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Man City ready for European adventure

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Chris Bevan | 11:16 UK time, Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Wild boasts and missed chances, followed by pitch invasions, stadium fires and a shock early exit. Manchester City's only previous campaign in the European Cup was short, but it certainly wasn't sweet.

They have had to wait 43 years to put things right but, when City legend Mike Summerbee takes his seat at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday to watch his old side make their Champions League debut, he is certain it will be very different this time.

As you might expect from a club ambassador and a man renowned for his partizan backing of the team he served for a decade, Summerbee is confident Roberto Mancini 's side will shine in their opening Group A game against Napoli and go on to show they belong among the European elite.

"The benchmark is Barcelona," Summerbee told me. "Can we compete? Yes. We were the last English team to win a trophy at the Nou Camp two years ago. I am not saying we are going to win the Champions League, but you never know. We have got a very strong side and lot of teams will be worried about playing us."

Man City fans waving flags

City fans have had to wait 43 years for a return to the European Cup. Photo: Getty

I should point out that Barca game was a friendly, though, so it probably just as well Summerbee is not getting too carried away with thoughts of being at the final in Munich next May. After all, that was the mistake City made in 1968.

Back then, Summerbee was an impudent England winger and one of the star men in a team who had just dethroned neighbours Manchester United as League champions, and now wanted their European crown too.

Outspoken assistant boss Malcolm Allison bullishly declared his side would "terrify the cowards of Europe" ahead of the club's first continental campaign, believing most foreign sides were too negative and could be blown away by attacking football.

But the only horror story was City themselves, who crashed out 2-1 on aggregate to Turkish outsiders Fenerbahce at the first hurdle, drawing 0-0 at Maine Road then being turned over in the return.

Summerbee, who won every domestic honour during his decade at City from 1965 to 1975, had a shocker in the first leg, missing an open goal from six yards and being booed by his own fans. Worse was to come in Turkey after an 1,800 mile journey which was the longest any English side had made for a competitive match.

He prepared for it by getting married 24 hours before leaving Manchester, with George Best as his best man. Instead of jetting off on a honeymoon with new wife Tina, he climbed on to a specially-chartered Comet plane with his team-mates instead. "She understood," he smiles. "We are still together now so maybe we got off on the right foot."

Mike Summerbee playing for Manchester City in 1969

Mike Summerbee spent ten years at Maine Road. Photo: Hulton Archive

If it sounds like an adventure, that's because it was. And a journey into the unknown too. Summerbee had played for his country, making his debut at a hostile Hampden Park earlier in the year, but had seen nowhere like the National Stadium in Istanbul. To say it was a culture shock would be an understatement.

"The game didn't kick off until the evening, but they opened the gates in the morning and it was full from 8am," he explained. "We were staying at the Hilton about two or three miles away in the hills but we could hear the fans and see the rockets they were letting off all day.

"It was a lovely place with friendly people but they were fanatical about their football. We quickly realised we were in very volatile situation and to be honest it was frightening.

"When we got to the ground, I remember there was a moat around it which I had never seen before. Then the dressing room windows were smashed and when we came out to play there were armed soldiers waiting for us. One of them pointed at me and said 'I look after you'."

Despite the intimidation, Tony Coleman put City ahead before half-time but Fenerbahce, rank outsiders, replied straight after the interval and scored what was to be the winner 12 minutes from the end. Cue the first pitch invasion of the night, and scores more fireworks set off in the stands.

At the final whistle, soldiers had to clear a path for the players to leave the pitch and more than a 100 fires were lit on the terraces around the ground. As Summerbee puts it: "I dread to think what would have happened if we had won. We probably would never have been seen again".

City are unlikely to get anything like as hostile a reception anywhere they play this time around, despite being drawn in a tough group with Bayern Munich and Villarreal as well as Napoli.

But then much has changed since City's first European trip. Mancini and his scouting team will know all their opponents inside-out but City had never seen Fenerbahce play before the tie and relied on a scouting report from former Everton striker Oscar Hold, who had managed the Turkish side a whole three years previously.

"It was a unique situation for all of us," Summerbee, who felt the lessons they learned helped City win the now defunct European Cup Winners' Cup the following season, stated.

"But this is totally different. We have never played in the Champions League before but Mancini has experienced it as a player and a manager and all of our squad has played in Europe and at international level. We are ready."

Mancini will not be boasting like Allison did either, but there are some things his side do have in common with Summerbee's generation: a growing reputation for attractive football, and also an expectancy of more success.

"Roberto is a very strong-minded person and in his first year at City he was feeling his way a little bit," Summerbee added. "Now you can see what he was trying to build toward, which is playing magnificent attacking football.

"These are very exciting times for us. We just have to play the same way we are playing in the Premier League at the moment - I don't think we will have change that to make an impact in Europe and I am really looking forward to it."

Exciting times indeed. And, however City fare against Napoli, the fact they have to play six group games means their journey is guaranteed to last a lot longer than it did in 1968. It might even have a happier ending too.

Follow me on Twitter throughout the season @chrisbevan_bbc

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    "We just have to play the same way we are playing in the Premier League at the moment - I don't think we will have change that to make an impact in Europe and I am really looking forward to it."

    Please give me a break! If City think that Europe's elite will just bow down to them they will have another thing coming. Summerbee's proclamations place him in the same company as the now departed Garry Cook.

    Obviously with Mansour's millions City have much more money than sense but with some of the tripe coming out of middle eastlands I think that if they only had 50p they would have more money than sense.

    City will be dangerous in this competition as half the Manchester Galacticos have experience of this competition.

    The telling times will be when the likes of Tevez, Dzeko, Aguero or Balotelli are told that they won't be playing against Barca, Real Madrid, Inter or Milan and how they respond to playing second fiddle.

  • Comment number 2.

    Summerbee is of course a buffoon, but City do have cause for optimism, and they have been starved of hope for such a long time, i don't begrudge them it. I was giggling at the idea that City were the last English side to win a trophy at the Nou Camp, obviously glazing over the fact that United are the last English team to win a real trophy there.

    It will be interesting to see how they get on, but i think they might have a Spurs like run in the CL, excite the English media with some great performances, before going out with a whimper when they hit a team with European pedigree.

  • Comment number 3.

    Exciting times for Man City, no doubt, made more exciting due to being in the lower pot for the draw, they get to play bigger teams.

    It is a shame, and ANOTHER flaw of the current format of the Champions League, that established european teams have a couple of less than glamorous games to play in the group stages. Professionalism and respect and all that still required, but I imagine some fans grow weary of it.

    I wonder if anyone did the analysis, how many teams do not finish the group stage in their expected place i.e. pot 1 teams finishing top, pot 2 teams finishing second in the group etc etc

  • Comment number 4.

    Isn't this supposed to be a football blog?

  • Comment number 5.

    Sixty8ninety - whats your problem with City? you sound just like a Man United fan, so jealous,so spiteful in your comments,its as if you want City to be second best all the time and the more I read your post I become more and more convinced you are a sad 'rag'
    However I think you are going to end up very disappointed very soon because City will win the title and possibly reach the final of the Champions League.
    We have a lot going for us in the shape of David Silva,Carlos Tevez,Edin Dzeko,Sergio Aguero, and Vincent Kompany we have many more,we have a mega squad full of quality players and whats more the time has arrived when these numpties who follow United and who are so divine righteous are in for more reality checks of CITY WILL NOT GO AWAY we have had years of adversity and failure but still maintain a magnificent fan base yet some other fans resent our meteoric rise.
    Accept it all,enjoy it and if you cannot do that then TOUGH!

  • Comment number 6.

    I think anyone who writes City off as a flash in the pan or a team that can only steamroller 'weaker' opposition might be made to eat their words. RM is an experienced manager who will adjust his tactics to a possibly more defensive midset against the established European teams and then use the obvious attacking talent at his disposal to catch them on the break. If they can go a goal up then they can rip a team chasing a game to pcs with the personel on offer

  • Comment number 7.

    However I think you are going to end up very disappointed very soon because City will win the title and possibly reach the final of the Champions League.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I don't begrudge City success, they've been a joke in Manchester for years now so a bit of competition from the blue half is okay by me.

    Good to see you've dispelled the 'arrogant' tag City's fans have been labelled with though.

  • Comment number 8.

    Good Luck to City, I think they'll need it in this comp and this group. There seems to be a lot of arrogance coming from City and it's supporters over this group so far. Unlike Spurs, City don't have the shock factor, everyone in Europe knows about them and every team will want to hinder their progress, I feel 2nd in the group is the best they can hope for.

