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Noel Gallagher meets Mario Balotelli

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Dan Walker | 23:56 UK time, Wednesday, 7 March 2012

"Hi Mario, I'm Dan Walker from the BBC."

"Hello... wait... BBC? Journalist?"

"Yes."

"I do not like you already."

That was the conversation that accompanied my first meeting with Mario Balotelli, the Italian enigma who has excited and baffled in equal measure since stepping on to these shores.

Singer Noel Gallager and I had been waiting for the striker at Manchester City's training ground. We had arrived nice and early and been given a tour by Patrick Vieira, who is near the top of my "nicest Frenchmen I've met" list. He's just behind the guy who gave me an extra "boule" of chocolate ice cream last summer.

After the tour Noel challenged me to a game of darts on the board outside the "player care" area. I asked if he wanted to play Killer but he was unfamiliar with the rules so we decided to go for the classic 501. That was swiftly abandoned after it became clear our remedial maths was holding up play significantly.

Eventually we settled on "around the world" (or "around the clock" in some parts) which, for those of you who don't know, rewards the dartist who hits every number in order first, starting at one and ending at 20. I got off to a flyer, reaching seven in my first nine darts while Noel was struggling - even landing one "arrar" dangerously close to the foam-surround protecting the precious wall.

Noel Gallagher, a life-long City supporter, was a member of the band Oasis for over 16 years and now has his own band - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. Photo: BBC

Just as Noel was explaining that he was struggling because we were using a "cockney" dartboard and not a proper "Mancunian" one, our interviewee turned up.

The chat with Mario had taken the best part of five weeks to arrange. Balotelli simply does not talk publicly. As you will see when you watch the whole thing on Football Focus on Saturday, he has no time for the media. Manchester City are inundated with requests throughout the season but 99.9% of them are turned down because the player simply says "no".

It is odd for a footballer who rarely talks to be so captivating but Balotelli is not a normal footballer. Whether it is the rumours about dressing up as Santa Claus or paying for people's petrol, doing magic tricks for friends during a game, stamping on opponents, scoring with his shoulder, frequenting various nocturnal establishments, setting off fireworks or his "Why Always Me?" T-shirt, the man is a fascinating individual.

Like every other broadcaster in the known universe we had made several attempts to interview him throughout his time in England. About five weeks ago I called Manchester City's press department on the off-chance he had decided it was time to sit down in front of a camera. He hadn't.

Now it should be said that City are one of the most approachable, forward-thinking and accommodating clubs when it comes to player access. They are constantly doing things in the community, supporting charities and giving us the opportunity to talk to their highly paid stars. With that in mind, I went back to the club a few days later with a second proposal: What if we could get Noel Gallagher to do the interview? Again the answer was "No, I just don't think he's interested, but let me talk to Mario". This seemed like serious progress and a week or so later we were on the phone again.

"He'll do it," said the voice at the other end. "He likes Oasis and he'll talk to Noel... but only Noel". The only thing we had to do now was get Mario - who does not have a great track record when it comes to reliability - and Noel - the busiest man in showbusiness - together. Cue two weeks of conversations with agents, agencies, friends and friends of friends to find a suitable date and a suitable location.

The most important thing in our favour was that Gallagher loves Balotelli. He is currently on tour with High Flying Birds and dedicates a song to Mario each night. To Noel, Balotelli is a rock star who happens to wear a pair of shorts. Such was the former Oasis man's keenness to sit down with his favourite player that he was willing to change his entire schedule to get to Manchester last Friday.

I don't want to say too much about the interview other than that it was fascinating to watch. Balotelli comes across as a shy, slightly awkward individual, almost entirely unaware of the talent he has at his disposal and slowly coming to terms with the responsibility that accompanies his fame. When asked if he had a question for Noel at the end of the interview, he said: "Why do you like me so much?" He seemed baffled that someone could have that much affection for him. Noel's answer was about four minutes long!

You will hear him talk about Roberto Mancini, his own attitude, his need to mature, his goal celebrations, the return of Carlos Tevez, his background and his future in the game. Perhaps most interestingly of all, he deals with some of the many rumours and myths that accompany his activities in and around Manchester. Did he really attend mass on Christmas Eve and put £1,000 in the offering box? Did he take a bullied child back to school to deal with the oppressor? Does he drive around Manchester handing out money to onlookers and what is the real story behind the impromptu firework display at Balotelli Towers the night before the Manchester derby?

It is also worth saying that Mr Gallagher plays a sterling roll in all of this and brings the best out of the striker. There are a number of celebrities who "like" football because they feel it essential to their popularity, but Noel is a genuine supporter. Within minutes of meeting him, he was running through Vieira's career statistics and detailing where City had improved since the days of Danny Tiatto and Bob Taylor.

We will have a full-length interview with Noel coming up in a couple of weeks, but Saturday's Football Focus is all about Balotelli. I know it is easy to overhype these things but the stuff you will see was well worth the hundreds of phone calls, emails and logistical shenanigans it took to set up. I hope you enjoy it and don't forget you can always find me at twitter.com/danwalkerbbc

You'll be able to see Noel Gallagher's in-depth exclusive interview with Mario Balotelli on Saturday's Football Focus at 1215 GMT on BBC1.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Here's a question for Noel Gallagher - how do you feel about Man City losing their soul since the take over?

  • Comment number 2.

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

  • Comment number 3.

    Super Mario should focus only on his game, Italy desperately need him for Euro 2012. Without him and Rossi there attack is distinctly average and will struggle to get out of their group.

