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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Everyone watch out for the 'new' Manchester City

I remember the day that Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea. Actually, more than that, I remember the moment I heard it. I remember after giving a bit of thought about it that this was a seismic move; a move that would see the existing top two of Arsenal and Man Utd have a substantial new contender to compete with and would change the footballing landscape in England as we knew it for many years to come.

In hindsight it doesn't look too acute an observation given the apparent ease Chelsea has had in achieving success through huge financial investment in the last five years, but I remember at the time people downplaying the move or simply not gathering the implications of it.

For me yesterday saw the biggest moment in English football since that day in the summer of 2003. The Abu Dhabi United Investment Group takeover of Manchester City will change the landscape of English football just as much as the Abramovich takeover of Chelsea.

For supporters of the Premier League there is a new reality for us all to adjust to. There is a new contender to the elite clubs in England and the Abu Dhabi buyers have at their disposal the incredible financial muscle to achieve what appears to be their aim of making Man City the top club in England and Europe.

On day one they have bought Robinho under the noses of Chelsea for a British record tranfer fee of £32.5 million. They also put in a £30 million bid for Dimitar Berbatov as Man Utd were putting the finishing touches to their bid for the now former Tottenham striker.

The public statement behind these bids is breathtaking: the new Man City have the ability, the arrogance and the will to confront head on the top two clubs in the Premier League - and with the example of the Robinho acquisition, succeed.

For the last few years we have all got used to talking about the 'big four' of Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd and Chelsea. Now that will soon be revised and in the 'new' Man City there is a club that not only has the intent to be part of a 'big five' but in a few years will have the capacity to be first among them.

What a difference 24 hours can make in football. Extraordinary.

26 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only a complete fool would even attempt to disagree.

With the right man in charge this will most likely make them No 1 in the premiership, never mind monopolising the No spot 1 in Manchester

9/02/2008 12:22 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephen - Arsenal Fan, I well and truly cant believe Le Boss didnt make a deadline day signing, it was said that we had a 14m bid for alonso rejected, i Feel for Mark Hughes a bit, Man Citys New owners want top 4 finish then followed up by Being premier league champions and then European champions, i could only see Mark Hughes being sacked after these hilariuos but serious predictions made by the new owners.

9/02/2008 12:24 pm

 
Anonymous Sue said...

Gawd another load trying to buy the premier league.

Stephen Arsenal fan - believe it and trust in him

9/02/2008 12:56 pm

 
Anonymous Bertie said...

They have the right man in charge already. Hughes is a very good manager. Witness his feats at Wales and Blackburn (with v. little cash)

However I don't think the big 4 will become the big 5, because I think City will replace Liverpool in the big 4. Can you imagine what Liverpool would be like if they didn't have Torres. A pretty average team. I'd say City already have more 'good' players than Liverpool, and they certainly have a better manager.

And the big 4 could even become the big 3 if Arsenal don't pull something out of the bag soon. Sure they weren't far off the pace last year and they have some very good players, but they are failing to take that final step and maybe even stepping backwards having sold several biggish players and only brought one in this year.

9/02/2008 1:14 pm

 
Blogger Starting11 said...

Do they displace one of the top four, or do we just expand it to the top 5?
http://startingeleven.blogspot.com/2008/09/starting-eleven-football-blog-roundup.html

9/02/2008 1:45 pm

 
Anonymous Erichero said...

I've heard all of this talk before. Remember when West Ham bought Tevez and Masch? Leeds, Newcastle and Spurs have also played the big money game and lost, not to mention the foreign teams like Real Madrid.

Remember also the first few games with Eriksson when it seemed nothing could go wrong. Elano was a super hero (think Jo/Robinho). It was all downhill from there.

Of course I would be only too happy to see a different Manchester team in the top 4!

