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Ferguson turns up derby heat

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Phil McNulty | 10:39 UK time, Friday, 28 November 2008

Sir Alex Ferguson turned up the temperature in trademark fashion ahead of Sunday's derby with a ruthless dismissal of Manchester City's new wealth and power.

Asked if he was concerned by City's threat, Manchester United's old prize-fighter made no attempt to disguise his incredulity at the very idea of the empire being challenged from Eastlands.

"Where are they at the moment? Excuse me. At this moment in time it is Chelsea and Liverpool who are sitting above us."

It will have raised hackles at Manchester City - especially after doing the double over United last season - but the brutal truth is that he is right.

Most Manchester City fans would, reluctantly, accept the validity of Ferguson's argument - but Sunday's game at Eastlands will at least provide Mark Hughes and his players with the opportunity to send a signal to Old Trafford.

City have looked exactly what they are for much of this season - namely a team and club in transition.

They have an excellent recently-acquired manager in Mark Hughes and their new owners only had time to fire one, albeit spectacular, shot across the bows by beating Chelsea to the signature of Robinho.

The real action is more likely to start next summer, when it appears no target will be out of bounds - although whether they will actually arrive is another matter.

It might be worth asking Ferguson the same question about City's threat this time next year, when we see if the Abu Dhabi United group have funded their new project as spectacularly as most reports suggest they will.

And it was good to witness owner Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan give Hughes such resounding support in the face of premature speculation about his future recently.

As I stated in a recent blog, City's history has been littered with instability and the last thing required at Eastlands is another knee-jerk change.

United, in contrast, are an established force blessed with outstanding talent all over the pitch and a remarkable manager and personality in Ferguson.

Everything is in place to compete for trophies on all fronts again this season.


This is why Ferguson's comments regarding the local threat, while they may seem harsh to some City fans, are true.

What City fans do have, more than at any other time in recent memory, is hope. Bags of it in the shape of the billions that are likely to be pumped into the club from the Middle East.

And, even in the recent hard times, they have had their successes against neighbours United, with Sven-Goran Eriksson's City doing the double over United last term.

City will see Sunday's game as an opportunity to show off their new status to the neighbours, while attempting to improve a league placing of 11th that has been undermined by poor away form.

United, in contrast, will want to take the opportunity to remind City exactly who is boss in Manchester and make sure there is no repeat of the away slips at Liverpool and Arsenal.

Ferguson correctly pointed out that money can make a difference when spent properly, citing the case of Roman Abramovich's highly-priced (but ultimately successful) rebuilding of Chelsea.

It can also work the other way, but the long-term prognosis for City will be good if they stick to the principle of letting Hughes decide the targets and then simply back him with finance - while maintaining their superb academy system.

Ferguson is the prime example of stability that City can look to as their model.

He was not aiming any disrespect in City's direction to down-play the current scale of their threat - but it may just make Mark Hughes and his players more determined to show he could have a serious fight on his hands in the future.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Over the last 20 years as a City fan I can't remember Taggart bothering to talk City down in the build up to a derby.

    Are his comments a sign that he sees us a genuine threat - maybe not now but in the very near future!

    God Save the Blues!

  • Comment number 2.

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  • Comment number 3.

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  • Comment number 4.

    Spot on in this article Phil. City at the moment are not in a position to threaten United or the others at the top of the league but this time next year who knows what sort of talent they will have at their disposal. It will be very interesting to see. I would love to see the likes of Kaka in the Premiership if those reports are true.

    Gotta fancy United on Sunday, they simply can't afford another slip up and they have another difficult away game coming up against Spurs. Im expecting a very entertaining game but unfortunately, United to edge it.

  • Comment number 5.

    You can view this as mind games or put whatever spin you want on it. However he is stating a fact. City aren't even in the top half of the table at present so they could start by at least getting near the top 4 before they can be considered a threat. Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal are still the biggest threat to United. Likewise those three realise who are their biggest challengers.

  • Comment number 6.

    This is quite funny, why do people not have belief in the Champions of England, Champions of Europe thesedays??? We're still the same champions league/premier league winning team we were last year? Just because we're not 1st doesn't mean we aren't still Manchester United.
    My predo for the game

    Manchester United 3-1 Manchester City

  • Comment number 7.

    good post phil

    ferguson does make me laugh !!

    actually we are still waiting for him to comment on the two city derby wins from last season

    city will prove to be a threat in the coming years and indeed we have closed the gap in recent years

    it is trophies that man city need to keep ferguson on his toes and there is no reason why city can't win something in the new two years

    but to prove ferguson wrong again , i hope city continue with a win on sunday

    and do you know - i think we will do it !!

    by the way - i hold my hands up to you phil - we need to give mark hughes more time - you were spot on in your last blog

  • Comment number 8.

    He should disrespect it. United earned the ability to buy players for £25m+ through success earned by a fantastic group of youngsters and sustained by reinvesting the profits from success in the early days of the Premiership and building upon a strong base of homegrown players.