    As for Noel? Well he has been average since What's the Story.
    http://wp.me/1qHQT

  • Comment number 4.

    For years Man Citeh fans loathed everything about Man Utd. Only 1 team in Manchester, prawn sandwich brigade, rags etc. It's funny how they are now trying to be everything that United are.

  • Comment number 5.

    People say that Ballotery is a bit of a thicko. Well,he can manipulate the press and publicity,so he can't be that daft! Going to the Trafford Centre and then deliberately putting to hood up was bound to bring in the security blokes...the he feigns ignorance. Come on!
    As for the Beatles copier...the bloke classes himself as a Manc. He's more a professional Mancunian,always ready for the rent a gob quote...whilst he ran to London as soon as he got his first wage with Oasis!
    If you want to know about Manchester or even citeh...ask a proper bertie who stayed in Manchester and goes to every game!

  • Comment number 6.

    Posts 1-5 have a word with ur selfs....sounds like an interesting interview with a real character rather than a head scratching eeeerrrmmm.... Or a yeah well basically I just scored and it's a team effort and the gaffer is brilliant rubbish!

    He's got the one thing practically the entire PL set up is missing...a personality!

  • Comment number 7.

    @ 6

    True that. What draws me to Balotelli is his personality, for some reason this blog quickly turned into a Noel and Mario bashing session. Unfortunately I'm playing football saturday lunchtime so I won't be able to watch it, will it be available on the iplayer?

  • Comment number 8.

    Why, the day after history is made with Messi scoring 5 goals in the Champions League; while Rangers are in crisis; is the main featured story on the sports page, the football page and the featured blog, an interview with a pop star and a footballer whose fame has very little to do with football? I thought the BBC was about respectable journalism, i realise now how wrong i was.

  • Comment number 9.

    @8 ..... B = British B = Broadcasting C = corporation, given that Barcelona last time I checked was not in Britain and the rangers story has gone on and will go on for months and Mario doesn't do interviews Sony really need to ask why? Wind ur neck in mate

  • Comment number 10.

    It seems these 'Nited fans don't enjoy City getting favourable coverage, whilst their club are falling behind City on and off the pitch.

    However, it's no surprise as petulance is a trait their fans have in common with many of the players they worship.

  • Comment number 11.

    You only have to read the first half dozen or so comments to realize what a lot of sad, miserable so-and-so's there are out there. It's an article about an interview with a genuinely interesting footballer conducted by a well known musician and from what I understand focuses on the individual concerned and little else. You would think it would be hard to get too uptight and negative about that, but not seemingly for those who are themselves permanently uptight and negative.

  • Comment number 12.

    @10
    "It seems these 'Nited fans don't enjoy City getting favourable coverage, whilst their club are falling behind City on and off the pitch.

    However, it's no surprise as petulance is a trait their fans have in common with many of the players they worship."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hilarious. When will people realise footballers of all clubs are as petulant as the rest. Also it is entirely true United fans are now bringing up all the rants city fans used to go on about being 'a proper' club before the takeover and how quickly that argument is now lost.

    Too the main article. I will watch it, love Noel (can't stand Liam). Still unsure about Balotelli. I mean there is all these stories about him and then he throws a dart at some kid and stamps on Parker's face.

    Is the guy a genuinely nice guy and misunderstood or actually quite unhinged??

  • Comment number 13.

    Mario is young, looks like he has a lot of talent, just needs to channel his energies into his playing. Bear in mind he is living in a foriegn country and having to use a foriegn language, and surrounded by a very cospmopolitan group of workmates, even Italy (his homeland) is a foriegn country to his parental culture. When I was bit older than Mario, I was offered the opportunity to work abroad, in an English speaking country, and turned it down as I didnt think I`d adjust and wouldn`t see out the contract.
    So we have a skillful player who is showing some signs of being a character, does daft things, but can take things personally when things go wrong. Sounds a bit like a Paul Gascoigne but with out the bad language. Isn`t he a bit of a hero in the UK, depite the debate about that tackle in the 1991 Cup Final ,and should he have been dismissed, his drinking, the bust up with Hoddle when told he wasnt in the squad for France in 1998 (he trashed Hoddles office) and subsequent decline in his mental health ? Or even Cantona ( ego the size of a small country, and making 2 footer lunges at Crystal Palace supporters).
    Maybe he should be one of the nominees for Sports Personality of the Year, he is more interesting than many of the usual nominees, and I`d rather see him than a boring person (say Lineker) being interviewed any day.

  • Comment number 14.

    12. At 08:51 8th Mar 2012, wirral18 wrote:

    Can't say fairer than that!

    The guy (Mario) just fascinates me, so many dullards in the PL... we need more of him! the keane's, Vieira's, Cantona's, even dare i say it Bartons...yes they are somewhat silly sometimes but it's so much more fun.

    Imagine interviews with people like Stevie G and Rooney all year....I'd physically die of boredom!

  • Comment number 15.

    "how do you feel about Man City losing their soul since the take over?"

    I think he's probably really sickened at how money has ruined the club. I mean look at how it has deteriorated. From being a real community club that couldn't manage its own ticketing and ignored the supporters to being this cold, corporate entity investing 10s of millions (100s of millions) in the local area, in its infrastructure. They are greedily improving the whole Eastlands area, creating this terribly sporting academy which will be a testament to the future of how greed allowed the whole area to succumb to regeneration and improvement. From being a club that never allowed journalists access to players, that had no idea of public relations they have declined to the point where they support local charities, the local community and allow access to players, to the training ground, to the tunnel during games. From their pinnacle as the surly sulking joke of the premiership they have fallen so far - to being one of the friendliest, most approachable clubs in the premiership, involving the supporters and fans in the day-to-day goings-on and allowing them to feel personally involved. The club blindly listens to the fans and then rides roughshod over its original plans to ensure the fans are involved - how cynical can you get?

