Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Friday January 26 2007
This month remains far too quiet on the positive front at Manchester City FC and surely something has to give before the end of January.
The first issue that faces us now is the position of our manager and his assistant. SP remains a loyal, admirable and patriotic character with the backing of the majority of Blues, but surely a decision to take on the England U21 role, as well as his efforts to build something at City on a shoestring budget whilst continuing his apparant role as Chief Scout would be madness this early in his management career. I cannot see how this would benefit us and I am concerned how this development will affect a seemingly already easily distracted first team. Answers on a postcard if you can see the club's position in the Premier League improve with SP taking on a dual/triple role. I know there are Blues out there who would like to see SP take the England U21 manager's role with grace and take Wiggers with him in the hope that we can get back to playing Manchester City flare football. The trouble is if that were to happen right now we would be greatly destabilised and just don't have the players or gaffers available out there to realise those dreams.
On the subject of scouting yet again, what's the story, City? The glaring facts are that we have been woefully unable to bring creativity and proven quality to our stumbling squad during this transfer window with only days remaining while the likes of Aston Villa sign Norwegian powerhouse John Carew. Wait until you see some of the defence flattening runs he can put in. Wigan Athletic have made four new signings, Sheffield United, five.
Meanwhile, we've offloaded Ben Thatcher and Claudio Strainer following last summer's clearout as well as loaned out some younger players for experience. All contribute to reducing that wage bill. No matter how effective those players were, you have to ask how much the moves weaken the depth of our squad. The sole loan of Djamel Abdoun hardly reassures this concern. We should be bolstering the squad for a late UEFA push rather than preparing to limp to Premier League safety which recent and current form suggest we will.
Following the alledged 'Egyptian Anelka' Mido rumours, we are linked with 'mystery' strikers. I only hope they don't turn out to be the player versions of those mystery investors. Please prove me wrong SP!
Back at the club itself, the word around Eastlands is that Le Coq Sportif are lined up to return to making City's kits and replace Reebok next season. Already this season's shirt prices have been reduced and it's "Buy one get one free" at the City Store this weekend. So what's all that about, then? If true, this smacks of screwing the loyal fans with new kits all round again. What price another third kit? Guaranteed income from the fed up loyal masses. Can they test the fans patience and loyalty much further? Will we be consulted for the style of kits and traditional colours they know we want? On the evidence of recent non Manchester City efforts, no chance.
On the even bigger picture, I welcome the appointment of football traditionalist Michel Platini as UEFA President. Not only does he promise to revamp the Champions League monster but it is said in France that he would push for clubs to select at least six home grown nationalities in their starting eleven for each match. That could only be beneficial to top flight league competition as well as strengthen international squads.
Date:Friday January 26 2007
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