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State Of The Blue Nation

As we all know, something definitely went wrong last season after we beat Newcastle away, Blues. Eventually, the truth will out over Erikssongate, but it's become increasingly clear that our small squad, currently shrinking by the day is still carrying too many passengers.

The gamble 'the artist formerly known as Frank' Thaksin Shinawatra took in jettisoning Svennis was that the incoming gaffer would need to familiarise himself with City's squad before being in a position to begin offloading the wasters and chancers. Mackintosh and Wardle, who would at least have had some kind of influence over team affairs at some stage have now gone along with all the backroom staff. This has left Mark 'Bluesy' Hughes with the task of having to rapidly assess the squad based on the important UEFA Cup qualifying games and the pre-season friendlies whilst attempting to bring in the quality and strength we desperately need.

And I mean desperately. Okay, the deadwood likes of Dickov, Mpenza, Sun, Samaras and Crappadi have gone, but a number of questionable players remain and I am afraid will now have to stay in order to bolster a squad which thus far has only benefitted from the signing of Jo who may as well not be here for now because of his Brazil commitments. I was sorry to see his fellow countryman Geovanni go, however. He just didn't get the breaks.

I accept that it was hot throughout the Hamburg defeat and that they are a decent side who did well last season in the Bundesliga, but what I do not accept was the inability for City to retain possession for any considerable time, nor pose a threat.

The glaring need for a strong midfield general remains. A sound left back and pacy right winger are also required. In fact, cover throughout the squad is badly needed and City seriously need to recruit before the season kicks off at Villa Park in just over two weeks time.

But realistically, Bluesy will need more time to recruit now that the pointless, super agent led time wasting charade of the Goofy courtship is at a fruitless end.

Furthermore, if Hughes is still the disciplined, demanding leader his reputation suggests, then the likes of Vassell, Elano, Ireland and Ball could find themselves up the road unless they pull their latest new kit's socks up. Sure, his post match opinion ventured towards the easy going side, but it's only his first game against top drawer opposition and surely he won't tolerate repeats of the half arsed efforts we witnessed earlier this year. He can't afford to either, as a precedent has been set at the top of the club that failure is not an option.

Of course, the hacks continue to link City with a wide variety of potential signings, but we must avoid journeymen at all costs. The likes of Nasty Craig Bellamy and Poseur Djibril Cisse are just not City players as far as I am concerned and would add little to what we already have.

This is not a case of doom and gloom, but one of a realistic need for urgency if we are to realise an exciting season.

The rumoured signings of Ben Haim from Chelsea and Michel Chretien from Nancy would certainly be steps in the right direction and I would suggest Hughes needs to recruit at least five top quality players between now and the end of August before City can be said to be contenders.

I suggest that the Chairman's ongoing and indeed worrying predicament in Thailand will be key to Manchester City's future and that once again City's Academy will be called upon to carry the Blue flag.

A side regularly containing Sturridge, Etuhu, Logan and Evans would always get my vote over some of the crappers we have seen wear the shirt these past few years. But we need proven experience to bring these lads on alongside the youthful brilliance of Hart, Richards and Corluka.

Go get 'em Bluesy.

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The journalist

Writer: Johnny Baguette Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday July 29 2008

Time: 12:09AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Nice to have you back JB good holiday? I hope the weather was kind. Good article Don't you just get the deja vu feeling. Svennis was in the same boat, not knowing what he had and gambling with the players in bought. It worked in an odd way and now we need to move on, but whilst Frank is busy in court with his frozen assets not available, money is tight and dealings have to be smart and getting a bargain at this time of year is tough. I agree with you regarding the left back position, the two we have are average at best. The right midfield is the problem as it was last season with mist of the attacks coming down whatever wing petrov was playing. Elano is no defender and needs to play higher up the field where he is best suited. Again in my opnion Sturridge,Etuhu and Logan would benefit from season long loans. Evans looks good and deserves a start.
Buzz Lightyear
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29/07/2008 03:35:00

Cheers Buzz. My boot camp was kind to me, thanks! Meanwhile, growing concern over the situation surrounding the owner. A third set of criminal charges concerning abuse of power in a state lottery have now been accepted by the court. The saga will not go away and what happens to Thaksin will have a major bearing on City's future. Totally agree re loans for the younger lads, but we would need a much bigger first team squad to facilitate that. Right now the squad consists of 27 players and that includes Danny and Matthew Mills, the crocked Bojinov, Benjani and the floating Bianchi. I would go as far as to say the squad is wafer thin for the Premier League.
Johnny Baguette
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29/07/2008 05:33:00

Glad to see the report this morning from MH on the MCFC website that he is not being rushed into signing for the sake of numbers and is prepared to go right to the wire for the right players. If one remembers this time he did exactly the same thing with Rovers and came up with the gem Santa Cruz. "In Sparky we Trust"
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29/07/2008 08:41:00

Agree that we need to bring in the right players, alphie. But this will be a long season which could include a mammoth UEFA Cup campaign and we will need far greater strength in depth than an initally available 22 players. There has to be a degree of urgency here. A hell of a lot of money was openly offered to, and for Ronaldhino. So that money must still be available to sign proven top quality players like Arshavin, Berbatov or Podolski. The question is, are the club hierarchy still making bids for that level of player or is the difficult situation in Thailand increasingly dictating the club's transfer policy?
Johnny Baguette
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29/07/2008 08:56:00

Now there's confidence for you JB, a mammoth UEFA Cup campaign.. I like that..
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29/07/2008 09:16:00

With SWP back we will have pace and goals from both wings and defenders will not know which side to concentrate on thus creating more space for forwards and midfield. Common sense says get it sorted NOW!!
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29/07/2008 11:06:00

Good solution there mcfcthriller. A move like that would be good for the morale of both the fans and the player. I've been dead against going back for him after the way he allowed himself to be shoved to Chelsea, but forgive and forget could lead to a more balanced City side. My biggest worry would how deeply Chelsea have ruined him.
Johnny Baguette
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29/07/2008 14:00:00

MUEN reports that Ben Haim is now undergoing a medical at SportCity. He certainly has the quality and it's teh strength in depth we need but anyone got an angle on how he will fit in?
Johnny Baguette
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29/07/2008 17:17:00

The suggestion is JB that he will cover initially for the dunney monster who is banned for the first two games. Suggestions include that he could play CB, moving Richards to RB and using the skillful Corluka in the Hamann role, this is because Charlie has the stopping and turning circle to match the QE2. He can dribble and he can pass. or Move Richards into that role.
Buzz Lightyear
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29/07/2008 19:31:00

Sounds positive Buzz, but as things stand, all we need is a couple of injuries in key positions and we're in trouble!
Johnny Baguette
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29/07/2008 21:25:00

It's one thing to talk about buying top players...just as crucial would be to keep Michael Johnson. If this kid goes, then we're really in trouble. I hope Sparky reels him in for that five-year contract.
Old Mother Hell
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30/07/2008 14:50:00

Agreed. We're low on depth across the squad and need the likes of our Academy lads to stick around who have been holding our team together for years.
Johnny Baguette
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30/07/2008 15:30:00


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