    How Noel must wish for a return to the Peter Swales days...

  • Comment number 16.

    15. At 09:09 8th Mar 2012, uptoeleven wrote:

    My goodness, after reading that I think i'll stop supporting City...anyone suggest a new club for me? What a disgrace of a football club! :-p

  • Comment number 17.

    City must take it as a sign of success that as soon as their name is mentioned the Man U fans come out of the woodwork and put them down...

    As for the Man U soul, or should that be Seoul, I guess home is where the heart is...

  • Comment number 18.

    17. At 09:15 8th Mar 2012, EazilyGrizly wrote:

    Oh don't say that, we'll have page after page of you cant buy history and 19 titles and all the other stuff that goes with it! I'll gladly admit and congratulate them on their success but not over and over again on every blog that has nothing what so ever to do with MU!

  • Comment number 19.

    @14

    I love the Dead Ringers impression of Stevie G, priceless. Yeah the worst thing to happen to football interviews was the actual 'media training' they get!!!

    Whoever is employed as a media trainer for footballers should hang their heads in shame.

    @17

    I'm sure you can look at it that way but realistically its just rivalry. Whenever United are mentioned in a blog it is inundated with City and Scouse fans deriding us and vice versa. As soon as nothing is said you know the rivalry is dead and its time to turn to a different sport!!

  • Comment number 20.

    19. At 09:27 8th Mar 2012, wirral18 wrote:
    @14

    I love the Dead Ringers impression of Stevie G, priceless. Yeah the worst thing to happen to football interviews was the actual 'media training' they get!!!

    Whoever is employed as a media trainer for footballers should hang their heads in shame.
    ----------------------------

    HAHA agreed, we should just "throw them to the wolves" and see what happens...still can't help but think Stevie G would be the same dull drone though" .... reckon Rooney might have more of a spark tho, possibly a rude word or two!

  • Comment number 21.

    I'm a United supporter, but I love Balotelli. He's a young lad in a foreign country with plenty of cash on the hip. I'm sure most young lads would be getting up to much worse without the constraints of playing for a football club. I just hope the fines and the media coverage don't change the man too much. Great player and great personality. I don't normally watch Football Focus (prefer Sky), but I'll be tuning in for this.

  • Comment number 22.

    Gallagher & balotelli; a pair together they are, can't stand either of them but at least balotelli has SOME talent! unlike the beatles cover-band front man.

  • Comment number 23.

    22. At 09:37 8th Mar 2012, scobiedog-SOSOS wrote:
    Gallagher & balotelli; a pair together they are, can't stand either of them but at least balotelli has SOME talent! unlike the beatles cover-band front man.

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

    Yeah to be fair he's had no success what so ever or written any good songs has he.....

  • Comment number 24.

    Regarding Balotelli, have to say that when I've seen the City games that he's played in (admittedly on the telly...) for all of his undoubted talent he doesn't seem to quite fit with the rest of the team, maybe he is too off the cuff at the moment, after all scoring goals is simple isn't it when you are part of a system that works?

  • Comment number 25.

    24. At 09:39 8th Mar 2012, EazilyGrizly wrote:

    I can easily see why you think that, he almost even has the berba laziness look (when he's not really on it) but he's just pure ability! was listening to the 5live programme about him and almost everyone who spoke about him including people that didn't really like him said the only person to stop Mario becoming the best striker in the world sometime was him self..his coaches etc.. said they have seen him do things baggio etc.. couldn't dream of doing!

    If i'm honest (and of course hopeful) I dont think we've even seen 1/4 of his ability/skill yet... roll on 2012/13 season and beyond.

  • Comment number 26.

    new words to old beatles tunes, but I guess if you like that kind of middle of the road stuff, do you like American soft rock swindon?

  • Comment number 27.

    I should hate the guy as he comes across as quite arrogant and has a short fuse but with the complete lack of characters anymore I find it hard not to like him immensely.

  • Comment number 28.

    My arms they're,

    they're,

    THEY'RE ON FIRE!

    OH NO!

    Wait, I dont have arms, i'm a camel. Panic over.

    Henry! Get off my computer!

    Silly camel.

    Anyway, hello all, how are we?

    Not you, never you!

    Oh so you spoke to that italian fellow, how was he. Is he still running that ridiculously ineffecient plumbing service?

    Oh wait, not him. Okay.

    By the way dan, she said yes, i took the plunge, walked right up to her and said, "it wont happen again, so please can the ban be lifted"

    Guess ill get to watch the latest musical after all!

    I hear mario's brother is getting some attention as well, bit of advice, leave well alone, he is at best a sidekick who can't hack it solo! Plus he wears all green!

    Oh right, not him

    Yoshi

  • Comment number 29.

    26. At 09:44 8th Mar 2012, scobiedog-SOSOS wrote:
    new words to old beatles tunes, but I guess if you like that kind of middle of the road stuff, do you like American soft rock swindon?

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

    haha no, I actually DJ and play electro and funky house so Oasis not entirely my cuppa...but you cant deny he's been immensely successful and has written some good words (as you say he stole the music)

  • Comment number 30.

    Why is the rhythm guitarist from Oasis Quo getting his ugly mug in here?

