done to Aldershot too tonight for beating West Ham in the Rumbelows/Milk/Littlewoods/Carling, etc Cup.

    Charlie Nicholas

  • Comment number 76.

    After following CITY for 20 years home and away the lows were far more frequent than the high's. Dropping out of the 1st division by David Pleat's Luton a low, beating Charlton the last game of the season 5-1 an high.

    Then in 1990 I transported to the good old USA. (Manchester will always be home) The only way I could stay in touch with my beloved Manchester City was through my mother. My mum who had more interest in synchronized swimming than football would listen to every Manchester City game on radio Manchester. (This is before the advent of Internet)

    I would call my mum at 10:45 AM local time for the score. I could usually tell when we got beat, me mum would not give me the score! It was a frequent story in the early 1990's, a downward spiral. Our local derby being Stockport and Bury in the old 2nd division, followed by Macclesfield in the old 3rd division.

    We were that desperate we begged Mr. Ferguson to make "Terry Cooks" deal permanent.

    The play-off final. Internet was here, it was bloody slow. CITY 2-0 with 2 minutes to go. I called my mum for solace, she tries to console me with motherly advice "goal", she shouts, CITY have just scored, I say it's to late, then a piercing scream, me mum "they have levelled" she shouts. The rest is history.

    The process of following CITY aged my mum but she enjoyed the last 15 years of her life being a "Blue".

    So Dan,

    What's it like being a CITY fan now?

    Lovely, absolutely lovely and I can say convincingly that my mum in her resting place is loving every minute of it.

  • Comment number 77.

    Its interesting that so many people have and issue with CITY buying players (at often inflated prices) and that we are buying trophies. Utd have broken the transfer record more times than any other PL club. Jaap Stam Roy Keane Veron Rooney(for a teenager) Berbatov ring any bells ??? This money came from a larger slice of the tv money from the PL and CL. Utd have bought trophies for many years, it just that the sums of money involve are vast in the current market so the view is squewed. CITY are playing catch up to Utd. The only way you can play catch up these day is by having very wealthy owner to inject that cash on a quality players quickly hence this transition phase.This type of spending will not go on, the senior management have said it wont, once we are fully competitive it will be adding the odd player here and their to maintain the new standard.
    As for how I feel about the changes I've seen at my club, its mixed. The deep identity of the working class manc who had more character for support a rubbish football team than being another band-wagon lemming supporting utd is being eroded away by this huge corporate monster of a business model. The sad fact is, that's what it takes to become world beaters these days. The flip side to the situation is the future is so bright, the teams potential is so good , the players wearing the CITY colours are so talented you just smile and think we can win, we can really compete with the biggest of the big boys and win things. Though being the cynical CITY fan that I am there's a little bit of me thinks when are the wheel going to fall off in that typical city way.
    Will we win the league ?? we are definitely capable
    Will we do well in the CL?? we have the depth of squad
    Only time will tell and besides to be the best you have to beat Utd and they have probably the finest manager British football has ever produced, the SAF factor cannot and must not be underestimated. I personally feel if he had been managing CITY last year we would have won the league. Respect is due to that cunning on fox, his retirement cannot come quick enough to hasten CITY's dominance.
    CTID live long and prosper. Still miss standing in the Kippax.

  • Comment number 78.

    What's that over....,

    Is it, is it a womble?

    It must be.

    Well if it's not it's a guinea pig picking up litter and, well that's just......

    Oh wait,

    It is a guinea pig, well you go my boy, you show those wombles they can't monopolise the litter industry.

    What a guy.

    He best sleep with one eye open mind.

    Between you and me I don't expect to see him around by the weekend, the wombles have a certain way of dealing with competition.

    Dan hope you enjoyed your summer, also I looked into that hairy gorilla arm thing, turns out they are meant to be that way! So your trev can stop fretting.

    Anyway

    De ner ner

    Aunt Sally

  • Comment number 79.

    @54

    Sure united spend money. Who that seriously wants to challenge for titles doesn't? The difference is they don't spend 500 MILLION IN 3 YEARS. City are an exact example of why the fair play is being brought to the table next year, so enjoy your one year of European football while it lasts.

    There's something to be said about a team that builds for the future, and a team that buys for the present. Here's something rather amusing to look at.

    Players still with United from the 07/08 squad: Evra, Vidic, Ferdinand, Fabio, Rafael, Evans, Anderson, Giggs, Park, Carrick, Nani, Fletcher, Gibson, Cleverly, Berbatov, Rooney, Welbeck, Macheda.

    And for Man City? Hart, Richards

    You don't have an organization that makes and moulds the players, you buy other teams stars rather than creating your own. Sure United buy high profile players from time to time but never even close to this extent. They buy promising youngsters or up and coming players and the occasional star. Let's face it the last already considered big star united bought was Ruud.

    Oh and here's more than two manu players that would start for city: their whole defense, Rooney and Hernandez, nani and no single player in city works as hard as park... I'm picking liverpool to do better then manC this year


    Swindonbluearmy is every City fan as obnoxious as you are?

    Cheers

  • Comment number 80.

