Vital City Zen: Helter Skelter
TRIALS AND TRANSFERS: THAKSIN AND CORLUKAGATE - DON'T BELIEVE THE TRUTH?
Much as there is an air of 'so far so good' on the playing front around SportCity right now following that morale sapping end to last season, there is also a degree of concern as to where the club is heading under Thaksin Shinawatra, Garry Cook and their advisors. Relentless rumours abound and the hacks are drooling over every possible City in crisis angle that they can get hold of.
More than ever before, we have to deal in facts right now and sift through each shrieking sensation from 'The Street Of Shame' (copyright Private Eye) with a degree of distrust.
But it isn't easy, and rumours persist that our classy young Euro 2008 star Vedran Corluka could be signed by resurgent Spurs.
If this deal is even negotiated over, nevermind allowed to go through, it would be nothing less than a 'Statement Of No Intent' from a Manchester City board who raised the incoming transfer expectations of all Blues by their utterly embarrassing public fawning over Ronaldhino.
No two ways about it, a Corluka sale would confirm that City are in financial trouble and need to sell to buy. If you want to win trophies you do not sell your technically most accomplished player to a rival. That would smack of desperation.
Dealing in facts from what we have seen and read this week:
The MUEN has repeatedly insisted that City and Corluka have been in talks over his proposed transfer. Mark Hughes has at first expressed surprise at the story, then flatly denied any contact between Corluka and Spurs. Were the deal to now go through, then this would be cause for major concern as to who is running team and transfer affairs at City. For the life of me, I could never imagine Hughes prioritising a move for the portly Brazilian crock has been Ronaldo. No smoke without fire with those agents?
Thaksin is in the shit. His wife may be on bail, but his decision to go back to Thailand for a big let off has clearly backfired as the cases against him mount. City's spokesman has confirmed Thaksin is looking for investment which is alarming enough after all the promises we were sold. Should he go down, nothing can be ruled in or out as to what happens next. A risk of unprecedented Premier League intervention cannot be dismissed.
We also know now that all the signings made since the Thai takeover have been made with small down payments with the rest to follow over the years. Now we know why we haven't signed any English players as fees for their services have to be paid inside one year.
What we can ill afford is for another period of instability like the one that engulfed us all earlier this year, but that's exactly what we have got until Thaksin's immediate future is resolved.
Until then, Manchester City will remain in financial limbo, whatever the manager or the board might say. Christ alone knows what the future will bring, but what we as fans have to do is stay focused on team affairs as much as possible and hope the team think likewise. Their fragile mentality was ruthlessly exposed by a pisspoor Middlesborough team lest we forget.
The worst case scenario is that of a Leeds style meltdown following the conviction of our owner, but we have been down among the deadmen before and fought back. The main thing is that we stick together and strap ourselves in, waiting for this mother of all rollercoaster rides to take it's next turn.
MARK 'BLUESY' HUGHES: (WHAT'S THE STORY) SO FAR..?
Hughes has added some steel to the ambassadorial and respectable image that Sven-Goran Eriksson brought to the club. He comes across as a man on a mission and the evidence so far is that City will be tougher, fitter and more attacking opponents than we saw last season. I was impressed by his ditching of the Swiss pre season tournament in favour of a German boot camp and I think we are beginning to see the results. To date, Hughes' dignity and honesty stands him in good stead with Blues (myself included) still uncomfortable with a former rag in charge!
But then there's Carrington. It increasingly sounds like there was something of a circus going on there last season with players pitching up late for training and WAGs and Agents swanning about the training centre. I can understand Hughes' determination to put a stop to all these distractions and a siege mentality won't do the squad any harm, but that should not be at the expense of the fans. Many Blues have traditionally watched their heroes train down the years. The club could surely arrange a properly organised delegation of fans to attend training co-ordinated with the gaffer.
AT THE FINAL WHISTLE: IT'S BETTER PEOPLE
City's impressive showing in the 1-1 friendly draw at Celtic on wednesday night was marred by the sight of the vast majority of our players heading straight for the tunnel at the final whistle. To his credit, Kasper Schmeichel rounded up a few stragglers in an effort to thank the travelling Blues fans. This is obviously unacceptable and Mark Hughes and Captain Richard Dunne should be looking to lead by example. Modern footballers are becoming more and more distant from the people who pay big money to follow them. Clubs can only benefit from building bridges with their supporters and City need to do that if they want to have that extra man in the stands this season. This correspondent feels strongly about this issue and I've written to the club to that effect. But whether my views get past the club's spokespeople is another issue.
LISTEN UP ROUND UP:
City have avoided fixture congestion in the last week of August. The Carling Cup second round tie will now take place in late September.
Meanwhile, the away leg of the UEFA Cup Qualifier against FC Midtjylland will kick off at 1625 CET. Channel 5 will broadcast the game in Great Britain.
As we've known for a while, City are now fully immersed in the annual football shirt rip off culture and the leak of yet another 'third kit' beggars belief. Tangerine is the colour doing the rounds and couldn't be less Manchester City.
What do you think? (courtesy EPL talk):
NEXT OPPONENTS: AC MILAN
The Thomas Cook Trophy: Saturday 9th August 2008 @ 1715 GMT
City Form Pre PL Season incl UEFA:W,L,W,D,D
The Rossoneri Form Pre Season:
Russian Railways Cup: L,D,L
Last time around: December 6th 1978
UEFA Cup third round, second leg.
Manchester City 3 AC Milan 0
Scorers: Booth, Hartford, Kidd
Johnny On The Spot?:
City are slowly starting to get it together and they look like a team who are enjoying their football. If they stay focused they could well give Milan a tonking as they are certainly rattled following their dismal last place in the four team Russian Railways Cup which included a 5-0 hammering from a Nicolas Anelka inspired Chelski.
City to build on the hard work already done thirty years ago and record a 2-0 season inspiring victory interspersed with solid bouts of boo-ing for Goofy, our desperate board's favourite.