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Manchester City making waves

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Phil McNulty | 13:51 UK time, Sunday, 23 August 2009

Manchester City's ruthless pursuit of success has ruffled feathers around the Premier League. The spectacular umbrage taken by Everton at the relentless pursuit of Joleon Lescott is the prime exhibit.

Eastlands is an environment growing in confidence - confident enough to poke a little fun at neighbours Manchester United and for even time-served City sufferers such as Noel Gallagher to detect the end of "30-odd years of sheer pain with this club."

"Manchester thanks you, Sheikh Mansour" read the giant banner draped over a balcony inside Eastlands. Not all of Manchester mind you, but certainly every City supporter at their opening home game against Wolves.

And with chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak checking on Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan's vast investments, manager Mark Hughes will have been satisfied to see £50m worth make a miniscule repayment when Carlos Tevez set up Emmanuel Adebayor's winner.

As Oasis icon Gallagher also said as he revelled in a perfect start to this campaign of renewal fuelled by the Abu Dhabi billions, most City fans would happily swap popularity for silverware in a heartbeat.

Manchester City fans show their support at EastlandsAfter years of suffering with noses pressed against the window watching Manchester United take all before them, City fans will rightly ask why they should care that this new era is being fuelled by huge finance and might just upset a few people along the way.

They, perhaps understandably, scent the whiff of jealousy in some quarters - and is the heavy use of pounds, dollars and roubles not how success was secured for Manchester United, Liverpool and in particular Chelsea?

Hughes, for one, is unrepentant and even hinted more new faces could arrive after Lescott finally completes the summer's most protracted and acrimonious transfer.

City's spending is almost ludicrously lavish and has distorted the market, but they are not the first club spending £20m-plus on players on a regular basis (a glance in the direction of Old Trafford tells us this) and pretty much every Premier League fan would celebrate investment on a similar scale.

Of course Everton have every right to chase City down to the authorities if they suspect chicanery, but surely their pain is eased by the payment of a fee of £22m plus add-ons that is arguably at least twice what England defender Lescott is actually worth.

The trick for Hughes is to ensure the ruthlessness that has so unsettled Everton is in evidence on the pitch - but some things cannot be changed by countless millions and City's desire to make life difficult for themselves is one of them.

City should have had three points safely secured before half-time, with Tevez and Adebayor combining to great effect and Robinho and Shaun Wright-Phillips lurking on the margins with menace.

Tevez is going to be a splendid bone of contention in Manchester this season. My view that in the long-term he will not be a big miss for Manchester United is clearly not shared by City's supporters.

They are acutely aware of how United's fans lobbied vociferously for Sir Alex Ferguson to sign the Argentine and are determined to brandish this very obvious symbol of their new opulence under their noses.

"Fergie, Fergie Sign Him On" was heard regularly at Old Trafford last season - and it was delivered here with heavy doses of irony.

City fully deserved their win to justify the expecatations of their supporters, but there were hints of the conundrum that awaits Hughes in coming weeks, even after the arrival of Lescott.

Hughes employed a full range of firepower, even with Craig Bellamy staying on the bench until after the hour and Roque Santa Cruz continuing his rehabilitation - and it worked a treat against a Wolves side who showed no belief until after the break.

When Wolves did convince themselves they could do damage, City looked vulnerable as Matt Jarvis forced keeper Shay Given to excel and Andy Keogh hit the bar. It would have been grand larceny had Wolves levelled, but the unlikely prospect, created by City's carelessness, made for an anxious conclusion.

Richard Dunne had an uneasy afternoon alongside Kolo Toure, but there must be a measure of sympathy because he was surely aware of Lescott's imminent signing before kick-off.

Hughes will need to balance the attacking talent at City with the need for greater pragmatism against better opposition - how well he does this will have a major bearing on shaping the future.

Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry look set to team up at Manchester CityGareth Barry's quietly effective contribution emphasised the wisdom of his purchase. He will anchor the entire side alongside the gifted Stephen Ireland, who will be as vital to the cause as anyone lured by the Eastlands transfer fund.

Lescott will be the man expected to provide the extra insurance at the back, and will be under serious pressure to deliver given the furore created by his move and the over-inflated price that has eventually been paid.

Like so much of what is unfurling at the club, City's team is a work in progress and the realistic assessment is more likely to be top six than top four - although heavy spending is sure to come if they are in Champions League contention in January.

But for now, two wins out of two will do and Eastlands was a happy place to be on Saturday. Hughes has the task of keeping it that way - and making sure the satisfaction that spread across Khaldoon Al Mubarak's face at the final whistle remains firmly fixed.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    All the focus will be on city performence as they spended a huge amount of money on transfers. Will manager mark hughes is under any pressure for delivering??? time will tell that. But they started well. Good luck for them

  • Comment number 2.

    Phil I have got a feeling that Mark Hughes will not last long at City. As a Man Utd fanatic I will vehemently take you up on your conspicuous "resentment" of Carlos Tevez's affection he was inundated with at Utd. The guy gay everything(body & soul) whenever he put on that red shirt. With all due respect to Sir Alex I think that 25 million for Tevez was worth it as compared to Berba's 30 million. Before I get misconstrued let me emphasize that I'm not doubting Berba's qualities or trying to misguidedly bash him But for me 30 million for an aging player wasn't very prudent of us. As for Manchester City the hype surrounding them is reminiscent of a kid's intense attention to new toys. But soon reality will sink in and they will realize that they are still approximately 18 league trophies away from having the slightest of credence to throw jibes at the Old trafford Invincibles. This doesn't smack arrogance but is an imperative reminder of the gulf in success that still exists between the two teams.

  • Comment number 3.

    Man City will not win anything this season. Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal are a team not a bunch of collective individuels. They also all have top class managers - Mark Hughes is not, yet.

    I think Man City will do well though given their finishes in the past 50 years. I think it they will be fighting it out for between 5th - 7th along with Villa and Spurs (Harry's good isn't he).

    On a separate issue I think the way they have gone after Lescott is unprofessional, but that said I am glad they have signed him. £24m for a sub-standard centre half is crazy. He was only the player he was because of David Moyes and will now start going down hill. If everton use the money wisely they could sustain the threat on the second top 4.

    For me though, as a Chelsea fan, I can only see Chelsea winning the league. They have a good team that has been together a number of years and who know how to win the title. They have not lost any of their players during the summer adding to last seasons squad with youth and experience - Stuttridge and Shevchenko, who I think when he gets a game playing 2 up-front will cause teams problems. At his best he was the best, now, ok he is not what he used to be but given a chance he will score and assist, as shown against England recently.

    Finally, good luck to Liverpool and Man Utd for the season ahead. Arsenal appear to have overtaken you and I think they will finish as runner's up this year. Time for SAF to go - never, but he will have to start re-building team number 4-5.

  • Comment number 4.

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

  • Comment number 5.

    Man City may be making waves off the pitch but surely Spurs have made the biggest on it? Beat Liverpool and IMO out played them, destroyed Hull and came from behind to beat a West Ham side which will most likely finish to half, OMG Robbo may turn out to be right!

    City are a good side to watch I don't think they are ruining football, at least they are buliding an attack minded time unlike a certain London club did with there Millions. Good Luck to City but I think 5th and maybe the FA cup is the best you can hope for would city fans and the Board settle for that?

  • Comment number 6.

    City need to find a way to gell the superstars together. Mark Hughes is not the man for this job, just like Raneri wasn't at Chelsea.

  • Comment number 7.

    I still think the players signed by Man C are not top calibre performers. There is much over hype so far as Lescott is concerned too. Top calibre prices no doubt but 7th or 8th will be as good as it gets for them i feel. Still, it makes the Premiership better and different too. As a Gunner, i think the possible emergence of Tottenham is also good for the season overall as well.

  • Comment number 8.

    "is the heavy use of pounds, dollars and roubles not how success was secured for Manchester United, Liverpool and in particular Chelsea?"

    Glad you pointed out the difference between Chelsea and the others - as we all know, Liverpool and Man Utd EARNED the right to spend by amassing trophies, not by parachuting in a money man.

    Not that I begrudge City their spending - we all know it'll go belly-up in the fullness of time, so why not let them enjoy themselves for a bit?

  • Comment number 9.

    chelseaspirit you talk a load of tosh don't you. For starters you don't know your own players. Stuttridge? Unless that's some inside joke at Chelsea that's a bad error in naming one of your most recent signings. How have Arsenal overtaken Liverpool and Man Utd? Is it because after winning two games against Everton and Portsmouth they look a dead cert for glory this season? Or is it because of their victory against the mighty and formidable Celtic? Great logic. Plastic Chelsea fans really irk me.

  • Comment number 10.

    "the top 4 is boring"
    "every year is the same"

    that has been heard at the start of numerous seasons, now a team tries to break into the top 4 its been classed as morally wrong.

    There is a myth that a club can break into the top 4 without spending zillions, with a team of 11 englishmen from their youth team and without overstepping the mark.

    But having said that I can think of 3,007 reasons why it will be 34 years soon for City!

