I've often applied for the post of Manchester City manager but I don't envy Mark Hughes' position one bit right now.
Sources within the club back absolutely the public statement from club Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak that the gaffer's job is not even in question, but the staunchest Blue will have been deeply concerned at the team`s nosedive in results on the back of some questionable tactics as the Welshman grapples with his naiive young squad`s lack of options.
That said, the manager has continued to conduct himself with dignity and remains a fine ambassador for the club. He hasn't been helped by Elano berkishly playing into the hands of the Murdoch empire rent-a-quoting his dissatisfaction that his erratic form is not rewarded with a regular start in Sky Blue.
The sports hacks in 'The Street of Shame'* who were denied a Manchester City implosion the past two summers have been desperately tripping over themselves to get their shrieking headlines out there this past two weeks. Should we fail to beat a wobbling Hull side on Sunday we can expect that desperation to reach fever pitch.
Whatever happens, surely yet another change of the management team at SportCity would be potentially suicidal.
Though it is evidently difficult for City fans to deal in facts at this moment, I see this is a time for us to forge a "them and us" siege mentality as the team stare down the barrel of a tremendously important run of games. Failure to qualify for the UEFA Cup knock out stage in 2009 is not an option and neither is slipping into the Premier League relegation zone.
Reinforcements are on the way inside two months and no matter what the misgivings are over our players and the manager's decisions, going after them to the delight of the "build them up and knock them down" merchants isn't going to get us anywhere so let's get behind the team at full throttle and see where it takes us.
And what of those players. Man City fans will always reward maximum effort and as long as the team give us that, they can always expect the strongest of supports.
Your club needs you.
JOHNNO KNACKED AGAIN
Boy, have we missed an in form Michael Johnson breaking up play and charging box to box in the City engine room for a number of months. Right now he is a long way off a settled run in the side.
The lad is having extreme difficulty fighting off the abdominal injury he had operated on last season and rumours are knocking about SportCity that he`s broken down again.
We need him back and his continuing troubles have been symbolic of Bluesy's bad luck this season. I'll wager that a City side boosted by a firing Johnson, Martin Petrov and Valeri Bojinov would have been a different proposition for some sides who have beaten us all too easily this season.
SAY IT AIN'T SO JO
Das Daily Mail are one of the trashy rags (in more ways than one, I`d suggest) who have been going right after Man City. Their pursuit of an alledged disciplinary action dished out to Jo following the reported breaking of Bluesy's 48-hour pre-match curfew at a night club before the Bolton game has led to them posting the same story twice in the same day today!
Until the club confirm it, these reports are as unsettling as The Murdoch family`s Sun and Sky Sports relentless efforts to see Mark Hughes sacked, today going so far as to contact Jose Mourinho in Italy.
However, if the Jo story is fact, it says much for our concern that the young Brazilian is finding life difficult after leaving CSKA Moscow.
MY FIRST GAME
Vital Manchester City applauds the new owner`s pledge to build bridges with City`s supporters, one of the first moves being the 'My First Game' campaign, the details of which you`ll find explained in today`s Vital MC article 'Time To Fill Eastlands With Fans Memories' - We hope the club will continue to come up with similar initiatives as the season develops.
150th MANCHESTER DERBY BUILD UP - KEEP THE RAG FLAG FLYING HIGH
The countdown continues to our next Premier League clash with the rags who will no doubt be bouyed by the news that the inexplicable foppish singer Robbie 'Effing' Williams has come out as one of their own. As part of an attention seeking PR move at the recent Arsenal-rags game, Williams said:
'Actually I do have to say that I call Man Utd 'Secret Vale' because when you support Port Vale for as long as I have it's nice to have a decent win every now and again... I'm a Vale man but I like to see Man United do well.'