    Ballotelli is just as annoying. He has a disgraceful attitude and it is no joke that's he's been sent off 3 times already in his short time in England. He's shown glimpses of good form but he is far from being as good as is made out by a lot of people.

  • Comment number 31.

    Swindon? should that not be Swinton?

    I have to say as a sort of neutral that I think that the things that City are doing is great to watch, the EPL is more interesting than the usual Man U start slowly burn through the rest of the season win the title stuff.

    Not sure if Noel Gallagher is the best role model though, now if Cantona and Noel had got together that would have been interesting... seems that Noel is using his City links to promote himself or am I just being cynical? Instead of him having groupies, he's become one.

  • Comment number 32.

    have to admit balotelli can afford to be lazy 'cos he's so good, berba is not good enough for how lazy he is. le tissier was!

  • Comment number 33.

    15.At 09:09 8th Mar 2012, uptoeleven wrote:

    I'm a United fan but my best mate has supported City all his life. When it was his Birthday this year his wife got in touch with the club via twitter and Summerbee got back to her. He invited them both to the game on Saturday with free tickets to sit in the executive area with him and other club officials.

    He gave them a tour and let them walk on the pitch for the match and sitting on the bench with photo's etc. From all accounts he was extremely hospitable and chatted to them throughout the game etc.

    Can't really imagine my club doing the same at Old Trafford for a fan that got in touch on twitter!

  • Comment number 34.

    Dan - did you ask Noel if he stills hangs out with Paul and Ringo these days!!

  • Comment number 35.

    31. At 09:52 8th Mar 2012, EazilyGrizly wrote:

    Nope, somehow I ended up in deepest darkest Wiltshire! Maybe your right I dont know. To be honest I don't really care what Noel does, I do however hope Mario reaches his potential and City continue to be a forward thinking club.. comparisons to Chelsea are so inaccurate it's untrue! We have always been a community club but now we have real clout we're really stepping up and doing out very best for Manchester....yes we've got loads of money and are trying to "buy the league" but it goes deeper than that....as for comment number one...Way off!

  • Comment number 36.

    Gallagher is the type of bloke who would go have tea at 10 Downing Street with a view to getting himself talked about in the media. Has been.

  • Comment number 37.

    @15

    You're right, I'm very ashamed of myself :o)

  • Comment number 38.

    37. At 10:01 8th Mar 2012, dogeared wrote:

    haha and so you should be :-p

  • Comment number 39.

    I like Balotelli - we need more characters like him, you just never know what's going to happen next when he's on the pitch.

  • Comment number 40.

    39. At 10:20 8th Mar 2012, dogeared wrote:

    As much as I love him that's also a worry... I can just imagine a CL match and him going mental and getting sent off...disaster!

  • Comment number 41.

    The one thing that stands out about Mario Balotelli is that he is a personality, a superstar and fans from all clubs adore him .He is simply a bright star when compared to the dull predictable footballers who adorn our screens turning out the same platitudes and cliches week in week out.

    Don't worry about Dogearedred and the other United planks who can't stand anybody who the young in particular rate as an icon and a personality. They would watch 11 dustbins stood on the pitch at the Theatre of Injunctions.

    Talking about Balotelli's off the field actions, have the United supporters who bit off the ear of a Barcelona player, held up the staff at the Oakwell food counter, took glof balls, knives and stones into the Etihad (or tried to before they were stopped) been arrested yet?

    Thought not

  • Comment number 42.

    Hmmmmm, find this funny how its turned into a Noel baiting session.

    @36 - Noel visited Downing Street during the peak of Oasis and Britpop eras, do you not understand the meaning of 'Has Been' and if so, why not use it in the proper context?

  • Comment number 43.

    Great character, as a Liverpool fan it is so boring to hear the likes of Gerrard and Carra bring out the same old cliches week in week out. People like Mario bring fans to the games and keep peoples interest.

    Its also amazing to think this lad is only 21! Imagine how good he has the potential to become.

  • Comment number 44.

    I certainly get a feel for Manchester when I listen to Noel Gallagher i am just wondering how many bleeps the BeeB will use in the interview how many takes what a whole reel of film crazy man.You can never accuse Noel of jumping on the gravy train because he has been interviewed himself and talked about the hard times that City went through.I still find it strange that David Platt and Patrick Viera have found themselves at Eastlands!Now for Mr.Balotelli is he the real deal or is he putting on an act he is still young so he could be forgiven for being naive he could be aware of how talented he is like Cantona and revels in all the publicity.The Parker business looked bad too me but his unpredictability on the field makes you watch him.I still find it strange that Jose Mourinho couldn't tame him and shipped him off there dosen't seem to be much that Mourinho can't get to grips with!

  • Comment number 45.

    Just how bitter are these motley assortment of rags posting on here. You can almost touch the envy and jealousy and feel their anger boiling away under the surface.

    What is it with you lot? You cling on to a club like United for some reflected glory, most of you with not the slightest connection with the club or the area and yet you are so besotted with your glory fix that when Citys fortunes are literally changed you have to do everything you can within your meagre and limited powers to disparage them.

    City soul is in rude health with fans, a team and owners to be truly proud of.

    Such though is the obsession United fans have with poor little old City, that as soon as they see the words, City, Balotelli and Noel Gallagher they are amongst the first to read the article and of course come out their negative nonsensical hypocritical cliches and nonsense. To me that's bordering on illness.

  • Comment number 46.

    Ballo your a legend already fella, Noel what are you doing mate, leave football to footballers and keep rolling out your music.

