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Robinho deal caps day of drama

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Phil McNulty | 08:53 UK time, Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Manchester City produced a defining moment that changes football's landscape when they stole Robinho from under Chelsea's nose.

Chelsea and Roman Abramovich were suddenly forced to think the unthinkable on a gripping day of deals and counter-deals that kept fans hooked until the last fax had been fired off and the final contract signed.

Abramovich found, like so many others in so many other sports have found before them, that someone bigger and more powerful always comes along eventually.

But did anyone in their right mind think it would be Manchester City - the eternal sideshow of English football?

City fans woke up on Monday morning content that Shaun Wright-Phillips was back home and celebrated with two goals in the win at Sunderland.

Little did they know that within hours they would be transported on a magic carpet ride that was mind-boggling even for a club well-versed in playing fast and loose with the emotions of their followers.

Thaksin Shinawatra was effectively out of the door and the Abu Dhabi United Group, fronted by Dr Sulaiman Al-Fahim, was in charge.

And he did not just deliver a statement of intent - he bulldozed through the Premier League's established order with a display of financial firepower that stunned Manchester United and left Chelsea bruised and humiliated.

City first put the frighteners on United by having a bid accepted for Dimitar Berbatov - and when that trail went cold turned on Chelsea to lift the target they have coveted all summer before they even had the chance to see it coming.

It was a show of strength that is more worrying, in the short term, for Arsenal and Liverpool than Chelsea and United because they are more vulnerable to the advances of a potential gatecrasher to their top four cartel.

But what a day - and what a sensational transfer City pulled off by landing Real Madrid's Robinho.

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon was always confident he would land the Brazil superstar - and why not?

He stated his intention to go to Stamford Bridge and set about making it impossible for him to stay at Real Madrid.

What Kenyon did not count on was the sudden, dramatic reality that Abramovich's billions are no longer the guarantee they once were - in fact they are no longer a guarantee at all.

The player who said "I am only thinking of Chelsea" 48 hours before signing for Manchester City showed exactly where his loyalties lie.

The rules of the market, once shaped by Abramovich's vast wealth, have changed after ADUG bought into what they are already calling "Middle Eastlands".

Chelsea are not used to having the rug pulled out of them in such spectacular and public fashion and the response from Stamford Bridge will be intriguing.

So what are the ramifications for City as they and their supporters bask in the after-glow of the Robinho coup and the vast possibilities opening up in front of them?

Whisper it but Robinho might be a major gamble at £32m - a talent more likely to flourish under Luiz Felipe Scolari at Chelsea and surrounded by superstars.

And there will be added pressures on boss Mark Hughes because it is already clear ADUG are not in this to settle for second best. They will provide vast resources but Hughes will be expected to meet what will now be huge demands.


Hughes must not allow his new paymasters to force players on him. If he feels the way forward is an up-and-coming youngster from the Championship rather than a superstar who will sell shirts, then he must stand his ground firmly.

But Hughes is an outstanding manager who will thrive on this new pressure - and no-one should deny City fans their delight after years of suffering in the shadow of their illustrious neighbours.

It was a quite a sight to see the expressions of stunned bemusement as it sank in that they had trumped the once all-powerful Chelsea for Robinho. You could not help but be happy for them.

City also managed to put the wind up United for a while by muscling on the Berbatov action - so it has been a perfect start to the new era.

The transfer window is, in reality, a farce that should be scrapped - but days like Monday do give it a sinister appeal all of its own as clubs race around desperately writing cheques in an undignified scramble.

Chelsea were major losers in that rush. They had settled on their prime target and sat back and waited - only to be bundled out of the way seconds before the window shut.

It will be have been an uncomfortable moment for chief executive Kenyon when it became clear Real Madrid, unhappy with the manner of Chelsea's pursuit of Robinho, packed off their prized asset elsewhere.

Manchester United finally landed Berbatov, and while Spurs fans will be happy with the £30m-plus they reportedly received, it is not a good signal that they took a Manchester United reserve on loan in the shape of Frazier Campbell to smooth the deal.

New striker Roman Pavlyuchenko has pedigree, but Spurs fans will worry that the shadow of Sergei Rebrov lurks over this deal - a striker who looked world-class until he pulled on the white of White Hart Lane.

They had hoped to bolster their midfield, but strong links with Sporting Lisbon's Miguel Veloso and Standard Liege's Marouane Fellaini came to nothing, with the latter joining Everton.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, as expected, kept out of the mad dash for signings. It is clear he is now determined to stand or fall by his cautious transfer policy, keeping faith with his young and lavishly-gifted current squad.

Liverpool have also gambled on Espanyol's Albert Riera, a player who under-performed in the Premier League on loan at Manchester City. Boss Rafael Benitez needs to get it right with this deal, but is he of the class required to turn them into serious title challengers?

And so to Everton, who tortured their fans in time-honoured fashion before paying a club record £15m to land Belgian Fellaini, outstanding against neighbours Liverpool in the Champions League.

It is a lot of money for an emerging talent, but the pressure on boss David Moyes and chairman Bill Kenwright to deliver a name signing was becoming almost unbearable after a frustating summer in the market.

And while Everton fans will be delighted at the deal, it says little for the planning, strategy and leadership of both Kenwright and Moyes that their major transfer was finally completed in the dying moments before the window shut.

Newcastle's transfer dealings have led to some head-scratching, and I doubt their fans will be entirely happy with the arrival of Deportivo La Coruna striker Xisco and loan signing from Valencia Ignacio Gonzalez.

They will have expected more - and rather more worryingly so might manager Kevin Keegan.

Sunderland fans will be happy to have a much-improved George McCartney back, but where are West Ham heading after also losing Anton Ferdinand?

It was the most dramatic and expensive deadline day ever - with figures produced by business advisory firm Deloitte revealing that £500m was spent by Premier League clubs this summer, an estimated £30m more than last year.

Manchester City were the big winners and Chelsea the losers after being left empty-handed after missing out on Robinho.

What are the thoughts of City fans the morning after the night before? And how do you feel your club performed in the transfer market this summer?


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  • Comment number 1.

    The thoughts of City fans? Shocked, stunned, very excited and of course, after twenty years of supporting the club, convinced the whole thing will blow up in our faces.

    Supposing it doesn't though? I've no problem with where the money is coming from. There's no way any club could break the "Big 4" nowadays without a major outside investment; so when it comes to accusations of money ruining football, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. We didn't make the rules, we're just playing the game.

    Champions' League in two years? Bring it on!

  • Comment number 2.

    I have got to say a massive conratulations to man city on the takeover and the signings. Well done. If Man city break into the top 4 and I hope they do, it will be a breath of fresh air. And its about time the people of manchester had a great team to support instead of the Glory hunting londers that support united.

    Come on City.

  • Comment number 3.

    An incredible day!

    Everyone thought the headline would be Berbatov's move to United, then Man City pull of the transfer of the summer to sign Robinho.

    Clubs will certainly be leaving the transfer window with very different feelings. Manchester City and United will be delighted, where as West Ham and Newcastle and one or to others will be disappointed and I'm sure they'll be a few worried Arsenal fans as well.

  • Comment number 4.

    most exciting transfer deadline day ever!! i was gripped from 9:00am when i got to work and heard about the Man City Take over until 12:30am this morning when it all went quiet-ish!!

    I think even before signing Robinho City made some excellent young signings... Vincent Kompany (22) has already proved to be a fantastic signing, Jo, Zabaletta (both young) and of course SWP who has also already proved to be a fantastic signing!! And now with Robinho i think city can go very very far this season, maybe not quite top four just yet but we have to give the team time to settle in. Maybe win the Carling Cup and get into the Uefa cup places i.e top six finish!!

    Good luck to the Citizens this year i for once am optimistic for a great era starting today at Man City!!!

  • Comment number 5.


