The Pre-Season Marches On At The Etihad
Another week closer to the start of the season and another week of extreme interest closes.
City has signed Sergio Aguero,an amazing footballer in a record deal alleged to be worth in total around £90m.
This should not have come as a surprise to the hacks. They have long called City 'moneybags' and with the levels of backing behind the Club it is clear that some of the world's best footballers will head City's way.
What it has done is start off another round of green-eyed negativity designed to put pressure on the Manager, Roberto Mancini.
Last season not only did Mancini endure almost abuse from certain areas of the press, where they jumped on every nuance of deliberately misinterpreted 'unrest' at the Club, decided he couldn't control 'wayward highly paid stars', had 'lost it' when a series of results went against City in the early part of the year and was under pressure and set for the sack at almost every turn.
I did not recall too many articles in May telling the world that against all of the odds stated above, Roberto Mancini directed this wayward bunch of cowboy mercenaries, who were unable to play together as a unit to City's first trophy in 35 years and to third place in the Premier League which ensured engagement in the group stages of the Champions League.
Even to this day the only route they seem to go down is based upon the Club's expenditure. I have long contested that the (at the time) established Top Four already had their bridgeheads in place due to their long established success which was pretty well unopposed for a number of years.
City's 'bridgehead' was borne out of a different structure and clearly at that time, whilst in line with the principles that City fans love, it wasn't good enough.
This was recognised when the current owners took over and the immediate determination was to create that launching pad. It was the more modest buys that laid this foundation and in particular Nigel de Jong and Vincent Kompany. What we are seeing now is City moving to the next level. We are seeing the value of the attraction amongst the game's elite of achieving Champions League football and more importantly the undisputed fact that Manchester City can afford to kick on.
One writer in the Sun this morning insists 'It is time for Mancini to deliver'.
Well Mr Howard, I suggest to you that he has already delivered as stated above. What you really meant to say is that he must now take City to the next level. Do you not think that with the acquisition of Aguero, Savic and Clichy he is gearing up to achieve simply that?
TalkRubbish yesterday insisted that he was under enormous pressure after his latest bout of spending to deliver the Premier League, Champions League, the NFL Superbowl and the Space Shuttle. No, he is not.
Articles like this demonstrate a lack of understanding as to what exactly is going on at the Etihad Campus. The owners are not building a short-stay football club that wins a few things and then they clear off. They have at their fingertips in North East Manchester the foundations of a footballing giant in the mould of Real Madrid. A football dynasty that is real and real-time funded.
We have seen the quality of their propostion not only in terms of the Football Club but also in the community in and around Eastlands which is not dissimilar to what goes in to the north of Madrid. We like what you've got...ours will be better.
To enhance all of this the product on the football field is central to the overall and this is where the spending policy kicks in. There is no doubt that the on-field product is stratospheric compared to what we have seen before. Instead of having lone-rangers such as Robinho we have a collection of excellent footballers who do play to a system and as a team. We have a propostion that is acceptable and wanted now by even better players and it is not simply driven by what heads into their pockets each week.
Yes, there are people here who are here for the money. That is best demonstrated by the fact that we can't readily offload them, but their contracts do come to an end and they are then offloaded by default. Furthermore, they won't have played any meaningful football for a while and won't be able to emulate a fraction of their City contracts elsewhere. That is why they should move on now at reduced salaries, whilst they can still command something.
But the Club marches on. A procession of Stretford's finest, past and present, making comments like 'City will never be as big as United' are fine because they have a head start. We start as the Oscar Pistorius to their unencumbered runner. But as Oscar's day is coming, so is City's and the world's press instead of worrying whether they are in or out with Ferguson will have to get used to the idea that City will be the team going forward who will contest football's greatest club challenges and in the light of UEFA and it's financial fair play, may well pave the way for a new direction in European football which will make the bleatings of Platini unenforceable and unimportant.
With Giggs, last year and so far Beckham and Evra this year, as well as certain concessions by Ferguson, there is some nervous recognition along Chester Road.
It is good to see other youngsters hunting for work in other areas. Michael Johnson faces a make or break time along with Sven at Leicester. Trippier and Mee are also out on loan to improve their prospects and Donal McDermott too has moved on.
Yes we have lost Shay Given but that had to be expected anyway. He is still good enough to play Premier League football, albeit with Aston Villa.
Adam Johnson is another story. Seemingly disgruntled at the perceived lack of first team potential, Chelsea want to buy him and others fancy a season-long loan.
When Johnson joined us he was full of potential and exactly the type of line-hugging, full-back beating winger that City fans love. He isn't blind to the type of footballer that is entering the Etihad Campus now and the fact that that some are world-class. Mancini has delivered for Adam Johnson. He has turned a Middlesbrough player into an established international footballer who has scored goals for his nation and if fit is an automatic squad choice. What Johnson needs to do now is exactly what Richards has done. Don't sit there saying 'I can't get into the team, sob, sob', roll up your sleeves, look at David Silva, look at Sergio Aguero, look at Nigel de Jong and Vincent Kompany and ask yourself...why are they automatically selected? The answer is simple.. they are the best at what they do. Adam, that is where your destination needs to lie. Make it happen, the fans would love it.
So whereas some of the scribing world seem intent to continue to run City down, what we see in the real world is a Club that is going places and will not stop and look over it's shoulder. An enterprise that has looked at the world's best and want our product to be better. A juggernaut that has precisely what it takes to achieve it all.
We will be what Barcelona is now 'Mes que un Club'. Not only that I am convinced that the next English team to win the Champions League will be ....Manchester City!!