Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Thursday January 7 2010
Good grief. After watching some terrific football of late, it's back to talking about money. Lots of money. And a fair number of us are beginning to wonder what day it is...
City's absolute failure to implode on the pitch this season has frustrated the club's enemies in 'The Street of Shame' and beyond. Of that, there's little doubt.
The roughing up that the club gave the previous mind numbingly boring procession of 'The Big Four' in the summer transfer market has to the horror of many status quo advocates transferred (sic) itself on to the pitch with handsome wins over Arsenal and Chelsea, a should have been win at Liverpool and a time added on to time added on narrow defeat at the swamp.
The second half of the season looks bright for The Blues. Handily fifth placed in the Premier League with a game in hand, in the semi-finals of the League Cup against a united suddenly prioritising that competition and facing Scunthorpe in the next round of the FA Cup. Without the distraction of European competition, opportunities knock for 'Mancio's Mercenaries.'
We've seen reduced admission prices at Eastlands, vast improvements to the match day experience, kids for a quid initiatives and superb retro kits at low prices released. We've seen a club ownership promoting the development of independent fan's websites whilst actively building links with the fans at regular fans forums and with the Manchester community.
10 years on from our third division nightmare, City fans have begun to thoroughly enjoy ourselves.
But. Along come financial results and confusion begins to reign. The majority of hacks pile out of the bars foretelling the beginning of the end for City. Those with a persuasion towards Alex Ferguson arslikhan leap upon the announced loss in a bid to deflect the spotlight from the rags perilous finanicial state, pathetically backing Taggart's claim that he isn't spending because he doesn't want to.
Yet. There are also a number of scribes typing that City are well set up and almost debt free. It certainly looks that way when you try to make sense of the figures.
I've always been more 4-4-2 than CAC 40 and I know many other Blues think the same way so this makes it all the more confusing to be reminded that UEFA President Michel Platini, ever silent when protecting the interests of certain European footballing giants, is threatening serious consequences for the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea unless they get their financial houses in order to his liking.
Now this comes in the same week during which revelations came to light that the rags, £700 million in debt, are after trying to arrange the mother of IOU's to reduce rocketing interest on the hedge funded debt the Glazer's lumbered them with.
Meanwile this morning, The Grauniad revealed that an Arsenal oligarch 'values the club and its debt at a staggering £900m.' Liverpool are floating somewhere further along shit creek.
I'm nothing more than a football fan and I just cannot understand how Platini can pick and choose his targets at will with so much debt swamping major clubs. The one common denominator we of course do see with Platini is that his sights are usually fixed upon his detested view of the Premier League.
From a purely footballing perspective, the first half of this Premier League season has seen some tremendous action and results. The superb efforts of City, Villa, Spurs and Birmingham have led the way in showing the rest of the league, who to their credit have also stepped up their game, that 'The Big Four' are no longer invincible. It would be a great shame were the first exciting Premier League season we've witnessed in years, leading into a World Cup that an England side could seriously win become lost in a sea of financial mayhem, but that looks to be the way it's going. From where I am sat no top flight club is beyond reproach as lower league sides struggle to exist, nevermind Portsmouth. All we can ask for right now is some consistency from the game's governing bodies while the debts pile up.
As for liddle ciddy, and our dare to be big?
We've been getting plenty of reminders today that Chelsea were already an established financial and footballing force before the roubles rolled into the King's Road. City are starting from scratch, it says here.
If so, then if The Blues go on to achieve something this season, then our delight at such an incredible footballing turnaround being completed in our lifetimes will be all the sweeter.
We're Not Really Here.
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Date:Thursday January 7 2010
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