KENYON SEES THE ROUBLE CRUNCH LIGHT
Many Blues watched aghast as last season`s brilliant City youth side beat Chelsea to lift the FA Youth Cup. The reason being that Chelski fielded a side predominantly constructed with youth players bought in from around the world. Well, The City Academy`s example and their oligarch`s alledged financial difficulties have combined to leave former rag Chief Executive Peter Kenyon seeing things from a different perspective:
'We've made a commitment to having the core of our team English; we are developing our youth. The rules from UEFA on home-grown players and FIFA's proposal for 6+5 puts a real onus on clubs to develop their own talent much more fully. With that comes a lot of benefits, and so we looked at our scouting programme to be more focused.'
The times they are a changing?
WHAT'S IN A WORD? THIS WEEK'S QUOTES
'When things are not going your way, like they have not done in the last few weeks, then these things will happen. But we had to keep our heads up and we matched them for most of the game, even with a man down, so we have to keep working and try as hard as we did against Spurs, especially in the second half. If we do that then the results will improve.'
- Didi Hamman whose been there, seen it, done it and whom many of us are asking should start in the coming important fixtures weighs up the situation after that freak Spurs game.
'People are highlighting the goals we have conceded and that he has been involved in. But they forget how many times he has saved us, not only this season but in the past. He is in credit and it is just a spell he is going through. He will come through it - he is a strong character. I have no worries in that respect.'
- Bluesy makes a stand over beleaguered City skipper Richard Dunne's wretched form this season. Can the big man fight back?
'Neither the club nor Darren have heard anything from Manchester City or any other club and clearly this particular story is just paper talk, at the moment.'
- The most laughable quote of the week goes to Peterborough United Chairman Barry Fry as he could actually be bothered to respond to desperate hacks linking the City managerial position with wait for it, Taggart's son, Darren.
'I thought I might have to wait for my chance this season but it is a long campaign and I knew it would come. It did against West Ham when I set up two goals and I have not really looked back. When I got in the side it was up to me to make sure I took my chance. Now I hope to make that role permanently my own with a few more performances like the ones I have produced.'
- Stephen Ireland, now much more of a 'Superman' than an erstwhile 'Daddy Dick' underlines his determination to make things happen at City.
'It's his right, he is the manager. I respect him and I will keep working, arriving on time and doing my duties at the club, but my sadness is not playing.'
- Again Elano repeats in the media his claim for a starting berth in City's engine room and it`s beginning to get a bit daft as we`ve covered on Vital MC this week. He`s forgetting that his form has been generally garbage save for a handful of decent shows.
WE WEREN'T REALLY THERE? THE FINAL SCORE THIS WEEK 10 YEARS AGO
FA Cup - Round 1
Man City 3 - 0 Halifax @ Maine Road on 13th November 1998
Scorers: Russell 7, 35 Goater 65
Man City: Weaver, Crooks, Vaughan, Morrison, Wiekens, Horlock (Brown 75), Bishop (Pollock 89), Mason, Goater, Dickov, Russell
Vital MC hopes to be bringing you our Mag 7 Fan`s Interview with Vital Hull at the weekend.
Johnny On The Spot?
Both teams have lost 3 straight league games in a row going into this fixture and will be desperate to get back on track. There could be something of a cagey cup final clash about this one.
Hull`s breathtaking start to Premier League life needs no introduction, but their loss at home to tough old Bolton following two routine "Big Four" defeats gives me the impression that they might have been sussed out.
Our own plight has been bordering on something of a crisis and that will be clearly the case unless we turn the ship around at Hull. I`m banking on City doing just that with the creativity at our disposal, but it`s only going to happen if the side can find defensive cohesion as a unit.
Accounting for Geovanni bagging the traditional former City player goal, I think we`ll edge it.
Hull 1 City 2
VITAL MC INFO:
- When the first whistle blows, don't forget to join the Vital MC Community on our popular Live Match Thread in the Forums on match days.
Vital Manchester City is growing fast and there`s more to come - Be Here Now and join our worldwide community.