Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Tuesday July 29 2008
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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Date:Tuesday July 29 2008
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