    Suddenly having access to an unlimited amount of money may give you titles, but it doesn't mean you've earned them. I have no respect for Chelsea's "achievements" thus far, and will have none for Manchester City if they go ahead with their "spending spree".

  • Comment number 9.

    The thing is with this Abu Dhabi money, if money is genuinely no object as is claimed, then why buy Manchester City, they may be cheaper than some to buy as a club, but the outlay on players was always going to be huge to take them from where they were, plus the added premium required to get big players to such an unfashionable club.

    So if you have a bottomless well of money then why go for City? Newcastle would have been available and have steady 50,000+ gates, Hicks and Gillett would have snatched their hand off for Liverpool and have a far more tempting for foreign players name and profile, heck even the Glazer's at Manchester United might have been tempted for big enough money (which as has been established is apparently no object), Everton would've been cheaper still and is a bigger name than City.

    So anyway to sum up, my question is, if the money is genuinely limitless, why Manchester City?

  • Comment number 10.

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  • Comment number 11.

    I think fergie forgot to add that they wouldn't be challenging united for the title 'regardless of the outcome of the game'.

    As he's left it he's likely to be facing a very motivated team at eastlands.

  • Comment number 12.

    "it is trophies that man city need to keep ferguson on his toes and there is no reason why city can't win something in the new two years."

    well fegie makes you laugh and you make us laugh - if it's trophies ciddy need then perhaps they should actually win one and when was the last time that actually happened? Before my lifetime and probably before yours!

    man city are not a big club, still massive though!

  • Comment number 13.

    City to win 4-1

    Expecting a easy win

  • Comment number 14.

    Fergie needs to grow up a little bit. Before every game now, I see him trash his opposition, and if your lack of confidence in your own side forces you to play stupid mind games and make derogatory comments, then there's something wrong. A man of his age should surely be able to act with a bit of dignity...

  • Comment number 15.

    "This is quite funny, why do people not have belief in the Champions of England, Champions of Europe thesedays??? We're still the same champions league/premier league winning team we were last year? "

    Do you know I hope you're right because I seem to remember we beat the champions league/premier league winning team twice last year!

    Fergie can say what he likes about City pre-match - we'll do our talking on the pitch come Sunday.

    2-0 Ireland and Robinho.

  • Comment number 16.

    utlimately who cares if ciddy win! ciddy fans get to bounce round for a year pretending they've just won the world cup, when the reality and ironic thing is for the big clubs there's ultimately two prizes to win and we just happen to have won them both! The manchester derby isn't the be all and end all of unique games - I'd much rather see ciddy do the double over us if it quarantee we do the same to liverpool which now is a much bigger game.

    Not's like we have a decent record at the council house either - we probably have the worse record of any team in the premiership and certainly it has become a bit of boggy ground recently and a win would be great - 3 points and the bitter frowns of the manchester workforce (that that there's many) would remain intact which always entertains us!

  • Comment number 17.

    i reckon it will be a cracker

    got to be 4 or 5 goals.

    looking forward to it

  • Comment number 18.

    Post 9 - I think that Abu Dhabi realised that Man City has a massive marketing potential - think how big Man United are all over the world. They could create a real worldwide rival to them in City, based on what are already well supported clubs.

    Also, you have to think about what clubs would have been available outside the top 4 that have such global marketing potential. Newcastle? Great support but not exactly the most exciting team. And city already had a solid base of players and some exciting academy products coming through. I think they made a good choice personally

  • Comment number 19.

    I think this is a must win game for Man Utd. Win this and we will still be a few points behind Liverpool and Chelsea, but i believe we will be in a better position than them as we would have played Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, City, Villa, Blackburn, Everton and Pompey all away from home. And A win in our next away game at Spurs would mean only iddlesborough and maybe Bolton will be left as a difficult away game on paper.

    Wont be an easy win though as this will be Citys cup final, but I think having not scored for 2 games in a row will spark a few goals out of United.

  • Comment number 20.

    Frankly, City fans can crow over the double over us last year all they want. Fact is, we won the Premiership and the Champions' League, and we'll probably win both again before City get close to either.

    It's telling that City measure the success of their season on how they do against us. We base the success of our season on trophies, and if we beat City it's just an added bonus.

    Poor little guys, let them have their moment in the sun. It might help them with that inferiority complex.

  • Comment number 21.

    can you please state a news source for Sir Alex's comments? I'd like to see the full interview and not the tabloid version.


  • Comment number 22.

    vertigo limbo

    i will let my team do the talking on the pitch on sunday if you don't mind

  • Comment number 23.

    On why the Abu Dhabi United Group bought Man City...

    Obviously they were given a good sell by Thaksin Shinawatra and his representatives and there was little investment needed in the infratructure of the club.

    And make no mistake, the potential at Manchester City is huge if someone can get it right.

    Having your own ground is huge when attracting investors.

    The Everton-Kirkby ground move is another debate, but owner Bill Kenwright would find it much easier to attract investment if there was not a pressing need to invest in a new ground, either by redeveloping Goodison Park or building a new one.