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm looking forward to the competition. The city team have had 2 wins in the EPL and also beat Barcelona in midweek in a friendly. Their experienced players don't have to play European games this season so it will seem like their first season at a new club will be like a holiday. Imagine if Stevie G and Torres had to play less than 40 games a season if they stayed fit!!! City are going to get better and better and no matter where the money has come from there is no reason that they can't do well and their fans certainly deserve it. Can't wait for the Manchester derby when I am sure that Tevez will start.....and hopefully score! After Christmas no one is going to want to play them as the team will have properly gelled by then and if they are in the top 4 at this stage they are going to find it very easy to strengthen the squad with whoever they want. Have to wonder if they do make the top 4 who it will be that goes 5th. Preseason Arsenal were most people's favourites but until they come up against a team that are in form we won't really be able to judge how well they are playing at the moment. That leaves us Chelsea and Man Utd. Pretty terrifying isn't it for us and the other big 4 supporters!! Anyone who denies they are a threat should watch them play for 90mins and see how quickly they move the ball forward.

    Another 5 against AV tonight would do me fine but 1-0 would be perfect too.

  • Comment number 12.

    I am not a wolves fan but your comment "It would have been grand larceny had Wolves levelled, but the unlikely prospect, created by City's carelessness, made for an anxious conclusion" is a spat against a club recently promoted from the Championship. THEY WERE Unlucky NOT to have equalised and deserved a point.

    Its a pity your comments are for a blue of Manchester and against a worthy opponent. Their major test will be Arsenal and Man U and I hope (neither a fan of these two) that they pound City into Humilty

  • Comment number 13.

    "Is the heavy use of pounds, dollars and roubles not how success was secured for Manchester United, Liverpool and in particular Chelsea?"

    No actually. (Well, it IS true of Chelsea who became a rich man's plaything after years of anonymity) but Liverpool and Man Utd became successful because of fantastic and successful teams and managers winning lots of pots over the years by playing exciting football and it was the growing glamour and prestige of those successful teams which led them to financial success. Paisley and Shankly, Busby and Ferguson - these were men who created teams with massive worldwide followings and that resulted in the money that eventually allowed them to compete with the best of Europe.

    Whatever City achieve in the years to come(?) will never obscure the fact that money was the start of it, not the creation of a team through history and something beyond mere finance. If they do achieve it will make them as popular as Chelsea and who wants that?

    Good luck to the true City fans who've endured misery for decades; you deserve something after all this time but good luck with the arriviste glory-seekers if good things ever do happen.

    As a red mancunian I will be glad if I never again have to listen to blues fans assume their moral high ground and revel in the dignity of their poverty and failure. Just remember, you're like Chelsea now so no more bleating and scoffing.

    (Top marks to Noel Gallagher btw, who said the only thing he'll miss from the old days is the sight of trembling cockneys trying to get a taxi in Moss Side! Trouble is, Noel, if you ever do get success you'll find that a lot of cockneys will suddenly start supporting your team!)

  • Comment number 14.

    How can you possibly compare MCFC spending and wealth with Manchester United? Chelsea and MCFC came into money in an instant due to multi billionaire investment.

    Manchester United have years of history and a solid worldwide business plan and fan base. They have invested in the right players and infrastructure at the right times.

    City and Chelsea are just like a lottery winner - they have come into money instantly and therefore cant be compared to United.

    United have put years of effort into creating what they have now.

    This is why MUFC deserve respect due to their continued success and business nouse and not to be compared to City or Chelsea.

  • Comment number 15.

    It's clear that there will be mounted pressure on Mark Hughes' shoulders by the big guys that force feed the lesser Manchester club demands to build the strongest team, ever. Signing who is popular at the time does not mean that a team is going to gel and last the long run.

    Agreed, Liverpool and United used their millions to buy worthwhile players, to strengthen their squads, but, spending wisely on players that will help a team that deserved that amount of money by actually winning trophies, not by spending obscured amounts on "popular" players and then bad mouthing other teams, like United.

    I've lost all my respect for Manchester City. I wish a Newcastle United upon them. The end.

  • Comment number 16.

    2. At 08:49am on 24 Aug 2009, tgbutd wrote:
    Phil I have got a feeling that Mark Hughes will not last long at City. As a Man Utd fanatic I will vehemently take you up on your conspicuous "resentment" of Carlos Tevez's affection he was inundated with at Utd. The guy gay everything(body & soul) whenever he put on that red shirt... _______________________________________________________________
    As did every ManU player!
    Just kidding... I agree on Tevez, he scored 2-3 crucial game winners for ManU last season and harassed the opposition constantly. I think Tevez and Adebayor are going to be City's 1st choice strike force and will score a lot of goals. Ade looks sharp so far this year, he looked jaded at Arsenal last year but can score buckets of goals when his game is on.
    If any of the top four falter City and Tottenham are waiting to pounce. I think this will be a very interestng season for a change, let's hope it lasts.

  • Comment number 17.

    Straight away let me nail my colors to the mast. I'm a United supporter of nearly 40 years standing. I've always felt it is a little greedy of the great European clubs, ie ourselves Milan, Juve, Real, Barca Bayern etc to expect all of the other clubs to sit around and admire our trophy collections. Obviously the manner in which Man City are approaching the top table is bound to have the purists bleating about bullying tactics and unsettling players. But honestly, how else are they going to compete with us? In commercial and footballing terms they would never get there. Football will attract all sorts of investors and if you are in the Premier League you can be sure that somewhere someone is sizing up your balance sheet for a possible investment or takeover. It's the new reality. Get over it.

    As for City's chances this season? It really depends on how it all hangs together. I expect them to challenge top four, after that who knows?

    But now that we have a decent rivalry in Manchester, lets enjoy it and lets take the Bitters apart on the pitch where it counts. Come on Reds!!!

  • Comment number 18.

    Hughes is like a Big Brother contestant with his willingness to speak to the media, which is why they love City. Cup team, at best, with Hughes in charge. And Everton should be able to secure some nice compo from their shameless pursuit of an average player. There'll be a nice little mini-league between Arsenal, City, Villa and Spurs for 4th, but that's all they'll bring to the party. Of them, only Arsenal have a really top class manager. CL winners/finalists are top class. That's the difference and will continue to be so until one of them gets a proper manager. Then, the top 4 may have to worry.......but don't really see that happening any time soon. More chance of the European super league arriving before then.

  • Comment number 19.

    A quick point on the 'Manchester thanks you' banner at the City ground. Man City are the only club in Manchester and we feel this point needs to be made. Also who is from Manchester, Manchester United should be called Trafford United or Greater Manchester United if they wish to be correct about where thier team is from, i think thet should be done under the trade description act. Trafford is not part of Manchester, it is Greater Manchester. The banner did not read 'Greater Manchester thanks you'

  • Comment number 20.

    Two games into the season and already so much hype.
    City have too many stars and too many egos to keep everybody happy. I don't begrudge them success if it comes (as a long suffering Wolves fan I know only too well the frustrations of supporting underachievement) but the suspicion that City still have a soft underbelly and a lack of character persists. A team with more experience and belief than Wolves would have made them pay for their profligacy and slackness on Saturday.
    I suggest a true assessment of City's chances should wait until the cold and wet of December bites.

  • Comment number 21.

    I feel sorry for City. For so long they've revelled in being in the loveable underdogs in Manchester but now they have to contend with being hated.

    But it gets worse.

    Their banner "Real mancunians in the area" might have to be taken down because (shock, horror) they will inevitably attract new fans who live outside the city limits. It's a slippery slope. Soon they will have fan clubs in Scandinavia and Asia.




  • Comment number 22.

    although it will be very difficult for city to get into the top four, it is far from impossible. they have a team of huge quality and with plenty of experience in the prem, and who wouldn't like a squad with players like de jong, bellamy and even santa cruz on the BENCH!!!

    of course sir alex will say that tevez isn't worth 25 million, and he's probably right, and wenger couldn't turn down that same amount for adebayor. other top four clubs can't spend that sort of money but city can, which is just one reason why they can become a top four club.

  • Comment number 23.

    Who are City? What have they achieved over the last 10 seasons?
    In the last 5, Spurs have 2 5th place finishes, 1 cup, 2 finals, 8 semi finals and stability in the board. They have an experienced manager and for all City's money, have a squad that knows how to play together and have a better balance.
    City are not a threat and never have been. I expect Spurs to really cause problems to the big 4. They've been knocking on the door for sometime. What have City done? Anything??

  • Comment number 24.

    Football.....increasingly irrelevant and rapidly losing touch with its roots. Why pay semi-literate thugs more money in a week than some can earn in a decade just to cheat, play act and continually question authority? Hardly the kind of role models I want for my children.

    There are more important things than paying £40 or whatever for an hour and a half of watching two teams of foreigners kick a bladder around a field.

  • Comment number 25.

    I'm sorry Phil but Liverpool are not one of those funded by a rich man's spare cash. We are not funded by American dollars. WE FUND the Americans who have turned out to be nothing but poor fraudsters and we cant be rid of them quickly enough!!!

  • Comment number 26.

    To junior3777...Wolves boss Mick McCarthy said after the game: "I don't think we deserved a point, We nearly earned one - there is a big difference."