    Interesting article, I posted some thoughts earlier in the day ( in which I suggest that the City takeover has finally led to an insanity in the transfer market. Scrap the window, cap salaries, just do something to end the madness!!

  • Comment number 6.

    Reminds me a little of the shock signings of Tevez and Mascherano to West Ham a couple of years ago. It was clear they were out of place and just using West Ham as a springboard (look where they are now....). Robhino will soon look elsewhere if he is not quickly surrounded by players of similar talent. Of course with the transfer window now closed, this won't happen soon.

  • Comment number 7.

    I have 'supported' City for 53 years having watched them lose to Newcastle in the 1955 cup final on a very small TV screen. They were my chosen team and I was brought up in the tradition of sticking with your choice through thick and thin (mostly thin I have to say). So I thought I'd seen it all, but as any follower of the blues will tell you, there is always another surpise coming. But this a big even by their standards.
    I am genuinely sorry that football has sold its soul to 'big money' and, probably because I'm of a certain age, I miss the simplicity of turning up at a match on a whim and standing on the terraces without having spent a fortune at the turnstile.
    But as we are told, 'there's no turning back' so I may as well enjoy the fun and amusement, but with mixed feelings.
    I would much prefer a league where any team might win rather than it always being one of the 'big four' even if City may now be about to become a member of that 'select group'. Sport ceases to be sport when the outcome is certain.
    Perhaps I should break the habit of a lifetime and pick a team in the Conference or whatever the marketing men call it now?
    However, I am pleased for my son who has followed his father's team since he was a young boy, always surrounded by United fans and never having seen City win anything. Perhaps his day might be about to come.

  • Comment number 8.

    Like the first responder I can't help but hold my breath - waiting for it all to go pear shaped - but what fantastic news so far. It feels like going 1 up against ManU after 2 minutes. We now have 88 minutes to bite our nails.

    Having said that I would rather languish in mid table season after season than see us become another Arsenal, full of foreign "talent" and no personality. The starting lin-up against Sunderland had 7 British players - if we could maintain something like that *and* be top 4 then that would be something special.

    Roll on Chelsea! That should be interesting.

  • Comment number 9.

    Arsenal should really have signed an experienced central midfielder - if Fabregas gets injured or suspended, we are in big trouble.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think the influx of money at Middle-Eastlands will precipitate more spending in January, too. And why not? City have got an owner which, at least on the face of it, is solvent and under no threat from any overhanging legalities in another country. Finally they can rejoin the top table that they have so long been absent from, eyeing it jealously from their yo-yo position of nearly-club and sleeping giant.

    As a United fan, I'm not disappointed that City have Robinho, we always wanted Berbatov, and I'm glad that his head wasn't turned by the obvious fortune that he could have received had he signed for City. I'm over the moon that a player we've wanted for two years is finally ours, and I can't wait for my season ticket to allow me to see more than once or twice a season a player who I admire for his tremendous skill.

    Thanks Fergie - another good egg joins a happy basket.

  • Comment number 11.

    I do not agree that Man City have changed the face of football. All they did was to have enough money to be able to compete with the big boys and to meet the over inflated price for a player, something that to his credit Abromovich never succumbed too. On the other hand Robinho had no option but to leave Real Madrid as he would have been in for a very uncomfortable season if he had stayed. As Man City were the only club that were willing to meet Real's valuation he has sacrificed his career playing for a team in the Uefa Cup and not in the Champions League.

  • Comment number 12.

    I personally think we'll see the stranglehold tighten even more. Soon they'll be a top 5 that'll become impossible to break. With the premier league becoming the billionaire playground/ business. I think it will start to see the death of football as the clubs find it harder and harder to compete as there is no match for the financial wealth of some of the clubs. Man City will just do a Chelsea and spend for success. As a fan I find myself slowly becoming more and more disillusioned by the Premier League and eventually fans will wake up to it to.

  • Comment number 13.

    Erm... 'left Man Utd and Chelsea bruised and humiliated'?

    I know I don't wear my Man Utd tinted glasses quite often, but that managed to puzzle me.

    After all, we got our man, not so?

  • Comment number 14.

    I agree with comment #11. Calderon's quote sums it up nicely:

    "We have sold Robinho for reasons of a human nature and for sporting reasons. The fact that he has accepted an offer from Manchester City says that he is not going for sporting reasons."

    Spot on.

  • Comment number 15.

    It's a shame that money dictates who finishes where in the Premiership, but that's simply the way it is these days.

    City have always been many people's 'second club' and I don't think anyone should begrudge their fans some happy days - even if, quite rightly, one or two of them are still a little cautious. Man City fans of the past two decades must feel they've been on a 20-year rollercoaster ride!

    Good luck to them, I say! As a Liverpool fan I'm a touch concerned about what it'll all mean to the dynamic of the league, but it should inject a little more excitement to proceedings!

    Shame they didn't scupper Utd's deal for the mecenary that is Berbatov!

  • Comment number 16.


    I think you are romanticising slightly here. Chelsea bruised and humiliated? Chelsea have been trying to tighten belts for a while and weren't being held to ransom. Someone else chose to go that one step further. This may prove to be fortuitus in the long term.

    I think when the dust settles, the situation may be more along the lines of:-

    1) Chelsea making do with what they have - served us fairly well last season, although a bit more would have been nice.

    2) Man U spending alot on a player that may prove to be very similar to what they already have.

    3) City signing a player that wanted to go elsewhere. Also, if they don't get into the Champions League, how long will Robinho hang around?

    4) What of SWP? Chelsea sold him to make room for Robinho then look what happens!

    5) What about any fit and proper test for the new City owners? They haven't actually bought the club yet. Premier League, is this right?

    6) Spurs have moaned about having a player tapped up, I think, but won't make a formal complaint. Well, they have sold themselves it would seem

    Finally, why are these things done as blogs now rather than the old style 606 thread?

  • Comment number 17.

    Simply astonished.

    Robinho to Man City is not something I even remotely considered yesterday when keeping my eyes glued on bbc sports transfer page for large unhealthy parts of the day.

    A real statement of intent from the new owners, it will be intruiging to see how this all pans out.

  • Comment number 18.

    Re: 13

    I didn't read the whole sentence through...and so I missed 'stunned'.

    Anyway, I still felt we had the financial muscle to land him even when City stepped in.

  • Comment number 19.

    Personally while I find it interesting that Man City have this money and would love to see a shake up of the top sides, I don't think it will help them a great deal personally. Berbatov is a great example of this - it was obvious that even though spurs accepted the bid, as a player of ambition he was only ever going to a club with genuine champions leage winning potential. Money will only attract the wrong calibur of player in my opinion if you are aiming to buy instant success, but we shall see and with good management they could certainly build an excellent squad over time.

    Interesting article Phill, but just a small note, your link to the Frazer Campbell story is broken.

  • Comment number 20.

    There won't be a top five, unless England gets five Champion$ League places, which it won't.

    One of the Big Four will over the next few years be ousted by Man Ci£y.

    So will it be Arsenal or Liverpool?

    My feeling is that it will be Arsenal because they seem unable to pay the wages necessary to keep their top players (Hleb, Flamini). There must also be a chance that the Dubai bidders will now successfully buy Liverpool (whose American owners just don't have the cash to compete with Abu Dhabi/Man Ci£y).


  • Comment number 21.

    I think the Man City takeover is another nail in the premierleague coffin. Clubs should need to earn their spending power, rather than become the playthings of wealthy foreign benefactors who care nothing for the community and the traditions of English football. What we really don't want is 20 chelseas fighting over short-term gains in a soulless league but this is what is already developing. I can't understand why people applaud the Man City developments (except Man City fans of course who had to endure terrible football until last season) when the vast majority of people were disgusted with the spoilt-brat behaviour of Chelsea since Abramovich came in. There will now only be more Abramovichs and in the medium term I believe this will remove genuine passion and satisfaction from the game and generate apathy among the public who are already being outpriced from watching games live.

