Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Tuesday August 12 2008
THE BOOK OF REVELATIONS
It's Relentless. Every day brings a new and damning revelation that undeniably further damages Manchester City's image. The facts, five days before the start of the new Premier League season are that player's agents (the scourge of Football), and sports hacks (over exposing any anti City angle they can get their hands on) are having an absolute field day at the expense of the club we love.
Amid this absolute chaos, the football world gets the impression that Mark Hughes has been almost single handedly running the club, fending off the unwanted attentions of said agents, hacks and alledgedly dealing with meddling 'Operating Officers' said to be after selling our players to meet wage and staged transfer payment demands. Thaksin Shinawatra's club hierarchy have yet to make an official statement in reaction to the tidal wave of rumour and subterfuge swamping Eastlands. Preferring instead to unhealthily allow the situation to fester as they did throughout the ordeal that was Svengate. The odd random quotes have been wheeled out by 'a club spokesman' or 'a City source' but that's about it. The Manchester Evening News has however managed to track down City's back from Beijing Executive Chairman Garry Cook who has at least tried to give some sort of reassurance to deeply concerned City fans:
'City's future is not in jeopardy. In the short term, it is business as usual. We don't rely on Dr Thaksin's money. When Mark Hughes makes a decision we go through the normal process, which can include banks, finance, or a whole bunch of different things just like any other club. He (Thaksin) is willing to look at whatever it takes to make City a great football club. This is a guy who loves City.'
Well, if Thaksin loves City so much, why doesn't he get up the road to Eastlands from Surrey and say so?
Tellingly, the MUEN advised that 'Mr Cook admitted the club was no longer running on its original strategy of 'over-investment.''
Make of that what you will, but the fact is that City's owner is on the run, in deep shit and something has to give transfer and wages wise. City are inextricably linked with Thaksin and all we can do is stand by and helplessly watch events unfold. Above all else, we have to stick together. The takeover and Svengate were badly divisive and this third wave of unrest inside 12 months is in danger of going the same way. Blues have to respect each others views and remind ourselves that we are Manchester City.
FIT AND PROPER?
The Premier League Chief Executive, Peter Scudamore has promised drooling hacks that his cash swamped populist policy led organisation are ready to submit Thaksin to their 'Fit and Proper person to run a football club test' should the Thai courts convict the exiled City Chairman in his absence. This after consultation with Gordon Brown's populist policy led government, of course. We again, can only speculate as to what the implications of this could be. The Premier League's track record suggests they'd dish out a bit of a fine and say no more about it, but nothing can be ruled in or ruled out.
THE LONE GAFFER
There's no smoke without fire as we know and Mark Hughes is widely reported to be dismayed, furious and fed up in equal measures. We have been worried for some time at Vital MC that we could be looking at another Coppell scenario, albeit for entirely different reasons and at the time of going to front page, 62% of our site visitors reckon Hughes will say enough is enough and walk out. And who could blame him, if the shocking financial and squad interference reports circling SportCity prove to be genuine. Nevermind Svengate. Hughes has already had to deal with Corlukagate and Irelandgate this past week and outside of holding his small squad together, he has some football games to prepare for. Talk of incoming transfer targets has all but evaporated. William Hill this week slashed the odds on Hughes leaving City and the media are whipping themselves up into a frenzy over it. There is no doubt that 'Bluesy' is made of strong stuff and he is going to need every ounce of that character in the coming weeks.
LISTEN UP ROUND UP
City are offering young fans who are LIVE4CITY members tickets at £1 each if booked in advance, for Thursday's UEFA Qualifier with FC Midtjylland at Eastlands. Under 16 seats will cost £5 if bought on matchday, over 65s also £5 and all adult seats will cost £15. Here's to the team needing that support and acknowleding it unlike their walk off at Celtic Park last week.
FC MIDTJYLLAND at The City Of Manchester Stadium
UEFA Cup Second Qualifying Round, 1st leg: Thursday 14th August 2008 @ 1945 GMT
Pre PL Season including UEFA Cup:W,L,W,D,D,W
'The Wolves' current league form: W,D,W,W
Johnny On The Spot?:
Midtjylland are from all accounts a team on the up and have started the season on fire in Denmark. City must not underestimate them and key to the performance will be the focus and a siege mentality that I hope Hughes can give them. City look as if they are enjoying playing together and an early goal for the Blues would settle nerves all round amid the turmoil we find ourselves in. You get the feeling that if this City side 'click' in a competitive game, someone will get pasted. Much depends upon our current firepower casualties however and with Jo away, Benjani and Vassell injured and The Raging Bulgarian Bojinov still not fully match fit, then Academy graduates Evans and Sturridge could well get the nod alongside potential phoenix from the flames Bianchi.
City to win 4-0 and take the pressure off for a difficult second leg.
NEXT OPPONENTS BUT ONE:
ASTON VILLA at Villa Park
FA Premier League: Sunday 17th August 2008 @ 1500 GMT
Last six games PL Season 07-08: L,W,W,L,L,L
The Villain's Form
Last six games PL Season 07-08: W,W,W,D,L,D
Johnny On The Spot?:
So much rests upon the outcome of Thursday's UEFA clash before this game. If City can win against the Danes and win well, then we'll go to Villa Park on a wave of optimism. However, if the team disappoint on Thursday Hughes will have a tough time raising morale for the trip to one of our favourite hunting grounds. Don't forget to marvel uneasily at the fascinatingly demented touchline histrionics of mad professor Martin O'Neill….
Villa 1 City 1
Baht Out Of Hell copyright Birchy!i>
Date:Tuesday August 12 2008
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