Saturday, 17 May 2008

Far Eastern Fiasco
Sven's men lose out to Thai team in friendly
Sven's future at the club continued to be shrouded in doubt after City lost to Thailand Premier All-Stars 3-1 in a friendly tour organised by chairman Thaksin Shinawatra.

The City side lost 3-1 to the Far Eastern footballers, after having took the lead through Felipe Caicedo. City didn't field a full-strength side though, with F.A. Youth Cup captain Ben Mee playing, as well as Valeri Bojinov and three of City's Thai players Sukka, Dangda and Saiwaew.

After the game, Sven refused to be drawn into any speculation regarding his future. The next game for City is on Thursday 22nd May where Sven's men will play Hong Kong Invitational XI.
C'est Fantastique Sylvain

The F.A. Cup this year definitely threw up the oddest final for years, with Premier League side Portsmouth and Championship side Cardiff City both going to Wembley to battle for the prestigious Cup. I guess, with no disrespect to the two teams involved, it's a lesson for some bigger clubs that shall remain nameless (hmmmm neighbours to City) that they should pay full respect to the F.A. Cup competition.
Anyway, just want to give a big congratulations to former City captain Sylvain Distin, who was on the winning side today and played superbly. A lot was made about Distin's ongoing contract saga at City and he wasn't given the best reception this season on return to Eastlands. But he was a great player for the club and I feel that he deserves the outmost respect; he's a great example of a professional and a gentleman. Well done Sylvain.
Can I have A Word?

So the season is over and done with and i think it is safe to say that only City could have finished off their 2007/08 campaign in the matter that we did. An 8-1 away defeat at the hands of Boro was an utterly despicable result. Dunney's early sending off was so unfortunate- he tripped and just happened to bring their last player standing down, therefore it had to be an automatic red card. Just what we needed as everybody was hoping and praying for a card-free game with all eyes being on the UEFA Cup.

After that, City simply crumbled. Sven in his post-match interview put it right when he said that the player's mind simply were not in the game. Shinawatra announced, with approximately four weeks of the season left, that he was going to review Sven's position at the end of the season. Since then, the stench of uncertainy has lingered over the club and intoxicated all City fans. It is like a bad dream.

So where do we go from here? After a tense and nervy wait, it has been confirmed that City have in fact claimed the FIFA Fair Play spot that sends us to the first round of qualifying for the UEFA Cup this July. It is a great opportunity for City to really pull together and show Shinawatra what the team is capable of.

But will there be a team to pull together? If the rumours are to be believed, Shinawatra is apparently putting up the whole City team for sale. Johnson is on the verge of a £6 million transfer to Liverpool, Micah's going to the neighbours for £25 million (which disgusts me), and Dunney's considering his options. The backbone of the team are leaving, and Sven's future is due to be decided one way or another any day now. One thing's for certain- life is never dull as a City fan. It's just another ride on the City roller-coaster- and this time I am holding on for dear life.

The results of the latest poll are in. I asked if Shinawatra was right to put Sven's future in doubt after his debut season. 86% of you said NO, he wasn't right to put Sven's future in doubt. The latest poll is now open, happy voting.

I will be updating my blog with all the latest news, views and opinions on City throughout the summer. I can't wait for Euro 2008, despite England's controversial absence, and I will be supporting Croatia. Happy holidays and here's to a sunny summer!


Sunday, 4 May 2008


What a week it has been at Manchester City Football Club. And honestly...what the hell is going on? The season has been a complete roller-coaster for City; from jubilation and ecstasy to utter disbelief and horror in the space of nine months.

When Shinawatra took over in the summer, the foreign chairman was a welcome arrival in Manchester and to be honest, most blues were just grateful of the inevitable cash injection his introduction promised. Now, it has proven to be a very public example of how a foreign takeover at a football club can prove to be disastrous. The club has well and truly lost its soul and passion, selling out to the highest bidder and losing pride and self esteem along the way.

