Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Thursday October 7 2010
Place your bets. There's a degree of mystery and subterfuge knocking about the corridors of Eastlands and it needs weeding out fast in order for the club to progress...
Numerous City managers and directors down the years, most notably across the past three difficult decades have referred to fifth columnists within the club (most notably at Maine Road until of late) who seem hellbent on undermining the stability of the running of the club, most damaging of which is to the playing side.
Without a shadow of a doubt, over the last three years incidences of City training ground and dressing room bust ups that happen weekly at football clubs the length and breadth of England increasingly find there way into the hands of drooling hacks only too happy to bag an exclusive.
Gone are the days of cameras being invited into dressing rooms and training grounds the way that City boldly did in 1981 for a fascinating documentary that followed the club through the cash splashing return of Malcolm Allison and his demise in favour of John Bond, so any news of in house disharmony is gold dust to any scribe, particular those who are desperate to see the new financial powerhouse that is Manchester City fall.
Rarely if ever do we hear of trouble inside top European clubs inner sanctums, but at Manchester City, detailed accounts of clashes at Carrington and inside Eastlands repeatedly appear. Many Blues have previously turned a blind eye but of late have become more and more concerned that somebody close to the team is dishing dirt out for fun and it needs to stop.
Why? Put simply, in this correspondent's eyes reports of clashes at work, which is what these amount to, threaten to seriously distract from the aim of making a club that only 11 years ago was mired in the third tier of English football, a success story again. It cannot possibly be good for team harmony to have these events trolled out in the news and then heavily analysed ad nauseam. Very often it transpires that the stories are deeply embellished.
Mark Hughes' authority was undermined repeatedly from an unknown quarter and this year under Roberto Mancini's reign, someone is clearly up to no good, but who is it? Somebody who works at Carrington? Somebody with loyalty to Mark Hughes or a particular player, or somebody with interests elsewhere?
Players. Now there's a serious topic. To audible groans across Planet Blue we are regularly treated to individual interviews with Manchester City players. The vast majority of which talk about themselves with very little reference to their ambitions with the club itself. In truth, City are unique in the amount and frequency of these offloads. Look outside the city walls and you'll see that Sir Alex Taggart keeps a fierce grip upon his players interviews and what they say. Probably the only one of his attitudes that I have respect for.
Only yesterday, City employee and Cardiff resident Craig Bellamy, credibility waning with every soundbite, decided to draw attention to himself by droaning on about an alleged thwarted plot by the rags to sign him, referring to "panic" from a City hierarchy intent upon stopping him signing for a rival, even if it's a neighbour desperately short of cash.
Maybe it is a player who is the 'City source' or 'club insider.' The club is not at all unique in having star players unhappy with benchwarming.
The latest reported trouble at the Eastlands mill was widely documented as being between Mancio and his captain Carlos Tevez at half time against Newcastle last weekend. The story held weight as the City boss confirmed from Italy where he is with his gravely ill father:
'What happened happens in our dressing room as well as in others. And when it matters it's good that it happens. Against Newcastle, we slept in the first-half, and the confrontation with Tevez was the alarm call everybody needed. The confrontation with Tevez was a 'con le palle' - really ballsy. And in the second half we deservedly won. The alarm call worked well...We sorted everything between us before the restart. When I took him off at the end we shook hands.'
Whatever anybody says it is not good at all for the club's manager to be having to clarify a dressing room argument.
Mancio is a reknowned hardliner who has already shown English football that he doesn't suffer prima donna's gladly, yet his patience is sure to be seriously tested should the Eastlands leaks continue.
The dreadful majority of English hacks who form part of one of the world's worst press packs are thriving upon leaks from within Manchester City. The focus right now when we clearly have a squad capable of achieving success crucially needs to be upon the football because as things stand the situation is threatening to lapse into a media circus. Enough is enough when yesterday hacks began referring to City as "a soap opera."
So this Blue is calling upon Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Garry Cook, Brian Marwood and Vicky Kloss to get the City mole or moles rooted out and booted out. We have NOT arrived yet, have won nothing yet and will not do so with wasters intent upon sinking the ship on City's badge on board.
And while you are at it, let's have a player interview embargo for the rest of the season.
I'm off now to throw a bucket or two at Tudor, eighthsin and the rest of the lads.
Date:Thursday October 7 2010
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