9/02/2008 1:57 pm

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

"However I don't think the big 4 will become the big 5, because I think City will replace Liverpool in the big 4. Can you imagine what Liverpool would be like if they didn't have Torres. A pretty average team. I'd say City already have more 'good' players than Liverpool, and they certainly have a better manager"

Your comments are deluded, I dont think you actually thoroughly read football. The financial backing for Man City is good and I'm envious as it is the kind of backing LFC expected to get and have not received. But the boardroom issues will not last, it will simmer down and eventually iron out and from then we will be more of a structure on and off the pitch.

Get happy, people. Robinho insisted and was persistent on leaving Real Madrid only after he was offered as a makeshift for Ronaldo. He was made surplus by a club he regarded as one of the best in the world but one which was potentially owning two excellent midfielders to neither of them. Hence Calderon's immediate statement of crying, tantrums, and a decision on human nature. Robinho wanted Robinho to leave, not Calderon.

You see, Chelsea considered Real would sell eventually to the tune of £27m with Robinho apparently throwing a hissy fit. They would just wait it out and then collect once the roof falls in. Chelsea didn't consider anyone else with financial muscle charging in and taking over. Once Man City did, Robinho was off. More money? That's my opinion. He goes from Champions League status to UEFA Cup runnings, for a £32.5m player. How does he do that after displaying his ultimate desire to join Chelsea?

The thing is no one believes anyone can break into the top 4 unless they oust Liverpool, who have displayed overall mediocre football. Liverpool now seems to be the weak link to break, and the pub gossip and lunchtime sandwiches with Oasis float along with the rumour mongers. Liverpool out of top 4 by November, February, April.

Robinho is the one player to do this? No. But Hughes has the financial backing to get whoever he wants to make it so. So let me tell you something. Teams have always progressed in the early stages of the season, then they filter away. You can have the players who wish, but it is not the players in the squad, in the team who are important....it's the players who are there on the match day that count.

People need to think hard about that before naming who will go where and do what. Man Utd was said to just turn up and trounce Zenit St. Petersburg and there was a surprise, not only in terms of the scoreline but the football played. Has anyone considered Robinho not playing well if things do turn sour? What if he makes it known he relishes moving to one of the top 4, if City are not in there? Talk of breaking into the top 4, winning the title and then the European Cup is very ambitious. Doing it is something else.

Wenger secured Arsenal's successes without spending mass millions of pounds. It is not necessarily the money, it is the coach behind the team, the team who turn up on the match day. People say Hughes is that manager already. We'll see.


RedsMan.

9/02/2008 2:12 pm

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

And to further emphasise the point about people thinking having vast amounts of money will bring success instantly and win games and take over the world, Abu Dhabi spokesman Dr Sulaiman Al-Fahim says he aims to use £135m to tempt Ronaldo from Man utd, and along with him the likes of Torres, Fabregas, and Henry amongst others with the intention of attracting (in fact, persuading) the biggest names in football. Dont recall him mentioning any Chelsea players.


RedsMan.

9/02/2008 5:57 pm

 
Anonymous Nturtle said...

Let's not get too carried away. Chelsea weren't exactly terrible before the money rolled in, and some of the best players were there already I think; Cech, Terry, Lampard, Joe Cole (I think). I would say the scene is shaken, but not stirred (apologies for the poor attempt at humour)!!! It's great that there's a lot of talk and money...but bringing in big players doesn't mean that the TEAM can play well - witness Shevchenko.

That Hughes received Robinho was probably a surprise to him even, and the opportunity missed is to bring in better players in other areas as well before January - that's probably a bigger frustration for him. Well...look where money has got other coaches...apart from Ferguson. Lots of pressure.

That Arsenal did not buy, was a great disappointment to many fans...but the sensibility of it is probably in such stark contrast to the marketplace - 30M for a SINGLE player...pretty steep! At the end of the day, if you have a team that plays AS a team, maybe individual brilliance is not as important, and I think that is where Wenger is heading - to come up with two contracts for youngsters (Gibbs + Randall) and to praise Eboue as a "pass master" on the Arsenal.com website says it all...he's not competing on the terms of Abramovich, or Abu Dhabi Grou, or American money!!!