    And he was spot on. Wolves showed great spirit in the second half, but you could not make a serious case that Manchester City did not deserve all three points.

    I also take issue with those who say they have lost all respect for Manchester City. It remains to be seen what fall-out there is over their pursuit of Lescott and claims they will be reported for an illegal approach by Everton, but I would suggest most fans in the Premier League would celebrate such investment in their club.

    Of course it is tough when finance tempts players away from your club, but City have suffered in the past - when Chelsea bought Shaun Wright-Phillips for example.

    And I have to say, after speaking to plenty of City followers, they currently do not care what the rest of the Premier League says about them.

  • Comment number 27.

    Listen to Tevez:

    "Ferguson is history for me but I know that he is scared of playing against us," the striker told Globoesporte.

    "It's dangerous for Ferguson's objectives and for him to criticise Manchester City."

    It's dangerous for Fergie? What a laugh, Tevez has become a right plonker! City are getting ahead of themselves, if they beat Arsenal and Man U in the next few weeks then they will almost certainly win team of the month for September!

  • Comment number 28.

    I think most people on here are more "lets find a reason why they (Citeh) won't be successful" and try and make it plausable. Rather than looking for reasons why they will be. Quite frankly I don't think any team would particulary fancy themsleves going to Eastlands right now. And saying Hughes is a detrimental influence is unwarranted thus far.

    I for one actually expect Man Citeh to push the top 4 all the way this season. And along with teams like Spurs playing well, there is no reason why they can't mount a realistic top 4 challenge if not better.

  • Comment number 29.

    23. At 10:11am on 24 Aug 2009, footballandethics wrote:
    Who are City? What have they achieved over the last 10 seasons?
    In the last 5, Spurs have 2 5th place finishes, 1 cup, 2 finals, 8 semi finals and stability in the board. They have an experienced manager and for all City's money, have a squad that knows how to play together and have a better balance.
    City are not a threat and never have been. I expect Spurs to really cause problems to the big 4. They've been knocking on the door for sometime. What have City done? Anything??
    -------------------------------------------------------

    hahaha. How many managers? You missed that bit out. Also missed out 2 X 30 points behind the top 4 seasons. And you missed out how many times were Spurs in relegation trouble at Christmas. :)

  • Comment number 30.

    The jury is still out on Manchester City for me. Two wins from two is as much as anyone can ask, but with all due respect to their opponents these were games that they would have expected to win, probably even last season.

    I still think a big concern is how much control Hughes has over the team, and whether he will become frustrated once the novelty of being able to try to buy whoever he likes wears off. I find it hard to believe that a manager would be happy with having to drag his players off for an midweek overseas friendly after the season has started, for example.

  • Comment number 31.

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

  • Comment number 32.

    good article phil

    remeber i was one person last season that said that mark hughes would not last

    he has signed good players but should still be given more time to get the tatics right

    as long as city finish above united this season i will be happy

    city will finish in the top 6 and that will be fine by me

  • Comment number 33.

    I think the article is quite good and well balanced, but some of the posts are, as usual, hilarious. We have Chelsea fans fresh from cheering Ashley Cole, who are outraged by the manner of City's pursuit of Lescott! United fans who teeter towards the moral high ground as the y argue that Utd, Edwards family fief then plc and finally plaything of Yankee billionaire, "earned the right to spend" - as though they'll refuse to sell a season ticket to anyone who hasn't "earned the right to spend"! And then we have the usual ragbag of top four droolers who question Mark Hughes's credentials. Man Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea all have proven managers who can win things! Yes! They all won things elsewhere before being poached by their present clubs! No "organic" growth there! I can just see the comments now if City brought in a "big name" manager. Anyway, as yet the City team didn't cost as much to assemble as either the Utd or Chelsea teams - so that should tell everyone something. I noticed on MoD on Saturday/Sunday that many supporters of the "Big Four" were not wearing the exact colours of their teams - I see now that it was a distortion caused by the ever growing yellow streaks of self preservation down their backs.

  • Comment number 34.

    I, like many other United fans, object to your comment "is the heavy use of pounds, dollars and roubles not how success was secured for Manchester United, Liverpool and in particular Chelsea?" As many other fans have said, United built up the club over many years of successfully winning trophies. The profit they made was used to buy players and improve the stadium. In fact, the money to pay for the two quadrants, either side of the North Stand, was put aside by the club before the Glazers took over. Don't tarnish two great clubs like Liverpool and United by saying they bought success, it was achieved over many years by some of the greatest British managers we have seen in this country.

  • Comment number 35.

    You claim Lescott's price tag is arguably twice what he is worth, a player is worth what the selling club says he is worth, you can't crow about being the richest club on Earth and then expect clubs to give you fair market value for players they don't want to sell. Everton have every right to feel put out by the way the transfer has been conducted, it's disrupted their dressing room and put their league campaign on the back foot.

    You continue to claim that Old Trafford was more or less unanimous in wanting Tevez signed, this just isn't true, a lot of fans wholeheartedly agreed with the clubs assertion that £25million on top of the loan fees was far more than Tevez was worth, not to mention the concrete stories that his advisers had done the deal with City in January and he was now manufacturing the "Unappreciated" story to fit, more than a few of us were thoroughly disappointed at those that tried to drown out the manager in his season closing address to shout for a player who a lot of Manchester knew was going.

    People can leave clubs and return to warm receptions, but it's fair to say that most of City's acquisitions and particularly Tevez and Lescott won't.

  • Comment number 36.

    Phil, City fans may not care about what the rest of the Premier league is saying about them but no one cares about what they are saying too. It's only story telling over-hypers like yourself that give them all the attention. It's also typical that you defend them too being so anti-Man Utd and pro-Liverpool of course you're going to support anyone or anything against the red side of Manchester. After all these seasons of bias and fickle changing your opinions week after week is it too much of us to ask the "chief football writer" to write some REAL stories.

  • Comment number 37.

    Sorry Phil but I agree with Junior3777, Whilst Wolves were over awed in the first half, City failed miserably to finish them off and in the second half they almost got a point for their hard work. Considering that Wolves have not yet settled in and missing several first team players, City can consider themselves a little fortunate to have taken all three points.

    Must do better.

  • Comment number 38.

    Ok so Man City have made a good start to the season, but who have they played? Blackburn? Wolves? And its not like they hammered either side. I would expect 4 or 5-0 against a newly promoted Wolves side after spending £100million. Come on be realistic, they havent faced anybody of decent calibre yet so are very much unproven still.

    They looked rubbuish in pre-season. Some of their new "star" signings will be lost for a few weeks when the African cup of nations starts. So how is this going to impact on the "new era" at Eastlands after Christmas?

    When City comfortably dispose of one of the big four then I might taking City seriously, but until then City are only ever going to be a top 10 side with a massive wage bill.

  • Comment number 39.

    "is the heavy use of pounds, dollars and roubles not how success was secured for Manchester United, Liverpool and in particular Chelsea?"

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

    i would just like to point out that yes United and Liverpool may have earned the right to spend big due to winning trophies. however when Roman took over at the Bridge, we were finishing 2nd and 3rd respectfully without his millions, we won the FA cup, League Cup, European Cup and European Cup Winner's Cup. all we needed was the spending power that United and Liverpool and even Arsenal had to push us that little bit further towards winning the league. unlike Manchester City who are a strong mid table team. now with this money they are pushing to win the league. if that isn't trying to buy the title then i don't know what is? if we, Chelsea, were criticised about it and we finished where we did before Roman came in, then what of City?

  • Comment number 40.

    Manchester citys estimation of all players is ludicrous!
    Tevez - 25m = scored 5 goals last season for one of the best teams in the world, extremely poor.
    Lescott - 20m = this guy is not even worth 5m!

    How about city buy some descent players, they do not play football its a matter of hoothing and hoping.

    City its going to take many years before you can compare yourselves to Manchester United.
    City are the laughing stock of football, they spent all that money and struggle to beat teams 1-0, Steven Ireland comon! he is hardly premier league standard.

  • Comment number 41.

    Gerrardswhiskers wrote:
    23. At 10:11am on 24 Aug 2009, footballandethics wrote:
    Who are City? What have they achieved over the last 10 seasons?
    In the last 5, Spurs have 2 5th place finishes, 1 cup, 2 finals, 8 semi finals and stability in the board. They have an experienced manager and for all City's money, have a squad that knows how to play together and have a better balance.
    City are not a threat and never have been. I expect Spurs to really cause problems to the big 4. They've been knocking on the door for sometime. What have City done? Anything??
    -------------------------------------------------------

    hahaha. How many managers? You missed that bit out. Also missed out 2 X 30 points behind the top 4 seasons. And you missed out how many times were Spurs in relegation trouble at Christmas. :)
    --------------------------------------------------------
    'for all City's money' - he also forgot to mention the fact that spurs have spent over 100mil since Ramos went - Spurs are just a poor mans citeh

  • Comment number 42.

    I'm not going to get into an argument about financing but let's not ignore Man U floating on the Stock Exchange to raise alot of money in the early nineties, a move that ultimately led to the club being taking into American ownership, a move that was decried as the beginning of the end by many Man U supporters at the time.

