News and Views
Today's papers and indeed Sunday Supplements abound with news and views about what is happening in and around Manchester City.
First off I'm delighted to report that my prediction that 'The Equaliser', Howard Webb, would be appointed referee for the derby was incorrect. The appointment has gone to Evertonian , Chris Foy, another of the ex-old bill fraternity, known to be the victim of a Ferguson tongue lashing after SAF considered he should have sent off Ballack for elbowing Evra in .....the Community Shield in 2009.
Yesterday, Foy warmed up by presiding over Bolton v Spurs and the scribes were not best pleased with him, saying he got all the big decisions wrong. Either way it was a great second half with goals flying in left, right and centre.
As for Stretford's finest, it grieves me to say that they did it again. In a match where most particpants would have settled for not losing, they dredged up one last effort and an unsung hero for them scored with an unlikely finish. They effectively scored in stoppage time in both halves, something that City would do well to learn.
So as the derby pokes its head above the parapet like a giraffe in the Serengeti, we need to beat the Baggies today and then focus on 'the Big One'.
I notice that one morning paper sees us fancying Mr Mourinho as our next manager. Since steering unfashionable FC Porto to great heights (including the worst match I have ever seen when they beat Malaga in the UEFA Semi-Final, whatever year that was)and then working some sort of wonders in West London, he has made no secret of the fact that he has now moved on to what he considers to be 'iconic' football clubs and winning the Champions League with each of them. He has started this with Inter Milan and has now moved on to Real Madrid, unbeaten in any competition this season. He has also made it abundantly clear that he might fancy what could turn out to be the thankless task of following Ferguson, when he retires. If Madrid does win the Champions League this year he will have managed three different Clubs to the CL title.
How it must have come as a fright to the Glazers to find City in the hunt. Not necessarily because he would come to City, but against the background of us helping jack the price for Berbatov up to £31million, when they though they could get him for half that, and the newspapers sale of Rooney to City forcing them to double his wages to keep him, he we are again saying we want their next manager.
Whereas those on Sunday Supplement this morning stated that if Mourinho came to City it would only be for the money, do they honestly think he is a charity and that if he did end up at Old Trafford, he would work for nothing? No, sir. And the problem is that by City declaring some sort of hand, the Stretford financiers will be gritting their teeth preparing for another drain on the debt.
The Exit Door is getting oiled and prepared for January according to most periodicals today and I think that will be a necessity. On Thursday in Poland we saw many purchases of previous managers not really up for it and I believe that some of these will be heading out of Rowsley Street in the New Year to try their luck elsewhere, although some will stick around purely for what they are getting paid.
My favourite bug bear Richards did not help his cause by telling the world that it is ok to party in some sort of moderation. Micah you are not there to party, you are there to learn your trade, become a better footballer and help City win something. You can party all you like after that and from age 35 onwards.
I do see SWP, Bridge and possibly Lescott looking nervously towards Gate 11, with one or two others notably Given becoming loan rangers possibly on a sale-or-return basis.
Wednesday, for Mancini is about getting his purchases on the field together with the stalwarts such as Kompany, de Jong and Tevez who do play for their reputations. It is about getting into red faces, being combative in midfield, defending robustly for 96 minutes and taking the chances that will inevitably come against a defence that has switched off a couple of times this season. It is about not being tricked by Acapulco-man, Nani, and watching the runs from midfield by the likes of Scholes.. It is about concentration and for that alone it needs to be either Boateng or Zabaleta at right back.
Ferguson will be forced to use Scholes and Giggs both of which move the ball quicker than their legs will these days carry them and we must learn to make the most of this and cut off the supply to them.
No doubt they will sit hatchett-man Fletcher on Silva and he will chop him down all night without the sniff of a yellow card, but whereas Nigel might be able to breathe more easily in the absence of 'the Equaliser', cops do stick together, and he will have to be aware of the dangers of shoulder charging Scholes!
Roll on today, roll on Wednesday. It could be make or break.