As for the Big 4 or Big 5...well...it's about 4.5 at the moment I reckon. There's no real need to "displace" per se, except that SOMEBODY has to miss out on a Champions League spot. I think come December, we'll have a much better idea of how these 5 teams shape up, and find out if January does give such a big boost to Man City - I doubt they can prise such assets from other teams....Ronaldo for 135M!!!! HA!

The best story I've read over the last few days has been on a fellow called Mario Rubio...the player from newly promoted Numancia in Serie A, who had the audacity to score the winning goal against mighty AC Milan.

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/09/01/modest_mario_makes_barca_pay_a.html

His salary is 83 times less than Raul, 75 times less than Eto'o, @ 120k Euro PER YEAR. Football isn't always about the money - it's about the dreams, skills, and performing on a stage for the team and the fans.

That's the only danger here, that money is thrown, but it doesn't provide the inspiration for the future stars who may come from humble origins. Is Numancia a better role model than Man City? We shall see...

9/03/2008 7:14 am

 
Anonymous Nturtle said...

EDIT - sorry...typo - it should have been Barcelona that Numancia won against!

9/03/2008 7:15 am

 
Anonymous Nturtle said...

Apologies...one last post...

Robinho is paid €196,000 per WEEK.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/2008/0903/1220372026735.html

Wow...that is supposedly the highest ever...great for team morale there!! The new owners also want to bring in "18 players" minimum....that should go down well in the dressing room as well!!!

9/03/2008 7:24 am

 
Blogger alex butterfield said...

An amazing signing- what a day!

It certainly is a statement of intent from the new City ownership, and you do right to compare it with Ambramovich at Chelsea. Roman bought a team in a fashionable city with a large hometown fan base that will fill a decent sized stadium - a good launch-pad for attracting star players.

The big question is, does this finally make Man City massive?

To cut it short they want to emulate Man Utd. Can they, though?

To sign a player for 30m is certainly a powerful statement. And let's not forget Jo at 18m. (This isn't on the scale of United or Chelsea. When United spend 30m on Tevez it goes unnoticed. And with Berbatov at 30m, Rooney at 20m, 50m rejected for Ronaldo, Carrick Rio Hargreaves - all pushing 20m - city have some catching up to do)

But big spending is not what impresses (or worries me as a Liverpool fan) about City. It is the players that these new signings are building on.

If we take a look at City's first 11, baring in mind Hughes' usual choice of 442 or 451, we have:

Hart/Schmeichel
Ball, Ben Haim, Dunne, Richards
Petrov, Kompany, Elano/Johnson, Wright-Phillips
Robinho, Jo

I've included in there 2 reserve players that are good enough for the first team.

The truth is, although City have a few decent reserves (Schmeichel, Johnson, Ireland, Bojinov, Sturridge) they are far from the 22 man squad you need to challenge Chelsea or United.

Hart is promising but he's no Cech, Reina or Van Der Sar. He's not even on par with Cudicini, Kuszak or Foster.

The midfield is fantastic though. I went with that four because it has balance and ability on the ball, steel and finesse and a lot of energy. Petrov and Wright-Phillips are flyers. They have utility players to come in, and if Elano is having his 2 out 3 bad days, Johnson can fill in and make the passes those wingers need. It looks good. Stunning actually. Kompany has something to prove and his performance is key. If City want to win the league they need Kompany to handle that holding position on his own. If they double up in there with Ireland or Hammann fitting in, in place of a striker, then they've had it.

They need Jo and Robinho to hit it off from the start and make it last. There's no doubting the talent there. But can they produce in the prem? There are promising reserve strikers, but it remains to be seen if ANY of the City strikers can cut it. It doesnt matter how expensive they are if they don't handle the prem. Ask Veron.

You might have noticed I skipped past the back four - something that plenty of forwards will be doing all season. It's awful. Dunne was a late bloomer, producing his best football in 2007. But by 2008 he'd wilted and with the sale of Corluka, Hughes will be forced to move Richards out of the centre and back to where he plays best - the right. Ball will hold down left back because he has no competition. And Ben Haim, a player only rivaled by Dunne for lack of pace, will be drafted into the centre.

