City Fans Cop The Flack But Who's To Blame?
Music maestro and Vital Manchester City regular, Roy Harper sent us the following.
There's an idea floating about that Robinho could go to Inter in a straight swap deal for Balotelli. I thought that it'd be a good idea about two weeks ago, but then I remembered the racial abuse thing at Inter.
It might be out of the frying pan into the fire for Robinho to go there. Potentially dangerous for the 'career' of one so sensitive.
Lots of unanswered questions
There are the wages too. It doesn't seem to me like he'd want to take that much risk. Not even if we offered them a straight swap plus a few £million for his wages. Inter would want to bite our hand off, of course, but would he want to go?...If he thought about it.
And how good/bad IS Balotelli? It's so contentious I don't think it can happen. It has to be separate deals even if Inter want him, otherwise it's just clogging the movement of players in this window. But things have moved on again.
I notice that in the last few days that 'we', the fans of MCFC are under the national cosh again over the unresolved matter between Robinho and Manchester proper. A lot of us see the damage he's causing by still being 'owned' by us. Some want to keep him. HE clearly doesn't want to be here. We don't really think the management wants him to be here. Santos, Brazil and Abu Dhabi probably don't want him to be here. Most of the fans who knew about him at the time wouldn't have paid really serious money for him either. Certainly I wasn't enthusiastic. So, MCFC fans cop the flack, but who's really to blame?
Sparky's puzzled look
Well, the management at City didn't buy him. I remember clearly the puzzled look Mark Hughes gave to the cameras when he and Robinho met at the airport. The 'declaration of intent'/marquee signing was actually a forgivably tasteless move made by a stupidly rich young man who is probably now just beginning to learn that, in reality, the world works in a slightly different way.
The depth of your wallet can often determine how good looking the woman on your arm is. The breadth of the wallet may also determine whether she wants to keep you or not. If she doesn't, and you've stupidly signed a long contract with her, without even having her on your arm in the first place, then you have to hope that one of your equally rich acquaintances can take her off your hands (arm). Not necessarily because you can't afford her, but because you can't be seen to be so openly profligate.
Wastefulness in itself is un-businesslike and invites not only loss of face, but justified criticism. No matter whether you can afford it or not you become a world-renowned flash basket.
If your aim in life is to become football's version of Simon Cowell, then great. But if you're carrying the hopes and aspirations of a community football club with over a century of pedigree to its credit, then some in that community will begin to doubt yours.
Few idiot fan websites
The few idiot fans won't know the difference. They'll build web pages with titles like "We've got Moronho". Meanwhile, back at the ranch, ALL the fans are tarred with the same tasteless brush. And are despised and lampooned by other fans. So, are the City fans to blame? Especially for supporting a team they've supported since before the rich young owner was born?
Well, they only acquire blame by becoming acquiescent to everything the young owner does. If they have a voice, or care to acquire one, then there's at least a chance that they will be able to convey something of the original spirit of the club to the Executive (board), AND, to the greater football community.
If they don't wish to acquire a voice, then by default, they agree that their club is a complete autonomy, the only practical operation of which is to dictate from the top down. That there is no voice except that of the owner and his hired hands. That, in effect, Manchester City Football Club has nothing to do with the people who follow it or the collective character and will of their locality at all. It might as well be North Korea FC or Portsmouth FC, (but profoundly not FC Barcelona).
Should the MCFC Board speak for us?
So, there's a couple of questions to ask. Do we think that it's right that the MCFC owner and board speak for us in every instance? Can we be fairly represented by independent outlets such as media news pages and fanzines? 'The noisy neighbours' have a green and yellow protest going at present, and Liverpool have had an ongoing 'Yanks Out' campaign.
Are we all so dutifully ambivalent that we would never presume to have an alternative voice to the one being fed from on high to the Daily Drivel, and regurgitated in a long series of defamatory 'Moneybags' and 'Big Spenders' articles? Or don't we give a shirt? Just so long as the game's followed by a keg of Bud and some god-awful Dorothy being slagged off on the Y-Factor for having visible dog breath.
Is the answer to form a supporters club that's independent enough to be able to be publicly critical of the board? (It would have to have access beyond that which an autocracy would normally grant). Is there a way of doing that through the council planning dept?
An information for permission type of exchange, where each keeps the other aware of their dealings, with a certain amount of information being accessible to responsible people. Or is the danger represented by fifth columnists a non-starter in the Gulf? Or don't you think you could, or should, ever attempt to rock any boat you're a virtual passenger on?
If you don't think you should ever rock any boat, then be prepared to listen to stuff like this...'City fans, I know you've got money coming out your ears...' (Football Spy 5/8/10) for the rest of your lives.
Robinho + £10M to Inter or Balotelli?
Finally, is the fantasy of being rich worth being the most reviled fans in history? The management may save us from this acrimony by refusing Balotelli and the rest, or by negotiating on a fiscally feasible level. And by adopting a market-indexed yearly budget for all transfers, (excepting fees paid for the world's top ten players), with wage bonuses based on performance criteria.
Perhaps we do have a couple of windows yet before some of us are obliged to try to find a way of voicing something other than complete approval of MCFC Ltd. Some have already voted, with their feet, in all directions, to and from.
Robinho + £10M to Inter for Balotelli; a distant maybe, but Diego Forlan to City! Wow! Now you're talking. A great season would be assured, as would be my presence in east Manchester. What a player!! A one man team, even if he's in the last couple of years of his career. Which reminds me.. I don't care whether we come 4th or 10th, just as long as the games are inspiring.