    City had their own ground, a brilliant academy system and are situated in a big city.

    This clearly appealed to the Aby Dhabi United Group.

    Time will tell if the money pit is bottomless, but every indication is that it pretty much is.

  • Comment number 24.

    "Having your own ground is huge when attracting investors"

    you don't actually own it - manchester city council do - hence why it's called the council house - because you rent it from the council!

    I imagine if you work out cost to fan base + value of players ratio they got the club with the cheapest deal.

    Maybe they had a mix up like Robinho who let slip that he thought he was joining chelsea!

  • Comment number 25.

    Ha Ha,

    Fergie is right, Liverpool and Chelsea are above United in the table! City will be a huge threat to United. Chelsea weren't before the Russian millions, now the sheiks are in town City will finish above United. Maybe not this season, maybe not before the purple one retires, but within the next 5 years they will.

    Not a City fan, but hope they stuff United (again).

  • Comment number 26.

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  • Comment number 27.

    I'm a City fan and someone from United usually has something to say every year before the derby. Seems strange to be honest as we usually then go on and beat them, yet they continue to fire us up with their digs.

    In any case, what Taggart said is what I would expect from Scolari or Benitez. Obviously we aren't much of a threat down in eleventh and we won't be this season. Give it a couple of seasons - they won't be dismissing us then I guarantee!

  • Comment number 28.

    vertigo timbo

    correct pronounciation please

    we at city are educated people with a great manager who does not need to turn up the heat before a Derby game and make their fan base give comments like you are doing

    City not Ciddy

    Football stadium not council house


    now it is time to educate you on the football pitch on sunday

  • Comment number 29.

    As a Chelsea fan, who watched Chelsea go from a middle of the road team (i remember watching them in the old 2nd division) I am worried about Manchester City - why?? Because they are now in a positon to put themselves up there alongside the top 4. If people doubt this then they only need look at what Chelsea have achieved.... as much as people are bitter towards it - we have bought success (on top of solid foundations).

    Whilst potential means nothing but just that until it is converted into success... Fergie is probably worried.. not for this year - but he must see the threat of another potential challenger.

    All the Man U fans that just come on here and slate City - ask yourselves - are they at any worse a starting point than Chelsea or Blackburn were before they had the huge investment...

  • Comment number 30.

    a couple of years ago, old red nose would not have even bothered commenting about he see us as a threat, so is starting withthe mind games he usually reserves for Liverpool or Arsenal......keep looking over your shoulder, we are coming !

  • Comment number 31.

    I want city to win but United will win this game, but city are a good side and will be a force in a few years if they keep Mark Hughes and let him choose what players to bring in... but just to annoy united fans

    Liverpool for the prem this year :P

  • Comment number 32.

    "the billions that are likely to be pumped into the club from the middle east"

    unless they are recruiting Gigantor or the Avengers i'd say you could change the to millions - (or hundreds of millions!)

  • Comment number 33.

    As I life-long Man City supporter I take Mr (Oh, sorry, do please excuse me... Sir) Ferguson's comments as one of the greatest possible compliments to Mark Hughes' and our new owners' development of our club. He's quite right, Man City are not a threat in terms of making a title challenge yet. I have not heard Mark Hughes or anyone else at the club suggest that we are anything of the sort at this stage but that won't stop us giving them a heck of a game on Sunday.

    But I cannot help but ask why Ferguson should feel the need to dismiss our presumably in his view minor threat to Utd's premiership crown? If the challenge posed at this time by Man City to his team were truly so insignificant would he bother to employ his feted mind-games prior to this match?

    As one of the most successful club managers in the history of football I'm sure he would concede that it took a few years for him to turn Utd into title challengers and then winners. For Man City to become genuine title challengers will take stability and a sustained high level of investment in both squad and infrastructure over several seasons.

    But the signs this week have been very positive. Against an admittedly depleted and beleaguered Arsenal (we're missing a few excellent players ourselves too though, Petrov and Johnson in particular) and Shalke there were signs that Hughes is getting this group of players to match his hard work ethic and combativeness with the natural flair and creativity we possess. If players of the likes of Diarra, Toure and a top class left back can be added to the squad in January then securing a second season of European football through league position is most feasible as might an FA or UEFA Cup.

    Sunday's is but a single match. If City can perform to the level they achieved in the second half against Arsenal and at Shalke then I might just get my wish to see Ferguson's face turn a nice shade of purple come 3.30pm that afternoon.

  • Comment number 34.

    I don't have much respect for Man U and the plastic trophies they have won. They won nothing for decades, then went public as a PLC, I.E. sold their soul to big business and on the back of that unearn't money dominated.

    On the other hand, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man C have followed the old traditional route of a rich benefactor. More power to those real football clubs and hopefully it won't be long before they take their rightful place back at the top leaving the profit making plastic factory that is Man U in behind.

  • Comment number 35.


    almost right

    the potential is actually massive though

  • Comment number 36.

    A good, unbiased view on the state of play in Manchester Phil ... so why so many have to jump up and down stamping their feet is beyond me.