  • Comment number 22.

    Would have loved to have seen Kenyon's face when he found out City had got Robinho, after all his proclamations that the deal was nearly done, brilliant. It would only have been matched by Fergie's face if City got Berbatov as well but i guess you can't have it all!

    I think Reira will be a good signing. For all the criticsm Liverpool have taken in the opening weeks of the season, it's worth remembering that we are joint-top and have conceded one goal in 5 competitive matches. Watch this space, Rafa's gonna prove a lot of people wrong this season.

  • Comment number 23.

    As a Liverpool fan I am very worried. While we have to listen to owners lying about funds and breaking promises a serious challenger to our champions league spot has emerged. City look like spending hundreds of millions on superstars while LFC are stuck spending pennies on dodgy Spainish wingers. We need DIC now more then ever. Liverpool could become a Tottenham or a Newcastle a big club in name only!!!!! Arsenal too beware if Wenger doesnt sign quality in the next window they too are at serious risk

  • Comment number 24.

    I just hope the new owners give Mark Hughes a proper chance at making the work and produce results.

  • Comment number 25.

    Sorry, I am at a loss here? For years Chelsea have been accused of overspending on players and paying outrageous transfer fees, and now we have lost a player because we stuck to our guns and refused to pay a high transfer fee we are automatically 'embarrassed' and 'humiliated'. Is that it ?

    LOL. Gimme me a break :)

    We have nicked tons of players from other clubs who wanted them, think of Ballack, Mikel, Robben, Essien from MU alone. It's not an unusual thing to happen, especially when a club is playing 'catchup' as we were 4/5 years ago and Man City are now.

    Robinho is a great winger, I regret he won't be at Chelsea, but I wish Man City all the luck in the world.

    The far more interesting question than the rubbish in this blog is which one of the 'big four' might lose there CL place to Man City. My bet is on Arsenal unless they drag their managers recruiting ideas out of the 1980's.

  • Comment number 26.

    Why is Phil McNulty only ever able to repeat the news and not offer an analysis or detailed opinion? I'm sure he's a nice guy to have a pint with, but this space could be given to a lot of 606ers for better use.

  • Comment number 27.

    Phil. I think your comments about Everton waiting right til the end was a touch harsh, especially as some teams like man utd left it very late too. Though I would be a bit concerned about the players they signed, and £15 million is pretty expensive for a reletively unknown player from belgium, but David Moyes doesn't seem to mess up that often so who knows!?!?!

    I share your concerns about Spurs, especially no matter how well Campbell does he's going to go back to Man Utd at the end of the season, and they still look short on numbers upfront, i can't see bent performing for a whole season. THough there is something about Pavylchenko that makes me think he'll be a success, though in the euros he did miss a lot of chances!

    I'm so excited about berbatov, 30 mils a bit pricey, but thats the price for top top class striker whos proven in the premiership. But come may and we've still got the prem and the champs league it'll be worth it!

  • Comment number 28.

    as a true city fan for many a year i do tire of negative statements from bbc reporters

    " But did anyone in their right mind think it would be Manchester City - the eternal sideshow of English football? "

    we achieved more in the late 60's , probably before you were born !!! and will do that again

    as a true city fan , iam really really pleased

    without the signing yesterday we had done really well with what we had achieved already !!!

    why can't folk get behind us and wish us well

    city - i am proud of you

  • Comment number 29.

    Tottenham were never 'strongly linked' to Marouane Fellaini.

  • Comment number 30.

    The premier league, football, and money has just gone up another level. The pluses are there for everyone to see and imagine for now:

    The best players now certainly heading AND staying in the EPL rather than Spain and Italy;
    The top four now under serious threat;
    Man U vs Man City rivalry has just gone up another knotch.

    But lets not forget in the long term what impact its going to make for the fans. The EPL world tour is probably going to be even more probable now,
    Cost of tickets/ season tickets inflating
    Clubs no longer just football clubs anymore

    The down side of the current stat of EPL is just going to get even worse.

  • Comment number 31.

    "abramovich never succombed to..over inflated price for a player"
    i've almost stopped laughing! next you'll tell me chelski are a big club who'll break even in 4 yrs and robinho is definately gonna arrive within 48hrs!!!

  • Comment number 32.

    I think yesterday was a great day for Manchester as a whole and proof that as Fergie said recently, we are a great football city.

    I am a season ticket holder at united and a manchester lad so was pleased when we landed our man.

    I think this city revolution will be very interesting as it seems people often forget there are only 4 champions league places. Having money is one thing but you have to spend it on the right players at the right time to improve your squad. Shevchencho at Chelsea is a prime example of this.

    I think it will make for a very interesting season.

    My Prediction

    United Champions
    Chelsea Second
    Arsenal, Liverpool and potentially City for the remaining 2 CL places.

    CL (Heart says united but nobody has retained it since it became CL from European Cup) Think we have the players to do it but you always need the luck on the night

    Happy watching everyone

  • Comment number 33.

    I still think there is a big difference to Chelsea's owner and the rest. It seems very much that Cities new owners are primarily here for the investment, and will demand (quick?) returns on their investment.

    But to Abramovich Chelsea is a toy, and he can throw money away every year and not worry about it, as long is it is bringing him pleasure and excitement.

    I don't think yesterday was a case of someone matching Chelsea's firepower, but rather of quick moving to undermine them.

  • Comment number 34.

    Comment no.11 - your comment that Abramovich has never succumbed to meeting over-inflated prices for players is rather sensational and, to be quite frank, totally incorrect....have you already forgotten £21M for SWP, over £16M for Bosingwa and, best of all, £30M for Shevchenko?! Not to mention how much he'll be forking out for Fat Frank's new contract over the next 5 years!

  • Comment number 35.

    Very happy for City fans, and as a Liverpool supporter I would actually LOVE them to challenge our top 4 status. Likewise Blackburn, Villa, even Portsmouth. Champions League status isn't exciting if you can take it for granted nearly every year.

    Still think they should have kept Erikson, but that wasn't the choice of the new owners.

  • Comment number 36.

    It will interesting to see if we read this blog in 3 years time, when Man City will be hated (more so than usual?) on a scale mirroring Chelskea.

    Is this a good thing? More money in the premier league - another club that and will match stupid valuations to catch the star player - that, lets face it has only had one good season and is usually only worth a 3rd of the value paid.

    This scares me, as these new money clubs only serve to test managers and players. regurgitating anything that isnt impeccible. This inevitably ruins careers of managers and footballers...SWP a classic example.

    Trophys are no longer seen as an award , but a life line for a few more months in the job.

    This is not how I want football to be.

  • Comment number 37.

    Wow! What a day to be a City Fan. I live in Australia, so missed out on all the deadline excitement. I went to bed on Monday night with the news of the takeover, just hoping that it would turn out ok for the club. The news I read when I woke up had me flabbergasted. I thought it might be some kind of joke. Of course, there's no one to talk to about it over here, wandering around work trying to get people interested had no effect: "Whats that Mate? Never heard of any Robin Ho?"

    Whilst I am extremely excited about this season now, I can't help but wonder what the catch is. I mean it's City. There must be a catch? Surely? But then again, I remember when we were in Division 2, the only thing I could think of was that our luck would change. Perhaps it has.

  • Comment number 38.

    Top 4 finish? Citeh look more balanced than L'pool: all that talk of wingers and they get a Citeh reject...whereas Citeh now boast SWP and Robinho. The strike force is not as good a Torres but without him L'pool look lost. And they have a stronge defense, newly including Kompany. As for the gunners...still too much youth and inconsistency, so a top 4 finish could be on the cards (though spot 1 and 2 should and will United and Chelski!)