    Yes City do have players with CL experience and that will help but they don't have a great amount of experience of the latter stages of the CL, which will be telling come spring.

    Oh yeah, can someone remind Mr Summerbee that the last English team to beat Barca was Man Utd!

  • Comment number 9.

    ted wrote:
    Sixty8ninety - whats your problem with City? you sound just like a Man United fan, so jealous,so spiteful in your comments,its as if you want City to be second best all the time and the more I read your post I become more and more convinced you are a sad 'rag'
    However I think you are going to end up very disappointed very soon because City will win the title and possibly reach the final of the Champions League.
    We have a lot going for us in the shape of David Silva,Carlos Tevez,Edin Dzeko,Sergio Aguero, and Vincent Kompany we have many more,we have a mega squad full of quality players and whats more the time has arrived when these numpties who follow United and who are so divine righteous are in for more reality checks of CITY WILL NOT GO AWAY we have had years of adversity and failure but still maintain a magnificent fan base yet some other fans resent our meteoric rise.
    Accept it all,enjoy it and if you cannot do that then TOUGH!

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    the same magnificent fan base that fails to sell out your tickets for home games?

  • Comment number 10.

    Ted - No problem with City at all. I probably am a Man Utd fan, clue's in the name really!

    'Sad' - Classy, sounds like I am not the one with the problem at all.

    I question your magnificent fan base when you can't regularly get 48000. My City supporting mate tells me that your first EVER Champions League game won't even be a sell out! Magnificent that is!

    Good Luck to City and their new found wealth, but as with Chelsea, teams with history and tradition aren't formed overnight and once the owners up sticks, what then? City have a long way to go to be mentioned in the same breath as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Internationale, AC Milan, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Ajax. City represent everything that is wrong with the modern game. Wayne Bridge refusing to go elsewhere to ply his trade as he's happy with his mega wages at City and his pop star GF. Whilst Utd have always paid top dollar for the likes of Ferdinand and Rooney, they don't shell out wages to average squad players that would make them top earners at most other clubs.
    I don't want City to go away if I am honest, judging by the opening to the season, you have just made SAF step his game up yet again, and whilst you mention all your galacticos, the sweetest part of this year has been the youngsters (both home grown in Welbeck and Cleverley, and brought in Smalling and Jones) flourishing and playing some great football to boot.

    BTW I won't ever be disappointed, in my time supporting United I have seen them lift the Champions League twice, the league 12 times, plus numerous FA Cups, ECWC, Charity/Community Shields, World Club Cup, League Cups.

    As football goes in cycles, I have been privileged to see a great club like United with all it's history and tradition, enjoy it's greatest period of success and on the whole playing football the way Busby wanted it, and bringing through youngsters all the way (granted some of the youngsters are now brought from overseas, but the likes of Nani, Anderson the Da Silva Twins are very much homegrown) so I am not sure where the SPITE was in my article, merely stating that better men than Mancini have struggled to keep far fewer Ego's happy at more successful clubs!

  • Comment number 11.

    MCFC as a club might not have had exposure to the CL before, but the players certainly have. Not to mention World Cup finals. I think it's safe to say that City have the quality and experience in the side to go to the final (same as maybe 8 other teams in the competition). Whether they will actually do that is very much in the balance, but we shouldn't be suprised if they do. As for winning the League, it's us or United probably (Chelsea maybe too). But I have a sinking feeling that if there is nothing between the squads then experience might tip it in Uniteds favour. Red or Blue, hold on to your seat, it promises to be one heck of a ride. Who wouldn't relish that?

  • Comment number 12.

    #9 tommo888

    2010/11

    Old Trafford

    Capacity 75,957, average attendance 75,473 = 99.36%

    City of Manchester Stadium

    Capacity 47,805, average attendance 46,655 = 97.59%

    Not really alot in it is there.

    (p.s. I'm not a Man City fan, just thought it was a spurious point and it intrigued me to know the answer.)

  • Comment number 13.

    and whats more the time has arrived when these numpties who follow United and who are so divine righteous are in for more reality checks of CITY WILL NOT GO AWAY we have had years of adversity and failure but still maintain a magnificent fan base yet some other fans resent our meteoric rise.
    Accept it all,enjoy it and if you cannot do that then TOUGH!

    ----------------------------------------------------------
    No, you won't, not until the FFP rules come into force at least and you are unable to play in Europe as your outgoings massively out weigh your incomings. Isn't the city wage bill something like more than double the entire income of the club?
    No europe = no stars
    No stars = no success

    4 CL finals in 5 years (ok so only one win, but it does mean we are consistantly the second best team in Europe), a great mix of players that did recently beat City.

    In the meantime, all credit to City, hundreds of millions spent and now you've made it in to the CL, it's nice to see smaller teams taste some success now and again, keeps it interesting. Best of luck! (Honest).

  • Comment number 14.

    #13 Kalielyn

    Whilst the bitterness you hold with regard to Man City may be understandable in a local way (how many miles from your house is Old Trafford :-) ), you do realise that the fair play rules are flawed and merely preserve the status quo and do little for competition? DO you think that is good?

  • Comment number 15.

    Speaking as an 'outsider' (i.e. a foreigner living in the UK), surely it is a good thing for the Premier League/English football in general if England has another representative with a chance of doing well in Europe, irregardless of which team that may be?

  • Comment number 16.

    be interesting to see last years stats MrBlueBurns

  • Comment number 17.

    you do realise that the fair play rules are flawed and merely preserve the status quo and do little for competition? DO you think that is good?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Damned if you do and damned if you don't though. Whilst they won't necessarily help competition, it's surely better than the ONLY way of having success is by some rich bloke giving you money. There's only so many rich blokes prepared to lose a lot of their money in order to impress their mates. Is that really financially sustainable in the long run?

  • Comment number 18.

    12.At 16:56 13th Sep 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    #9 tommo888

    2010/11

    Old Trafford

    Capacity 75,957, average attendance 75,473 = 99.36%

    City of Manchester Stadium

    Capacity 47,805, average attendance 46,655 = 97.59%

    Not really alot in it is there.

    (p.s. I'm not a Man City fan, just thought it was a spurious point and it intrigued me to know the answer.)

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Im assuming the figures you are using are just for PL games?

  • Comment number 19.

    Sometimes, it is so easy to take a very interesting topic and make a monkey out of it. I'm sorry Mr Author, but the introduction of Manchester City in Champions League football could be presented in so many different, far more real and far more interesting ways.

    Besides being a Manchester United supporter, I will be the first to admit that Manchester City of this season have nothing to do with last season's team. Now they're pure quality going forward. Before the draw for the Champions League was made, many were saying about the potential trouble City can cause to the seeded team in their group. Well, Bayern Munich are in trouble, in my opinion.

    City look like a team having signed three top quality players, in Aquero, Nasri and Dzeko. I include Dzeko in the list because, after having a pre-season with City, he looks a totally different player.

    Before the season started, I was sceptical about City's potential, as there were question marks:
    - Tevez making noises about a transfer
    - the young Italian with the attitude problems
    - the over-defending football City were playing last season
    - the Dzeko question.

    It may be early days this season but City have eventually landed in Premiership title real contender land. And they've done it emphatically. Looking into Europe and Champions League, we all know the good teams that will be challenging for the trophy and, I think, all reasonable football fans will have to include City in that list. I'm expecting City to top their group and add pressures to Bayern Munich for the next phase of the competition.

    I'm really puzzled about taking such a hot football topic and creating something so boring as the reading of this article. Was it done on purpose? :)

  • Comment number 20.

    Chris - City do have everything to look forward to in the players that they now have at the club, certainly their players have (individually) lots of experience of European Football at the highest levels. However whether as a 'unit' Man City can find success in europe and at the same time maintain a challenge for the PL is another matter; that takes 'know how' on and off the pitch and I am not sure they have that just now.
    You do have to feel somewhat for Mike Summerbee, he has been one of City's best players (in my lifetime anyhow!) and fan all his life and everytime the his beloved Club achieved something big, United have gone one better, e.g. in 1968 City won the (old) 1st Div title, two weeks later United won the European Cup for the first time then last year when City finally broke their '35yr duck' and won some silverware (FA cup), only for United 'hours' later to clinch their record-breaking 19 League title, again recently City win 5-1, United top that with an 8-2 result!
    Its not enough for Mike that City win something, its also necessary that United don't better it.... if that happens in the future Mike will be a happy man...at last!