    Yeah, City beat us twice last year and I been through a fair few defeats to them over the past 30 years (mostly deserved and one a thumping) but we always end up singing the loudest at the end of each season fortunately.

    Trouble is City have been happy with the odd Derby win and live off that for a few months whereas as we dust ourself down and go on to lift a couple of trophies, not concede 8 at the riverside.

    Let's see how the money changes things shall we ... the clock is ticking over again from my view.

  • Comment number 37.

    Still think Abu Dhabi UNITED got confused in the last minute transfer window rush as to which Manchester club they were buying...

  • Comment number 38.

    Whatever qualities Taggart possesses dignity is not one of them.

    A Knight of the Realm? One can only feel sorry for such a miserable and deluded individual with the manners of a Rhino with toothache.

  • Comment number 39.

    One things for sure. I dont think Hughes will ever be considered for the Utd job now!
    I know he may not want it in the near future what with his bags of cash but surely he must have wanted this at some stage?!

  • Comment number 40.

    With Man Utd. 9 points adrift the title holders, a lost to Man City will be distratous to me this should be the opptunity to narrow the gap we loss on to Aston Villa.

    I hope we don't loss this one again.Forget about pass records United should win this game. Period.

  • Comment number 41.

    At 2:37pm on 28 Nov 2008, Back To Back Champs In 06 wrote:
    I don't have much respect for Man U and the plastic trophies they have won. They won nothing for decades, then went public as a PLC, I.E. sold their soul to big business and on the back of that unearn't money dominated.

    On the other hand, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man C have followed the old traditional route of a rich benefactor. More power to those real football clubs and hopefully it won't be long before they take their rightful place back at the top leaving the profit making plastic factory that is Man U in behind.


    You have got to be kidding me. This must be a wind-up, surely.

  • Comment number 42.

    In fairness to Ferguson, as I said, I think his summing up of the situation is fair.

    It will be fascinating to see how Manchester City go about their business next summer.

    I do not see too many headline signings in January because there is every likelihood the players they want will be playing in the Champions League...unless they spring Kaka on us.

    I must admit I am still struggling to see how they could land a Kaka or a Torres, but who would have said they would trump Chelsea for Robinho?

  • Comment number 43.

    Phil - they only got Robinho because Madrid made it clear they wouldn't accept Chelsea's offer and wouldn't play Robinho if he stayed.

    There's not a snowball's chance that Torres would ever go there, or any established top four player. Why go to City and hope that their money buys them success in a couple of years, when you can stay where you are and battle for it now?

    The only reason anyone would go there is money, and that's why they'll end up another squad of mercenaries, just like Chelsea.

  • Comment number 44.

    Jesusisacityfan said "we usually go on and beat them."

    A quick search tells you the numbers for the Manc derby are:

    Manchester United - 59 wins
    Manchester City - 41 wins
    49 draws

    I don't live and die by statistics because ultimately the cliche is right, for derby games the form book goes out the window and the team who performs better on the day usually wins, but I felt the need to call out your ridiculous statement.

    Anyway, here's the results since the move to City of Manchester stadium:


    So the Blues have won 3 out of 5, and they won the first, third and fifth ones. This is an even number (the sixth at CoM) so I'd be obliged if you could rest a few. ;-)

  • Comment number 45.

    robhinio thought he was going to utd not city!

  • Comment number 46.


    City's ground is not boggy! Not like the swamp.

  • Comment number 47.

    To Back to Champs in 06...plastic trophies?

    Surely you can't be serious about this? In fact, there must be an element of wind-up.

    Are these the same plastic trophies like a Premier League title that Liverpool would give anything for? Or a Champions League that Chelsea have set their hearts on?

    I have no preference for Manchester United, but I do not believe any fans would complain if their team had enjoyed their successes with the same financial set-up.

    If Liverpool win the title this season, I suspect you will not find too many fans claiming their long-awaited triumph had been marred by Tom Hicks and George Gillett, whether they are fans of the Americans or not.

    Let's face it - most football fans just want success. How they achieve it, or how it is funded, is largely secondary.

  • Comment number 48.

    I don't think City fans are much interested in Ferguson's views. Why should we be? We are referred to as a rich, high spending club etc. but only ONE player has come in directly on the Abu Dhabi money. The other influential signings have been SWP and Vincent Kompany. These would only count as normal business in ambitious clubs. Ferguson has a weak record in buying players: either they are plain obvious - like Rooney, Carrick and Tevez who were playing in the Premier League at other clubs; OR he has a very mixed bag - Kleberson, Bellion, dozens like that. He must get about 1 in 3 right. Mh has got em all right so far. We wont necessarily win on Sunday but we are creeping up on you baby and we can smell the fear.

  • Comment number 49.

    Is there a story here zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Comment number 50.