  • Comment number 39.

    As an Arsenal fan, Man City's new money is a good thing rather than a threat. We're never in for the top players anyway and it means that the best established players will now get split three ways (between Chelsea, Man Utd and Man City) rather than two, potentially weakening our opposition. That's the hope anyway!

  • Comment number 40.

    I think its good that Man City are now going to have a chance to take a tilt at breaking up the Big 4 but the real winners here are the Boys at the Bernabau.

    32 million for a guy who makes Anelka and Diouf look like model professionals is a good result in anyones book.

  • Comment number 41.

    As a Chelsea fan I have to admit I'm dissapointed that we didn't close the Robinho transfer, I felt he could have given us that creative spark we sometimes miss, but you have to say well done to Man City for a fantastic coup. Having said that this player spent the entire summer claiming he was "desperate" to join Chelsea and then joined a different club at the last minute, it can only have been motivated by money and personally, if that is what motivates the player, rather than a desire to play football, then I'm glad he went elsewhere.

  • Comment number 42.

    Its a nightmare now that after all this excitement we have to wait nearly 2 weeks for Fabio's humdum England displays to get out of the way before we get back to some excitement of seeing these players settle in at their new surroundings, how times have changed when international football has become as boring for fans as it has for the players that all so often get picked on 'name' than performance. 2-0 win v Andorra and 0-0 Croatia best we can hope for....Then City Chelsea and Liverpool Man United to bring the spark back :D

  • Comment number 43.

    To you do think Chelsea being gazumped has not altered the landscape of English football?

    Chelsea have had the financial firepower to brush rivals aside for years - suddenly they have their sworn top target taken away by Manchester City.

    If anyone had suggested that during the summer you would have been drowned out by laughter.

    And can I say I do not begrudge City fans for one moment. They deserve it after all they have endured.

  • Comment number 44.

    Man City have managed to pull in a major investor - good news. His statement of intent - very grave news.

    Lets all remember that as we compare Manchester City's Position to Chelsea's, Chelsea didn't win "Trophies" until Mourinho was brought in, so no matter what financial Investment was offered, it didn't happen overnight. The new owners of Man City don't seem to have grasped that fact, - changing a team from lurking in Mid-Table to fighting for Champions League Places takes alot more than pipping Chelsea to one signing and throwing money at a few other high profile players. Nothing will ever be able ro replace team spirit, and no matter how much you guys seem to hate Manchester United and our manager, we have an undeniable team spirit which Chelsea assumed under Jose.

    I applaud Man City fo attracting such an investment and wish them all the best, but to claim that they are going to make a break into the "Big Four" in less than a season i believe is too much - even for a team with their financial backing to acheive.

  • Comment number 45.

    > All they did was to have enough money to be able to compete with the big boys and to meet the over inflated price for a player, something that to his credit Abromovich never succumbed to

    Not sure about this, Realthing. Agree that it's going a bit far to claim City are changing the face of football. They're just joining in with the big money boys.

    But Chelsea are one of the main reasons that prices at the top end of football went from silly to totally insane.

    They're hardly the only guilty parties, but still..

    Drogba 24 million
    Essien 24 million
    Carvalho almost 20 million
    Wright-Phillips 21 million
    Bosingwa 16 million
    Ferreira 19 million
    Robben 23 million

    Maybe there's no arguing with Drogba and Essien, but the others?

  • Comment number 46.

    I'm happy for the rest of the country to keep saying Arsenal will drop out of the top 4.

    Because we are always better when written off than when strongly tipped. Would I want City's kitchen sink style recruitment, Rafa's scattergun approach or the recruitment philosophy of a manager with a prove track record looking at a long term plan?

    No question in my mind.

    People can conveniently forget that we finished just 4 points behind Manchester United last season, and in every area with the exception of defensive midfield we now look stronger. And even there.... at this stage last year most people still thought Flamini was rubbish.

    We'll defnitely finish in the top 3 this season, no doubt. In Arsene we alwyas trust.

  • Comment number 47.

    Before the Abramovich era Chelsea were a club of similiar size and history as Man City. Abramovich took Chelsea up a notch to compete for the top prizes at the highest level by spending to have the best players, coaches, facilities right down to Youth level. Guess what City have half of this already in place. City have spent a lot of time and effort in getting the youth and infrastructure of the club right after decades of mispending. The final piece is getting the coach and players in to compete at the highest level and guess what, it's happenning. The Chelsea game will be interesting, but more interesting will be Omonia in the UEFA and Brighton in the Carling. I've supported City for 38 years and these fixtures have always been our downfall. Embarrassment shield ready and waiting.............

  • Comment number 48.

    The biggest potential losers in all this are not Arsenal and Liverpool who I am confident will be able to compete with the nuevo riche. Rather, it is the pretenders to the fourth place throne - Villa, Everton, Spurs - whose noses will be most put out of joint by this.

    Everton in particular have been talking for years about building a solid base and challenging for the CL. Now City are billionaires - out of nowhere - it makes it even harder for them.

    However, the biggest losers could yet be City themselves. We have no idea what these new owners are like. They could be learned followers of the game; pragmatists like Randy Lerner or the Glazers who appreciate that it takes time to build a winning squad and that in football you win some and you lose some. Or they could be purely buisness-driven, expect x amount of return this year, y amount next year and build the club accordingly. Or they might expect instant success and walk away if that doesn't happen.

    I'm too young to remember whn City were good. I've always seen them as a basketcase, a poisoned chalice. A decent-sized club with a massive chip on its shoulder and fans who crave success they'll probably never get. It could all go pear-shaped with City back where they started (or worse) in a couple of years time. To be honest, given their recent history, that's more likely than them winning the title.

  • Comment number 49.

    im really happy for man city, really exciting times for them and spices up the premiership for the forthcomming season.

    im a reds fan and somewhat indifferent to liverpool's dip into the transfer market this season. £20m for keane is now looking like mispent funds. he may not have adapted to the formation and role hes currently been asked for but it has shades of the bellamy fiasco all over again fer me.

    liverpool consistantly buy many average players that do not inspire the fans whatsoever. torres ofc an exception.

    on the whole tho, the big money flying around the premiership is good for entertainment value of the game, but i also feel these big foreign stars are, and have been for a while, destroying the national game :(

  • Comment number 50.


    Obviously as a blue, I'm finding it hard to take this all in - but could you follow up an angle that's been missed so far.

    City have an Israeli player (Ben Haim) in their squad, and a history of Jewish players (the Summerbees and Berkovic), administrators (David Bernstein) and have always been seen as the team of Manchester's Jewish community - if you have any doubt about this, then read Colin Shindler's books. What are our new owners thoughts on this important part of our heritage?

  • Comment number 51.

    10. At 12:29pm on 02 Sep 2008, CantonasCollar79 wrote:

    I think the influx of money at Middle-Eastlands will precipitate more spending in January, too. And why not? City have got an owner which, at least on the face of it, is solvent and under no threat from any overhanging legalities in another country. Finally they can rejoin the top table that they have so long been absent from, eyeing it jealously from their yo-yo position of nearly-club and sleeping giant.

    As a United fan, I'm not disappointed that City have Robinho, we always wanted Berbatov, and I'm glad that his head wasn't turned by the obvious fortune that he could have received had he signed for City. I'm over the moon that a player we've wanted for two years is finally ours, and I can't wait for my season ticket to allow me to see more than once or twice a season a player who I admire for his tremendous skill.

    Thanks Fergie - another good egg joins a happy basket.


    not that berbatov's head was turned by champions league football or anything

  • Comment number 52.

    Personally, I think this is great news for Man City - and bad news for the "Top Four". The sudden power of cash should have a great appeal to the top players who would previously only have thought of the big four perched on top of the rankings.