    45.At 10:40 8th Mar 2012, deynadance wrote:
    Such though is the obsession United fans............... i cant believe that! united are obessed by city?? Tevez, Berba, Hargreves and of the naming of the stadium Edithad stadium, tranlated means United Stadium!!!

  • Comment number 47.

    Re 37

    So you shoud be, get counselling.

  • Comment number 48.

    Podolski to Arsenal - good signing!

    45. At 10:40 8th Mar 2012, deynadance wrote:

    It's pointless mate, there is no getting through to them...City are scum and always will be, may as well just give up!

  • Comment number 49.

    46. At 10:49 8th Mar 2012, King Red wrote:

    Berba? Hargreaves was a free agent and as for Tevez you never actually owned him...just borrowed!

    And the name of the stadium? has a few meanings including "united" "unite" "together" amongst a few others... doesn't mean "manchester united" does it?

    .............. and to be fair for the £400m quoted i'd gladly call it new trafford ;-)

  • Comment number 50.

    @45

    I LOVE how hyporcitical fans are. You sir will no doubt be the first to comment on a United blog about how we're all cockney, prawn loving glory boys.

    It is the essence of rivalry that brings fans of opposing sides to comment on others. It is like you are saying Liverpool and City fans don't deride United on United blogs?? That is a non-sensical comment.

    Fans from opposing teams will always comment on blogs, without rivalry the game is dull.

    So to conclue, wind neck inwards. All fans from all teams are all very similar.

  • Comment number 51.

    50. At 10:55 8th Mar 2012, wirral18 wrote:

    Except Athletic Bilbao fan's it would seem... enjoyed that piece on the beeb website yesterday!

    you think you'll need a 2 goal lead or fancy doing them in Spain/Basque region?

  • Comment number 52.

    Balotelli has autism or some form of social disability, that explains why he doesn't talk much and appeared "shy". I'm sure if he actually went to a professional they would be able to diagnose his condition and he could get help rather than be called "eccentric".

  • Comment number 53.

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

  • Comment number 54.

    Dan,
    This is good stuff! Just like last seasons interviews! No offense to mottie, but blogs about him hitting life buttons with his butt, just don't measure up to real interview based blogs. I've yet to watch the interview but have found it, so as soon as the school run is done I'll log on.
    I watch the circus that is Man City knowing that it is the polar opposite of Wenger's Arsenal "won't spend a pound I haven't made." I don't get to hear about the good that Baloteli does, just the narcissism that he and Tevez indulge in, and then the resposne is give me a Wenger situation every time.

    Bit sad to watch the Glasgow Rangers debacle.

  • Comment number 55.

    I wonder why the owners of Man City didn't just buy up Arsenal when they were looking for a club to buy cus all they seem to be doing is buying up Arsenal players!Now Mancini is saying he wants RVP. Well guess what? You aint having him!!

  • Comment number 56.

    @51

    Yes they do seem different. I think its down to the whole Basque issue, more like they are their own 'countries' national team than a club team!!

    Yes 2-0 at OT and 1-1 away is how i look at it. No real clue about Bilbao in all honesty so they could be a major surprise tonight.

  • Comment number 57.

    Forgot to say that it was pleasing to see Andy Connor's imagination back on the blog.... proves that all is right with the world for one more revolution. My wife tells me that, for me, his ramblings are a bit like a cyberspace security blanket (NOT).

  • Comment number 58.

    @55

    I wouldn't be too sure in all honesty. I would be gutted if he went City but the chances of him going will vastly improve if Arsenal don't make top 4. Even if they do make top 4 i still think its likely as the money he'll be on will be insane, his chances of a trophy will improve and the lack of investment in Arsenal will annoy him

  • Comment number 59.

    55. At 11:05 8th Mar 2012, Spycraft7 wrote:

    Get a grip, RVP is immense as we all know and RM just said of course he'd be interested in him...as would the manager of any top club! If wenger was asked if he'd like to buy Messi he'd say yes of course...it's not exactly tapping up!
    .....and to be fair there is a reason they all jump ship...it's called lack of ambition! great business yes...great team...no! I actually hope you keep him because without him you've truly had it!

  • Comment number 60.

    Wirral18
    Fear you might be right. But I said the same about Fabergas for several years, who knows.

  • Comment number 61.

    @45 What bitter United fans????

    dogeared is a Liverpool fan.
    Rodders 77 "I'm a United supporter, but I love Balotelli"

    Wirral 18 "I'm sure you can look at it that way but realistically its just rivalry. Whenever United are mentioned in a blog it is inundated with City and Liverpool fans deriding us and vice versa. As soon as nothing is said you know the rivalry is dead and its time to turn to a different sport!!"

    1878 onwards "People say that Ballotelli is a bit of a th***o. Well, he can manipulate the press and publicity,so he can't be that d**t! Going to the Trafford Centre and then deliberately putting to hood up was bound to bring in the security blokes...the he feigns ignorance. Come on!" - seems reasonable. Personally I disagree and I think it was naivete, but hardly bitter or "negative nonsensical hypocritical cliches and nonsense"

    So out of 5 , now 6, confirmed United posters - 1 had a bit of a go. Whereas 2 of 3 City posters (honourable exception being Swindonbluearmy) have had a go at Utd (including my old favourite Brian Renshaw, who I have yet to ever read a single post from that didn't talk exclusively or predominantly about Utd) - still why let facts and accuracy get in the way of a good rant. Do you actually read what people post, or just copy and paste your rant template for each blog?
    Re the topic:
    Balotelli - top bloke. One of only about 3-4 Prem players I'd like to go on the lash with
    Gallagher - never been a Quoasis fan, but at least he was the talent of the band.