    City won't win it...they'll run close but ultimately they'll come up against the same problem they have since they got bankrolled: too many big egos! what can nasri possibly add except another big name warming the bench. whoever plays, several top quality players will be unhappy.

  • Comment number 81.

    25.At 16:38 24th Aug 2011, 1878onwards wrote:

    "My beloved Reds will keep their counsel". You mean like you're doing now? It really is unbearable that someone other than Man Utd are being talked about, isn't it?

    The way things are going is better than fantasy football Dan. Despite the ecstacy I think we're still a Modric, Sniejder and Robben short of full capacity, but I can make do with what we've already got. That we've spent this much and still not quite finished in trying to confirm a seat around the table indicates how much the PL, Sky and the CL have cleavered an ever widening split between the clubs that rake the money in and those that don't.

    As others have said, we're not quite a polished diamond - there are areas of the team that maybe are not quite top notch - but we are almost in a position like Manchester United now, where we don't need to make wholesale changes with lots of new faces every transfer window, just a little tinkering will be required. As also mentioned above, we now have at least 2 quality players for virtually every position, which also allows Mancini greater flexibility with combinations and formations. In theory, City should be going further in competitions now, so contrary to what some posters have said, I'm sure all the squad will be used in order to,firstly, be able to to adapt to the different demands of different games, and, secondly, to try and keep all the players as fresh as possible. That means, cliveeta #7, that Silva and Nasri will play together at some point. It won't always be one or the other.

    And what's getting lost in the blinkered and/or discontented malice of some supporters of other clubs and the vested interest of the media to tap into and feed off it Dan, is the enormity of what's going on at the lower levels of the club. For example -and I think this will disappoint 1878 onwards - City will be building a new Academy facility complete with accommodation for 400 young players and a 15,000 capacity stadium linked to the main stadium by bridge. There is a huge effort going into producing our own first team players in the future. If you look at the quality of youngsters that have been arriving recently, you will see this part of the operation is well under way, and assume the owners must be in it for the long haul, contrary to what some people have worked themselves up into wanting to believe will happen.

    I'm drooling, but I'm not going to wish my life away. You only win things by playing games, and the most i

  • Comment number 82.

    The man is back (#78)!
    The major problem with City (or any one club having so much money) is not so much the transfer fees, because as has already been pointed out, United have broken records there numerous times. The chief problem I think is the even more inflated salaries that these "stars" think they're entitled to. Even the supermodels of the 80's got out of bed for less than some of these footballers want before they'll even consider joining.

    The end result is salary inflation that impacts upon the other clubs who, when they want a player, find they can't/don't want to commit to the massive salary over a 3/4/5 year period. Any prudent club not wanting to bankrupt themselves would be crazy to capitulate to the demands all the time which I think is probably the reason why Arsenal haven't bought some of the "names" that have been flying around in the press and who, in some cases, have ended up going to Chelsea, City, or someone else.

    The only upside to all the money is seeing the likes of Silva and Aguero, etc playing in this country, but I do wonder if the overall cost to the Premier League is just too much?

    Le Chiffre

  • Comment number 83.

    City may well and should challenge for the title this year. But here is a slightly longer term prediction.
    City will become the next Leeds United.

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 85.

    #81 (continued) the most important game is the next one, i.e. against Spurs,and I'm not looking further than that. But I am more optimistic about it than I was last year.

  • Comment number 86.

    the demeanour i could sense from the media and journalists after arsenal got through was one of......... dammit they won that's no fun, we cant kick them now they are down. none of them seemed happy for arsenal. poor

  • Comment number 87.

    71. At 20:58 24th Aug 2011, Dan Walker wrote:

    "I'm a Crawley Town fan"

    Glory hunter!

  • Comment number 88.

    @79 Yawn.

    I fail to see how i'm obnoxious by expressing my opinion. I maintain that UTD have had it far too easy far too long. If your lot weren't bothered by city then you wouldn't be getting all uptight about spending money! As someone has pointed out we have a 5 year plan and yes of course the initial outlay is going to be huge but we needed to play catch up. Everyone involved with City will agree that it's not sustainable to keep spending this sort of money but after all UTD's success (on and off the field) the gap was huge and it needed "big bucks" to bridge it.

    If your lot are as good as you all think surely you will welcome the challenge?

  • Comment number 89.

    #77 Mankyblue

    "Still miss standing in the Kippax."

    That's because it meant you didn't have to look at the monstrosity. A blight on Moss Side if ever there was one;)

    People moaning about the Man City investment are missing the important points. We are an economy in crisis and any investment in this country has to be a good sign. Certainly its better than the myriad yanks inflicting debt on clubs.

    What I would like to see at Manchester City though, is a British manager, as they are more likely to show faith in British youngsters. Unfortunately Gary Cook, like so many uninspiring "captains" of industry has seems to have a very blinkered vision and no interest in the community - or maybe he has and he's keeping quiet about it! I know they have invested in this massive training centre and I hope it pays dividends but ultimately the opportunities in the first team need to be underpinned by the faith of the manager. Fingers crossed the club regains a focus on a core of local, or at least British, players, as more than anything this is the kind of focus that is needed.