  • Comment number 21.

    Dear moderators: I have contributed to these boards for a good couple of years now, i have rarely broken "the rules", and have never deliberately done so, so why are my posts being pre-moderated?

  • Comment number 22.

    12.At 16:56 13th Sep 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    #9 tommo888

    2010/11

    Old Trafford

    Capacity 75,957, average attendance 75,473 = 99.36%

    City of Manchester Stadium

    Capacity 47,805, average attendance 46,655 = 97.59%

    Not really alot in it is there.

    (p.s. I'm not a Man City fan, just thought it was a spurious point and it intrigued me to know the answer.)

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    MrBlueBurns the figures you are using are for PL games only. When you look at attendance in the FA Cup, CC and European games you will find that City's average will be below 40000, whilst Uniteds average will be more or less the same.

  • Comment number 23.

    I am a Manchester City fan and have been for 35 years. I have followed them through the terrible times of 3rd teir football, a succesion of poor managers and false dawns over the years but i have never been bitter about the success of Manchester United or any other team. In fact as a real English football fan i have applauded them and marvelled at the way they have played the beautiful game over the last 15 years or so and yes I have dreamed of the day that we could attract world class players on mass and play on the same stage as United.
    Well at last that day has arrived for me. Yes we have spent a hell of a lot of money over the last 2 and a half years but all we have done is bought a team in a short space of time. Manchester United have spent a hell of a lot of money over the years in the same way Chelsea have in the last 6 or 7 years, Why should this be a problem?
    It is my opinion that that we should all be thankful that for once it's not just the same 4 teams in the Champions League or with a realistic hunt for the EPL. further to this there are a lot of other teams in this country who are benefiting from the money that has been spent at City, Spurs get a world class striker on loan. QPR get a fantasic player in SWP for, lets face it, a knock down price and Liverpool get Craig Bellamy for free to name but a few deals.
    I'm sorry if people feel the need to knock us but hey I guess its gonna happen. Lets just enjoy the beautiful game as English fans and marvel at the quality of players that we have in the EPL together.

  • Comment number 24.

    "..We were the last English team to ..." replace 'team' with 'club' and I would let you have that.
    This non sequitur consistently pervades our media and filters down into the public psyche that it is English TEAMS that do well in Europe. Its subtle, unobtrusive and fundamentally misleading and subconsciously contributes to the myth that although we may have fiscal and governance issues, at least our 'English' teams dominate on the European front.

  • Comment number 25.

    @19: I tend to agree with your point of view. City will certainly top their group imo. The problem i see from that, from a United point of view, is that BM will most prob finish 2nd in group A. That means that they are possible last 16 opponents and United (assuming United win their group as I fully expect) havent got a great record against them in two-legged ties.

  • Comment number 26.

    @23: The trouble with your view is this, you seem to think that City spent NO MONEY during the 90's and nothing could be further from the truth. City only spent slightly less (net) than United in the period between 1992-2002 despite being in the 2nd tier for 5 yrs and the 3rd tier for a year.

    So City have always been big spenders and in the last 3 yrs you have spent more than united have in 20. In fact the city owners have spent £1m PER DAY since they took over the club!!

  • Comment number 27.

    A lot of these comments seem to be repeating the same old stuff about buying success, City and Chelsea have done this true. However it is irrelevant to the blog.

    Can City do well in the CL, simple answer imho is yes they have the players now and the team is playing good football. Same goes for the EPL, can they do either? only time will tell.

    As a Utd supporter I wish them luck tonight (same for Arsenal and Chelsea tommorrow). It is good to see English clubs in the best competition in the world.

  • Comment number 28.

    @26 sorry Johnb1972, i didnt say city havn't spent money over the years in fact I said I have followed City thorugh a succession of poor managers and false dawns and we have spent "a hell of a lot of money over the last 2 and a half years" but I think you miss my point. I have said I have applauded Manchester United over the years and dreamed of the day we could attract "world class players" and perform on the same stage as Manchester United whilst trying to get the point accross that we all spend big to go places, United, Chelsea even the likes of Newcastle and Liverpool and as i said in my conclusion "Lets just enjoy the beautiful game as English fans and marvel at the quality of players that we have in the EPL together."

  • Comment number 29.

    @26.At 17:55 13th Sep 2011, j0hnb1972 wrote:
    ................................................................
    Just to back your point up , City broke the WORLD RECORD transfer fee for a defender with Keith Curle (91) and Terry Phelan (92) both for £2.5m and a million on Tony Cotton , up there with the most expensive at the time .

  • Comment number 30.

    @ 25.At 17:48 13th Sep 2011, j0hnb1972,

    Last time United faced Bayern Munich in Champions League football, Bayern Munich got away with quite a few refereeing leniency incidents. Also, United of this season, at the moment, looks superior of that United side. Personally, I think SAF has an issue to solve with them and it would be the ideal opportunity for Manchester United to face Bayern Munich in the latter stages of Champions League.

  • Comment number 31.

    1978 I was still a youngster, boarded a plane to Milan to watch CITY versus AC Milan. Game got cancelled, fog, had to stay the night in some dodgey hotel. Ticket still valid, we go 2 up at Milan and end up tying 2-2.

    Return leg, 3-0 at half time, lovely football, Asa Hartford, master-class.

    Go out in the next round, 3-1 to the mighty Borussia Munchen.

    33 years awaiting.

    Never been interested in the CL prior to this year. A competition designed to make the rich richer, blatantly unfair on the small European nations. Teams like Malmo stood a chance when it was a two-legged affair, now we have the groups and we have the European elite segregated by a seeding system. Fair? "Fair Play", 'Your Having A Laugh"

    I will enjoy the CITY group stages and reminisce to that sunny afternoon in Milan 33 years ago.

    All CITY fans will enjoy, we have waited long enough.

    By the way we dont care about how many fans UTD have or how many trophies they have won. We care only about our "Next Game" "We must a Concentrate" wise word Mr. Mancini, wise words indeed.

  • Comment number 32.

    17.
    At 17:22 13th Sep 2011, We all follow United wrote:

    you do realise that the fair play rules are flawed and merely preserve the status quo and do little for competition? DO you think that is good?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Damned if you do and damned if you don't though. Whilst they won't necessarily help competition, it's surely better than the ONLY way of having success is by some rich bloke giving you money. There's only so many rich blokes prepared to lose a lot of their money in order to impress their mates. Is that really financially sustainable in the long run?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    And having the Glazer family run up massive amounts of debt really sustainable? It irks me when pople go on about City's spending and take the moral high ground, when one glance at their own club would show the actual reality that football is only about money.

    PS- Not a mancity supporter.

  • Comment number 33.

    Some people are so confident they can predict the future, they should take up gambling. It's a pity that we rarely come back to these people to see whether they were right or not. And the first poster really needs to calm down. Mike Summerbee made proclamations because Chris asked him to. Would you only be happy if he said he expected it would be too much for City? He didn't say anything about expecting the opposition to lie down. He said that he thought we would make an impact if we play like we have in our first 4 league games, and I think a lot of people would agree with him. And anyone who knows Mike Summerbee knows that a lot of stuff he says is tongue in cheek (not sure about winning the trophy at the Nou Camp mind you).

    This was the dream, but when we qualified back in May, I'm not sure many City fans were dreaming as much as we are now. The 'irreplaceable' Carlos looked to be on his way, and with Dzeko struggling, and Mario being Mario, I think we were happy just to be in the group stages, but suddenly Dzeko looks like God's gift, Aguero's come in, Nasri's come in, Carlos is staying, Silva's playing with amazing self belief, and Yaya looks like he's running the show. No sooner is one game finished and I can't wait for the next. Yes, because we look like we are going to win a few games, but also because of the football we are playing. Not predicting tomorrow's result or looking beyond that, just licking my lips. D

  • Comment number 34.

    @30: Fair point, its just funny how these things can work out. As your post alluded to, United were the better team two years ago, the 1st half performance up until BM scored just before half time was the best performance i had seen from that particular side all season. However united were sloppy in the 1st leg and then you put yourself in a difficult situation. Although the thought of "revenge" with this new improved United side appeals, il be honest and admit that id rather miss out on BM in the last 16!

  • Comment number 35.