    Then there is the ring fencing of Champions League money and the exploitation of foreign workers to produce merchandise on which Man U make significant profits.

    Now that there is a team who's finances can be viewed as even more crass than that and suddenly Man U fans are taking the moral high ground.

    Much of it is borne out of jealousy an fear.

    Whether people like it or not, Man City have a rich benefactor that I think will one day get them to the top. Then Man City will have silverware and may be in the self perpetuating position that Man U find themselves now.

    Like it or loathe it. Accept it and get over it.

  • Comment number 43.

    At 10:22am on 24 Aug 2009, Gerrardswhiskers wrote:

    23. At 10:11am on 24 Aug 2009, footballandethics wrote:
    Who are City? What have they achieved over the last 10 seasons?
    In the last 5, Spurs have 2 5th place finishes, 1 cup, 2 finals, 8 semi finals and stability in the board. They have an experienced manager and for all City's money, have a squad that knows how to play together and have a better balance.
    City are not a threat and never have been. I expect Spurs to really cause problems to the big 4. They've been knocking on the door for sometime. What have City done? Anything??
    -------------------------------------------------------

    hahaha. How many managers? You missed that bit out. Also missed out 2 X 30 points behind the top 4 seasons. And you missed out how many times were Spurs in relegation trouble at Christmas. :)

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

    spurs can spend half the season there in last position and still finish 8th and have a cup final. what does that say? also i think you'll find spurs missed out on 4th position on the last day of the season thanks to the lasange. only team by recent league form and cup form over the last 5 seasons is spurs. not city. also spurs have the best league form against the big 4 including the big 4 themselves.

  • Comment number 44.

    Firstly, good luck to Man City, Spurs, Everton and Villa - I think some extra competition for the normal top 4 is long overdue.
    If any of them teams can challenge with a young, quick, entertaining team even better. Who doesn't want MOTD to include 30 goals a weekend?!

    One point to ChelseaSpirit,

    Lescott could have been an England International when he left Wolves, he was that good. Quality defender who has gained exposure at Everton but has certainly not ''been made the player he is'' by Moyes.
    The transfer fee is ridiculous but so is £80m on Ronaldo, £25m on Tevez, £30m on Berba, £18m on Johnson. At the end of ther day, Man City don't care what they spend, Everton make a huge profit that Moyes will spend on 3/4 top drawer players. All adding to the excitement.

  • Comment number 45.

    Not a fan of any of these clubs.

    But as others have said, there is a difference.

    Chelsea and ManCity are rich-boys toys. I wouldnt want that at my club. Whatever it meant in terms of silverware.

    ManU, Arsenal and Liverpool may have spent billions too - but they have been long term successful clubs. They have always been in and around the top.

  • Comment number 46.

    I don't see how anybody can be scared of City this season. They've bought a bunch of big egos who will all start complaining eventually. And let's remember, they've beaten a promoted team 1-0 at home and a team that finished 15th last season or whatever it was 2-0, hardly earth-shattering.

    Then they sign a reserve England centre-back for £24m. Even though money is no object, the fact that Terry, Ferdinand, Upson get in ahead of him says something. Not to mention if Carragher hadn't retired and Ledley King had better knees, they would be above him in the pecking order.

    The top 4 won't change, they are complete teams, City are a collection of overpaid individuals with no loyalty to the club. When the going gets tough they won't perform. Managers like Wenger and Ferguson have created a team and communal atmosphere at their clubs, so much that the players feel a genuine bond to the club. City don't have that, do you think the players would have signed for them if they weren't getting paid so much? It says a lot that players who were playing Champions League football were prepared to give that up just for a pay packet.

  • Comment number 47.

    #40 nemanjawillkillya

    It is the sheer arrogance of comments like that which generate the feeling that Man U should be toppled.

    'struggle to beat teams 1-0'? A comment like that within days of losing to Burnley!

    Oh dear.....

  • Comment number 48.

    tgbutd: I'm sure City fans are aware of the difference in league trophies between the two teams (the difference is 16 btw). My point is, when Alex took the helm at OT, they themselves were 11 league trophies behind the trophy laden lads of Liverpool. It's taken 20+ years to pull level. I'm sure in another 20 years time the record books will again be showing vastly different statistics - with City featuring among them. Your comments do have a whiff of arrogance about them - and certainly a strong aroma of FEAR.

  • Comment number 49.

    42. At 10:47am on 24 Aug 2009, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    I'm not going to get into an argument about financing but let's not ignore Man U floating on the Stock Exchange to raise alot of money in the early nineties, a move that ultimately led to the club being taking into American ownership, a move that was decried as the beginning of the end by many Man U supporters at the time.

    Then there is the ring fencing of Champions League money and the exploitation of foreign workers to produce merchandise on which Man U make significant profits.

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

    Don't kid yourself into thinking Abramovich is a perfect model businessman who has never exploited anyone in Russia or around the world with his dealings. I suggest you read a little into his history. As for merchandise, shops are littered full of Chelsea stuff. On a recent visit to Portsmouth all the sports shops were stacked full of Chelsea merchandise and this is a city that has MASSIVE local support which can't be said for Chelsea. Let's not go into the Champions league debate either when Chelsea are concerned, a club so desperate for it that they result to acting like spoiled brats when they are eliminated. The big difference between Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea is that the former clubs were already successful, the instant cash injection at Chelsea created the whole prima donna brat culture and this is evident on the pitch with the behaviour of players such as Cashley Cole and Drogba. Thats the difference between those 3 clubs.

  • Comment number 50.

    I think you can only be in the market for world class players (can you class Lescott as world class?) for so long, before you turn your attention to a world class manager.

    Sparky's for the chop and it’s a case of when not if. The only consolation is that the (metaphorical) axe that does the chopping may as well be made of solid gold, encrusted with diamonds, rubies and a drop of the finest crude known to man encased in the handle, which can be given to him to keep as a bonus to his frighteningly generous severance package.

    It's only a matter of time before they are laying all the riches of the Arab world in front of a certain Portuguese Special One and yes, I do think Mr Mourinho has one eye on Manchester, it’s just that it is the other side of it, when the human hair dryer finally hangs up his tracksuit and ever lasting stick of Wrigley’s spearmint.

  • Comment number 51.

    Seems to be a lot of negative talk towards City, I personally think this is what the league needs. A team that can genuinely upset the balance of power, the season does get a bit tedious once Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool distance themselves.

    Chelsea are still spending big money, looking at £40 mill for Pato/Aguero (allegedly). They have only managed 2 league titles and many heartbreaks in the Champions League.
    Liverpool wish they had the money to spend, personally do not fancy there chances.
    Man Utd, with the legend SAF at the helm - they are always dangerous and favourites.

  • Comment number 52.

    Your article Phil shows a complete lack of the history of Both the Liverpool and Mantchester United Football clubs, you say that they along with chelsea have got success through money, the difference is how that money was earnt! United and Liverpool got where they are without the need of some "sugar daddy" They worked hard, spent years (the 90's for united) gradually improving their fincances by increasing their global brand after league/cup successes, they expanded their stadia to increase match day revenune, increased their endorsements and much more, they did not sit around moaning for years saying "we can't compete because we are poor" they worked hard, and got rich! City's current stadium was GIVEN them after the commonwealth games because no-one else wanted it, i doubt now they're rich the taxpayer will get that money back though!

    When you look at how Liverpool and United got their money, and how Chelsea and City got theirs, there is no comparison, and it is disgusting off you to say there is! United and Liverpool were bought out and that made their fincances worse! Not better!

    The way city have gone about their business this summer simply highlights how bad their were before and how much bitterness and envy they have had watching Uniteds dominance, in a couple of seasons though It'll settle down, just like chelsea, who also initially rubbed people up the wrong way.

    Good luck to city though (and I mean that) a more competative PL is a good thing, even if it comes at the cost of less dominance for United.

  • Comment number 53.

    To be honest City really are trying to buy the title, theyre just throwin money around for the sake of it.

    Yes they now have a very good squad, with experience and talent, but the core and the history of city has gone, this is a new Manchester City, not related to that of old.

    The ridiculous amounts of money spent will not guarentee you nothing, and the silly Carlos Tevez poster as you enter Manchester will not make any difference to your prospects, your still finish below Arsenal, United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs, because they are TEAMS, not individuals who only care about the money they are recieving.
    I mean would Robinho, Tevez, Adebayour, Barry gone there had they been offered the same wages they were already on? - i think not.. pound signs..

    I mean no champiopns league, no european football at all!

    As a Liverpool fan i no Glen Johnson was overpriced but then again he is the best right back in england! 25m for Tevez, more than Torres, and Torres is 5 times the player!

    I see the same old outcome for CITY this year.. POTLESS!

    REMEMBER - GREED NEVER SUCCEEDS!

  • Comment number 54.

    Rah rah rah, buying success, rah rah rah, only Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool entitled to compete for the championship rah rah rah, money ruining football rah rah rah, how dare these nobodies crash the comfortable old-boys club that is the Top 4?

  • Comment number 55.

    We of course are waiting to see what happens if the bubble bursts suddenly and City lose a few games they shouldn't etc.