    Football is one of the very few areas where Britain has a product of worldwide interest, and with Spain and Italy imploding on the back of the independent broadcast licence policies, we are in a strong position to capitalise. So more money is good but not at the point of eradicating the opposition.

  • Comment number 90.

    OH....was delighted for Arsenal last night, someone pointed out that the media would have been gutted at the result (claws away media) thoroughly deserved victory and an asset to the CL and English football

  • Comment number 91.

    Could we delete Post 25 above. With an intelligent debate on here on whether City's new look side might win the League or what would be the balance of the team, we get someone whose obviously just escaped from an institution and perloined a computer from somewhere coming on here talking complete drivel.

    I would understand it if he was a Man U supporter or someone with a chip on his shoulder or someone just jealous or envious (Yep I know same thing!) Oh..he is a Man U supporter...sorry understandable then. Bless!

  • Comment number 92.

    I had my Benitez doubts at the time too. His last season was just a truely awful let down after the previous year's hope. Although agree he was let go too early and the Roy Hodgson choice made in haste, all has hopefully turned out better and for the best with the return of KK.

  • Comment number 93.

    Greetings

    Glad to see the debate continuing. A few things...

    Welcome back Andy Connor #78. Magical thoughts once again.

    Brian Renshaw #91 excellent use of 'purloin' - we should all try and use this a little more.

    On the unhappy about Arsenal going through point - i think that is way off beam. I actually think Arsenal will be fine this season. Last night was huge for the club but amidst the misery of Fabregas and Nasri there are some massive positives...

    Van Persie - one of the best in the business
    Wilshere - massive future
    Cash - loads to spend and can now attract bigger names because of CL

    Right... I'm off to sort out Friday Focus. See you soon comrades.

    Mumra... THE EVER LIVING!

  • Comment number 94.

    Alright Dan

    Just wondering if we are getting football focus online edition this year?... handy for the man on the move!

    Just signed up to the blog after many humorous hours of reading last year.

    Cheers

    Tony Saprano

  • Comment number 95.

    Dan - just heard on the news SAF has 'kissed and made up " with the BBC. Now that should help restore the ratings for 'Football Focus' for you; try not make anymore mistakes, like tipping City for the PL, when you interview him and you might still have a career with the BBC!

  • Comment number 96.

    Can't be bothered to respond to the boring RAGS who can't do anything other than have a hypocritical go about 'how much money City have spent' (though there are one or two slightly more considerd, and may I venture intelligent, red contributors above).

    What I can't understand is the constant undervaluing of Gareth Barry to the City side. Apart from Ron Travolta #40 nobody has him in their 1st eleven. I can only imagine this is due to either not watching games live (maybe just highlights) or a complete lack of understanding about football. Although much of his good work goes totally unnoticed he really makes City tick and we are a much better structured side when he plays. That guy really knows his way around a football pitch.

    OK, he might not go in at the expense of Silva or De Jong but after that he is my next name on the teamsheet - and it seems that Bobby Manc agrees.

  • Comment number 97.

    Stepford Sheep @54.
    Hello sheep..did'nt know you lived in yankeeland. Hell,it puts the berties from Stockport in a new light.
    Was looking forward to a decent arguement but as soon as I saw the "Utd was built on Edwards money" statement...I realised..not only do you know little about citeh history..you know less than nothing about my beloved Reds!
    To other bitters on here...as I type, post No 96 is on show on this blog...a quick glimpse on Utd's last blog from Tuesday, the No 485 stands against the latest post.
    A ratio of 5-1. (yeah..yeah..but we stuffed you lot 5-0 5yrs later)
    That's about right.
    Anyway..now that SAF has decided to lift the beeb ban,stand by for a more pro Utd view from auntie..and no doubt claims of bias from the more deluded section of your support.
    And any chance of asking the Italian bloke to get a haircut? Long hair went out with flares!
    pip pip.

  • Comment number 98.

    Hey Dan,

    Thanks for the "purloin" support but now the thread is becoming infested with Ants (Man U Louts) intent on smearing any intelligent debate with their "We're Man United and we'll do as we please attitude (or two-faced hypocracy, Jealousy, envy dumbness).

    The latest is 1878 onwards, backwards,sideways and up his own jaxi whose intelligent views wouldn't fill a pinhead)

    Mr Mancini's long hair and George Clooney appearance is a bit more easy on the eye that a red faced red nose (life of drink) appearance.

    1878 and still in that time warp

  • Comment number 99.

    Brian Renshaw@98.
    The Great Man (SAF) iwill be 70yrs old in December.
    The Italian who can't afford a haircut is how old?
    Let's see how big a mark nearly 40yrs of football management will leave on his bearing. He already has the making of a chicken's neck.
    See...we can all trade insults...I was merely questioning his lack of neatness.
    No wonder we call you lot the most bitter!
    Time warp? Oh yeah....still winning Championships.

  • Comment number 100.

    #99 1878Onwards - Mancini's looking a lot better these days since replacing his washed out blue scarf with a red and black one. Is it just me or do City seem to be playing in their red and black strip more often these days? Emulation is the best form of flattery I guess...

 

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