    @10 city aren't what is wrong with the modern game it is the fact that the champions league has half of the "elite" leagues second and third places in it. City and chelsea had to buy as the big clubs with "history" (i.e money) to compete as their financial advantage was massive with the change in the champions league, so they could offer higher wages and better fees and increased the gap as no other teams could compete to get into europes top tournament. In fact the sky monopoly is everything that is wrong with modern football as it makes such huges sums of money available that the players are on wages that removed them from the fans of their club and instead turned them into pampered multi millionares. United were lucky they dominated at a time when sky was throwing money at the english game. Liverpool were the historically important team and utd were a sleeping giant at best but with a great boss and a lot of money they bought there way to success the same as any of the billionares play things but the goalposts have changed now and instead of a million being a huge sum now it is 40 million.

  • Comment number 36.

    @28 TBH i feel the need to apologise as you seem a very fair minded and loyal city fan. We have both supported our teams for the same amount of time (34yrs for me) and of course I have been lucky enough to taste regular success for the majority of that time. It just gets on my nerves a little when some city fans try to justify their current spending by stating that United have always spent, forgetting, as you said, the money wasted by a string of city managers.

  • Comment number 37.

    @36 very gracious, thank you John.

  • Comment number 38.

    33.At 18:21 13th Sep 2011, Drooper_ wrote:
    Some people are so confident they can predict the future, they should take up gambling. It's a pity that we rarely come back to these people to see whether they were right or not. And the first poster really needs to calm down. Mike Summerbee made proclamations because Chris asked him to. Would you only be happy if he said he expected it would be too much for City? He didn't say anything about expecting the opposition to lie down. He said that he thought we would make an impact if we play like we have in our first 4 league games, and I think a lot of people would agree with him. And anyone who knows Mike Summerbee knows that a lot of stuff he says is tongue in cheek (not sure about winning the trophy at the Nou Camp mind you).

    This was the dream, but when we qualified back in May, I'm not sure many City fans were dreaming as much as we are now. The 'irreplaceable' Carlos looked to be on his way, and with Dzeko struggling, and Mario being Mario, I think we were happy just to be in the group stages, but suddenly Dzeko looks like God's gift, Aguero's come in, Nasri's come in, Carlos is staying, Silva's playing with amazing self belief, and Yaya looks like he's running the show. No sooner is one game finished and I can't wait for the next. Yes, because we look like we are going to win a few games, but also because of the football we are playing. Not predicting tomorrow's result or looking beyond that, just licking my lips. D

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    perfect summary Drooper, perfect.

    The "fare" sereved up this season by Mancin''s troops has been mouth-watering. Gone are the days when we feasted on "Corn Beef".

  • Comment number 39.

    I suppose, if City carry on this fascinating start of the season they've had (and carry it into Europe), the bangwagon of moaners shouting about FFP will be on the increase. I really fail to understand why all these shouts. As football fans, what we want is to watch quality football, played by quality teams, week in, week out. It's nice to see one more, very strong team.

    City's financial muscle didn't stop Liverpool investing in an attempt to better their team. And, besides one-two bad for them results, I'm expecting them to have a much better season, this time round. They look top four material again.

    What could one say about those desperate Arsenal fans, though... Silent Stan broke his silence and all he had to say was that it isn't a good tactic for Arsenal to panic and start buying players. I'm wondering why no one gives him a pair of glasses to see reality.

    All those talking about FFP are forgetting (or have missed) a very important detail about Mr Platini, FFP and his native France. When one of those extra rich men bought a French club (don't remember which, but I'm sure you can help me in that) the first thing Platini said about that club's spending was that it improves the French League. Quite extraordinary, given his past statements on Premier League football.

    F.F.P. is a farce. It was a farce from day one and, if this trend of rich people moving into the French League continues, I'm expecting Mr Platini to become the laughing stock of the footballing world.

  • Comment number 40.

    No, you won't, not until the FFP rules come into force at least and you are unable to play in Europe as your outgoings massively out weigh your incomings. Isn't the city wage bill something like more than double the entire income of the club?
    No europe = no stars
    No stars = no success


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    When FFP comes in they will just increase sponsorships etc to compensate. For all platini's chat about how they will look into any deals how can they say what is a market value? The market values itself and if a company wants to give another 300 million for 3 years then how can uefa say otherwise? They will end up at the european courts and the businesses will win. There is no salary cap on what a player can earn so how can you put one on the clubs? European law allows freedom of trade and surely this is all this is? If it is about fairness then surely all clubs should only be allowed a maximum income of x? the maximum wage bill is y? Surely it isn't fair when barcelona, madrid and all of the english clubs gain huge financial advantages based on tv money? Surely this should be eradicated as it is an advantage gained for no reason other than what a business is willing to pay?

    FFP is only workable as the old g14 wanted a system to guarantee the elite stay the elite and to deny any other clubs the chance of competition against them

  • Comment number 41.

    I don't care who has spent what, i care about what is happening now. I have a lot of (grudging) respect for what United have done, but i would love city to emulate half of what they have done, i was there in the 60's and 70's so i really just want to enjoy the ride, i don't want to have stupid arguments, just want to see that top class quality we have waited so long for

  • Comment number 42.

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

  • Comment number 43.

    39.At 18:37 13th Sep 2011, Football_UK wrote:
    I suppose, if City carry on this fascinating start of the season they've had (and carry it into Europe), the bangwagon of moaners shouting about FFP will be on the increase. I really fail to understand why all these shouts. As football fans, what we want is to watch quality football, played by quality teams, week in, week out. It's nice to see one more, very strong team.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well put, I agree.

  • Comment number 44.

    #32 Please check how much the debt has gone before the questioning whether the debt is sustainable, they are the biggest club in terms of turnover, and one of the highest in profits in the world, as well as the most supported - so yes it is sustainable!

    Anyway back to the blog, City have got the players but champions league has a lot to do with tactic, not many clubs play the same as in their domestic league. If City tried to go out the way they have done in the EPL (which they probably won't) they would concede easily. Its all well having lots of talented experience strikes and Midfield, but their main defence has little European football, which will probably be their downfall.

    They should win their group though, judging how Bayern performed against reasonable oppositon in pre-season with their first team, their defense seems poor also.

  • Comment number 45.

    @35: I agree that the CL is a bit of a carve up, basically to stop what were the G14 clubs and are now the ECA clubs (i think thats the correct acronym anyway! Wotever, you know what I mean, the big clubs!!) breaking away from UEFA and forming their own European Super League.

    The only part of your post that i really disagree with is the last bit (unsurprisingly!):

    "United were lucky they dominated at a time when sky was throwing money at the english game. Liverpool were the historically important team and utd were a sleeping giant at best but with a great boss and a lot of money they bought there way to success the same as any of the billionares play things but the goalposts have changed now and instead of a million being a huge sum now it is 40 million".

    Firsly: United along with Liverpool, Everton, Arsenal and Spurs voted for ITV to get the tv deal when the PL was formed. All the div 1 teams voted for the Sky/BBC joint deal.

    Secondly: United have only been the biggest spenders in 4 of the 20 yrs that the PL has been in existence. The top spenders in the period 1992-2002 were Liverpool. In fact United are 5th in the all time PL spending league.

    Thirdly: Uniteds spending power is purely down to excellent management. After becoming a PLC alot of the money made from that was used to increase the capacity at OT from around 50000 to 76000, thus increasing match day revenues. Also success meant that united earned more prize money.

  • Comment number 46.

    44.
    At 18:45 13th Sep 2011, jdowling18 wrote:

    #32 Please check how much the debt has gone before the questioning whether the debt is sustainable, they are the biggest club in terms of turnover, and one of the highest in profits in the world, as well as the most supported - so yes it is sustainable!

    Anyway back to the blog, City have got the players but champions league has a lot to do with tactic, not many clubs play the same as in their domestic league. If City tried to go out the way they have done in the EPL (which they probably won't) they would concede easily. Its all well having lots of talented experience strikes and Midfield, but their main defence has little European football, which will probably be their downfall.

    They should win their group though, judging how Bayern performed against reasonable oppositon in pre-season with their first team, their defense seems poor also.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Massive debt is sustainable?? Where have you been for the past 18 months when Greece, Ireland and POrtugal were needing bailouts because of their sustainable debts? I dont want to turn this into an economics argument, but further investment and turnover will be hamperd by massive debts as it is not sustainable.

  • Comment number 47.

    Im confused - this is a blog about Man City entering the Champions League for the first time, but it is full of anti-city comments from united fans??

  • Comment number 48.

    Firsly: United along with Liverpool, Everton, Arsenal and Spurs voted for ITV to get the tv deal when the PL was formed. All the div 1 teams voted for the Sky/BBC joint deal.

