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Why We Deserve Some Respect

Why We Deserve Some Respect

An ongoing thread in the forums revolves around Michel Platini`s statements as head of UEFA. BlueWolfie says he`s going to contribute a longer article on this topic, so I`ll try not to steal his thunder. What I wanted to talk about is a little bit different: the notion, widely held, of expensive transfers, wealthy foreign owners and clubs as a negative influence on the beautiful game. Here I am referring to the relentless barbs thrown City`s way for being wealthy. And while being a public popinjay is to be expected if you are wealthy and not Chelsea, some of the things said about us are directly counterfactual.

One charge leveled repeatedly is that we are "buying tradition," that somehow we, through spending, have created an artificial team. This is an increasingly worldwide impression, and we need to start winning hearts and minds to us. There is hypocrisy in this impression and willful ignorance of the evolution of the game. The hypocrisy is that while we get ripped for spending to achieve success, no one mentions in this context that all four of the semi-finalists in last year`s Champions League had squads assembled for hundreds of millions. Manchester United last year spent on Berbatov alone more than 30 million pounds, and they already had a double winning squad. The nature of modern, and let`s face it, market-based competition is that you have to spend money to win, and our ownership group has done this in as tasteful a way possible, certainly more classily than Real Madrid this year, or Barcelona last year (Dani Alves came at a ridiculous price, and Barcelona ended up dropping between 30 and 40 million euros on him). City actually has several academy players playing regularly or starting, and the newly arriving squad members have (for the most part) embraced the spirit of the club and its raucous supporters.

That being said, who can compete with teams like Manchester United for authenticity? I think it`s amazing that they were able to win the CL with an entirely Manchester bred attack of Tevez, Rooney, and Ronaldo. It`s as authentic as their supporters: true Mancunians all. Although it does puzzle me why there is so much traffic southbound on the M1 after United plays. Not sure on that.

The truth is, we do not have much of a European pedigree. But what are we supposed to do about it? I mean, I love Stevie Ireland, but he playing by himself is only good enough to get us to the Europa. We need a bit more. And compared to Real Madrid, no one really has a European pedigree. And even they of unmatched trophy count, they of di Stefano, Puskas, and Bernabeu, they happy Franco few, are still having to spend a quarter of a billion dollars on transfers to overtake their rivals.

However, this is not my main point. I am writing to argue that regardless of whether we are in fact buying tradition, such spending is good for the Premier League, good for small clubs, and just generally good. For the health of the overall Premier League, nothing is more important than having quality teams, passionate fans, and exciting play. Manchester City over the past 18 months has evolved from playing SGE 4-5-1 slowball with Darius Vassell featuring often to a rapid Mark Hughes side playing 4-3-3 or 4-1-2-1-2 with Robinho and Stephen Ireland exchanging passes in beautiful attacking/counterattacking style. I`m not making a tactical point; I`m simply suggesting we are a more entertaining team to those who are not just looking for a City win. Objectively we have helped the Premier League by bringing in Robinho, and should we reel in some other stars, we help the brand even more.

Some would quibble with this argument, saying that small teams and local players get crowded out. This overlooks that small clubs are often willing participants in this dance. Wigan recently made some spare change by selling Valencia, City a while back made a huge amount of money off SWP, and this process continues unabated. This suggests that smaller clubs value, rightly, the freedom and depth they get from spending the sums they earn in sales more than the star players themselves. Teams working their way up do well to cash in and buy squad players, and I see nothing wrong with this. By spending and selling, both the buyer and seller can get stronger. Sevilla was better the year after selling Alves (this mostly reflected off-field stability) and they would hardly consider themselves victims of Barcelona or Real Madrid despite years of high-profile sales under Del Nido. As far as local players go, in some ways the big spending can hurt (see approach Chelsea and Real Madrid have taken to their academy), but in a macroscopic sense talent is talent and will be given opportunities to prove itself. Perhaps big money foreigners are keeping English lads off the pitch at Stamford Bridge, but the truth is most bench sitters do so out of their own financial desire to not take a pay cut and play a division below. Robinho and Drogba are not making English youth play worse. In fact, I`d suggest they are raising standards. And even when a talented youngster like Daniel Sturridge gets cast aside in a search for expensive foreign players, he can always find a home at a small club, likeā€¦Chelsea.

Thus, we should be celebrated in the press and in pubs and on the street for having owners investing in the team and in the city, improving the standard of play nationwide, and for throwing money around. Of course, like England, we`ll be toasted in the Sun when we win, and ridiculed when we crash and burn. There will be lots of both, and I`m sure I`ll learn to tune out the noise, but the criticism isn`t just anti-City, it`s anti-intellectual.


