Date:Saturday May 9 2009
It's taken the best part of a season but at last Manchester City fans are beginning to warm to Mark Hughes.
The following article is from one of our North American forum regulars, americancitynut.
To read more on the very subject and to see what others are saying, click here.
I don't know how seriously speculation over Mark Hughes' future should be taken, considering our recent form and the seeming confidence in his leadership shown by the ownership group, but I really hope for the sake of the club he stays on.
After watching him reject yet another transfer rumour, I can see clearly now that he is the right man for the job. I know we have 'unlimited' money, but keeping a squad together, in the face of season-long speculation about every single player's future next year, seems to me no mean feat.
We have talent, no doubt, and quite a bit of it, but the fact that we are top half, challenging for Europe, and playing attractive football I think is largely because of Hughes.
His transfer guile brought in Vincent Kompany, a real gem, and Pablo Zabaleta has responded well to his coaching. As for the other signings, I think De Jong will become a first-class holding midfielder, a la Mascherano or Marcos Senna, Robinho is challenging for top scorer, Given has lived up to his high standards, and Bellamy has not flipped out as in the past. I think we can count on him for solid improvement in our squad (most pressingly, our generally execrable defensive play}.
Some in the press have linked us with a 'world-class' manager like Mourinho, Roberto Mancini, and others. First of all, Mourinho wouldn't come here, nor would Carlo Ancelotti, and I have no respect for Mancini and Frank Rijkaard, the most prominent of the currently unemployed big-name managers.
Mancini has won the Scudetto in down years, with help from the Calciopoli rulings. This is fairly meaningless, and it would have taken Koeman-like managerial incompetence to not do so. Frank Rijkaard is demonstrably incompetent. He won two league titles with Barca featuring Ronaldinho winning games single-handedly by playing some of the best football ever played, ever. He didn't know when to offload players or how to discipline big-time stars when they acted out or were clearly unfit, he didn't understand tactics (seriously, I watched approximately 40 Barcelona games in 07 and 08 where his only tactical adjustment was, striker off, defender on, and defender off, striker on), and he didn't make his voice heard, all skills needed by coaches of big-budget teams.
Because of our massive cash advantage, we have been compared to Chelsea. However, I do not hope to follow the Chelsea mould - two league titles, no champs league wins, and a bunch of overpaid sulks. I would prefer to have a team of real stars with a solid coach. I am referring to the Galactico-era Madrid team.
Before you start to guffaw and call the galacticos a failure, may I remind you of Vicente del Bosque's tenure as manager. He won two league titles, two Champs league titles, as well as several other trophies. He was seen as too pedestrian, like Hughes, for his team of superstars, but it turned out that this non-marquee manager was perfect for that team. He was the non-superstar, and his man management and tactical prowess, allowed him to keep a firm hand at the wheel, guiding Real Madrid to it's greatest success in recent times, a spell that only ended upon his firing.
Mark Hughes could be our Vicente del Bosque, a calming and confident force, bowing to no players, and bringing out the best in high-priced players. Let it be so.
Date:Saturday May 9 2009
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