    Secondly: United have only been the biggest spenders in 4 of the 20 yrs that the PL has been in existence. The top spenders in the period 1992-2002 were Liverpool. In fact United are 5th in the all time PL spending league.

    Thirdly: Uniteds spending power is purely down to excellent management. After becoming a PLC alot of the money made from that was used to increase the capacity at OT from around 50000 to 76000, thus increasing match day revenues. Also success meant that united earned more prize money.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1) I don't think who they voted for makes any difference as it didn't stop them taking the moolah

    2) Not being the biggest spenders did not mean you didn't spend big though! United had a good group of young players but bought a lot of their squad to compliment them and still spent a large sum of money and certainly more than a lot of their premier league rivals. I wasn't really levelling it at united being the biggest spenders more that their financial muscle allowed them to get the best players (plus being the one club allowed into the major european trophy for a while). THe market also has only went up so when united built their first core title winning team the players then who would have cost a lot would seem inexpensive now.

    3) I am not denying that they have been managed well but the globalisation of the market in the 90's helped increase revenues massively abroad and this market brand has given united a HUGE turnover. It was good business to exploit it but in the 70's and 80's this wasn't possible and i would imagine if it was liverpool would be the most recognised english football team (despite all the success that SAF has brough it was only last year you finally overtook them in league titles). Their huge exposure and dominance allowed them to increase their fan base and to build a bigger stadium. I never said they didn't deserve it or that it wasn't through good management but there was a big slice of luck in it with the timing of success. THing is though a smaller team will have to spend hugely to oust them as they can't get the success that allows them to expand when the gulf is so huge.

    City and chelsea are bad for the game because they are pushing players wages into the stratosphere and it is alienating ordinary punters who just can't afford to go to a game now. I don't grudge them their success though as the major clubs turned it into big business and started handing out wages that totally screwed the rest so what else coudl they do? As an old firm fan it is what we have done to scottish football and by strangling it we have hung ourselves but if you look at porto, benfica, rangers, celtic, fehnerbahce etc they all get 40000+ or there about attendances should guarantee them some sort of success but tv revenues and billionare owners have made it impossible for them to try to compete. They will have the odd good run here and there but the CL is an impossibility for any of them now and that saddens me as a football fan

  • Comment number 49.

    For years I have tolerated Utd' success and their fans having no issue with City... Claiming Liverpool to be their biggest rivals - albeit True.... But to finally see United fans getting ruffled at the shear prospect of City's potential to conquer Europe.. Means happy times are ahead for the City Faithful

    We turned out in our thousands for third Tier football not so long ago and we'll continue to do so...

    Can we devastate Europe - Yes, Why Not?

    We have a formidable squad with the ability to compete in all competitions.. The Premierleague is widely open for the taking.. However, The Champions League is a whole different kettle of fish... But, we have a strong minded Italian Manager who knows how to set-up defensively (33 goals last season conceded joint with Chelsea as the best defence and the most clean sheets 18) and now with the added flair in Midfield we certainly have a team capable of pulling down any European Giant...

    Bring on this 'New' challenge and Happy days at the Etihad for all to enjoy!

  • Comment number 50.

    12. At 16:56 13th Sep 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:


    (p.s. I'm not a Man City fan, just thought it was a spurious point and it intrigued me to know the answer.)

    ---------------------


    The clue is in the song "20,000 empty seats, the City is yours" As you're not a City fan though I trust this'll mean nothing to you.

    -------------------------------

    31. Bertie strikes again

    Oh god, he's on gone and ran with the "Malmo argument".

  • Comment number 51.

    And having the Glazer family run up massive amounts of debt really sustainable? It irks me when pople go on about City's spending and take the moral high ground, when one glance at their own club would show the actual reality that football is only about money.

    PS- Not a mancity supporter

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not once did I take the 'moral highground', you've made yourself look silly there.

    Levering debts against any business is a gamble (and one that myself and other United fans have protested vigorously against for no reward) but if the company can afford the repayments, which at the moment United can, then yes it is sustainable. Whilst it's something that happens with almost every business takeover, It's something that in football at least should be looked at in the future though definitely.

    What's definitely not sustainable is a football club spending millions and millions more purely on wages than their entire business turns over. Surely you can see the difference? At the moment, the only way to compete with the big boys is to find a rich benefactor that doesn't mind losing an absolute fortune in return for some bragging rights with their rich mates. How many of them are there to go round?

  • Comment number 52.

    People seem to be taking it for granted that league form easily carries into European competitions, when in fact more often than not the opposite is true. The different format, tempo, and expectations, coupled with unfamiliar grounds, opposition and fans, often take teams by surprise. It's also easier to rescue your league season from a freak result or decision or an off-day than it is to fight back in a small group or knockout format. The luck factor is more important in the Champions League, whereas domestic leagues are more about consistency. In this way I fully expect City to make the last 16, but beyond that is anyone's guess.

  • Comment number 53.

    51.
    At 19:25 13th Sep 2011, We all follow United wrote:

    And having the Glazer family run up massive amounts of debt really sustainable? It irks me when pople go on about City's spending and take the moral high ground, when one glance at their own club would show the actual reality that football is only about money.

    PS- Not a mancity supporter

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not once did I take the 'moral highground', you've made yourself look silly there.

    Levering debts against any business is a gamble (and one that myself and other United fans have protested vigorously against for no reward) but if the company can afford the repayments, which at the moment United can, then yes it is sustainable. Whilst it's something that happens with almost every business takeover, It's something that in football at least should be looked at in the future though definitely.

    What's definitely not sustainable is a football club spending millions and millions more purely on wages than their entire business turns over. Surely you can see the difference? At the moment, the only way to compete with the big boys is to find a rich benefactor that doesn't mind losing an absolute fortune in return for some bragging rights with their rich mates. How many of them are there to go round?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not once did I say you personally took the moral high ground, but its something I have noticed happen quite regularly, so you've made yourself look sillier there.

    I think you are being extremely arrogant by suggesting that the whol point of spending millions of pounds on a football club by a rich guy is so he can brag about it, while not seeing the business sense of this. As you say, the only way to compete with the big boys is by spending, which is what united have also done in the past. United found a rich benefactor in the Glazer family too, and they have spent their fair share too.

    Actually looking over your post you do seem to be taking the moral high ground. You justify United's debt but bash City's spending when they are in a position to actually demonstrate that they can sustain such a spend in the short run.

  • Comment number 54.

    50.At 19:21 13th Sep 2011, TheTrawler wrote:
    12. At 16:56 13th Sep 2011, MrBlueBurns wrote:


    (p.s. I'm not a Man City fan, just thought it was a spurious point and it intrigued me to know the answer.)

    ---------------------


    The clue is in the song "20,000 empty seats, the City is yours" As you're not a City fan though I trust this'll mean nothing to you.

    -------------------------------

    31. Bertie strikes again

    Oh god, he's on gone and ran with the "Malmo argument".

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Trawler, your trawling again. This is a CITY themed blog and how they will play in Europe.

    Once again, we don't CARE about how many fans you have. We only CARE that we are about to make our CL debut.

    The Malmo debate is a excellent talking point. Explain why you believe certain CL teams should be seeded??

    I remember a Leeds UTD team playing a full strength Manchester Utd team in the FA cup at Old Crap-ord, and winning? Thus it proves on any given day a lower rated team can beat their highly rated opposition, I believe "Fair Play".

    Bertie Mancini Button

  • Comment number 55.

    Er, the 20,000 empty seats reply wasn't to you now was it hex head.

    As for the Malmo argument there really isn't that much point discussing it with someone like you who stated a few posts back that he had no interest at all in the CL until this season.

    The picture I'm getting of you is that much like Bevan himself you're a bit of a nouveau bluenose. A bit like when David Mellor started turning up regularly at Chelsea in the mid 90s.

  • Comment number 56.

    This has been up since 11.30ish and only 55 posts?

    Strap in, Citeh fans, the big time beckons.

  • Comment number 57.

    @j0hnb1972

    Hmm. City's (very respectable) average IS indeed for PL games. And just like almost EVERY other club, their attendances tail off for cup games. Just like almost every other club...except for United.
    And why-oh-why is that, I wonder?
    Is it because when the 'die-hard' United fans decide to stay in the Midlands/South Coast rather than making the trip for a meaningless cup game, there are THOUSANDS of bandwagon-jumping replacements ready to take their seats, cameras-in-hand. Ready for their one-and-only visit.