    They have signed players that are known to be disruptive when things aren't going well - Adebayor, Bellamy, Toure to a lesser extent - and this may ultimately be the reason they won't crack the big 4 this season.

    Still, it's good to have another team in the Premier League playing football to the right principles - City pass the ball as well as anyone with the possible exceptions of Utd and Arsenal. And I'm sure nobody would be criticising massive investment in their own club.

  • Comment number 56.

    I'm no Liverpool fan but I think it's worth pointing out that neither Liverpool nor United (to my knowledge) ever had one massive cash-injection to bring them from mired obscurity to being of the richest clubs in the world.

    Both of those clubs made their money from time and gathered success.

    Chelsea and Manchester City are purely b(r)ought-in wealth.

    Money is still money, money goes to money. Also, clubs do some awful things to bring in that revenue and there are very few that aren't guilty of that - but Chelsea and City have bought their seat at the table from nothing but one lump of pure, cold cash. That cannot be denied.

    That said, I still think that they're filthy lucre is just as 'welcome' as any other clubs'.

  • Comment number 57.

    messi4arsenal wrote:

    A game in hand is when played you've one less than the other team. Certainly, not the case with Liverpool.

    Anyway, criteria for top class manager: CL winners/finalists would make Capello Ferguson, Benitez, Wenger, Ancelotti, Mourinho, Rijkaard

    footballandethics wrote: spurs have the best league form against the big 4 "including the big 4 themselves."

    LOl! Of course they do you plank, they play 8 games a season against them. The big 4 only play 6 games against each other!!


  • Comment number 58.

    #49 PulpGrape

    And this is precisely why I said I wasn't going to get into an argument because I know full well and accept, that ultimately, my club is just as bad as every other club.

    (Though it is ironic that you mention Chelsea's funding policy but point out that they are doing just that by selling merchandise all over.)

    p.s. when will people drop the 'Cashley' bit? It wasn't in any way clever at the start, has certainly got boring now and for you to bring it up, a fan of a club where a player picks up an eight month ban for not bothering with the seriousness of a drugs test AND THEN asked for a pay rise? Or, let's us not forget Roy Keane and Andy D'urso when it comes to impudent behaviour to refs!

    Like I say, I can accept that my club is a bad as everyone else's. Can you?

  • Comment number 59.

    So quite a few people, in particular UTD fans state that they have created their teams and not bought their success. Sorry but i disagree. There is nothing wrong with the fact that the most successful sides are the one's that have spent most in the transfer market.

    There is no doubt that both UTD and Liverpool brought through players whilst adding quality through signing the best they could buy. Since the introduction of the premier league no side has won it without spending large amounts of money in the transfer market. It's noticeable that since Arsenal have focused their attention on moving from Highbury to the Emerates they have slipped off the pace, i believe they have clearly prioritised to spend their money in different areas at the cost of being able to win the big prizes. That will pay off in the coming season's as they now have the capacity to have 60,000 people watching them as opposed to 35,000 which just was'nt big enough.

    No club will have any chance of dislodging the top 4 without huge investment, with the champions league money they are just getting further and further away, it is becoming a closed shop, and uninteresting, thank god City are having a go, Spurs look like they may put a few noses out of joint and so we could have the most exciting season for some time.

    I have no stats to hand, but for any UTD fan to think they have not bought their success are just deluded. When they won the Prem for the First time in 26 years do you think that was achieved with home grown players. It began with Big Ron who bought almost a complete new team and when he failed to deliver the title he was gone. In come,s Fergie, who again spent money to add to the squad Atkinson had already built. The quality players such as Scholes, Beckham etc came through on the back of this. And City still had 2 players on the pitch that came through the accadamy on Saturday. I would also point out that UTD had a habbit of taking young players from other clubs that they had nurtured, I believe that Both Giggs and Butt began their education at City.

    How long ago was it that UTD paid 30 mil for Ferdinand. Did'nt they spend a similar amount on that exceptional talent, Veron, Klebberson, oh and how many keepers did they buy after Schmichael before settling on Van-de-Sar.

    Get over yourselves, you now have people coming to join the party and about time too.

  • Comment number 60.

    Your blog seldom disagrees with - whichever way, whatever say the club you're covering, has! Diplomatic reporting.

    Now, City has started well, so to speak. But against who? We'll see how they conjure up enough courage to create chances against the better teams. That's the real test.

    They can arguably buy anything by doubling, trebling the market price. They can have 40-50 player contigent, reminiscent of a small country's in Olympics!

    However, only 11 players play at a time. It depends on how these ginormous egos are dealt with, in terms of playing time. We shall see.

    Mansour came, saw and spent. Did he conquer?

    PS - I wonder who put up these strange banners of the Sheikh rescuing
    the club? He does own the club, the employees... A self-pat on the back?!

  • Comment number 61.

    Look, ciddie beat Wolves by a narrow margin and Tevez isn't a £25m player. They can, and will, get as excited as they can (and that's pant wettingly giddy) but when't fat bird sings (as they say in Oldham, Bolton, Stockport and other city strongholds) they are well aware that if there's a club that can screw this up then it's city.

  • Comment number 62.

    #52 laughingdevil

    They worked hard, spent years (the 90's for united) gradually improving their fincances by increasing their global brand after league/cup successes, they expanded their stadia to increase match day revenune, increased their endorsements and much more, they did not sit around moaning for years saying "we can't compete because we are poor" they worked hard, and got rich!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chelsea's finances are getting better year on year. They will turn a profit sooner or later and their large creditor will be Abramovich. If this happens, then all the financing movements in the meantime can be summarised as an interest free long term loan from Roman. If he capitalises this in the way he already has for half the loan, then Chelsea will be debt free, making profit and increasing turnover.

    Guess how businesses in the real world grow? They borrow money, increase turnover and profits, repay the loan and end up with a more valuable business, making profit and with an increased turnover.

    Chelsea may have been financed on terms more favourable than a usual bank loan but they will get their. It will be through success, increasing match day revenue, increased endorsements etc etc all of which you seem to accept as legitimate.

  • Comment number 63.

    Being a ManUtd fan, can't wait for City to come up all the way & still get defeated by us. I don't see them breaking straight away into top 4 but alot depends on how committed is the arab money.

    AbuDhabhi is generally known for long term investments, but imagune 2 bad seasons & plug is pulled out of money: they can become another Newcastle.

  • Comment number 64.

    58. At 11:22am on 24 Aug 2009, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    #49 PulpGrape

    And this is precisely why I said I wasn't going to get into an argument because I know full well and accept, that ultimately, my club is just as bad as every other club.

    (Though it is ironic that you mention Chelsea's funding policy but point out that they are doing just that by selling merchandise all over.)

    p.s. when will people drop the 'Cashley' bit? It wasn't in any way clever at the start, has certainly got boring now and for you to bring it up, a fan of a club where a player picks up an eight month ban for not bothering with the seriousness of a drugs test AND THEN asked for a pay rise? Or, let's us not forget Roy Keane and Andy D'urso when it comes to impudent behaviour to refs!

    Like I say, I can accept that my club is a bad as everyone else's. Can you?

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

    Not sure what you mean when you refer to "your club". My club hasn't been in the Premiership for a long long time. I acknowledge that all clubs are as bad as each other in some ways but for me Chelsea do stand for everything that is wrong in football and that's just my opinion you don't (and shouldn't) have to agree with it.

  • Comment number 65.

    Why does even an experienced commentator like Phil McNulty fail to distinguish fully between the majority of teams that have historically spent high sums of money on players and the likes of Chelsea and City. The former have earned their money largely from success in the actual game of football.

    I am getting on now. I am a Manc and when I was young City was a more established team than United. My dad took me to see them and he was a City fan. But Busby carefully built a team largely from young players and young lads in M/cr went to watch them - me included. That building from youth tradition still carries on a United although the scope of their search for talent has widened with globalisation. Nobody came along a gave the club lots of money; not even life time supporters that wanted status from being the club's chairman.

    Parvenu clubs like City and Chelsea have been almost randonly selected by their benefactors - not totally because previous failures meant the price wasn't too high!! These clubs are suddenly elevated to a status where they can distort both the transfer and wage markets. City's admin has behaved like a family that has just won the lottery - their absurd behaviour over Ronaldino, etc. It is also clear from the incidents this Summer with Terry, Tevez, the Arsenal duo, etc that the players who have signed for City and will continue to attract do not really understand loyalty. Although one can understand why with a short time in the game they will also want to profit from these interventiuons by very rich men.

    But Phil you say the City fans won't care where the money comes from if they win silverware. I dont think that's true. The real City fans I know are well aware that their fantastic - in recent years better than United's youth system - is now in disarray. Players expecting to progress to the first team are being sold and/or request transfers!! Now if City could have won stuff with half their team from the academy I strongly suspect - know - that that would have warmed the hearts of true City fans much much more than these mercnearies. There might be two - Richards and Ireland - although it looks like the former may be sold too.