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Writer:Warsaw Celt
Date:Friday July 3 2009
Time: 1:18AM


I think people take issue with spending when they see no sign of it ending. Man Utd buy players for a lot of money, but as they win competitions which earn them money its hard to say their spending is unfair. Jealousy comes into play as your new found wealth isn't based on anything you've done better than their club. The other thing United do which makes them stand out is pay for their mistakes. Uniteds poor buys aren't instantly replaced with big money signings like they are elsewhere. For every Rooney spree, theres a Park Ji sung summer. Whilst the bosingwas and dossenas worry about becoming the next boulahrouz or keane - berba and nani know fergie will stick by them. I might yet be proved wrong but I doubt United will match the spending of the other top teams this summer because they have invested heavily recently. Whilst other clubs try to buy instant success every year, United invest in talent to achieve it - and then suffer the consequences if that investment was misplaced. So far City seem to be doing the same. But next summer if champions league football still eludes you, will santa cruz, barry and any other new signings who don't hit the ground running be turfed out for more expensive players? we'll see...
03/07/2009 03:00:00
0,,10268~1712156,00.html - crazy stuff!
03/07/2009 03:17:00
You have to earn respect and 09/10 will be your opportunity. Tuscan3000 is exactly correct. Who you are as a club will be shown in how you handle adversity; not how you handle success. I don't begrudge Chelsea their success. They found a way to compete and good for them, but they have to understand why other teams don't respect them. It's up to you how you're viewed. You can be hated, but respected like ManU, or hated and not respected like Chelsea.
03/07/2009 04:59:00
We are as a club, considered to be akin to someone that has inherited a vast fortune, as opposed to earning it, so I have to agree with Tuscan to a point. But how can anyone compete if they don't get money from somewhere, somehow? On a different note, I do remember however on several occasions, when City played really well, how the press would go on about how beautifully we played, and the fact that we have a wonderful academy that is shining through. We do have it in us to play like this consistently, and with the new signings we will begin to change the hearts and minds of others. In the meantime, we must accept that we will be accused of trying to buy our way in, but this is how all clubs have found success, and how all clubs have to do it. We are no different from any other team in the World.
03/07/2009 07:52:00
I dont begrudge Chelsea their success, because they broke the stranglehold that was threatening the Premiership into being a two horse race every year.Manchester united, Arsenal, Chelsea and somewhat Liverpool have continually spent a lot of money each season bringing the best players to their clubs so they can qualify for Europe.If the Likes of City, Spurs, Villa, Everton Portsmouth and so on, can also compete on the same lines then does that not make the Premier a better league to play in, of course it does. The fear is that the top four have vast debts and enormous payments of Interest and cannot afford to not qualify for the Champions league, because failure to do so may cause a disaster such as the one that befell Leeds. This surely is the fault of Uefa who created this monster. Supporters fear that City will buy everybody, and that it maybe their club that wont survive, if they fail.
Buzz Lightyear
03/07/2009 08:26:00
Tuscan3000, what eludes you is that if we do fail to qualify for Euope, whether it is the CL or the Europa league, then the players we have are not good enough to get us there and we will strengthen the squad next season and the season after until we get it right.
Buzz Lightyear
03/07/2009 08:28:00
Lots of good comments here, all valid opinions and points. It is impossible to compete at the top without spending lots of money to match other teams quality of players. It used to be a lot easier when there wasnt so much money floating about, but now the top 4 have a huge chasm between them and the rest of the PL- which keeps getting wider. Arsenal's new stadium has meant that their influx of top signings is slowing down because of the lack of money at their disposal. I dont see any other way to catch up with the top 4 unless we buy similar standard players- and now is the perfect time to oust Arsenal from their lofty perch. Chelsea may not be widely respected but they have made the league a healthier competition by flashing the cash to compete with the big boys.
03/07/2009 09:32:00
The biggest clubs are the ones with traditionally large fan bases. No disrespect to the likes of Wigan or Fulham, but they will always be small clubs due to lack of fans in their local areas. The large fan bases of teams like manure, Real Madrid etc. have in the past enabled these clubs to outspend everyone else and therefore achieve success. This past cashflow has led to the skewed monopoly that the largest teams now enjoy owing to television and Champions league revenues. Manchester City have always had the large fanbase and the resulting revenues so in theory should have been amongst the elite clubs a long time ago. Unfortunately for us off field mismanagement on a collosal scale by Swales and Franny Lee has held us back for years. With the ADUG ownership we are being run in a thoroughly professional manner for the first time in decades and will reap the rewards. Obviously having the money to jump start our challenge is extrememly helpful, but we have suffered for long enough!
03/07/2009 09:38:00
Chelsea supporter in peace. Good article. A piece of advice fellas, all the insults thrown at you once you starting gate-crashing the top 4 are going to be out of bitterness and envy. Just laugh it off, it means you're succeeding as a club when the big boys start to throw tantrums. "How dare a club with a small history in terms of trophy's compete against us!" lol I think Liverpool supporters are probably the worst because they haven't won the league in 20 years and with the likes of us and now you guys coming into the picture, that 20 year absence looks like it's going to be extended for years to come hahaha
03/07/2009 14:24:00
Thanks JW have a good season.
Buzz Lightyear
03/07/2009 14:59:00
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