  • Comment number 62.

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

  • Comment number 63.

    A sterling roll? Tasty. Or is Noel that rich he just rolls over in money while doing the interview?

    Sorry for the pedantry but a journalist should know the difference surely?

  • Comment number 64.

    Ahh modded for being nice...outrageous! was even being nice to a self confessed "confirmed" united fan!....cheers JesperOlsensRolledDownSocks :)

  • Comment number 65.

    @ 52 ESG

    My best mate has worked with autistic kids / young adults for nearly 15 years and I did for about a year in a former life - MB doesn't show any "classic" signs of autism, but "some form of social disability" definitely possible.
    Of course could always just be he thinks the press are a bunch of c u next tuesdays who aren't worth his time :-)
    Bilbao game could be interesting. Nice to play a new team in Europe (I weren't around in '57). Always think we are best off with home leg first, as prevents Fergie doing his "Euro tactical masterclass" of going for a 0-0 in the away leg, then losing an away goal early in the 2nd and then having to panic. Hope we win if only to be able to give Wet Patch some stick :-)

  • Comment number 66.

    49.At 10:53 8th Mar 2012, swindonbluearmy wrote:

    But surley you realise that 400mill is owned by your owner anyways, Etihad airways has not made any profit for 5 years, where they fgot the £400m from is a mystery

  • Comment number 67.

    Re 30

    Balotelli will always be annoying to United planks. He scores regularly especially in that delicious 6-1 embarrassment now out on Video to Billions worldwide

    With your out of date irrelevant hatred of all thigs City you are clearly past counselling maybe mental health sectioning might help LOL

  • Comment number 68.

    Football's changed a lot down the years, some changes are for the better but many (in my opinion) have been for the worse.

    The one element surrounding football that has more impact than any other is the level of media intrusion/interest. Due to the goldfish bowl nature of English football these days, where players and managers are never more than 3ft from a microphone or camera lense, we've lost an aspect to football that the majority used ot love about it. The characters.

    With each generation of player; personality is being eroded from the game. Perhaps it's due to the media training all the youngsters get before they hit the big time, in which they're taught to simply stick to cliches about what happens "at the end of the day" or the nuances of discussing "6 pointers".

    There are very few Stuart Pearce type characters that come into the top level after having a proper job anymore and the game is losing out as a consequence. It's hard to identify with a player if all they've ever known was the inside of a football academy, they might as well be genetically grown or conjeeled in a tube somewhere and released into the footballing world at 17.

    Fans want their players to have something about them, they want eccentricity for the right reasons, they want inflammatory comments about opposition, they want to see a real human being in their club colours rather than a generic over paid professional athlete.

    Say what you want about Mario Balotelli but on the field he's one of the most gifted young players in the game and off it he's as nutty as a bag of squirrel excrement. He reminds me, in so many ways, of our very own enigma wrapped within a mystery..Mr Eric Cantona. Undoubtedly one hell of a talented individual but with a self destruct button that's liable to be triggered at any given moment.

    Viva Mario and long live the nutter footballers out there still flying the flag for us "norms"

  • Comment number 69.

    66. At 11:33 8th Mar 2012, King Red wrote:
    49.At 10:53 8th Mar 2012, swindonbluearmy wrote:

    But surley you realise that 400mill is owned by your owner anyways, Etihad airways has not made any profit for 5 years, where they fgot the £400m from is a mystery

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

    Well allegedly the 400mil is way off the mark..I was just being sensationalist (sign me up the Sun) - It's not owned directly by our owner though is it..more family ties... two separate companies with separate owners...although I would concede that it is a little fishy...oh well don't care really... sure were not the first football team/club to bend the rules to our advantage

  • Comment number 70.

    Re 61

    Jesper how are you Mate? I love United, you have it all wrong and I only respond to United planks slagging City off which means I respond a lot of course.

    Balotelli is a personality and an icon so I understand why "Nited fans don't understand / like him.

    Sadly a lot of the United fans I know are now in Strangeways Prison but I try and visit them as often as I can.

    Kind regards

  • Comment number 71.

    68. At 11:38 8th Mar 2012, What's that coming over the hill?Is it Nemanja? It is Nemanja!! wrote:

    Almost entirely agreed...Psycho has been "trained up" now though wouldn't you agree...he's nothing but a yes man....and i LOVED him as an englishman!

  • Comment number 72.

    65.At 11:31 8th Mar 2012, JesperOlsensRolledDownSocks wrote:
    ______________

    Yeah I'm not professionally qualified in that area so it was not a diagnosis but just a suggestion that anybody who shows such eccentric personality traits must have some form of social disability.

    Looking forward to the match, always been a fan of the european nights, and to be honest I'm enjoying watching us play against different foreign opposition. Watching us versus the likes of Milan, barca etc each year starts to lose it's appeal.

  • Comment number 73.

    69.At 11:40 8th Mar 2012, swindonbluearmy wrote:

    No i have to say they arent the first to do it, what city are doing for the manchester community is outstanding, i for one hope the ffp does not get in the way of the "project" as overall football aside it would be great for the city, but in saying that, if they upset Ufea by spending again and again i could see there being problems.

  • Comment number 74.

    #55 Well guess what? you have no say in the matter.

  • Comment number 75.

