Field of dreams
I've met three Man City fans since Monday and each one of them has this strange dreamy face on, their eyes wide and unblinking, their arms prepared at any moment to lift their whole selves off the ground and float off into the clouds. I've seen similar expressions on them weird Yank evangelist preacher shows.
Frankly it's sickening. But on the other hand, if a businessman who earns more money per second than a Buddhist has earned in a thousand lifetimes is prepared to chuck his cash at a Premier League club then he couldn't pick a better club (apart from Boro). City, the also-rans, the yapping Chihuahua to United's wolfhound, the comical sideshow in the hotbed of the north west.
City fans'll tell you that they're the true Mancunians, that they're happy that way, that they don't need an international brand and borrowed loyalty from the other side of the globe.
Even the arrival of Thaksin Shinawatra seemed to have made everything worse. From the days of Peter Swales to big Malcolm Allison and his lavish spending on two-bit second-raters (Kevin Reeves and Steve Daley anyone?) to the desperate plummet to the third tier and Keegan's short-lived revival and the shoddy treatment of Sven, the blue half of Manchester have been watching footy from behind the sofa for years. But now it's time to trade in that lumpy beaten up old settee for a massive real leather corner suite and lie back with a dry martini and a bag of pistachios.
For Dr. Sulaiman has changed all that. He claims to have very deep pockets. I'm not sure where an Arabian gentleman keeps his pockets but I've no doubt he's right. They're going to buy Ronaldo for 135 million, Fabregas for God knows how much and this time next year Mark Hughes'll be gathering his squad together and saying 'Now gentlemen, I know you all met each other during the Nike commercial but now we're going to play football together.'
Not that Sparky's got much of a clue what's happening. It's pretty clear that who the club buys has little to do with his opinions anymore. It's a good job the transfer window's closed or he'd never play golf again. I can't see Robinho doing owt much meself. He looks a right fancy Dan. You'll get an Elano of a season out of him I reckon. Ten good games and then his form'll drop off as he puts more and more jumpers under his City top. He's no Shaun Goater, that's for sure.
City won't win owt this season, generally.
Of course, the main reason for excitement is that it'll get right up the noses of Man U, Chelsea and Liverpool. Chelsea fans are desperate to tell you that their success is not about the money. When City lift the title in 2010 or 2011 will they be telling us the same thing? Nah. Kenwright at Everton has accepted the fact that there's no way to compete without taking the begging bowl round the palaces of the world. It's not very dignified but Abramovich has changed the rules. Me Man City mate Danny says this is how the Premier League'll end up, as a weird billionaire's bagatelle where hugely wealthy businessmen faff about with their football teams like Greek Gods up on high.
And as 'Arry says, the old style British manager who used to have hapless chairmen begging them not to go around trying to buy anyone without asking, are a thing of the past. Soon they'll just be can-carriers, stoppers of the buck, scapegoats, the blokes whose backsides are tattooed with the words 'Kick Here'. Curbishley has had enough - but to be fair he shouldn't really go looking for players in the local hospitals if he wants to be successful.
Keegan's teetering on the brink, with Ashley unsure whether to pick up the Messiah's toys and out them back in the pram or let him do one. If they made a film of Kev's managerial career it'd be called 'Keegan's Run'. I've a lot of sympathy with old crybaby this time around, mind. If Dennis Wise is 'Director of Football' what the hell's left for Kev to do? Direct traffic? It's a nonsense of a situation and once again Newcastle have been lumbered with an owner who makes players disappear as quickly as pints.
Whether Hughesy can deal with a similar set-up is yet to be seen but owners rarely get it right. I still gag to think how much money Shevchenko got paid. If you want summat to keep a bench warm you can get a nice towel for a couple of quid. In fact I think it's time these massively wealthy individuals started to show a bit of initiative and assembled teams with a bit of a theme going on...
Imagine a team like this:
Palop; Dudu, Shittu, Higginbotham, Pantsil; Arshavin, Butt, Kaka, Fabregas; Messi, Ronaldo (work that one out). With Dunga as coach and Arsene Wenger as director of football... I mean that's a cracking line-up.
Long-term, it's not exactly what you'd call good for the game. There'll be a lot of City youngsters who'll wither on the vine or end up at Hull City or summat. But short-term, it'll just be wonderful to see the big boys getting a bloody nose. Mind, United got beat twice last year by Sven's men so they're pretty much City's patsies any road.