    I'm glad that City don't have these hangers-on and that the supporters you see at their stadium are genuine supporters, most of whom have been down the divisions with them and back up again. Because we're a football club- not a tourist attraction.

  • Comment number 58.

    55.At 19:55 13th Sep 2011, TheTrawler wrote:
    Er, the 20,000 empty seats reply wasn't to you now was it hex head.

    As for the Malmo argument there really isn't that much point discussing it with someone like you who stated a few posts back that he had no interest at all in the CL until this season.

    The picture I'm getting of you is that much like Bevan himself you're a bit of a nouveau bluenose. A bit like when David Mellor started turning up regularly at Chelsea in the mid 90s.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Trawler, please see my earlier comments per a trip to Milan in 1978.

    Tha's been a BLUE for a long, long time.

    I prefered the European Cup when it was not "rigged". (Alas Malmo)

    Tha was probrably still in nappies being spoon fed "Utd"

    "If you don't follow Utd, no more Carrot and Banana Pudding for you Lad"

    Bah, Bah, Bah

  • Comment number 59.

    @48:
    1. This is what i find odd, you seem to think that united have benefitted more from Sky money than every other PL team. This is not the case, the tv money is shared equally (unlike in Spain). The only "extra" moolah united have earned is from prize money. The reason why i mentioned that United didnt vote for Sky initially is because a lot of people seem to be under the impression that United and Sky have somehow conspired to give United a competitive advantage.

    The rest of your post I basically agree with.

    The sky tv deal has given ALL of the regular PL teams a financial advantage over the teams (and leagues) that you mention.

    The CL has given the regular qualifiers a competitive advantage over the rest of the PL clubs (both financially and in the ability to attract/keep top players).

  • Comment number 60.

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

  • Comment number 61.

    @57 Il bet the owners, not that they need the money (just that the club needs the income) wouldnt agree. Isnt there talk of increasing the capacity at the Etihad?

  • Comment number 62.

    Dear Bertie

    The old days? When the European Cup wasn't rigged? you couldn't make it up!!

    There are many arguments about the changing face of football that can't be made in detail on such an open forum, to do with doping and money laundering, bent officials and bent leagues. But just in pure competition terms you might note two things on the Malmo argument: point 1 is that during that period English teams won 7 out of 9 European Cups including 5 of the most tedious finals in the competition's entire history. and point 2 is that when Malmo lost the 79 final they lost to a team that weren't champions of their own league and that have never been champions of their own league since.

    The main influence over the changing face of the Champions League has been the Bosman rule btw. And that's also the primary reason for the expansion of the competition to 4 teams from the top leagues. These teams would otherwise be competing - and utterly dominating - the Uefa Cup/Europa League thingy.

  • Comment number 63.

    57 not sure what you're babbling on about tbh. I was sat in Colin Bell last season along with 17 others on a stag weekend in Manchester. Not one of us supports City. Behind us were 4 fans from the far east. A couple of rows in front were a couple from Finland. And sat next to my mate at the end of our row were four Germans on a day trip.

  • Comment number 64.

    @46

    You cannot compare the debt of Manchester United to 3 seperate countries who have all got poor economies. If you want to look at it as an economy, Manchester United's is booming with an ever-growing franchise and marketing especially in Asia, an ever-growing fan base, and a large stadium whilst being 'fairly' sensible with wages (in budget) they have a high revenue. Manchester United yearly turnover and profit compared to their debt is fine, and they have been making profit every year, unlike the countries you have mentioned who have borrowed every year for so long to balance the books its all gone wrong when the banks hit the pan. People want to invest in United, hence why they demand a 40million contract for a training kit sponsor. They will all but wipe out their debts with selling 30% of their shares in the singapore stock enchange and then with the Fair Play Rules they will have more spending power then anyone.

    Now please tell me how this is not sustainable debt. Just proves the Glazers really weren't that stupid, as they had a long term plan - probably 10-25 year - unlike some Owners, I Roman will pack it in once they have the Champions League.

  • Comment number 65.

    Dear Bertie

    The old days? When the European Cup wasn't rigged? you couldn't make it up!!

    There are many arguments about the changing face of football that can't be made in detail on such an open forum, to do with doping and money laundering, bent officials and bent leagues. But just in pure competition terms you might note two things on the Malmo argument: point 1 is that during that period English teams won 7 out of 9 European Cups including 5 of the most tedious finals in the competition's entire history. and point 2 is that when Malmo lost the 79 final they lost to a team that weren't champions of their own league and that have never been champions of their own league since.

    The main influence over the changing face of the Champions League has been the Bosman rule btw. And that's also the primary reason for the expansion of the competition to 4 teams from the top leagues. These teams would otherwise be competing - and utterly dominating - the Uefa Cup/Europa League thingy.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------Trawler,

    Yes, some of the European Cup finals were tedius but in essence i have been told that most of the CL finals have also been very boring. I find it boring that the SAME teams appear in the final, UTD, Barcelona, Inter Milan. Thus I believe the competition flawed because the "Elite" are seeded. Heavens above Manchester Utd playing in a group with Barcelona, Bayen Munich and CITY?

    If your good enough surely it should be proven by beating the best?


    The BOSMAN rule as had little impact on the CL, I would put GREED ahead of the BOSMAN.

  • Comment number 66.

    And having the Glazer family run up massive amounts of debt really sustainable? It irks me when pople go on about City's spending and take the moral high ground, when one glance at their own club would show the actual reality that football is only about money.

    -------------
    This is just ignorance of basic economics
    You will find that the debt on United was brought by the Glazers, who borrowed money to buy what is one of the most profitable clubs in the world with profits of 100m+. The club's transfer spending have always been within its revenues, unlike City they do not need the Glazers or borrowed money to buy players or pay wages.
    For all the talk of City's squad, they don't really have a lot of CL level players. Tevez won it with United and Yaya Toure with Barca, but Aguero, Dzeko, Balotelli, Silva, Kompany and Hart have no experience of winning against top European clubs. The PL is a very different animal to European competition; they had the strongest side in Europa League last year and didn't go anywhere, and they are certainly no more than quarter finalists at best with United, Bayern, Barca, Real and even Chelsea having more experience and better(if not similar) quality in squad, and they may even struggle against slightly weaker sides like Inter, AC and Borussia should they have to face them. Playing a game once a week is very different to 3 tough fixtures in a week, even clubs like United have struggled with it so City, new to the competition, are bound to find it really hard to cope with both the mental and physical toll of the competition.

  • Comment number 67.

    MRBLUEBURNS
    It is a shame, and ANOTHER flaw of the current format of the Champions League, that established european teams have a couple of less than glamorous games to play in the group stages. Professionalism and respect and all that still required, but I imagine some fans grow weary of it.


    ***** A Chelsea fan who (in Chelsea’s 11th appearance in the European Cup / CL) who is ALREADY wary of playing teams that aren’t backed by rich benefactors! *****

    I wonder if anyone did the analysis, how many teams do not finish the group stage in their expected place i.e. pot 1 teams finishing top, pot 2 teams finishing second in the group etc etc


    ***** I’m not sure what conclusions you wish to draw. Here are last year’s placings with a few percentages, though i’m not sure what this will show other than most pot 1 and 2 qualify and most pot 3 and 4 teams don’t.*****

    Group A 3 1 4 2
    Group B 3 1 2 4
    Group C 1 2 3 4
    Group D 1 3 4 2
    Group E 1 2 3 4
    Group F 1 2 3 4
    Group G 2 1 3 4
    Group H 2 1 3 4

    So,
    100% of pot 1 teams progressed
    50% of pot 1 teams won their group (the other 50% came 2nd)
    37.5% of pot 1 & 2 teams finished in those exact positions
    62.5% of pot 3 & 4 teams finished in those exact positions
    37.5% of pot 2 teams failed to progress (W Breman, Benfica, R Kazan replaced by 3rd pot teams Spurs, Shalke, Copenhagen)


    MRBLUEBURNS
    #13 Kalielyn

    Whilst the bitterness you hold with regard to Man City may be understandable in a local way (how many miles from your house is Old Trafford :-) ), you do realise that the fair play rules are flawed and merely preserve the status quo and do little for competition? DO you think that is good?