The appointment of Sven Goran Eriksson as manager took most by surprise and signaled Shinawatra's intent of transforming City into a side capable of realistically chasing Europe. Signings included Elano, Petrov, Corluka to name a few, and the season started with a bang with a win at Upton Park back in August last year. Scaling the dizzy heights at the top of the Premiership was unchartered territory for mesmerized City fans who welcomed the spellbinding run of form the blues had embarked on, the record-breaking start almost too good to be true.

The tide turned after Christmas with form drying up and confidence dipping. A rare and unprecedented double over United boosted spirits after the F.A. Cup run ended with such a damp squib at Bramhall Lane. Sloppy and lackluster performances meant that City's dreams of Europe became just that, a dream, a season with so much promise and early success ending with a sad whimper.

The arrival of Shinawatra brought money and controversy. Much has been made of foreign ownership in the Premier League; the likes of Abramovich, Gillett and Hicks, the Glazers all eyeing up top flight football clubs to do business and make money. Do any of them actually stop and think of the origins of the club, and the fans? Shinawatra's personal ambitions and desire for financial gain is ruining the club I love so much. This season, Sven has achieved a top half finish to the season for City. Money was guaranteed for more transfers in the summer for him to build on this success.

Now what? Chaos. Anarchy. Despair. Just as it looked like stability had arrived at Manchester City, Shinawatra is unhappy with Sven's end of season report. It seems that possible ninth place just isn't good enough for him, so Sven has to go. A player revolt is sure to follow. United want Micah Richards for £25 million, Arsenal and Liverpool want Michael Johnson, Sunderland and Newcastle both want our captain Richard Dunne. Michael Petrov is being linked with Spurs and who wouldn't be interested in Joe Hart given the form he is in at the moment? The players are ready to vote with the feet- and that is exactly what the fans should do.

There has already been a fan backlash, with a couple of protests happening in Manchester within the past week. At Anfield the City faithful chanted constantly for 90 minutes towards Sven and there is a further mass protest planned at Eastlands next Saturday. It is simply too late. Sven is gone. I admire the way the Swede has handled the entire farcical situation; how humiliating it must be for him to more or less do exactly what has been asked of him then to find himself out of a job after only one season. Sven has reacted with dignity and showed not one sign of remorse. The club has tried to silence him and to freeze him out. The club, Manchester City, should be completely ashamed of themselves, and hideously embarrassed.

I had been lucky enough to join Sven earlier in the season at a player's dinner, and had written an article about the evening. This is a small extract from it. How times change..."Sure enough, one by one, our heroes joined us. The first to enter to a rapturous standing ovation was Sven and his assistant Bakke. Sven looked completely overwhelmed at the endless applause that greeted him as he bashfully waved around at the audience. He was much smaller than I imagined and was quite gaunt.

Sven was promptly followed by the players, who were greeted with the same reception- a reception that was completely justified given the start to the season. Vedran Corluka came to our table and sat next to me, while Darius Vassell sat next to Sue. The compere then turned our attention to the screen to watch highlights of the season so far. The lights were dimmed and the goals were greeted with whooping and applause between both the players and the public. Johnson’s goals won high appraise, to which he blushed and modestly bowed his head.

Predictably, Elano’s sensational goals once again wowed the crowd, but what surprised me was watching Sven’s reactions. The Swede sat quietly with Bakke, Wardle and representatives from the Manchester Evening News smiling and admiring his handiwork. He looked like a proud father on sport’s day: basking in the success and the club’s incredible start."

Shinawatra will have his way, and Sven will go. But money, Mr Shinawatra, certainly can't buy you love. City fans love this club with a big passion, and he is betraying that love. As for City? If the player walk-out happens, heaven forbid, the club will implode and City will be left in tatters. It is hard to see the light out of a tunnel so hazy at the moment. Let’s just hope that City can finish the season with a win at the Riverside, as Sven's way of ending his ridiculously short stay in charge on a high note.

In Sven we trusted, in Thaksin we don't.