    If the Trafford Red Sox manager is finding time to comment on a mid-table team like ours its because he knows dropping yet another 3 points would severely dent their title hopes. Nice to be a threat :). CTID

  • Comment number 51.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, however pointless and unfounded it may be. The fact of the matter remains, City may one day break into the top 4 but it will take 10 years of sustained success to be recognised as a force in world football. Fergie knows this, as i'm sure all City fans do. Bottom line is, City have 2 cup finals every season and they're against United. Unless the club and fans change their way of thinking and truely believe they can challenge the 'Big Four', they'll just be used by the greedy footballers who'll see them as a big pay day.

  • Comment number 52.

    The BBC's love for Ferguson knows no bounds, and for Manchester United as well. Strange really, as he has refused to speak to them for years. Anyone else would be slated for that, yet Ferguson is indulged and lauded by Man U supporting BBC journalists. Any other football bores would not have their spoutings reported in this way, so why do we have to read Ferguson's latest rubbish?

  • Comment number 53.

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

  • Comment number 54.

    we say it like you prounce it so its

    on the creaping up on us... well realistically there is a top four and that's pretty much status quo..

    then there's villa who i would put in 5 and everton maybe in 6 though they seem a but wobbly this year...

    so I would suggest you work on getting nearer the 5 and 6 mark, currently your nearer the relegation zone than 6 th place that's hardly a challenge now is it? Take spurs under redknapp and i would say you've got a job on your hands to finish 7th.

    This is manchester ciddy we are talking about - the odds on you self imploading are pretty high - you better keep praying the middle east doesn't run out of oil or you'll be on serious players....

    On money - well money aint everything - the top four have all got money. Getting top players is one thing getting players who are not sure which club they've signed for - well totally t'other.

    Ultimately you spent a head load on players for last season and a heap for this, looking at your league position the future dont look so rossy - can't blame your players though - must be difficult playing in front of a host of empty seats when your not playing us :-)

  • Comment number 55.

    Chelsea were probably similarly dismissed a few years back... but it's inevitable that if they buy big then they'll become big.

  • Comment number 56.

    As usual a manager gets asked a question, then the media goto work.
    As usual the answer is true, but gets twisted to be seen as a threat or insult.

  • Comment number 57.

    pointless blog! notable only for the fact ,you didn't mention Stevie Gee once!

  • Comment number 58.

    "Where are they at the moment? Excuse me. At this moment in time it is Chelsea and Liverpool who are sitting above us."

    Funny that, but they were only taken over after the transfer window closed. Wealth means nothing if you can't spend it.

    It's ironic that we have Fergy slating other clubs wealth, when it has been wealth that's kept manu at the top.

    Typical ferguson tough - it's not meant to be a factual summation of events, its only purpose is to attempt to wind up the opposition. Aren't people wise to this by now? I agree, these stories are getting dull.

  • Comment number 59.

    The fundamental flaw with this blog is the contradiction and the playing into people's hands.

    Sir Alex makes a 'tademark' comment. And, sure enough, reporters give this comment the oxygen of publicity. And the journalists follow, hook, line and sinker!

    There is a discussion to be had about the game, but this is a lazy way of prompting it.

    For reasons I have stated before, reasons that the author has acknowledged, mainly to do with timing, it will take time Man City longer to get where presumably they want to be. That is that and this weekend's game won't make a jot of difference to the status quo.

    It will give bragging rights for a little while and that is all.

  • Comment number 60.

    He was lobbing his verbal hand grenades in City's direction before this fixture last season, then they were beaten, and City only needed one goal to do it.
    His comments are meant
    to fire up his players, who have a habit of not turning up for matches against City. In the last six seasons that City have been in the Premier League City lead Utd 18 pts to 15.

  • Comment number 61.

    I doubt that any Man City fans are claiming that they are going to challenge MAN U for title this year. As far as money not necessarily bringing success; its a no brainer ! No need to make Fergie sound profound.
    Money may not bring success but lack of it certainly will be an obstacle.

    Your entire article much like Fergies rant is pointing the obvious. In Fergie's case its just a dig and a mind game before the derby; I am not sure why you needed to restate the obvious.
    Trying to emphasize a point that none is disputing? Man City fans and club itself have no pretense of challenging this year
    (just read what their new owner said-- along term project).

    As far as why Dubai firm didn't buy Liverpool. Ah? This easy. Liverpool is too much in debt; it has manager that is close to many of his player and may not be keen to fresh start. Man City is perfect for fresh start.

  • Comment number 62.

    Here we go, City fans all excited because Fergie's paranoia means he's talking about them...

    He was asked a question.
    He gave an answer.

    Sir Alex didn't just randomly start "playing mind games" as many would assume, he was merely giving his opinion after being asked for it.

    So this whole "what a compliment if he feels the need..." nonsense is basically a waste of time, because yet again the tabloids make Fergie out to be the "master of mind games"...

    Let the football do the talking, not the press.

  • Comment number 63.

    Point 56...I wish i'd seen your post earlier, would have saved me a lot of writing!

    Well said!

    *thumbs up*

  • Comment number 64.

    vertigo_timbo - what an earth are u on?? clearly not a manchester lad are ya, well that doesnt say much being a rag does it now!