    *****So you live in Kensington? Nearer to Chelsea than any other London Club? London? Outside of London altogether?

    Of course, you can’t really criticise City’s rise as it is very similar to that of Chelsea.
    City are probably slightly better supported than Chelsea, although both teams attendances have doubled/ nearly doubled since the Premier League began!
    The status quo in Europe has just about always consisted of the current best teams anyway so the FFP probably won’t alter much. Not to mention the fact that you have already hinted at your disdain for the ‘less glamorous’ teams anyway!*****


    With regards to preserving the status quo.
    You say the FFP rules will do little for competition. I think that teams that arrive on the scene by virtue of spending more than they generate does more to stiffle 'true' competition!!!!!

  • Comment number 68.

    This article is entitled, " Man City ready for European adventure".

    It has attracted a large majority of comments from Manchester United fans many of whom seem to have invested some time in writing long pieces.

    One has to wonder why ?

  • Comment number 69.

    You know, I managed to watch all of City vs Wigan without once thinking about how much money City had spent and how they were able to spend it. I imagine I will be able to watch their Champions' League games in a similar frame of mind.
    Last season, when they were playing somewhat defensively, it did occur to me that some people might have found a better use for half a billion quid than boring two sets of fans to death, but their quality of play has increased markedly since then. If anything, I am now pleased that the money has allowed Mancini to create a team capable of producing the kind of exciting performances they have done of late. Football IS a results game, but that does not mean we have no right to expect some entertainment in the two hours between kick-off and the league table being updated. City and United are delivering that entertainment this season and I must be one of a very few fans to wish them both well, for that simple reason.

  • Comment number 70.

    66.
    At 22:19 13th Sep 2011, nit123esh wrote:

    And having the Glazer family run up massive amounts of debt really sustainable? It irks me when pople go on about City's spending and take the moral high ground, when one glance at their own club would show the actual reality that football is only about money.

    -------------
    This is just ignorance of basic economics
    You will find that the debt on United was brought by the Glazers, who borrowed money to buy what is one of the most profitable clubs in the world with profits of 100m+. The club's transfer spending have always been within its revenues, unlike City they do not need the Glazers or borrowed money to buy players or pay wages.
    For all the talk of City's squad, they don't really have a lot of CL level players. Tevez won it with United and Yaya Toure with Barca, but Aguero, Dzeko, Balotelli, Silva, Kompany and Hart have no experience of winning against top European clubs. The PL is a very different animal to European competition; they had the strongest side in Europa League last year and didn't go anywhere, and they are certainly no more than quarter finalists at best with United, Bayern, Barca, Real and even Chelsea having more experience and better(if not similar) quality in squad, and they may even struggle against slightly weaker sides like Inter, AC and Borussia should they have to face them. Playing a game once a week is very different to 3 tough fixtures in a week, even clubs like United have struggled with it so City, new to the competition, are bound to find it really hard to cope with both the mental and physical toll of the competition.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Never once did i mention that the debt was due to uniteds tansfer policy. It doesnt matter about how the debt was brought on, but the fact that there is a massive debt. This debt has been backed by the clubs assets which going forward will not be sustainable. Whereas spending vast amounts on players might look risky in the short term, if these players bring success like the FA Cup last year and Champions League football every year, and are then sold on recouping some of the millions spent in the first place, would benefit the club in the long term as they can guarantee a source of income which theoretically should balance the books.

    Hence, basic economics not ignored.

  • Comment number 71.

    68. At 22:33 13th Sep 2011, VivaLasTetas wrote:

    This article is entitled, " Man City ready for European adventure".

    It has attracted a large majority of comments from Manchester United fans many of whom seem to have invested some time in writing long pieces.

    One has to wonder why ?


    ***** are you upset that Utd fans have commented? Why?

    You didn't reply to anybody or comment on the story! You just have a dig at Utd fans without explaining your objection. This thread is open to all, footy fan or not and why wouldn't Utd fans be interested in City's debut in the CL?

    You should expand on your cryptic post, a possibly even make a point!

  • Comment number 72.

    Dear Mr Author
    Why do you write about stupid topics. You should try to write about topics such as:

    City destroy english football
    rich owners make united fans cry
    united fans even after knocking liverpool off thier perch cry because its what they do
    Arab money which is boosting the english economy should be rippd out of the pl because it threatens united fans

    Atleast then we REAL football fans can have a decent time with our families and not come to these blogs (as you hav taken 606 away). This way we can avoid all the off the topic comments like "i hate city they r trying to buy success". As this comment fits the above topics it will not be off topic.

    oh and i am a liverpool fan it is us who have been hit harder as their is more competition for the 4th spot

  • Comment number 73.

    Man City will have all eyes on them which they deserve as they are in very exciting group from which every team is capable of qualifying and because man city have been different class this season along with man utd. I actually think that man city have been the better of the two teams however i don't think that many people are analysing just how dangerous a team napoli are and i am really surprised that they managed to hang onto their top three players in cavani hamsik and lavezzi and they will be a real danger for man city tomorrow. I can maybe just see man city edging it with them having home advantage but i wouldn't be surprised if napoli got all three points.

  • Comment number 74.

    All that said i is relly sad when liverpool is dragged into it as someone pointed out the biggest net speders were liverpool in a period upto from (idont remember) upto 2002.. that is lame because as far as buying success goes we should see the spending before united won their first league title with sir alex.. so in the few years (1988-89 to 1992-93) leading to that uniteds net spending was around -17 million quids.. whereas liverpools net spending was was around 7.5 million) hmmm. So the best team of that era was spending less than half of a team that went on to win the first epl and completely dominate enlish football.. ist that buying a title?

    Even if that kind of money was not spent ido believe Sir alex would have turned united into a formidable force because i believe he is one of the best managers to have been invovled with football. But please it is a very boring and old topic that city are trying to buy success.. so what?? it adds to the beauty of english football.. It gives everyone something to talk about (although most only talk about how they are trying to acheive the title), the fact that there is one more team in the mix is fantastic.. I can not understand y wsnt so much noise made abot tottenham they also spent their way to champons league football.

    Is City's way of achieving glory justified? No its not. is there any other way? no there is not.

    FFP rules are bullcrap.. if they want to actually save the game they should put caps on net transfer fees and total salaries payable.. these caps should be increased with inflation rates every year.. atleast more clubs can keep their best players. more clubs can fight at the top of the league and teams which are successful can earn profits and use them to improve their youth players.. benefitting the national team and the society as a whole.

    Do i hate united no do i dislike their success yes because they have won more league titles than liverpool. otherwise they are one of the better sides in europe probably the third or second best (madrid and barca are just terrific at the moment)

  • Comment number 75.

    Spurs fan here. I wish Manchester City the best of luck as an English team representing us in Europe.

  • Comment number 76.

    @60 Man City have the player, so what ever you say doesnt matter considering that its only Man United, Barca and Madrid that are slightly better

  • Comment number 77.

    The amount of hostility that United have accumulated simply states the amount of success it has achieved. City have a brilliant squad this year, can make even Barca jealous. But make no mistakes, United have a good squad too and in Europe its luck+temprament and a lo of other things that can come into picture. But again despite being a United supporter through and through, I cant City's adventures end before Semi Finals unless they meet either Madrid, Barca or United!!

  • Comment number 78.

    How can you even comment on this artificial creation like its an actual football team. If they don't win this time they'll spend another couple hundred million until they do. You can't even connect this squad to City's years as a real team. The picture would be just the same if some billionaire funded Sunderland or Blackburn or Wigan. This isn't sport. Its banking.

  • Comment number 79.

    I'm old enough to remember Malcolm Alison's infamous comment of "we'll terrify Europe" in 1968,only to fall at the first hurdle against a Fenebache team,which was the equivalent of a 2nd division team.
    You might have thought a little humility would be the order of the day,but as usual with citeh fans,thoughts of a May final have been penciled into the diary!
    Failure in the Europa league,which on paper is an easier tourney to win,does'nt seem to have dampened their optimism,so I can only presume league wins over Wigan,Swansea and Bolton is good preparation for an assault on football's biggest tournament. I could be wrong..you might do well in it,but if the experience of 68 is any guide,the tears may flow in abundance from the noisy neighbours.
    I will also scan the attendance closely.
    If clubs such as Newcastle,Everton,Villa were about to play their first ever Champions League game,not only would their ground's be full,but I would suggest many more thousands of fans would be left ticketless. Failure to sell out tonight would be a disgrace,and be further proof that citeh's support are prepared to only go so far to watch their team. 8,000 spare places in the CS game last month is further proof of citeh fans unwillingness to part with their cash.
    In contrast..the "old top four" have no problems selling out the big games.