If Hughes has his wits about him, he'll keep Richards in the centre and bring in a fringe full back at right back - it might mean sacrificing Dunne or Ben Haim - but this is a case of the whole being less than the sum of all the parts. (Similar to England's midfield)

If City have no injuries - which they aren't very lucky with - and the team hits it off, the new signings are revelations of a Torres kind, scoring more goals than their defense is busy letting in, then they could even win the league this season. Let's face it, Liverpool and Arsenal haven't improved, and that City first team would rival Chelsea's or United's.

But I can't see it happening. There are too many ifs. And to be honest there are too many good strikers elsewhere in the premiership. I predict City will be one of the highest scoring teams this season - I have a feeling Jo will get a lot of goals - but they will throw away points by conceding too many equalisers even in games they dominate.

But I wouldn't be surprised to see them finish above Arsenal and/or Liverpool and make their target of top 4.

Between them and Spurs - they are jingling some nerves in the red halves of Liverpool, London and perhaps even Manchester.

9/03/2008 8:16 am

 
Blogger T said...

Good discussion guys!

For me Man City will NOT finish in the top four this season. Robinho is not good enough to make a profound enough difference to the current Man City line up.

I also agree with Nturtle that the foundations that Abramovich had upon arrival of Terry, Lampard, Makalele, Cech etc are far better than Man City's current line up so the acceleration to the top will not be Chelsea-like.

My basis for reckoning this is a massive development is looking two to five years into the future. At this point there will be new personnel in the squad, and -unless Mark Hughes really impresses - I see a Ranieri/ Mourinho type changing of the guard with a big-name organiser like Riykaard or Hiddink coming in and getting the chemistry of the team right. At this point I can see them challenging for the title and rocking the current status quo.

This is football. It will adapt to the new challenge of Man City just as it did to Chelsea. The likes of Arsenal and Man Utd already have their rock-solid foundations in place and have managers with vast experience who can nuance things to cope with the Abu Dhabi investment.

One more thing to throw in - I think that the challenge of the new Man City may prompt the bigger clubs to look even closer at a European super league so that their interests can remain protected in a more challenging environment.

('Eboue the pass master' - I read this too Nturtle and it gave me a huge smile - its not a juxtaposition I expected to see! From this day on this is how I will refer to our hard-working and erratic Ivorian!)

(And thanks for the Rubio link - I'll check it out!)

9/03/2008 10:41 am

 
Blogger alex butterfield said...

Eboue the pass master made me smile too. Eboue the dive master, is more accurate. He's perhaps my least favourite player in the world, and i don't think he's good enough for Arsenal, either.

Just a quick correction about the state of Chelsea - the foundations you guys have pointed out, aren't entirely accurate.

Abramovich took over in June 2003
at that time the first team included such players as:

Cudicini

Desailly, Terry, Gallas, Melchiot, Ferrer, Babayaro, Le Saux

Lampard, Petit, Zenden, Stanic, Gronkjaer, Morris

Zola, Hasselbaink, Gudjohnsen.

(I'm not saying this a weak side, these are some great names. But a lot of them were already in the twilight of their career. You could only consider Terry, Lampard and Gudjohnsen as an excellent foundation)

Abramovich signed:

Johnson, Makelele, Mutu, J. Cole, Duff, Geremi, Bridge, Parker, Veron, Crespo all in his first season.

then: Cech, Carvalho, Kezman, Drogba, Robben, Tiago.

Man City's exploits in signing Robinho compare to Chelsea's signing Drogba (at best). So I think it's too soon to say we have another Chelsea on our hands.

But I also think it's unfair to say that Chelsea were a major player with a strong foundation before Abramovich. They had a few top players, but so did City before Abu Dhabi Group took over - I'd say perhaps a little stronger in terms of individual quality. While chelsea started with Lampard, Terry, Cudicini and Gudjohnsen; City started with Jo, Wright-Phillips, Petrov, Richards, Elano, Johnson.