    The future is blue, its about time the rags and bacon face started realising that, Theres only one team from Manchester, so all the trafford fans can do one and go munch on their prawn sarnies!! CTID

  • Comment number 65.

    while we're on this subject Mr McNulty, any chance of explaining the motivation of the BBC to lead their website's coverage of the build up to the game against the massives with the headline "City No Threat, says Ferguson"?

    what is the point of this type of journalism? what is the point of claiming to run a proper, neutral website covering sport when you're trotting out rubbish like that?

  • Comment number 66.

    SAF is as cocky as they come. This ballon has to burst.

  • Comment number 67.

    "Where are they at the moment? Excuse me. At this moment in time it is Chelsea and Liverpool who are sitting above us."...Ferguson

    It will have raised hackles at Manchester City....

    City will see Sunday's game as an opportunity to show off their new status to the neighbours...


    Nothing Ferguson says about Sundays game will raise shackles at Manchester City and certainly not amongst the City fans. Your blog assumes that Ferguson’s words have the power to wound, they imply that City and it's fans live in a state of embarrassed envy of our neighbour and it only requires a typical dose of pre match hubris from Ferguson to arouse deep feelings of hurt, and remind us of our long history of inferiority.

    That is simply not true.

    If City fans cared so much about status, if we existed in a constant state of cringe, then we would have abandoned City years ago and trudged off to Old Trafford. The status assumption only stands if City defines itself in relation to United, which it simply does not.

    As for the club, only the City Manager and a handful of his team has any understanding of the years of supposed shame in the shadow of United. The rest of the team drawn from the four corners of the globe don't know, and I suspect don't care. As for the new owners in the U.A.E, I suspect they rarely spend their evenings in Abu Dhabi, waxing lyrical about the glory days of Francis Lee and Colin Bell.

    The relationship between City and United is not the same as the rivalry between Everton and Liverpool, for most of the City fans I've met, United simply does not exist for them, with the exception of Derby day. It's as if United is in Manchester, but not of it. No one at City aspires to become "like" United, our history of under performance exists quite distinct from United's success, not in relationship to it.

    City and it's owners want the club to succeed in it's own right, City fans want our club to win and prosper and to see the trophy cabinet filled.

    My feelings for United? When I have any at all, are confined to Derby day, the rest of the time I could not care less.

  • Comment number 68.

    Fergie always has and always will do this sort of thing before big games and the Manchester derby is a big game. Fergie actually has a point though.

    The issue with City though is that you can throw all the money around that you want and buy whoever you want but unless you utilize the players properly you will win nothing (Capello has the same players as previous managers but he is winning). Mark Hughes is shaping up to be a good manager but he has not yet been tested on the large stage of playing for the league, champions leage etc (good Euro win this week though).

    Man U (although it pains me to say as a LFC supporter) have been one of Europes strongest side for the past 10 -15 years and Man City is still miles away, no matter who they have playing for them. Obviously, this can change with success but until that success comes then City are not a force.

  • Comment number 69.

    With our wonderful youth system, improving first team squad, first class manager (and his staff) and huge transfer budgets, it isn't difficult to see why Sir Alex and Wayne are concerned about us.

    I think that United are the slight favourites for Sunday's game, but in the next few years, we will get much, much stronger. Everyone but the most blinkered red must accept this.

    Fortunately for Sir Alex he will retire soon!

  • Comment number 70.

    The fact he was asked the question in the first place shows how daft the league and it's reporters have become, besides, City won't threaten under Hughes, he is another Highly overated English League Manager who has done nothing. Great player, great as a manager at Wales, and still didn't do it.
    So it will be two years at least, then Murhino or even Raineri, could come back, that would be fun.

  • Comment number 71.

    What is it about Ferguson? He must be the most hated manager in the Country - apart from by the Man Utd fans. He never has a good word to say about anyone. Of course City are not up to Uniteds level yet - we have not actually had the opportunity to spend any of our new found wealth. - apart from the last ditch signing of Robinho on deadline day.Hughes'y himself has not even bought one player yet. So I say roll on January & then see what happens in the second half of the seaon. Sounds like he's a bit jealous to me!

  • Comment number 72.

    United do need to win though. City don't.

  • Comment number 73.

    Man city are nothing of a threat to manU and Chelsea.they can only pretend to be a threat.Becoz it seems they want buy all the best attacking players in europe.But they need atleast 2 or 3 quality defenders and 2 top class defensive central midfielders.I think mark hughes knows that but the problem is with the owners.They seems to be obsessed in showing off by targeting world class strikers,frankly i find that ridiculous.
    Will they be able to buy the very best of the players?? No,that is out of the question.I dont think any top class player like kaka,messi or even david villa will go to man city and robinho was foolish to move there instead of chelsea.

  • Comment number 74.