  • Comment number 80.

    It's sad to see that this blog has so many bitter Man U fans! Particularly like the comments about Man City fans being arrogant with others claiming they don't have any history or tradition. To me this is the most arrogant you can get. I'm a Boro fan and the most successful we've ever got was the League Cup but that doesn't mean we don't have history. We've got over 100 years of the stuff!

    Really what Man U fans mean is that they're worried that someone else can now outspend them and will most likely overtake them as the best team in the land. Money buys success sure but it's only a few at the big clubs that are really too bothered about Man City's money coming from abroad. It's the only way to compete now.

  • Comment number 81.

    78
    Agreed
    The so-called Champions League is getting more and more predictable and boring every year if your team doesn't have a seat at the table. Eventually a lot of people will find other things to watch

  • Comment number 82.

    Amazing that the armchair experts still criticize the format of the Champions League stating it should be for champions only or there are meaningless games but I'll bet they are first in front of the telly. Personally I like the format and every game is interesting as it gives teams from the lesser footballing nations the chance to improve and teams like Manchester City the European experience that they need at this time on their, for their lucky supporters at least, fairytale journey.

  • Comment number 83.

    An ojective comment from a neutral here.
    A word of warning for City. Mancini's record in the CL when manager of Inter Milan was very poor. He didn't seem to have the tactical know-how for the European campaign. Look how much better Inter did when Mourinho took over from him.
    City fans will hope that Mancini has learnt from those experiences. We shall soon find out.

  • Comment number 84.

    Another intelligent debate hijacked as usual by jealous, spiteful, up their own backsides United fans from the Theatre of Injunctions. They really are the pits of football.

    Good luck Man City tonight, your brilliant fans deserve your place in the sun.

  • Comment number 85.

    think you are being extremely arrogant by suggesting that the whol point of spending millions of pounds on a football club by a rich guy is so he can brag about it, while not seeing the business sense of this. As you say, the only way to compete with the big boys is by spending, which is what united have also done in the past. United found a rich benefactor in the Glazer family too, and they have spent their fair share too.

    Actually looking over your post you do seem to be taking the moral high ground. You justify United's debt but bash City's spending when they are in a position to actually demonstrate that they can sustain such a spend in the short run.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You call me silly then tell me United apparently have a 'rich benefactor' in the Glazers?! I thought rich benefactors ploughed money they don't mind losing into a club, not take money out to help pay a debt that has nothing to do with the club?!

    I've never said United don't spend, but the club rarely spends more than it brings in. This summers transfers cost less than was earnt in the Champions League alone. If in two seasons the FFP rules do come in, where clubs can only spend what they bring in, is spending more on wages alone that the entire club turnover really 'sustainable'? Meaning eventually every club will have to do it to compete? And since there aren't enough billionaires to go round ticket prices will have to sky rocket to pay for these wages? Meaning people like myself can't go anymore? That's sustainable?

  • Comment number 86.

    All I hope for, is for City to give it a go like Spurs did. The last thing I would want to see is for Mancini to go back to last season and start parking the bus.....but I have a feeling this might happen away from home....

  • Comment number 87.

    Good games last night, before the matches started I predicted a draw for Arsenal and a narrow win for Chelsea, and it came true although Chelsea's scoreline may seem more flattering than what actually happened in the match! Predictions for tonight? I'm going for United and City wins...

    On a side note, huge amount of banter on here between United and City fans! Not unusual, some of it funny but others a bit harsh from both sides, but lets just remember guys that football is a game! No one team can have success forever, there are always ups and downs as has been the case for both United and City in the past. City now have a squad that can challenge the big guns and I for one welcome that. Surely it can only be a good thing for Manchester! I wish both teams luck tonight, and come on United!! ;)

  • Comment number 88.

    #80 darksmog

    You make the most perceptive remarks on this blog. I speak to so many fans of other clubs who understand the cyclical nature and vicissitudes of the game we all love; the great majority of them admit that they would naturally want their own clubs to enjoy the wealth lavished upon City by ambitious, humane and highly educated owners who are hugely committed to the local community.
    Everybody knows that United's wealth has enabled Ferguson to buy any player he wanted, whenever he wanted (one of countless examples - £30 million for Ferdinand a decade ago ) - it was simply seen as a divine right and the so-called Big Four formed a cartel that nobody believed could be challenged. Now they have been - and yet it's only United's fans I hear complaining!
    As for the vain accusation by Reds that City fans are arrogant and bitter - the polaric opposite is the truth! City fans are universally known for their bleak, dark sense of humour, counterbalanced by outbursts of daft behaviour on the terraces (from baggy Madchester trousers, through inflatable bananas to the Poznan, we don't take life too seriously). Frankly, we can't believe our good fortune and have every sympathy with fans whose clubs are on their uppers.
    Relax, Reds, you mustn't let those 25 years without a title hurt you too deeply. And if times get hard, you can always count on the Glazers!

  • Comment number 89.

    you can still buy tickets for this game if you want. Don't even have to be a member

  • Comment number 90.

    A common theme emerging on this discussion seems to be "you can't win unless you spend" - shouldn't that be "you can't win whilst Ferguson is around"? Everyone talks about the big 4 monopolising success, but there's only team who has been in the top 4 every one of the premiership years, and we all know who that is. In fact, Ferguson hasn't finished outside the top 3 since 1991

    Arsenal with a bit more steel behind them could have won the league last season, United lost several times away from home against the likes of Wolves - not really a sign of a closed shop.

    And if everyone's so happy with City running up debts of £100m+ every year, why have so many clubs come out in protest to their recent FFP busting sponsorship with "United", err I mean Etihad?

  • Comment number 91.

    you can still buy tickets for this game if you want. Don't even have to be a member

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    That you can, lad I work with is going to get two at lunchtime. He supports Oldham.

  • Comment number 92.

    It's nor the quantity of supporters my red friends it's the quality! We may not bus and train up a million supporters from the south of England and all over the world but the ones we do have have been there through the good times and mostly he bad!

    Remember quality and dedication not glory supporting quantities!


    CTID

  • Comment number 93.

    Silly Monkeys.......

  • Comment number 94.

    #92 but I thought people in Manchester only supported City, so what's london support got to do with it? If 500,000 people live in Manchester, surely city can find 10% from somewhere? Then there's all the exiles who wouldn't want to miss their first European cup game for 43 years. United managed 60,000+ in the middle of a petrol crisis

  • Comment number 95.

    It's nor the quantity of supporters my red friends it's the quality! We may not bus and train up a million supporters from the south of England and all over the world but the ones we do have have been there through the good times and mostly he bad!

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    But I thought everyone in Manchester and the surrounding area support City? That's what the blues have been telling everyone for years now. Yet for for their self-proclaimed 'biggest game in years' they need Oldham fans to help fill seats.

  • Comment number 96.

    Our fans are better than yours. You spend more money. We have 'history'. blah blah blah

    (Yawn) Man United fans are quite pathetic.

  • Comment number 97.

    1

  • Comment number 98.

    I'm a neutral but on the basis of this blog I'm going to have to gun for City.

    No wonder Oldham fans choose to go get there taste of European football at the Etihad Stadium.

  • Comment number 99.

    samsonbucket, you wouldn't hear all this nonsense all the time if football supporters grew up and accepted that the reason United have been so successful is down to Sir Alex Ferguson. You wouldn't hear United fans constantly having to defend themselves against accusations of fairweather supporting by a collection of supporters who can't even sell out their first ever Champions league group game, and first european cup game for 43 years.

  • Comment number 100.

    thought id read this blog in the expectation of seeing lots of manu fans on here....well i never....
    manu fans accusing city of been arrogant...really? manu fans saying city represent everyhitng that is wrong with modern game...presumeably money..over paying etc....pot kettle black i think. manu been the top payer for years....ever since prem lge started......
    as for the point of the blog...how will city do? well they wont win it....i beleive it took "the greatest manager ever" a good few years before he won it. but be certain that the owners of city have more money than anyone. the prem lge is a global brand...its turning into a franchise where the top teams will be guranteed to remain at the top...thats why the chumps lge is designed as it is. thats why citys owners are investing. so therefore they will win the prem lge eventually....and they will win the chumps lge...eventually....and theres not a lot manu, uefa, fifa can do about it....
    financial fair play? oh please.....accountants can make accoutns show whatever they want...
    if you want it to change....change chumps league back to straight knock out....bring some risk back into top echelons of the european club game....not sure the "big" clubs would go for that.....

 

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