    On an entirely short term basis - it will remove the cloud of speculation surrounding the previous owner and allow the players manager and remainder of the board to get on with the process of running the club. Certainly, it will be a weight off of Mark Hughes' shoulders.

    The long term benefits are just as plain. The financial strength will allow - if the new owners are free with their cash - a revamping and expansion of the staduim, new players, improved coaching team (if neccessary, I don't pretend to be an expert on the level of coaching currently available), more advertising. In short, the cash will allow the club to function better, if used correctly. As Mr McNulty points out, sometimes it's best not to throw cash at superstars when young talent would be better. Certainly, I think spending a lot of money on their already good academy would be a great thing.

    SO, good luck Man City, and look out big four. Just for a punt - if they replace any team up there, Liverpool surely?

  • Comment number 53.

    To be honest, as a United fan, i think Chelsea have had a lucky escape as far as Robinho is concerned.

    The fact he chose City less than 48 hours after proclaiming his heart was at Chelsea says it all really.
    Chelsea were offering bigger wages than Madrid and City offered bigger wages than both so guess where he ended up?

    I dont think signing Robinho automatically makes City world beaters and genuine top 4 challengers.

    IMO they are still in the same bracket as Villa,Everton and Portsmouth. Teams challenging for the UEFA cup spot and a good cup run.

    Its okay having pots of money but realistically what top drawer players will they go in for?

    Nobody from the current top 4 for a start. I dont see anyone outstanding in Italy anymore and if players such as David Villa and David Silva arent tempted by Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool i cant see City, no matter how big the wages on offer are, attracting those kind of players.

  • Comment number 54.

    Hi Phil

    Youre correct to make the comment about Hughes. Good boss he is, but i would take it further in saying he will be gone before the seasons end. This take over has just hastened his P45.

    Youre right too about Robinho. Hes a massive gamble and not one that i think will bear much fruit at Man City. He needs quality players around him and unless they are going for a galacticos policy he will struggle in the Premiership.

  • Comment number 55.

    Liverpool have also gambled on Espanyol's Albert Riera, a player who under-performed in the Premier League on loan at Manchester City. Boss Rafael Benitez needs to get it right with this deal, but is he of the class required to turn them into serious title challengers?

    Why does everyone regurgitate this clap trap that Reira is a Citeh cast-off. Man City at the time were not exactly full of great players, thus any half-decent player is going to look average.

    Phil, do Journos and pundits all get together and come to a consensus to formulate the same responses and comments? You all seem to say exactly the same thing, all-be-it with paraphrasing. Did you think of the 'under-performing' bit for City yoursel or was it pinched from everone one else that hasn't been watching Reira lately in La Liga?

    Good luck to City, they deserve some good fortune.

  • Comment number 56.

    To the City fan who said Arsenal have no soul and are all foreign players...

    Your new investors will quickly realise English players are overrated and overpriced, they are investors i.e. they expect a return, not like Roman who just expects trophies and a plush seat. The British players will be quickly sold or demoted to make way for better foreign players, if they do indeed come in.

    Arsenal work very differently, they actually make a profit on transfers and bring in inexperienced players and train them up. The new Arsenal Academy which now supplies the most players to the English U16-18 set up has been up and running for about 8 years and it is beginning to pay off at England Youth. 4/5 years Citeh will be a bunch of foreign mercenaries and Arsenal will have a team of English and Foreign talent playing the most attractive football in the PL. And you'll be eating your words.

    And to the Chelski fan who criticised Arsene's transfer policy - what a joke. Before Roman took over, and probably about the time you bought your shirt on Brighton High Street, Chelsea were a mid-table team. Arsene is frugal because he doesn't have the funds of a Russian oligarch who can write off £43m on SWP and Schevchenko. At some point he's going to get bored and realise he is burning through cash that could be better spent on a newer, bigger yacht - at which point he'll leave, you won't be able to pay your players, they'll leave and you'll go into freefall. Can't wait.

  • Comment number 57.

    Why do these owners think that spending huge amounts of money is the be all and end all. 11 new players at £30 million apiece? Who has been Chelsea's best player? Terry, or maybe Drogba. Liverpool? Gerrard, Carragher, or Torres. It's a combination of spending power and building a team, and keeping roots. And there's always room for a bargain. Blackburn "bought" the title, but it was built on Colin Hendry £500,000 from City or something similar (still gutted about that one).

    I for one, hope we only sign one or two more expensive players, tops (Man City fan). I'd rather win the UEFA cup with six or seven local lads, that the Champions league with none… Champions league with two or three perhaps.

  • Comment number 58.

    As a life long blue and well versed with the comedy value attached to our fine club, i have one word of caution. When we last broke the british transfer record, we signed Steve Daley!!

    Whilst it is truly momentus day in the life of a city fan, i cannot help but be saddned by yet another example of football selling its soul. Long gone are the days when there was genuine chances of teams other than the top 4 winning the league, this purchase merely demonstrates that cash is king in pursuit of glory days.

    Will we become despised in the same manner Chelsea are, probably. Will we win some silverware in the next couple of years, more than likely. Will it mean as much, doubtful.

    I will still be there on match day to cheer them on as always, because they wear the blue shirt but life wont be the same again. No rollercoaster, no laughing stock, when we beat utd will it mean as much, probably not.

    What i do like is the fact that the filth had to pay £8 million over the odds for berbatov because of us.

    'We are not we not really here, just like the fans of the invisible man, were not really here', was the cry

  • Comment number 59.

    #47 - I couldn't disagree more. Pre-Abramovic Chelsea and Yesterday's Man City are starting from very different points. Chelsea were already one of the established top clubs with recent memories of a European trophy, FA Cup final appearances and a Champions League quarter final.

    It's time for everyone to take a step back and sit down again. Talk on here of Man City joining the top 4 this season, and asking whether Arsenal or Liverpool will drop out, is, quite frankly, ludicrous. If any team is to drop out, i would be surprised if Man Cit were the beneficiaries.

    Long-term is a different matter. Should this group hang around and continue to invest then Man City could well establish themselves as one of the elites.

    However, i don't see this happening anytime soon. In any case, it remains difficult to break down the contrubutors to Chelsea's success - financial muscle or Mourinho's management.

    Good luck City - but be patient!

  • Comment number 60.

    bobdylan, nicely summed up. Intereseting to see whether you can actually break into the top four at the expense of one of the current group. Do you see yourselfs challenging United soon?

  • Comment number 61.

    So how long before Kenyon moves to Man City?

  • Comment number 62.

    Aren't Robinho and SWP the same type of player.
    I'm not sure they need or can get the best out of Robinho and SWP together.
    It seems it was a statement of intent but City will need to wait for next season or poss January to really get the benefit of the takeover.

    It seems Madrid got the best end of the deal. A massive amount of money for a player that stated he wanted to go and has potential. I think they saw City coming and they paid well over the odds.

    That will finance a massive deal for Ronaldo next summer!

    City sold a high class defender in Corluka and haven't replaced....that would be a concern.

  • Comment number 63.

    It’s good to see another potential contender. Only a few years ago it was a 2 horse race year on year and now there’s the potential for a 5 horse race, so it’s a good thing in my book.

    It may push Liverpool further down the pecking order if they have the investment to put in they are claiming.

    I’m just annoyed their new owner didn’t fancy a bigger challenge and buy Leeds out!!!

  • Comment number 64.

    Thank the Lord for some on Colemanballs.

    Chelsea re-inflated the market on their much did they pay for Damian Duff? Oh, then there was Veron....the list just goes on and on.

    Let's just remind ourselves of one thing....Chelsea are SIX HUNDRED MILLION pounds in debt.

    Way to go....that's how to run a business, eh?

    Their loans...LOANS....from Abramovitch are indeed interest free....yet they STILL manage to consistently lose around £100 Million per year.