    67 The_perfect_fumble

    excellent post that is - spot on

    except that you should'nt be blaming Ferguson for his answers to the media's questions - they are the media's questions

    surely, given your stated stance on the subject, you should clearly be able to see that Ferguson is coming at the topic from exactly the same point of view - he's not in the slightest bit bothered about what City are up to

    but oh no, instead of that you bizarrely claim "a typical dose of pre match hubris from Ferguson" can't wound you - as if it was supposed to!

    anyway, good to see that you aren't bothered all the same

  • Comment number 75.

    Ferguson (unfortunately) is right but maybe his comments will give City some additional motivation to challenge United who are clearly looking vulnerable at times.

    Hopefully, as Phil says in the blog, the new owners will allow Hughes to pick the players he needs and not just spend money in silly ways like the reported 50-60 million poiund bid for Buffon. They need to make sure that talented young players like Hart, Sturridge etc. continue to have the opportunity to play meaningful football.

  • Comment number 76.

    Completely agree with sevenseaman, he is too cocky and whilst all others in the game try to co-operate together to make the game better Ferguson seems to want things his way and completely disregards that his team could ever be in the wrong. Eg, the treatment that Ronaldo is now receiving from opposition and referees is far overdue.

    Also, people are quick to judge teams that gain foreign investment and put Man Utd on a pedestal for how they have generated their wealth. Do Utd fans realise that Champions league football is a must for Utd, otherwise with their massive debts, non-qualification could leave them in real trouble.

    And Utd's fortune and period of dominance could have been earned by any of the teams that appeared in the Premiership in the first season. The money available to the Champions the season after winning was a different level to before, and it was pretty much guaranteed that the club that won the first Premiership would then have the money and power to establish themselves as the dominant force in the way that Utd did.

    This was the same case last season, with the Setanta money coming into the game. Never before had promoted clubs had so much cash to spend, Sunderland paying £10mill for a player would have been unheard of in the past, let alone for a keeper. This gave Sunderland and the other promoted clubs a greater chance of staying up than any other promoted clubs before. Different influxes of money to the game bring different eras and allow the clubs in the right position at that time gain an advantage over others.

    The only way for clubs to ever make up that gap on Utd would be to go through a reign as undefeated English Champions for years, or, the more likely, and realistic way of giving the fans what they want, to secure investment.

    And a closing point, whilst Fergie did have the guts to blood his young players, he was not the one who was in charge of their development. He wasn't even at the club when the majority were brought through, and did he really have much other option as they were better talents than the full squad at the time. Not the same as Arsene playing youngsters, when he has proven quality, now thats been brave!!!!

  • Comment number 77.

    Why is Sir Alex so arrogant?
    First MUtd. has to win,then he can talk about Chelsea and Liverpool.
    His problem now is City.
    MUtd. are not playng good football ,Sir Alex has lost the formula and you can see MUtd. has no effectiv midfield.I think the result will depend very much on Rooney's form,if Berbatov is sidelined.Only Rooney can lift MUtd.
    In my opinion City will win the game.
    It will be more interesting if Robinho plays and show some tricks to CRonaldo.
    But we all expect a great derby.

  • Comment number 78.


    Ferguson became United manager in early November 1986

    hope this helps

    he is also one of the most active and vocal people in professional football in support of his peers

    hope this helps as well

    oh and of course he's 100% spot on about the systematic fouling on Ronaldo. ask the players doing it if you have any doubt.

  • Comment number 79.

    Whether City start winning trophies or not, we mustn't ever become as arrogant as Trafford Rangers. Fergie has consistently outspent everybody else until Abramovich came along so they too bought their success.

    In 89 we hammered their "million pound misfits" 5-1 so what did they do? they shattered the british/world transfer record time and time again to win trophies.

    Pallister was a british record for a defender, keane cost 3.75m (after fergie rubbished blackburn for spending 3.2m on shearer), cole cost 6m plus gillespie (after rubbishing blackburn's purchase of sutton as "crazy money"), bartez was a world record for a keeper, veron 27m, ronaldo was a record for a teenager, 30m world record for ferdinand, 30m on rooney, 31m on berbatov. Need I go on?

    United BOUGHT their success so lets not pretend otherwise. Fergie is a good manager but a sour, hypocritical person.

  • Comment number 80.

  • Comment number 81.

    money talks and Fergie is scared. The money has only bought one player - Robinho. 10 more signings of that calibre in the next 12 months and City soon will be ahead of United in the league. Fergie will be lucky to quit while he's ahead.

  • Comment number 82.

    74 Rotterdam

    Ah! The famous cyclical argument! I say I don’t care, but I call Ferguson’s replies to journalists questions “typical hubris“. Ergo ! I do care!

    And I’m replying to you which shows I care even more!

    To quote Oscar Wilde:

    “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

    No one is talking about United at Eastlands.

  • Comment number 83.

    What amazes me is that after 20 years of Ferguson rants there are still people who take notice of them. A threat is a warning that spmething unpleasant is imminent. Ask Fergie how much pleasure he felt at the end of last year's derby matches because from the look on his face he didnt appear to have any.

  • Comment number 84.

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

  • Comment number 85.

    Hey Phil, I see BBC Football Expert Lawro got 1out of 11 predictions right last weekend! I am therefore delighted that he has tipped United to beat City 2-0. Thank you.