My point, and I've laboured it, is that I think it's a fair comparison: Chelsea in 2003 to man City now.

Buying Robinho isn't enough (look the list that Abramovich bought in one summer) - it took a consistent stream of overpaying for several players each year over 3 seasons before Chelsea really bought a firm place in a top 4. And I think it could take the same before City emulate that success. But that all depends on whether the Abu Dhabi Group continue what they have started.

9/03/2008 8:48 pm

 
Anonymous Nturtle said...

Very fair comments Alex - my mistake to mislead on the Chelsea front. I think your stance is sensible vis a vis 2003 Chelsea vs Man city. To be honest, Man City weren't exactly bad last year either, just a few bad games...the Eriksson saga etc...things surrounding the club did the damage. It'll be good to have another strong team, but to reflect on things...Arsenal lost at Fulham second game in...so anybody can win!!! It's a tough old league, not to say other leagues are easy. We should do a swap...put half the Serie A teams into the Premier League and vice versa...ha!!

RE: Eboue...I think he is THE most hated player for fans (Arsenal and non-arsenal) - aside from ex-Arsenal players of course... But you know, he might be turning a new leaf...he's not been playacting so much, and genuinely he is being fouled a lot in dangerous areas, which is good when he doesn't do a stupid dive. He's got some fancy footwork...and a thunderous, but often wayward strike - he's hit the side posts more than any other play I remember!!! Who knows...he could be our C. Ronaldo in time...if he doesn't mess up by resorting to rolling around on the floor all the time...

9/04/2008 1:38 am

 
Blogger alex butterfield said...

LOL - nice post nturtle.

I can't see Eboue ever emulating Ronaldo (but I'm not sure I can see Ronaldo emulating himself even)

I think you make an interesting point by saying anyone can win. Because this season more than any for as long as I can remember, anyone could win. (Okay not anyone, but I mean, other teams outside the top 4 could actually win the league.) I think we need to give a couple more years, Chelsea have 2 players for every position, and United have just made the signing they were desperately in need of, so I think the catch up is 2 years away in reality.

But whilst looking up those Chelsea facts earlier, I was struck by how new the TOP 4 is as a phrase. We always had favourites, but before Chelsea were taken over by abramovich, those favourites were from Man U, Arsenal and Liverpool. But it wasnt considered a top 3.

All the talk of a top 5 is strange to me - maybe rather than expanding at the top we will simply lose that whole frame of reference and go back to the early 90s, where favourites were favourites, but other teams could even win the league.

Or maybe the media is so used to the TOP 4 that they will have forgotten how to live in a world without TOPS, and be forced by the illusion of constraint to conform to our current philosophy and only exapnd the TOP list. But at some point a list of top teams collapses under its own weight and you are just left with teams.

If City, Spurs Villa and Everton all run it close for 4th then that critical mass at which point the list collapses will be met.

9/04/2008 8:48 am

 
Blogger alex butterfield said...

forgot to say, I was very disappointed in Ashley Young for a disgusting dive against liverpool. It was true Pires style, throw yourself down and kick someone on yur way so there is contact.

9/04/2008 8:49 am

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

Yes, I was surprised to see Young do that, I felt he was far more honourable than that. Did he have to be that desperate for an advantage? What I have also noticed is the silence fromt he Villa fans on other forums who said they would simply 'turn us over' on Sunday.

But this is football. A win here doesn't mean another win atthe same place. They may well have trounced Man City at VP, and fancied their chances with Gerrard and then Torres absent, but it wasn't to be for them. We should have put away the few chances we created and that for me has been the crux of our progress towards the title. We simply will have to put away 75% of the chances we create or receive.

Bent's goal was one prime example. One sniff and he's onto it and he aims, then hope the rest follow. Depending on which team you are playing, you may well only receive such chances once or twice in the game.


RedsMan.