    I suspect none of this matters as they won't win stuff. The management shambles that has characterised City throughout my lifetime doesn't appear to be going away and the majority of the players they purchase will have no real time for the badge or the club; whatever they say on signing. Check out the ex Arsenal duos proclaimed love of their old club. Even if some commentators don't have a proper historical purchase and contextual view on these matters I am sure the newly purchased City players have the latter and will soon grasp the former; although I suspect only a few will hang around long enough to grasp that and they will have reached that stage in their careers where no one will be prepared to pay a quarter of the crazy wages that City are forking out.

  • Comment number 66.

    someone asked earlier would city fans on here settle for 5th and the FA cup, as one of them, YES!

  • Comment number 67.

    Manchester United not only raised a huge amount of finance by being floated on the stock exchange, but also from the ownership of Louis Edwards. Perhaps people should look into his past before taking the moral high ground on football finances.

  • Comment number 68.

    57. At 11:20am on 24 Aug 2009, dmrichkt wrote:

    messi4arsenal wrote:

    A game in hand is when played you've one less than the other team. Certainly, not the case with Liverpool.

    Anyway, criteria for top class manager: CL winners/finalists would make Capello Ferguson, Benitez, Wenger, Ancelotti, Mourinho, Rijkaard

    footballandethics wrote: spurs have the best league form against the big 4 "including the big 4 themselves."

    LOl! Of course they do you plank, they play 8 games a season against them. The big 4 only play 6 games against each other!!


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

    no. hello. dear arsenal boy, spurs have actually lost the least amount of games against the big 4 over the last 5 seasons in league and cup games, check OPTA. their record against man u, arsenal, chelsea and liverpool is incredible. last season alone, they beat liverpool twice, beat chelsea, drew with arsenal twice and drew with man u.

  • Comment number 69.

    I didn't see the wisdom of Everton taking so long to sell Lescott. They could have sold him earlier and bought another defender a long time ago. Now they have just one week to get a replacement defender and zero points to show for it.

  • Comment number 70.

    I am beginning to tire of football, the spoiled over-paid brats and thugs, the managers bitchin' at each other, the players harassing officials (you wouldn't see that in rugby and I am not a rugger bugger), the players trying to get other players sent off, cheats rolling around on the ground, the list goes on. Professional foul? WTF, it is cheating plain and simple, what is so professional about it. The beautiful game has lost its luster.

    That said, I am willing to bribe the Gunners chef to perhaps add something 'special' (perhaps a laxative) to the team's meal on Wednesday. Come on you Bhoys.

  • Comment number 71.

    Some of the posters on here really could make a decent living as comedians. Ferguson and Wenger "have created a...communal atmosphere at their clubs, so much that the players feel a genuine bond to the club". That really is priceless! The real (or Real?)bond that Ronaldo felt for the club! Tevez didn't like the "communal atmosphere" much did he? Vidic wants to jump ship and go to Barcelona! How long will he allow Berbaflop to go on enjoying it (only cost £31.5m you know) Ferdinand likes to dine with Kenyon in the summer until offered over £100 000 per week. And in addition to Toure and Ade, how many other players have decided that Arsenal AREN'T the place they want to be over recent years? Yes, two big happy families lovingly cherished by Uncles Alex and Arsene! The simple fact you refuse to accept is that Manchester United, following on the heels of Tottenham Hotspur, chose no longer to be football clubs, but companies, plcs with all that followed. In their good days as Utd plc. Utd fans used to taunt City fans that Utd didn't need a youth scheme - they'd buy a new team when they wanted one. It didn't matter where the money came from, no worries about earning it then! Now you're learning that companies don't necessarily always have good times - and you don't like it. You're not so cocky now. More than a bit worried that the old champions league trick might not save you this time - so we'll make up another myth! That of the great Utd history! We'll pretend there isn't any history before 1993 - we don't want to remember the years after 1968, or even those years before Ferguson could spend his way to glory. And certainly not the years before 1945! Desperate that when a club only has history to cling to. And now we've got that glorious Spurs history, made up of fifth places and semi-finals. The wonder of Europe! Brings the glory hunters flooding in! Well our money comes from a rich Sheikh, not a bunch of businessmen and our owner doesn't need to guarantee "revenue streams" by cooking the rules of the champions league to ensure that the same teams take part every year. Even our money's cleaner than yours!

  • Comment number 72.

    City are in a "no win" situation this season:
    If we are successful, everybody will moan about how we have "ruined football" and "bought success"
    If we fall a bit short, everybody will have a good old laugh at how we've wasted so much money

    City, the club and the fans, just need to build a "siege mentality" and IGNORE all the predictable tosh that will be bandied about by pundits/opposition fans alike

    :o)

  • Comment number 73.

    Well said, Andyflaminreilly; at last someone has almost enough memory to recall United's rise to fame and fortune. Unfortunately you forgot to mention how, with the insurance money from the Munich disaster, they trawled these islands cherrypicking players from whatever club they fancied. Any older Burnley fan will remember how Bob Lord was vilified by the very sympathetic, pro-united press for refusing to sell them his best player (Jimmy Adamson, I think). The older reds know that the first team to suffer from any rise by City will be their lot; it happened in the 70s and they know it can happen again. Yes it will take time but they are determined to ridicule any action taken by City to hasten it. Mark Hughes was seen as a replacement in waiting for Fergie, Lescott was good enough to be an England player, Tevez was idolised at Old Trafford, but they have all now become garbage just by joining City. Give over all of you. After only 2/3 matches I'm not going to predict anything. I'll wait and watch with interest.

  • Comment number 74.

    I am not a wolves fan but your comment "It would have been grand larceny had Wolves levelled, but the unlikely prospect, created by City's carelessness, made for an anxious conclusion" is a spat against a club recently promoted from the Championship. THEY WERE Unlucky NOT to have equalised and deserved a point.

    ---------

    Sorry but it would have been an unjust result has it finished 1-1. They were unlucky not to equalise yes I agree, but City were unlucky not to be 4 up by the time that happenned.

    As for City, they will not break the top 4 this year I think, the players are definately good enough and unlike most of you I do not equate big fees with big egos. Indeed Tevez, Toure, Barry, Lescott, Bridge, Given and Santa Cruz have always come off as pretty humble and good team workers to me. Of the signings since the new owners came in only Adebayor, Robinho and Bellamy really have a reputation for having egos and with Robinho he appears to be slowly working that reputation off. Mark Hughes will not suffer any of that nonsense, he is a good manager, a very good man manager I think if slightly at a loss tactically at times, he will gel them into a squad if given the time to do so. It wouldn't surprise me to see only another 3-4 players come in between now and the start of the 2010/2011 season when they should have a much better chance.

  • Comment number 75.

    PulpGrape

    Sorry, have a tarred you with a red brush? I had it in my mind that you were a fan of Man U. Apologies as I seem to have got that wrong.

    What Chelsea do represent is a different way of doing things that has upset the status quo. Most people just don't understand this.

  • Comment number 76.

    They look solid. It's nice to see that Hughes hasn't just done a Real Madrid special and just buy attacking talent. While he's bought some of that, he's focused on other positions (especially defence), which means that Man City, if they keep it up, will have a genuine shot at winning things I think- unless things go belly-up :-P.

  • Comment number 77.

    And another thing - if some of these club didn't change their manager every five minutes because of a bad run of results, maybe they would have found a bit more stability and actually managed to grow and compete?

    The usual suspects apply - and they tend to be the ones whose fans typically cry 'unfair!' at the dominance of the so-called Big 4.

  • Comment number 78.

    75. At 11:54am on 24 Aug 2009, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    PulpGrape

    Sorry, have a tarred you with a red brush? I had it in my mind that you were a fan of Man U. Apologies as I seem to have got that wrong.

    What Chelsea do represent is a different way of doing things that has upset the status quo. Most people just don't understand this.

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

    No problem, I comment a lot on these articles so I often get tarnished with kinds of brushes, its the beauty of being a neutral. If anything I do have a soft spot for Arsenal though. Yeah I guess I am just a traditionalist when it comes to football, the only people who really enjoy the cash injection to football clubs are the supporters of those very clubs. It makes for interesting debate and discussion and thats all it is, a venting of opinions.

  • Comment number 79.

    #69 Agreed. Moyes has a well earned reputation as a quality manager but I think in time even he will admit he made an error with Lescott. Trying to force a player to play for you who doesn't want to is a waste of time and potentially damaging to the team, regardless of how unfair or unjust the circumstances feel at the time.

  • Comment number 80.

    I couldn't agree more that Stephen Ireland will be one of Manchester City's most important players. He can be their John Terry, their Ryan Giggs, their Steven Gerrard. He is the home grown face of Man City, the player the fans can love without having to worry if he is there just for the money.

  • Comment number 81.

    Let's be realistic, they've beaten two teams who'll be in the bottom half the table by end of the season, and neither comfortably.

    Next up is Portsmouth, who they should obliterate, and then the real challenges with Man Utd and Arsenal. If they win the next three PL matches, then City fans will indeed be making waves, but after two matches against teams who won't be troubling the top half of the table? Get real.

    Lets have an update on the 21st Sept, then we'll know if City are going to be the real deal this season or not.

  • Comment number 82.

    only a bunch of jokers would pay 22 million for a player of lescotts class. absolute joke.

  • Comment number 83.

    # 71....In their good days as Utd plc. Utd fans used to taunt City fans that Utd didn't need a youth scheme - they'd buy a new team when they wanted one.