    I would argue that Man City have changed the face of football...because they have the financial wherewithall to blow Chelsea away. This is not a particularly good thing for the game in general but one can hardly blame City...or indeed Chelsea...for the mad scramble for the top of the greed league.

    Peter Kenyon (what DOES he actually contribute?????) initially said Chelsea aimed to break even in 2009 - that's just break even in that year, not get rid of the accumulated losses. It is accepted that this will not now be, thats even bigger losses for Chelsea fans to look forward too. Worried? You should be.

    All this rot about Chelsea would not enter into a bidding war....they could not AFFORD to compete. However passionate Mr Abramovitch may or may not be about Chelsea there comes a point where even he decides enough is enough.

    Chelsea's wage bill was £120 million against Man Utd's mere £80 Million last year - and Chelsea won nothing.

    Every single club in the football league have, over the span of the Abramovich years, been far more profitable than Chelsea...but how does one measure success?
    Winning a couple of titles whilst merrily hurtling toward financial oblivion does really seem to fit the bill.

    I would expect Man City to operate with a more prudent approach (not difficult really - just aim for losses of £550 Million).

    Eventually normal business rules will have to apply to football - boy, will there be some changes then.

  • Comment number 65.

    Typical McNulty, Liverpool have "Gambled on Riera" a man city flop!!

    Utter rubbish, Riera was on loan in his early 20's for part of a season, he was hardly a flop. I'd rather take an 8m gamble on Riera than a 32m gamble on a money grabbing Robinho.

    and banging on about Arsenals "Lavishly" gifted youngster don't make me laugh when was the last time they actually threatened to win anything!!

    The only team that needs to be worried about City's takeover is Chelsea, Liverpool, Man United and Arsenal have been around for years and can compete on a smaller budget as they can lure better players. Effectively Chelseas bullying of the premier league by over paying ends today, if anyhting it'll work to all other clubs favour, Man City and Chelsea will compete for the superstars and players past their peak while Liverpool, United and Arsenal will continue to find gems and nurture them.

  • Comment number 66.

    not sure if this has been touched upon phil but mark hughes made a huge statement of intent last night.

    not with the robinho deal - i reckon he'll be gone by next year but that's by the by - but with his bid for berbatov.

    most former man utd players who are now managers still seem intimidated by fergie.

    not hughes. not only did he try to hijack united's one and only summer target but he blew their bid out of the water.

    the likeihood is united would have got berbatov for their initial offer if city hadn't come in. suddenly city took the wind out of their sails and left ferguson in a pickle - either pay an extra 5 million or possibly lose him to man city.

    if nothing else, hughes forced united to fork out an extra load of dosh and showed that ex red or not, he means business.

    btw hopefully bill kenwright will learn from how thaskin went about selling city and get his abu dhabi directory out ...

  • Comment number 67.

    I cant wait to see how Robinho does at city, personally i think he will struggle and end up leaving possibly as early as Jan but for sure in the summer to join up with Big Phil. not once in all this saga have i heard him express his joy at signing for city in the same way he stated his desire to join Chelsea... i think we'll see him in royal blue for a lot longer than sky blue

  • Comment number 68.

    I'm going to try and be brief here.

    Firstly well done to ADUG, you gazumped us good and proper. Though I'm not sure that is the right term as Abramovich has finally decided not to be overcharged it seems (despite what a fellow Chelsea fan said earlier about him never paying over inflated prices!! Oh I did chuckle at that).

    Secondly, time will of course tell on this saga, now MAn City have to continue to propell themselves forward or at least hold ground until January then get more big name players in.

    Thirdly, someone mentioned Chelsea get overcharged (someone other than me!!) yes and no. I think despite the price tags, Carvalho, Drogba and Essien are all worth their price (at least in footballing terms).

    Fourth point, we weren't always around mid table before Roman arrived and we did win trophies or did the mid to late 90's happen in a dream of mine?

    Finally, Yay for football i think. At least yesterday was exciting. Though I'm gutted than Kenyon put all our eggs in one basket and I'm also irate with the absent minded arrogance we showed when selling "Robinho" shirts on line. Whoever said "Yeah go on, he's defiinitley coming" should seriously consider their future. Whoever that may be.

  • Comment number 69.

    Post 65...

    Liverpool uncovering gems? Ha Ha! Liverpudlians really do have a sense of humour.

    We've seen for the past few years how your "Gems" perform without Gerrard when he's been injured/poorly.

    Regardless of what you think know, I doubt that Chelsea are shaking in their boots with fear of being ousted from the top four. There's a fair few good players at Chelsea that are loyal enough to stay for next few years, and we've uncovered some great youngsters.

    But oh yeah, I'm really worried.

  • Comment number 70.

    I'm a lifelong Chelsea fan, but must say fair do's to City. They're now experiencing the elation and aticipation that we did five years ago, and although one man won't win them the league, it's a brilliant statement of intent from the new owners.

    If I was red and living in Liverpool or North London I'd have a small bead of sweat running down my brow about now, and one eye over my shoulder for the next season or two....

  • Comment number 71.

    "Middle East Lands" ha is probably right as the City trophey cabinet is about as sparse as the Gobi desert. Didn't we hear all this last year "We're going to prove that the blue half of Manchester is better than the red of Salford" Yeah ok and what did City win oh nothing as per usual and United won the Premiership and the Champions League.

    Good luck to city but I think it takes more than money to become something special, Blackburn had all the cash in the early nineties and they are not a footballing superpower now.

    Chelsea have no history so will never be the global giant that Kenyon believes they will be (not for the next hundred years to gain some history anyway).

    As for the pathetic bitter blues I am not a Londoner I am from Manchester a life long united fan, season ticket holder and if city do want to be the biggest, richest club in the world they had better get used to having fans from around the world not just Longsight or Burnage. Grow up and come up with some decent banter, oh and I'll bare my ar*e at the top of the Hilton Tower if city win anything or qualify for the champions league next season .

    Blue moon I think you've started singing too soon, one overrated, petulant brazilian (oh sorry you've got three of them) will win you anything.

    Enter the inter toto or Lancashire cup there are a couple of decent teams in the Wigan amateur league but apart from them you might have a chance!

  • Comment number 72.

    As an avid/rabid Arsenal supporter I wish all the Man Citeh fans well. The more talented and exciting clubs/squads in the Premier league the better the overall standard of football on display. At the end of the day there is only ONE way to win on a consistent basis and that is having a VERY GOOD manager. It is no surprise that Arsenal, ManU, Chelsea, Liverpool have done well in recent times as they have the best managers as well as the most chi-ching ($$$$). Citeh's new found financial power adds something new to the Premier league and won't there match against Chelsea be a fun spectacle to watch. 6-0 to Citeh!!! Also, if Hughes is the best young British manager around he now has the tools to prove it.

    good luck to them but FOREVER ARSENAL!!!

  • Comment number 73.

    "I do not agree that Man City have changed the face of football. All they did was to have enough money to be able to compete with the big boys and to meet the over inflated price for a player, something that to his credit Abromovich never succumbed too."

    Realthing you must be crazy or suffer short term memory loss. Since Abramovich came into Chelski all he's done is pay over inflated prices for players ie;
    Drogba £24
    Essien £24.5
    Schevchenko £30
    Veron £14
    Bosingwa £16.2
    Parker £10
    Anelka £15
    Ferraira £13.5
    Mikel £16
    Duff £17
    Mutu £15.8
    Johnson £6
    Crespo £16.8
    Del Horno £8
    Wright-Phillips £21

    If you don't think those prices are over inflated you must be mad. Every club thinks its xmas when Chelski come a knocking. However as a Liverpool fan the idea of Man City having all that money to spend scares the hell out of me but then again its Man City and it'll probably all go wrong as they end up with two corrupt owners squabbling over the team and Robinho is highly overrated as he's never really justified any of the hype and that's a huge transfer fee. I genuinely hope Man City have some success but no higher than 5th please, and if you fancy rubbing Chelski's faces init again feel more than welcome. I'm glad to see the end of their smug attempt to purchase every trophy in football.