9/04/2008 10:03 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm having a laugh at the one saying they will be no.1 in Manchester, what was he smoking? If City is aiming for the top spot then they need to get more players in like Huntelaar, Aguero, Ramos, and not trying for Ronaldo (take your pick), Torres, Fabregas and whoever else they want to be linked with. All it seems to me was a PR exercise to frighten the other teams showing they have money and unsettling other players into thinking they could get the notice of City and talk about a big pay contract. This stinks.

9/04/2008 12:39 pm

 
Anonymous Nturtle said...

HAHA! Sorry Alex - I really should not have mentioned C. Ronaldo and Eboue in the same breath!!! I'm sure you understood what I was implying...and I agree with you that the C. Ronaldo of last season we may not actually see again!

Maybe what it is RE: the "Top 4" phenomenon is the "Global" trend...of football shirts sold overseas, of matches beamed live worldwide. You are hardly going to get a chance of Man City vs. X if they are not in the Champs League or Uefa cup for example. Hence the spotlight appears on the "top 4" more often, and that's probably not really saying they are the "best" four clubs...just pretty well supported and recognised worldwide.

The next layer definitely is coming...Everton is sponsored by a Thailand Beer, etc.!! So why not a "Top 8" - pretty conceivable! And in actual fact, the effect is that the EPL is pretty well known now worldwide, hence the marketing etc that you'll see on those everchanging electronic billboards.

We haven't really discussed the players yet!!

Redsman...I bet you are disppointed with Torres being out...they didn't look like the same side without him and Gerrard.

9/05/2008 7:33 am

 
Blogger alex butterfield said...

Good point about the TOP 4 being the champions league 4. But strangely the top 4 still included liverpool - even when everton beat us to 4th spot (but we did make it through qualifying for the CL when they didnt)

My point about your TOP 8 though is that once it gets beyond 4 or 5 you really might as well forget that idiom. I mean what happens if 15 teams are competing - TOP 15?

The CL spots are a good guide though - that really is how you recognise the top 4

btw. gutted that Gerrard and Torres will be missing for the Utd game.

I agree with anon 12:39, that city making claims about Ronaldo etc, is just a statement, meant to rattle, they wont ever sign those 3 players, or Villa, who they mentioned previously.

It makes you wonder what price players like that would be sold for though. I mean, what price would liverpool sell Torres for? At what price would fans accept the sale? when chelsea offered 50m in the summer, I thought no way (at that price, maybe you could improve the team, but its a gamble not worth taking), but what if City offered 100m? I'd have to sell him for that.

It's strange, I think prices for players have, in the past, increased relative to player wages. (the theory I suppose has always been buying out a players contract) but with owners like Abramovich and now perhaps Abu Dhabi Group we are seeing more and more inflated prices.

9/05/2008 8:42 am

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

Additionally to your point, Alex, is that not only Chelsea but the ADUG too have bid for Torres. If Torres was not at LFC, then a bid would have been made for Gerrard. It's been rumoured a bid would be made for both Gerrard and Torres of £75m! I agree with Anon (12.39PM) about the PR show, partly because it was audacious, asking for one of Man Utd's top players, if not best player, to come to a arch-rival club at the drop of several millions of pounds. And it's the proof in the pudding whether such an offer will tempt players away from their clubs. Torres took a £800,000 drop in wages to come to Liverpool, he didn't move for big wages.

Moreover, this has made me more aware of why the teams outside the 'big 4' look on those 4 with some distaste. Perhaps with Arsenal aside as they do not make big spenditures, the likes of Spurs and Aston Villa have held contempt for Man Utd and Liverpool over the summer. Those fans consider we are trying to bully and intimidate their clubs with our million-pound offers and 'top 4' status to unsettle their players and render any transfer as imminent as most players would relish a move to a top 4 side. And yet recently Man Utd and Liverpool have had a club made offers for their players, where huge sums of money has been the tempted bait.

Man City made a late bid for Berbatov and he chose instead to join Utd. None of those millions of pounds persuaded the Bulgarian to change his mind. And for Spurs to have agreed on a fee shows they were very content to recieve such an offer, preferring for Utd to not get their player and he would go to their arch-rivals just to rub salt. I wouldn't have been surprised to hear after that that Daniel Levy would continue his pursuit of his 'tapping up' allegation against Utd with the FA.