    Just not true.....another mythical blue 'fact'. You used to sing "what a waste of money" and got the retort "at least we've got the money". Have another pint of bitter bertie and mind yer tash. Your tawdry jealousy is obscene, you and your bloody new money. Do one upstart.

  • Comment number 84.

    City will be in contention amongst the top four in the near future, it's inevitable with the money they have at their disposal. In Hughes they have a very good Premier League Manager and as long as everyone stays calm, patient and realistic Manchester City will have their day to bring the title to Eastlands.

    However this season will be the familiar scenario I feel with Spurs poising the biggest threat to the big four. Ferguson and United have lost a hugely talented player in Tevez but they will cope and continue to be successful. Fergies signing's this summer have been pretty shrewd and I believe we'll all be applauding them come May.


    http://sportales.com/soccer/another-fergie-masterstroke/

  • Comment number 85.

    Brilliant article but I disagree with one point ----United will miss TEVEZ ---Carlos will be a sensation at City thats for sure.Most people know it,the pundits know it and that magnificent poster in MANCHESTER CITY centre recognises the magnitude of CARLO TEVEZ! YES WELOME TO MANCHESTER I ENDORSE THAT! Oh and if that isn't bad enough for the numpties posting negative and jealous comments about our team then consider this also ----ADEYBAYOR,BARRY,IRELAND,SANTA CRUZ,ROBINHO,TOURE,SWP,GIVEN,BRIDGE,ZABALETA,WEISS,McGIVERN,ONOHU,JOHNSON,RICHARDS,MEE,D.BALL,ETUHU,DUNNE and BEN HAIM ok the last two probably on their way out buy WOWWWWWWW almost two sides that can compete in the Premier league.Finally if as seems highly likely CITY are around the top four at Xmas time Mark Hughes will be given more money to enable the big 'PUSH ON' to the title in the transfer window.Stop belittling or devaluing their efforts to break the OBSCENE monopoly,admire them,sit back and witness a MANCHESTER CITY REVOLUTION whilst may I add MUFC go further into debt !!!!! present debt is around £700M....

  • Comment number 86.

    Phil an entertaining read...

    As for City, i have no doubt that with continued investment they will win the league in the next 5 years... Will mark Hughes win a trophy as City manager?... i think the answer is no.

    Now then... As for the Liverpool and United vs Chelsea argument. Firstly any fan of a top 4 premier league club who does not see how it is money and money alone that has created thier status is a fool... And as for the "we have history, we are a big club" argument... Quite silly.

    Football is business at the top-end like it or not. Football clubs are brands... For an example lets compare with the automative industry and say that, Liverpool are Vauxhall and United are Ford... 2 huge companies who have dominated the domestic market for as long as people care to remember. Now then let's say that City/Chelsea are Honda. The only way in which they would be able to compete and over take would be to invest heavily in their product and their marketing. How is this wrong? How is this different to what Cheslea have done and City are doing?

    The argument that United and Liverpool can spend big because they have earned that right is ridiculous, weightless and flawed.

    This would create a monopoly in football... and leave all other teams in a catch 22 situation... Football is played in the hear and now. Unlesss you are a fan your teams history means very little.

    Money is having its effect through out the game, Notts County in league 2 have a huge advantage over my beloved Aldershot... but this is life i'm afraid... Its a funny old game.

  • Comment number 87.

    Although obvious that Lescotts head was turned by an illegal approach in any other guise, Everton need to forget about it now and focus on bringing in some decent defensive cover. Stephen Taylor from the Magpies has impressed me, even when all was falling apart around him last season, and why not give Richard Dunne a second chance he has been outstanding for City and would plug a gap until Jags gets back

  • Comment number 88.

    #85

    Although I think you are slightly derranged, assuming that money is spent in January, who exactly would be available to buy?

    (P.S. as for 'almost two sides that can compete in the Premier league', well, at least one of them has shown that they are mid table at best, judging from last year!)

  • Comment number 89.

    Said I'd go and paint my mate's mum's back kitchen and today's the day.

    Magnolia will do her I reckon.

  • Comment number 90.

    Trafford is not part of Manchester, it is Greater Manchester.

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

    Couldn't have said it better myself. You're right, Manchester United is the greater team.

  • Comment number 91.

    First of all, congratulations and I do wish some good luck to City - it's nice to see another club up there ruffling feathers in the Premier League. The problem that City will likely have, although it is probably not something that bothers them too much, is respect from opponents (and their opponents fans). The fact is, as the start of your article suggested, indeed it was spending millions that fuelled the success of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea (in no particular order), but it was not the success itself but rather the manner of it that caused problems in certain areas.

    Manchester United, whilst taken over by rich owners not too long ago, spent a lot of money having won trophies/prize money, with a squad that was largely academy/home developed (the infamous 'Can't win anything with kids' phase). It was this success, this team that was built and succeeded, that won trophies and earned the club money and greater international fandom/recognition. Since that time though they have of course been taken over and have had money injected into the club, but I am not sure that, if the Glazers had never taken over, that United would have had problems financing the moves they made since? Those home-grown 'kids' took the world by storm for many years and those few that remain today are still the heart and soul of the club in some circumstances. Whilst not perhaps starters due to age, their impact is still felt and their respect they earned is still felt (players such as Scholes and Giggs). This respect feeds down to the club itself, but more so due to the hard approach that United were forced to take in order to become successful on the scale that they ultimately were. They earned their position with player development and hard, determined work and tremendous success as a result (due in no small part to Sir Alex Ferguson of course).

    Liverpool won themselves the FA Cup and Champions League (the first time) with a squad that was assembled, as far as I remember, before any buy-out had taken place (and it was, frankly, a remarkable and most unexpected result in Istanbul!). Beyond that though, the Hicks/Gillette takeover has given them some money and the signings of players like Fernando Torres in particular bare the fruit of this cash injection - could they have afforded him pre-Gillette/Hicks? Many might argue this as not being the case and he is certainly a phenomenal acquisition. They have also established a team with some home-grown players (Gerrard, Carragher) and have bought others in, but they have since succeeded - in part to natural growth and in part to boosted finances through change in ownership. This is perhaps what might be called a more 'organic growth' considering the natural prevalence of so many rich owners in the EPL in the last 5 years or so. So many teams are now a naturally The home-grown players like Gerrard and Carragher are, again to some extent, the heart and soul of the club, or certainly it can be argued, the heart and soul of the starting XI. They are a side with a rich tradition and have, unquestionably, had to fight hard for the trophies they won and as such have also earned the respect of their peers. They are not as successful as United (in the modern era) but they are a side to admire nonetheless, for their past achievements and slow climb to the top (compared with their dominance some 20 or so years previous to now).

    Chelsea are perhaps the 'matured version' of what Manchester City look set to become. They were a top 6 side before the Abramovich takeover rocked the league, they spent an absolute fortune at that point and nearly all of those signings have since either flopped in the side, or moved on and perhaps been able to express themselves better but not reached the heady highs that their transfer fees commanded at the time of the Abramovich takeover (Duff, Crespo, Geremi, Hilario spring to mind). It was a period of somewhat reckless transfer dealing and many found it not only mistifying but also extremely worrying - Chelsea were suddenly the deepest squad in the league and from absolutely nowhere! Then again, there were those signings a year or so later that had an impact and there were excellent signings like Drogba, Essien, Carvalho, Anelka, Cech but none of these would have been possible without this money injection (and they all commanded huge fees and salaries) and they have almost all become hugely important players for the squad and been the fulcrum upon which Chelsea have become successful. Yet, ironically, the players that still are arguably the heart and soul of the club, and the consistent performers it could be argued, are those that were signed pre-Abramovich, like Lampard and the emergence of Terry from the academy. A Chelsea side without these players is not only noticeably weakened, but also does not seem 'like a real Chelsea side'. But, perversely, the club has become surrounded by players that were bought for a fortune courtesy of the money injected by the owners - without the owners would this success have emerged, many would say no. For this reason they are a club who, to outsiders, are often disrespected and discounted where possible. Chelsea were instantly propelled to the top echelons of the league and European football thanks to an immediate outlay from a heavy chequebook. Whilst it is never easy to win the EPL/Champions League and such achievements should never be discredited; they must also be viewed within context and it is this context that perhaps means that Chelsea still suffer from a lack of respect from their opponents.

    Of course, it is also always true that jealousy will factor in this equation, whether consciously or not. However, whilst City are clearly making a strong start to the season, their rise (and successes if they come) will be viewed both with envy and a distinct amount of unfairness. It seems that perhaps any side can be bought by a millionaire and change things almost immediately, it depends purely on who wants to sell, why and who wants to buy. It is for this reason that Chelsea were so heavily watched and readily criticised when they began their march on the League and the same will be said for City - but with great power comes great responsibility. The Joleon Lescott transfer saga has been a particularly aspect that concerns all EPL fans - would you want your clubs best players being harassed by City's millions? Of course not. Leaving aside the 'Everton made it public first' argument, City have continued to harass their transfer targets as if nothing else mattered and this seemingly reckless approach to relations with other teams within their resident league will cause problems that cut deep and cut long - do not expect a warm reception for City at Goodison Park and certainly not at Old Trafford this year! Chelsea's tapping up of Ashley Cole was the same principle and it has taken a great deal of time for the stain that this aggressive and reprehensible style of transfer dealings made, to be removed.