    71.
    At 11:44 8th Mar 2012, swindonbluearmy wrote:

    68. At 11:38 8th Mar 2012, What's that coming over the hill?Is it Nemanja? It is Nemanja!! wrote:

    Almost entirely agreed...Psycho has been "trained up" now though wouldn't you agree...he's nothing but a yes man....and i LOVED him as an englishman!
    ------------------------------------

    Good point! He's defo migrating to the McClaren mode of England manager.

    I just remember the dentist chair celebration at Euro 96, the players got a bit of a rollocking but the whole country simply laughed about it afterwards. Can you imagine what would happens these days if Rooney, Gerrard and Terry did something similar? The media would keep at them until they'd all been banned for "shaming the English football team" rather than simply calling them numpties.

    The world's gone mad i tell thee.

    We need more Balotelli's. Where are the modern day Cantona, Fowler, Lehmann, Big Dunc, Di Canio, Carbone, Ravanelli, Gazza, Psycho, Fash or Dennis Wises? They just don't exist, at least not in this country anyway.

  • Comment number 76.

    Re 55

    If Arsenal don't get into the Champs League for next season, kiss goodbye to RVP

  • Comment number 77.

    70.At 11:44 8th Mar 2012, Brian Renshaw wrote:

    Balotelli is a personality and an icon so I understand why "Nited fans don't understand / like him.
    ===============================================================
    that just doesnt make sense, how many united players do the city fans like? rooney, Rio and Evra are constantly being slated by you lot, Ballotelli is a character i cant say i know anyone that doesnt like his persona, and as a united fan i must let you know, that your club is not on par with united, we built it with success, city has been built by pure luck, thats a fatc im not having a go but the owner could have bought anyone, be humble and modest and admit that with the takeover and all that cash you would not even be on here today discussing this

    So untrue

  • Comment number 78.

    73. At 11:49 8th Mar 2012, King Red wrote:

    Maybe we could just buy ALL the French players... Platini would just let it go then :)

    75. At 11:51 8th Mar 2012, What's that coming over the hill?Is it Nemanja? It is Nemanja!! wrote:

    Fortunately as a "swindonite" I get to see Di Canio "going Mental" at least once a month at the county ground... he really is priceless!

  • Comment number 79.

    @64 Swindonbluearmy
    No worries, just calling it as I see it.
    TBH the City rivalry for me has never been as big as Liverpool. My dad moved us south because of work when I was 4 ½, so my school years in the 80’s-early90’s were spent surrounded by either Saints fans (best “local” team) or Liverpool (best team) – I got it from both sides 
    Still at least having City as the challengers for the title gives it that edge that it hasn’t had since getting done by Leeds (battling Blackburn, Newcastle, Arsenal & Chelsea just aint the same – this year & prob the next few it matters!)
    Even the year Liverpool took 2nd and tanked us at OT still never felt like a serious threat or that they were ultimately going to win it
    How’s about we have the league this year (let’s face it you’re gonna win a few in the next few years) and we’ll take a dive in the Europa final if we both make it 

  • Comment number 80.

    I hope one of the questions presented to this wild yet loveable character was,

    "Why did you intentionally stamp on an opponents head?"

  • Comment number 81.

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

  • Comment number 82.

    80. At 12:02 8th Mar 2012, Chubbacups wrote:
    I hope one of the questions presented to this wild yet loveable character was,

    "Why did you intentionally stamp on an opponents head?"

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

    Boooo... we were all getting along so nicely until you came along and ruined it! and you missed the word "allegedly" ;)

  • Comment number 83.

    77 Biased one eyed red tripe but probably in character. Luck? Ha Ha I know what you mean , 6-1 on your own ground, probably should have been 8-1 if we hadn't taken pity.

    You built your club with money and the list of people you bought stretches to infinity.

    Still I've copied and printed your post and put it in the cat's litter tray so whilst it's drivel, at least it won't go to waste!

  • Comment number 84.

    Im telling you guys someone needs to put forward the idea to Ballotelli to have his own show, a prank show or something similar to what rio done, it could be called Ballotellivision................ i can already see the awards!

    1st episode - Ballotelli shaves mancini's head while he's sleeping and glues a proper afro wig on. how good would that be during a post match interview

  • Comment number 85.

    #72 eduard_strelstov_ghost

    Are you Alister Campbell in disguise by any chance?

    That is a very positive spin on being consigned to the Europa League.

  • Comment number 86.

    83.At 12:07 8th Mar 2012, Brian Renshaw wrote:
    77 Biased one eyed red tripe but probably in character. Luck? Ha Ha I know what you mean , 6-1 on your own ground, probably should have been 8-1 if we hadn't taken pity.
    =================================================================
    goes to show how blinded your being, 6-1 was a direct result of lucking out with a new owner. before the take over city couldnt even dream of a top 4 finish. you were handed the money, no work required, united had to earn it, fact. biased one eyed red tripe?!?!?!? listen to your fortunate self. city were struggling in the 3rd divison not too many years ago!!! yes we built our club with money, money the club earned from being successful, if you cant understand the difference then theres no point discussing it

  • Comment number 87.

    84. At 12:08 8th Mar 2012, King Red wrote:

    Brilliant! I would pay to watch that! (maybe not have any darts on set though)

    P.S.... can;t believe your post got modded... maybe the moderators work for FIFA ?

  • Comment number 88.