If he was not upset with the club, would Robinho have left Real Madrid if Man City had made a bid for him? That's one question. You consider that Kaka is playing in the UEFA Cup, AC Milan are currently 14th in Serie A (after one game)and he chooses to remain with them. Did that decision have an effect on his compatriot at RM? For the best player in the world to be playing in the UEFA Cup instead of the 'prestigious' Champions League, with little or no qualms, why not a player considered one of the best at Real Madrid?

Robinho could have remained at RM and look to enhance his presence there to make the club forget about using him again, wishing instead to keep him. If he wanted to leave Real so much, he could have stuck to his guns and emphasised his desire to join Chelsea, regardless of how much Man City were offering. He could have continued to push Real until they resigned to selling him to Chelsea. Or were the offers to both the club and Robinho just too lucrative to turn down?

OR.....Robinho sees Man City as a big challenge, to be the one player to shine all the more, to be responsible for the club's rise up into the top 4 and maintain themselves there. Many argue Christiano Ronaldo is the sole player aiding Man Utd's successes, could Robinho see himself as emulating the Portuguese midfielder in the same way for Man City?

Because he made a little mistake in saying Chelsea instead of Man City was typical of the media exaggerating the meaning behind it. But come Sep 13th the focus will be the City of Manchester stadium, particularly after the Liverpool v Man Utd game early at lunch time. Were Utd to lose, then the onus would be for Man City to beat Chelsea even more.

Would you believe that Chelsea would go to Man City first straight after missing out on the one player they were geared to purchase? As if someone purposely scripted it all? And I assume it is exclusively live on Setanta Sports, as an evening kick-off?


RedsMan.

9/05/2008 10:19 am

 
Blogger T said...

Yes, it must be a Setanta match - who now also have the England matches and won't sell the highlights for terrrestial TV because the right offer hasn't come in. Again money is king!

A word on Robinho - I was going to mention this in my article but didn't want to take take away from the main argument I was making - the guy has been bought at a value far superior to his worth. He is not a good professional - calling his own press conference to force a move was undignified. He is not a leader and is not a hugely productive player. He came from Brazil with big hype but has not progressed in a club which gives excellent conditions for development. I think this says a lot.

Check out the great Spanish Football and Sports site in the sidebar and read Striker's article on Robinho 'ROBINHO TO MANCHESTER CITY: MORE PROBLEMS THAN SOLUTIONS' - great reading!

9/05/2008 10:54 am

 
Anonymous Nturtle said...

Cheers for the link T - very interesting and great effort for us who are not Spanish speakers to give us an English version!

Well...in the absence of club football these 2 weeks, it's a real nail biter to wait for the Liverpool Man U and Chelsea Man City matches!!! HA!

9/06/2008 2:50 pm

 
Anonymous Skipper said...

A great article – the trouble with the theory of expanding the big four into the big five, for the fans of Arsenal and Liverpool is that they don’t permit 5 teams into the champion’s league from England. If Man City buy their way into the top four, then either Arsenal or Liverpool will miss out.

The premiership has now become the official playground for the rich investors of the world, I am not sure whether that is a good thing for the game.

9/08/2008 10:16 am

 
Blogger alex butterfield said...

Its interesting, Skipper, that you wrote you're not sure. As I myself am undecided about whether the influx of billionaires is good for the game.

On the one hand it brings in the best players from the world for us to watch.

On the other hand, it's kind of seedy, but more importantly it widens the gap between the elite and the rest. But then there is this example where another team could join that elite top 4, so the gap can be overcome - so long as you are from a fashionable city and a billionaire buys you.

BTW - I've set up a blog to discuss football tactics in depth, partly from a coaching point of view, but also, hopefully in a topical way. I'd appreciate if you guys could link to it. It's at talktactics.wordpress.com

9/09/2008 10:31 am

 

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