  • Comment number 74.

    The thoughts of City fans?
    (but yes, like others here I don't want to get too over-excited - I still think it'll be a successful year if we don't get relegated!)

  • Comment number 75.

    One superstar signing won't change much - I can only assume money and the promise of champions league football in a year or two lured Robinho to City over Chelsea, or maybe he didn't think he could get first team football there

    either way, yes City have a big backer - but will they do 'a chelsea'? ADUG have come in and flashed their cash, but how long will they want to spend big for - sure they come in now and offer the world, because bidding for the likes of robinho was probably part of the plan, but in a year or two when City aren't winning any trophies and mark hughes asks for 25million or something, will they be bored of it

    I don't have a problem with city, they're a good side with a good manager and great fans, but one super signing isn't going to see them competing with the big 4, they should be in the europe spots but it takes a lot of building to make a squad strong enough to overturn the big boys, even if liverpool and arsenal are paper thin at the mo

    if city have got a lerner, glazer or even abromahovic then they should be fine, but if they have another thaksin or gillette and hicks who will be petulent and demand short term results and interfere with the manager then they won't be going anywhere soon, i think everybody is getting ahead of themselves

  • Comment number 76.

    Good luck to Man City, their fans deserve it.

    As a Liverpool fan, I agree with the comments posted at 15. While potentially this poses a threat to the established top 4, I am excited by and welcome the challenge.

    The EPL has become a bit stale and maybe this will breathe a bit of life into it.

    There will never be a salary cap so the only way to even the playing field is to have all the clubs owned by billionaires!

  • Comment number 77.


    don't you realise that liverpool aren't going for the title this year? it's "next season" when they're going to win it ... well that's what the've been saying for the past 10 years. their next signing's going to be the final piece of the jigsaw, don't you know.

    as for city, as an everton fan they were a source of comfort. no matter how much we under-achieved, there was always man city to make us look good. fear those days may be over, so thank god for newcastle!

  • Comment number 78.

    We've spent a lot of money definately this season, but look at the players it has been spent on

    Robinho - 24y/o
    SWP - 26y/o
    Zabaleta - 23y/o
    JO - 21y/o
    Kompany - 22y/o
    even the free transfer Berti is only 26y/o

    Add this to Hart, Richards, Onuoha, Fernandes, Johnson, Elano, Ireland, Etuhu, Sturridge, Bojinov (if he's ever fit), Evans

    This is a highly talented squad all 26y/o or under, not just for now but for the future success that MCFC could be

    I just hope new owners carry on buying young talent and bringing young talent through the club's academy for the future

    Don't waste it on the 30something 'stars' that cost a packet and are at their best for a limited time

  • Comment number 79.

    This article is a joke, right? Robinho obviously only chose Man City as hes a cert to start every week.

  • Comment number 80.

    The City deal actually raises serious issues for a number of clubs. Given that these days money buys success and that most of that money comes from the Champions League, its noticeable that we have four places in the CL, and a 'big four'. Everton have come the closest to getting into the CL in recent seasons, and its widely acknowledged that for them to be able to compete on an equal financial footing with ManU, Arsenal, Cheski and Liverpool, who have a LOT of spending power between them, they wouldn eed to do so on a regular basis.

    With the City takeover, we now have FIVE clubs with massive ambition and spending power and only 4 who can recoup some of that cash via the Champions League (plus the associated sponsorship and kudos and pulling power for the best players which that entails). ADUG will give Man City at least two seasons to get into the CL. What if they do it at the expense of, say Liverpool? What if Liverpool miss out two seasons on the trot? I use Liverpool as the example but for all the current top four financially it spells disaster for whoever misses out, especially if their backers decide to quit as they no longer own a club which has the exposure and income of the regular CL clubs. Five into four won't go, and I can see a situation in five or ten years time where one of these teams has done a 'Leeds' and dropped right away, maybe even ceased to be.

    Scaremongering? The money men are attracted by success like flies round a honey pot. Take the honeypot away...........

  • Comment number 81.

    Can I ask again, why do these articles now get presented as a blog rather than a 606 thread?

  • Comment number 82.

    David_Y-N-W-A wrote:

    and banging on about Arsenals "Lavishly" gifted youngster don't make me laugh when was the last time they actually threatened to win anything!!

    premiership was pretty close last year if my memory doesn't fail me .

    league cup

    keep writing us off we don't mind , would have like someone else in midfield but the "lavishly gifted youngsters" can do it.

  • Comment number 83.


    You seem a little bitter about this turn of events?

  • Comment number 84.

    I'm a Man Utd fan so lets get that out of the way first and foremost.

    To those of you left reading, especially City fans, I'd like to say congratulations to Man City on pulling off what looks like one of the great transfer coups of all time, all on the same day as they aquire new owners who on paper at least make them potentially one of the wealthiest clubs in the world.

    Top 4 this season? Maybe. It's a shame in a way that the takeover didn't happen earlier in the summer but I'm sure there will be more signings in January. Top 4 next season? Well it has to be really for the kind of money being invested.

    Anyway, all in all a grand day to be a Mancunian as far as I'm concerned. Please though, just don't let this be another false dawn and something that the rest of the country will be lauging about in 3 years time.

  • Comment number 85.

    using youngsters in a premier league team can be rewarding everyone knows about fergies fledglings, anyway well done to fergie for getting berbatov we need some one of his calibre

  • Comment number 86.


    not at all pal. fair play to city, they've had it tougher than us.

  • Comment number 87.

    I think the article is a bit over the top personally. Does Phil also write for the Sun?
    "Changed the football landscape"
    "Stunned Manchester United and left Chelsea bruised and humiliated"

    I hardly think so. Suprised might a less sensationalist word to use.

    I am sure ManU are terrified after only signing Berbatov and being left with dire attacking options of Ronaldo, Berbatov Rooney, Tevez....

    Same goes for Chelsea. Scolari must be fuming a raging pit of fire that his forwards Drogba, Kalou, Anelka are only supported by the inept attacking midfield of Deco, Ballack, Cole, Lampard....

    Good luck to Man City and Mark Hughes but I don't think that paying over the odds for un proven (but gifted) brazilian will quite have the dramatic ramifications that Phil suggests.

    Villa and Spurs are probably more worried about competition for 5th.

    Good luck to Man city fans for this season though and I hope they do really well.

  • Comment number 88.

    post 65, Dave YNWA
    "...and banging on about Arsenals "Lavishly" gifted youngster don't make me laugh when was the last time they actually threatened to win anything!!"

    Mate, he wasn't saying that they've won (although we did come close last year), he's saying that they're 'lavishly gifted', which if you think about it, they are...

    Love the inclusion of Liverpool in your sentence about uncovering 'gems'....haha, who did you uncover mate......NADA mate that's who!

    Just keep writing us off, we don't care, most of us are well and truly happy with our club as it is;
    unlike much of your lot always harping on about what's your right and whatnot.....
    and conviently forgetting you never even WON the premier league, LOL.

    Good luck to Citeh, tho, more competition is always good; can't help feeling a little pang of sorro for our neighbours down Seven Sisters Rd........surely THEY were the ones going to break into the top 4!?


  • Comment number 89.

    blue blogger do you live in dreamland?
    Arsenal no personality? We don't sell our soul do we?
    We are run as a prober club should be run.
    Ok you had 7 english players against Sunderland, but if you are going to challenge for trophies like your new owners said, clearly you are going to do it with foreign players and Robinho is just the beginning. The good english players dont hide somewhere they simply dont exist you fool.
    So either you have to do it with foreign players or you are going to stay where you belong.
    Personally I dont want someone to buy Arsenal. With money all clubs can be champions, where is the challenge?

