Tuesday 11 November 2008

FootballFanCast.com- Reality Check article

Football FanCast columnist Emily Brobyn reflects on a rocky time at her beloved Manchester City and calls on her fellow City fans to show patience.

When the Abu Dhabi United Group for Development (ADUD) made their move for the takeover of Manchester City Football Club on transfer deadline day, it shook the football world to its very core. Pundits, critics and fans alike were completely stunned at the move that transformed City from a mediocre club to the richest club in the world. On the same day, to signal their intent, City signed one of the world's best players for £32.5 million- Brazilian ace Robinho.This kind of development at a football club immediately puts pressure on the team to produce results and progress almost to a higher standard than first expected. City have been no exception. Since the 'money' has arrived, it almost seems like people has expected instant success and for the Blues to rocket into the Champions League places simply due to the fact that they can afford to sign any player now and their wealth dwarfs Chelsea's Roman Abramovich's.

The thing is that time needs to be taken to carefully assess which players are not up to the challenge that lies ahead (and right now to be honest) and which players are available and are required to help with the task at hand. It doesn't help that some of City's fans are quick to jump onto Mark Hughes' back and demand that he is relieved of his duties as manager only four months since joining the club. Like I always say, Rome wasn't built in a day. Instant success was never going to happen this season, and perhaps it hinders Hughes that Sven had such a good start last season at the club.

Maybe fans are comparing that situation with this. But the last thing we need is to be manager-less at this stage of the season. The new owner Khaldoon Al Mubarak has issued Hughes with a vote of confidence- now City fans need to do the same. Stop all this petty speculation about Jose Mourinho- why would he want to leave Inter Milan for City, for a position kind of similar to something he has already been in within the Premier League? Recent headlines suggest the Brazilian contingency are unhappy with Hughes' management style- don't believe everything you read. This kind of sensational speculation reporting is designed to create disharmony within fans and to cause panic, to sway followers against their pressured manager. Have your own opinions instead of buying into a tabloid article that is written simply to cause chaos.

Another thing is- the players. At the moment there seems to be indifferent levels of confidence in the team. Nobody could ever doubt the soaring confidence level that Robinho has- and that his ability has the power to win City games and influence other players around him. But the disastrous form of captain Richard Dunne seems to be affecting the team as a whole- his recent own goals and howling error against Tottenham on Sunday have cost City valuable points and league places. The imminent three match ban that the Republic of Ireland international will serve for the sending off should prove to be make or break for him- whether City miss him and he can gain his confidence back with a break from the game, or whether it's time to start finding a genuine replacement for him.

Of course, the blame doesn't lie solely with Dunne. Micah Richards has been suffering with form too and I personally believe that his best position is at right back, where he can link up dangerously with Shaun Wright-Phillips, but then where would Pablo Zabaleta go? We desperately need to invest in a quality and reliable left back, a position I feel is our most troubled. Should Vincent Kompany play in defence instead of midfield? The problem with City's midfield at the moment is there is a plethora of flair players but a lack of gritty midfielders who can boss the engine room and win possession to create attacks. At the moment everything from the opposition seems to be going through City's 'soft centre', and players are getting dispossessed far too easily. We need the kind of players who can get a foot on the ball and take the game by the scruff of the neck.

The financial revolution at City has seen them transformed into a scalp. The mega-rich club that every team wants to beat, especially at Eastlands. Opposition teams seem to take great pride in defeating the club that the media always seem to build up for a fall. Realistically Eastlands should be a fortress that rival teams fear on the fixture list, but again that will come with the development of a team worthy of securing results and putting fear into fellow Premier League sides.

No fixture at the moment is a 'safe bet'. No City fan can look at the fixture list and be confident of securing a point, or three for that matter, purely because there is no consistency in results and form. Take Stoke at home for example. With no disrespect to Stoke, I should have gone to that game pretty confident of a win, but I had a niggly feeling that something might go wrong. On that occasion it happened to be The Robinho Show, with the Brazilian securing his first hat-trick. But then it was Bolton away. Going into the game City had the better form and confidence and Gary Megson's team were definitely there for the taking. But sloppy play and schoolboy errors saw City go down to a 2-0 defeat, another three points let slip.

As a City fan, I have seen a lot worse at the club, and I mean a lot. We all have. Things need to be sorted quickly though; looking at the fixture list at the moment makes for uncomfortable viewing and I can't predict where the points are going to come from. We have a difficult group in the UEFA Cup and Schalke away is quickly approaching. Keep the faith, good things come to those who wait. If we want to be a success and do it right, time is needed for that.

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