  • Comment number 86.

    Well done Phil another good and balanced article that has provoked some healthy, impersonal debate. There is a pattern here - a lot of good stuff when you are researching correctly and having to put together a reasoned debate using a good thought pattern. Or doing your job well in other words.

    Therefore can you refrain from blogs please in future and comment about Liverpool and/or England or Liverpool's representation in the England team or a Certain Player

    As for Sunday - at the moment City appear to have more match winners if not by 5-1, then at least by 3-2. Depends if both teams play like they did v Arsenal then there will be only one winner.

    As a neutral - come on City!

  • Comment number 87.

    But Phil, if City finally achieve success, whatever will their fans do? They'll be lost!!

    Think about it. No longer able to boast about being true football fans following their team through thick and thin while sneering at the rich "Rags". No longer able to accuse United of "buying" the Premiership! No more being bitter and wallowing in their mediocrity as a sign of die hard, grass roots support.

    It will be too much for some of them. I predict that many will die due to choking on their hypocrisy!

  • Comment number 88.

    Respect to Post #67 The_perfect_fumble
    and #79 mungo ... spot on :)

  • Comment number 89.

    Im confident that we will do well (city fan here) as long as we play good football I couldnt care what the result is.

    We are starting to pick up momentum, where as united are losing it.

  • Comment number 90.

    all BBC hacks and journos should be forced to read The_perfect_fumble : see above

  • Comment number 91.

    true city fans like me will never accept hughes as manager.

    he will be gone by january.

  • Comment number 92.


    Post 67

    Congratulations on a great post.
    Agree with all that you have said and put so elequently to boot!

    Perhaps our friend Vertigal Timbo (post 54 and many many before that) would like to try and compose a reply?

    Although as per post 54 I wait with baited breath to see if he can come up with more lines such as 'creaping up on us' ,'serious players' and my personal favourite 'spent a head load on players'
    Still as he said I am sure everything in time will turn out 'rossy' for us.

  • Comment number 93.

    Ah Taggart comes out with his usual tripe although the airwaves are still silent waiting for the King of Scotland's analysis of City trouncing United home and away.

    He did comment on City's 4 victories and by some margin at Eastlands out of the last six encounters though, 2 out of 6 ain't bad, yeah right.

    Taggart eates tripe and talks it


  • Comment number 94.

    Watching the Shalke game with my Liverpool supporting mate... I said...

    "20 minutes to go and we're two nil up"

    He said "You're waiting to see what'll go wrong, aren't you?"

    "Oh, hell yeah" I replied.

    Good wins against Arsenal and away in Europe... we're City, we'll find some way to pull our own wheels off, rather than watching them fall off. Just our luck it'd have to be Salford Town for our next game, and at home too.

    The only prediction I feel really comfortable making about the match is that the Ref's performance will come under some VERY close scrutiny.

  • Comment number 95.

    Ferguson has a point even though it may be rooted in bitterness, but City can't hope to challenge for a top four position this season.
    In effect this means they can't hope to attract players hungry to play in the champions league and attract bigger sponsorship deals and stardom etc. Robinho may start to wonder what the hell has he done. Should City fail to qualify the season , Robinho will leave if not already gone. Players will not be tempted by Manchester either, espeically if only playing in the Uefa cup.
    City shouldn't look at Chelsea as an example because Chelsea had won two Fa cups, a Cup winners cup, A European super cup, league cup and Community shield in three years between 1997 to 2000 and qualified for the champions league on two occassions. All of this in five years before Abramovich took over. Not to mention Chelsea had European pedigree from the 70's. City have a long way to go and simply buying big names won't propel them into the top four. None of the English elite are going to compromise their positions by selling to City.

  • Comment number 96.

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

  • Comment number 97.

    i dont understand SAF man city are clearly capabale of breaking into the top 4 in a few seasons however they should build and make stars like chelsea have instead of trying to buy world stars and fit them in, they should buy players with potential who are going to have the best years at the club.

  • Comment number 98.

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

  • Comment number 99.

    I don't see why everyone thinks Man. City will be the next Chelsea. Mark Hughes is a good manager but he's not good enough to have his team break the big 4 (Chelsea, Man Utd., Liverpool, Arsenal). The only reason why Chelsea did well was because of Jose Mourinho. Though cocky and arrogant he was a superb manager. When you want to be one of the top teams in england you need more than money. You need experienced managers who knok how to unify a team. Mark Hughes could of done better with his previous club blackburn but instead they always had a lack-luster season. Another thing that is getting me annoyed is all of the Man. City fans bringing up their 2 wins over Man Utd last season. BIG DEAL. Until Man. City can atleast do well in the UEFA cup tournament they have no right to say that they are even on the same level of consistency as united.

  • Comment number 100.

    poor article, i saw the interview, fergie was asked a question and answered it.

    ciddy fans who get above their station crack me up a treat.

    you beat us twice last season and we won the league and the CL. hmm which double would i rather have won.



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