    In spite of all this, money is everywhere in the game and this is an inescapable fact. There are sides that continue to develop and move forward without these hugely rich backers, but it is a capitalist world we inhabit that means money must be spent in order for things to improve. The question that remains to be answered is; how many more times will we see this happen? Will all EPL clubs become owner my millionaires (foreign or not)? Will it become a league populated by playboy owners who see the high profile nature of the league as a way of getting attention and showing their muscle? City and Chelsea have certainly displayed signs that this is the case - it can be argued that lightning has struck twice...or will it be third time lucky? Will the next owner be different? Are they all the same? Wealth in such a context will perhaps never be evenly distributed - but once you see past this issue and come to terms with the changes that football is facing - you are left to see not only what results these newly empowered clubs achieve but also how this empowerment fuels the clubs ambitions and even alters how it treats its neighbours...

    This season is going to be intensely interesting for many reasons, and I only state my opinion on the matter with the above. I would be very interested to see what other people think? Is it right that, with sport as an entertainment and a competitive concept, certain clubs are granted the powers that enable them to boost their competitive abilities way beyond their normal reach and therefore perhaps negatively alter the entertainment that can be obtained from the best league in world football?

    Discuss! :) (FYI – I am not a United, City, Liverpool or Chelsea fan!)

  • Comment number 92.

    67. At 11:42am on 24 Aug 2009, Candygram for Mongo! Candygram for Mongo! wrote:
    Manchester United not only raised a huge amount of finance by being floated on the stock exchange, but also from the ownership of Louis Edwards. Perhaps people should look into his past before taking the moral high ground on football finances.

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

    They've also won more trophies since the Premiership began than any other team, leading to a very strong brand name, a huge fan base and influx of players wanting to play at one of the best clubs in the world; all of which has helped create the wealth United now enjoy and use.

    None of that applies to Man City. At all. The club that has earned their millions purely via benefactory avenues and couldn't fill their stadium every match last season.

    So, your point?

    See, I don't care how City got their money as I'm quite happy to see them become one of our challengers; the added spice in the derbies will be very welcome. That said United definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, hold the high ground in terms of how the money and fame of the club has been earned.

    No competition; why bother arguing the point?

  • Comment number 93.

    52. At 11:10am on 24 Aug 2009, laughingdevil wrote:
    Your article Phil shows a complete lack of the history of Both the Liverpool and Mantchester United Football clubs, you say that they along with chelsea have got success through money, the difference is how that money was earnt! United and Liverpool got where they are without the need of some "sugar daddy" They worked hard, spent years (the 90's for united) gradually improving their fincances by increasing their global brand after league/cup successes, they expanded their stadia to increase match day revenune, increased their endorsements and much more, they did not sit around moaning for years saying "we can't compete because we are poor" they worked hard, and got rich! City's current stadium was GIVEN them after the commonwealth games because no-one else wanted it, i doubt now they're rich the taxpayer will get that money back though!

    When you look at how Liverpool and United got their money, and how Chelsea and City got theirs, there is no comparison, and it is disgusting off you to say there is! United and Liverpool were bought out and that made their fincances worse! Not better!

    The way city have gone about their business this summer simply highlights how bad their were before and how much bitterness and envy they have had watching Uniteds dominance, in a couple of seasons though It'll settle down, just like chelsea, who also initially rubbed people up the wrong way.

    Good luck to city though (and I mean that) a more competative PL is a good thing, even if it comes at the cost of less dominance for United.

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

    Good point needs repeating!!!!! except the last bit but ow well.

  • Comment number 94.

    I think whether you agree with City or not you can see why they've conducted their business in this way. However there's a clue in why they've got the players they've signed.

    Barry, has been agitating for a move for 18 months
    Tevez, not the player everyone thinks he is
    Toure, Arsene letting go because he had better
    Adeybyor, ditto
    Robinho, he would of moved anywhere at the time
    SWP, not good enough for Chelsea

    The entire list had a reason to leave or where not quite good enough at the top clubs

    The real crime is Mark hughes, a man I thought had some class as player and decent views, he comes oyut of this poorly in my eyes.

    As for Everton, they will be fine but will undoubtably be quoted a few more millions for their targets. If Moyes doesn't agree he won't buy as he's that stubborn.

    City, Carling Cup for you.......
    Buying success is all well and good, it the class that counts

  • Comment number 95.

    andyflaminreilly, you have just missed the point completely, bless you....we were talkinfg about where the mony comes from.....

  • Comment number 96.

    Hi City fan since the early seventies.
    Let me point out a few truths.
    1. History of a football club does not depend on how many trophies you have won. Why are people obsessed with our history over the last thirty years. Lots of football clubs have not won anything for a long time. Your past success is not a precursor for how you operate your club in the present. I have heard some quite bizzare statements regarding our spending of money. Many comments have said the big four have earned the right to spend money. What does this mean? What strange book of football rules and regulations are these people quoting. Surely the only rule about spending money is to have it in the first place.
    2. City fans do not expect to win the prem this year. We are a pessimistic bunch by default but we are genuinely excited by our clubs new financial position and hope that in years to come we can challenge for honours. Mark Hughes will not be sacked anytime soon unless the fans get on his back. My feeling is that this will not happen as contrary to most peoples beliefs at the moment we are quite happy with a gradual improvement. The arabs are in it for the long haul, you only have to see what else they are spending their money on. They are not in it for the short term and in Mark Hughes have signed a manager who has already won a trophy at Blackburn and has international experience with Wales and who played top class football with Man U, Barcelona, Bayern etc. The city fans have warmed tremendously to Hughes and given his association with United this has taken some time.
    3. The top four is not a closed shop. The only requirement to join the top four is to finish in the top four. That is up for grabs at the start of every season. Top four status lasts one season. The current top four belive it is their birthright to be there all the time, well speaking as someone who grew up watching the best footbal team i have ever seen still to this day (Liverpool 1973-1985). They had a long period of nothingness after that. It can happen to any club (Man U included. I am old enough to remember Man U in the second div. Football history did not begin in 1992.
    Sorry for the long rant but certain comments are just purile.
    Lastly Wolves played very well in second half on Sat. Hope you guys do well.

  • Comment number 97.

    RedBlueArmy92

    You haven't really thought that through have you. Liverpool's history means plenty to Arsenal fans, to United fans and to Everton fans just to name but three.

    United's history is known all over the world. Everybody knows about Herbert Chapman and the Marble Halls of Arsenal.

    In a way you are right, in that the likes of Blackburn and Chelsea are just using new money to compete with the old money of the establishment, and the establishment looks down on them as a result.

    Personally speaking, as a United fan, I think Chelsea actually get a bad rap on this whole history thing. It's true that they don't have a particularly interesting past from an outsider's point of view (mine anyway). But it's also true that Ambramovich bought into a team that had been competing near the top for nearly a decade.

    As for City, I am very aware of their history. In fact City and Chelsea's histories famously intertwine in 1970 when their ECWC final was virtually ignored as the nation watched Chelsea win the FA Cup on live television (at Old Trafford). Judging by the crowd at that ECWC final (12,000 was it?) City fans stayed home to watch Chelsea as well!

  • Comment number 98.

    With Liverpool and United it's a bit awkward because there's no doubt their prestige makes them able to splash the cash, and United were unrivalled for many years in exploiting that prestige for profit; however, what they both have in common is highly leveraged takeovers built on questionable levels of debt, creating a very awkward fault line in light of the 'credit crunch' (and it is the credit situation rather than the subsequent recession that is the issue here, although the latter is an exacerbating effect if it reduces revenue). It is right to distinguish Chelsea from them; Liverpool and United have different origins of their wealth, and different reasons to worry about what happens next.

    As for City - I predict top-six but not top-four as well, either cup is possible if they luck out (not least because they can field two separate Big Four-quality attacking units) and a Europa League challenge in 2010/1 is very possible. Champions League football may depend on whether any of the Big Four face financial chaos in the next couple of years - if they do, City will be first in line to replace them.

  • Comment number 99.

    Just about the point that £22m is double what he is actually worth... Are there any justifications for this?

    A key player and a prized asset at Everton, and with inflated prices flying about all over the place I don't see why £22m is too much for Joleon. Especially considering City where more than happy to stump up £12m for Gareth Barry then why is Lescott, who signed a new and improved 5 year contract only last year, not worth a substantial amount more?

    Also, about City being hated, any clubs that is as aggressive and tactless in the transfer market is not going to pick up many fans, and I think Sparkys approach doesn't do them any favours neither. I can't see City winning a trophy this season so they will bring in their own man... probably Moyes at this rate! But I do agree that I'd swap popularity to silverware any day. So Mr. Oil/metal/NFL tycoon come take a look at Everton!

  • Comment number 100.

    85. At 12:19pm on 24 Aug 2009, Where was Rooney and Ronaldo? In Puyols top pocket ....................yawwwn you plum!!

 

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