  • Comment number 90.

    Sell your best defender to Spurs and buy a striker to replace him? Not a smart piece of business to start the new "money" era.

    It's good news and bad news for City. The good news is that now they can mix it with the big boys. The bad news is that now it will be harder for their supporters to indulge in their favorite pastime; criticizing their hated neighbors (Man Utd) for "buying" championships and not being a "real" club with a grass roots soul. I don't imagine too many City supporters will be handing in their season tickets in disgust now that City have joined the filthy lucre brigade to whom money is no object.

    Don't worry, though. The Arab adventure won't work. City will figure out a way to screw this up and turn the whole thing into a fiasco. They always do. They wouldn't be City, otherwise. First a Thai politician who's wanted for human rights violations and now an Arab cartel. They're still turning over managers and owners at a rate of knotts. It was only a couple of weeks ago that Hughes was rumored to be fed up and on the way out.

    Same old circus.

  • Comment number 91.

    Manchester City - the eternal sideshow of English football?

    hahahahahaha... brilliant! Great article, Phil McNulty.

  • Comment number 92.

    There's alot of comments on here about the need for lots of money to break into the top 4 or at least win anything...

    Perhaps it's down to FIFA to impose something like a suggested salary cap. This way the FA would have little say in the matter surely?

    Most of us don't follow the NBA or NFL in the states but their insistance on evenly matched teams is reflected in the measures that they have in place to ensure it.

    1. Salary Cap - this prevents a club from employing too many highly paid superstars. So Real Madrid etc would no longer be able to offer all their players £130,000 a week.

    2. The Draft - for those that do not know, this entitles the worst placed team from the previous season to have the first pick from the highest ranked college/university players for the current season. In general the best players go to the worst teams and vice versa.

    Obviously, the sporting structure in the US has massive emphasis on college sports but i dunno maybe some bright spark could think of a way to implement something like this.

    Just for the record im Man Utd and very disappointed the club has spanked £30m+ on berbatov. I hope im proved wrong.

    And Robinho has got FLOP written all over his face!

  • Comment number 93.

    Well done, City- as a lifelong red, having genuine quality and ambition will only give me greater pleasure when we beat you! (just kidding, its only sport, after all). City are truly a big club and should be up there competing for European places- given that we get so many each year its good that it can't be assumed who will get those places.

    A few thoughts starting with philosophical question (!)- which is better: an new owner who sees the purchase of a club as a (flawed) investment (I'd suggest e.g. Gillett + Hicks, ?Glasers), or one who regards it as essentially a plaything (?Abramovich and ADUG)?
    Times change and the 'jumpers for goalposts' era long behind us- perhaps having people prepared to throw money at a club to see what they can achieve on the pitch is not a bad thing. This must be tempered, however, by having those controlling the future of the game being true visionaries and without the agendas that the Platinis and Blatters of this world seem to carry.

    Maybe a salary cap is the answer- it, perhaps, would not deter the truly talented from seeking a move to a 'big' club to achieve things within the game: I'd argue such players do add value to any competition; it might, however, deter the journeymen who are simply looking to earn a fast few bucks to avoid having to run a pub when they retire (do they still do that?) and who are likely to give little to the club and those within it.

    Perhaps yesterday's events are of greater significance than would first appear?

  • Comment number 94.

    Robinho is sure going to be confused when he's asked to pull on the Sky Blue colours of Man City and not the Red of their near by neighbours. Poor lad will also be confused not to see Ronaldo limping around on crutches in the dressing room.... I wonder if he knows it's Man City he's signed up for?

  • Comment number 95.

    Another takeover like this only serves to further isolate the top echelons of the Premier League from the rest of English football.

    For me, every one of these takeovers by big money men from the Middle East and the USA (and perhaps Russia) only hastens the day when the PL becomes a closed shop and promotion from the Football League disappears altogether.

    Perhaps the goal is an American style system with one super-rich top league and minor leagues underneath to act as feeder clubs with minimal coverage and TV revenue.

    If not, something has to be done to allow those clubs without billionaire benefactors to at least have a chance of competing ... even the top American sports leagues have wage caps, drafts (allowing every club the opportunity to obtain the brightest young talent) and no transfer fees.

    I am a Hull City fan, so obviously I am a little biased and jaundiced about the whole thing, but when I see my club trying to spend sensibly to build a squad capable of moving up from Championship play-off winners to competitive (surviving!) Premier League side while other clubs can effectively blow the equivalent of half the Tigers entire annual turnover on a single player I do just wonder whether it is worth it.

  • Comment number 96.

    94. At 2:54pm on 02 Sep 2008, redbriar wrote:

    Robinho is sure going to be confused when he's asked to pull on the Sky Blue colours of Man City and not the Red of their near by neighbours. Poor lad will also be confused not to see Ronaldo limping around on crutches in the dressing room.... I wonder if he knows it's Man City he's signed up for?

    LOL yeh it wouldn't be the first time old Thaksin Sinatra sold someone a dummy.

  • Comment number 97.

    disagree about a salary cap, would not work because of the EU, restriction of trade, other leagues not complying, clubs not wanting it, players not wanting it etc. football has gone too far down the free market road to turn back now.

    only way the playing field will be made more even is for the cl to restrict the number of teams from each league to two - three at most. then, say, if one or more of man u, liverpool, arsenal or chelsea miss out regularly, they'll soon come back to the pack.

  • Comment number 98.

    I’ve never understood this bitter obsession with Chelsea’s spending power. Fuelled by the media, football fans the length and breadth of the country relentlessly criticise Chelsea for having the audacity to challenge England’s most established clubs Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal. Both the media and many football fans seem to ignore the vast sums of cash Ferguson has spent, and instead choose to grumble about Abramovich ruining English football and grown on about Chelsea not being a “real” football club with great traditions. Following the close of the transfer window yesterday Manchester United are responsible for 4 of the top 6 most expensive transfers in British football history:

    £32.5m Robinho (Real Madrid to Man City)
    £31m Andriy Shevchenko (Milan to Chelsea)
    £30.75m Dimitar Berbatov (Tottenham to Man Utd)
    £29.3m Rio Ferdinand (Leeds to Man Utd)
    £28m Juan Sebastián Verón (Lazio to Man Utd)
    £27m Wayne Rooney (Everton to Man Utd)

    “Chelski”, as they are so imaginatively named in the media, are no more guilty than Manchester United for taking English football down this horribly corporate path. After all it is United we have to thank for a certain Peter Kenyon.

    As my blogging name indicates I’m a City fan and while I’ve lost a great deal of interest in the Premier League over recent years (despite City’s return to the top flight) as a result of the PLCs, Sky’s never ending “Battles of Britain”, “Super Smashing Grand Slam Sundays” and “Games of the Decade”, the corporate drivel and the celebrity nonsense, I’m pleased City will once again be able to challenge for major honours. Admittedly, I would prefer to see a City team containing 11 local lads from the academy challenging for the title however despite our excellent youth system this is never going to happen given the current climate of English football. I’d therefore rather City be involved in challenging for major trophies, albeit as a result of money from overseas, than not.

    Following the huge success of the side down the road in Salford over recent years you’d have to be a pretty harsh not to afford City fans a little smile today…

  • Comment number 99.

    When you next pay 116p per gallon for petrol remember that an admiittedly small amount is going to Man City and Chelsea. It is only the oil price that allows this profligacy to exist

  • Comment number 100.

    chelsea fans.... I would be more concerned if I were you. We Arsenal don't rely on a sugar daddy and now that the arabs apparently are ten times more wealthy than Roman, just maybe Roman feels he cannot compete with the arabs and decides to leave chelsea!
    Then you can play football with Leeds United.
    Arsenal have a sound economy and will reamin a great club, but Chelsea are in potential danger


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