    83.At 12:07 8th Mar 2012, Brian Renshaw wrote:
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Unfortunatley i have met fans like yourself before, usually chelsea fans that werent used to there team having success, you are yet to win the league after spending how much??? now be honest and say this to yourself, united spend close to £400m on there squad in 3 years and dont win the prem once, all they have to show for it is an FA cup, does that spell success, does that not show how far off city were as united arsenal and even chelsea didnt have to spend that to become champions! as is aid before modest and humble

  • Comment number 89.

    86. At 12:14 8th Mar 2012, King Red wrote:
    83.At 12:07 8th Mar 2012, Brian Renshaw wrote:
    77 Biased one eyed red tripe but probably in character. Luck? Ha Ha I know what you mean , 6-1 on your own ground, probably should have been 8-1 if we hadn't taken pity.
    =================================================================
    goes to show how blinded your being, 6-1 was a direct result of lucking out with a new owner. before the take over city couldnt even dream of a top 4 finish. you were handed the money, no work required, united had to earn it, fact. biased one eyed red tripe?!?!?!? listen to your fortunate self. city were struggling in the 3rd divison not too many years ago!!! yes we built our club with money, money the club earned from being successful, if you cant understand the difference then theres no point discussing it

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

    In fairness (and i'm not one to argue) we got from the 3rd back to the Prem without the money so we were moving in the right direction...ok 4th no but solid PL team...probably getting there due to hard work and a well run (in the end) organisation!

  • Comment number 90.

    84 Love the idea. Great television

    Second episode - Balotelli brings eleven grandmothers along to the studio and says to Wayne Rooney which one do you want?

    3rd Episode - Balotelli asks Giggs "What is an injunction"

    Balotelli television channel - awesome, where can I sign up for it?

  • Comment number 91.

    85.At 12:12 8th Mar 2012, cashforhonours wrote:
    #72 eduard_strelstov_ghost

    Are you Alister Campbell in disguise by any chance?

    That is a very positive spin on being consigned to the Europa League
    __________________

    No I'm not Labour fortunately....

    I noticed that we have only played Ajax (prior to Europa League (EL)) on one other occassion. Considering the two clubs have 6 european trophies between them that's quite extraordinary.

    Likewise with Bilbao, I can't remember the last time we played them. I miss the thrill of the old european nights when you'd be up against top competition from the corners of europe, one week Juventus, another Galatasaray, the next Spartak Moscow. That was what it was all about. Nowadays it's one week Barca, next week Milan, next week Marseille. Yawn.

  • Comment number 92.

    87.At 12:14 8th Mar 2012, swindonbluearmy wrote:
    84. At 12:08 8th Mar 2012, King Red wrote:

    Brilliant! I would pay to watch that! (maybe not have any darts on set though)

    P.S.... can;t believe your post got modded... maybe the moderators work for FIFA ?
    ================================================================
    God knows mate, i think we have either new rules or new moderators. i try to hold my tounge to some of the more agressive comments, but to be moded for commenting on sepp is crazy. he's a plank

  • Comment number 93.

    @90

    Mate you are obsessed with United. City are quite good now, try concentrating on them for once. The days when you were happier when United didn't win the league than where your own team placed are long gone. Cheer up mate, the dark days are over.

  • Comment number 94.

    93. At 12:23 8th Mar 2012, wirral18 wrote:

    HAHA I think I actually preferred it when we were rubbish.. sounds mental I know but people thought me being a city fan (not living in Manchester) was brilliant and soon as 17th was guaranteed I was delighted... now i'm a bandwagon jumping on glory hunter!

  • Comment number 95.

    90.At 12:20 8th Mar 2012, Brian Renshaw wrote:
    believe me Ballotelli will need to learn what an injuction is before he's 25!!
    89.At 12:19 8th Mar 2012, swindonbluearmy wrote:
    Agreed, but i think someone needs to be more modest and not compare what united or arsenal done to what chelsea and city have done, 2 completely different business plans.... correction united and arsenal have business plans chelsea and city simply dont need them, you know how it is, years of hard work from united and arsenal, chelsea strike it rich and then expect the same respect when they win something compared to a team that had to work for it for decades. City in my opinion really needed the money to compete, they were not going to break through to the top 4 and start attracting the caliber of players you have now, for a city fan to slate united's spending is just unbarable when considering what we have spent to what we have won ratio..... although i thik this will be a discussion that will last 2-3 decades!

  • Comment number 96.

    Mario Balotelli has the potential to become one of the greatest players of all time.

  • Comment number 97.

    90.At 12:20 8th Mar 2012, Brian Renshaw wrote:

    Balotelli television channel - awesome, where can I sign up for it?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Just becasue it would be a funnay show doesnt mean it requires clowns ;)

    1-0 ;)

  • Comment number 98.

    95. At 12:37 8th Mar 2012, King Red wrote:

    If I'm honest as soon as the "money" conversation comes up in blogs I leave it there... someone mentions oil then someone mentions Edwards etc.. etc.. it's quite frankly boring... I dont care how I'm just glad we can compete with the MU's and Arsenals..maybe even the Liverpools if they get their act together.

  • Comment number 99.

    93

    Hey wirral are you still masquerading as that name? We know you are from Salford! LOL I love your tongure in cheek attitude. You an obseesive Red obsessed about City and calling someone else obsessive. That's a real whammer, can you sleep at nights? LOL

    But following on from your postcode pace setting, I'm going to change to Alderley Edge 17, one down from your Wirral 18 of course.

    We know you are from Salford but hey, I won't let on.

  • Comment number 100.

    any City Blog all other 'fans' sadly do is talk about money as jealousy take over them.

    this blog is about the genius that is Balotelli.

 

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