Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Sunday February 4 2007
The icy fog that swirled around the stadium on saturday evening only served to enhance the sense of confusion, disbelief and justifiable anger amongst the loyal Blues trudging out into the night after enduring yet another abysmal team performance. It was spineless.
It's time to cut the crap at MCFC. We are witnessing a club that is once again hovering on the brink of going into freefall, but this time the stakes are much higher than ever before.
We see a team that is clinging to Premiership status propped up by it's current crop of Academy stars and two overworked central defenders.
Following 'six' goals conceded in two home league games, we listen to an utterly deluded manager bemoaning wasted opportunities and wasted scouting trips when a public apology is the least thing that should be offered for serving up some of the most pathetically naiive football seen at Manchester City since the Alan Ball nightmare. At best he appears foolish, at worst he's bordering on ignorance. We are far from safe in this league with some nasty fixtures on the horizon. From what I saw yesterday a few pastings are coming up.
Following the widely reported desperate events of 31st January we also know that the board and management team were pressing the panic button repeatedly to bring in new players. These undenied reports bring nothing but embarrassment to the great name of Manchester City FC.
Back on the pitch, the message is clear to any team coming to Eastlands. Stay well organised and keep it tight initially. Let the City team huff and puff and burn themselves out in an amateurish and at times bordering on desperate way and then gradually assert yourselves over the City midfield as their ideas dry up. The chances will then come as the home support's vain attempts to raise the roof and will the ball into the net begin to subside with every woefully underhit pass or poorly taken throw in.
Above all else we must remind ourselves now that this is very much Stuart Pearce's Manchester City team. From the outset it was clear that there is a collective lack of belief out there and nobody seems to know what system we are playing, let alone how to link up attacking play. Come to think of it, what 'system' ARE we playing these days???!!! Dabo, Beasley, Trabelsi and Samaras were nothing short of absolutely dreadful. Hamman managed to at least reach other players but that was about it. Can there be a more damning testimony to Corradi's standing that a teenage substitute is screamed for ahead of him 15 minutes before the end of the game? Curiously, England new boys Barton and Richards didn't seem to be giving it the usual 100% yet Vassell continued to try his heart out for the cause. Ireland strived but ultimately fizzled out. As for poor Distin and Dunne, their slumped shoulders and battered demeanour as the goals rattled in spoke volumes. Abba Isaksson meanwhile could have done nothing with those classy finishes.
Taking a step back from this painful analysis I question the desire to keep going, the fitness and training of this squad as yet again the opposition looked stronger and fitter.
We regrouped afterwards in town and discussed the potential nightmare scenario we face as our club remains in the hands of the current regime who show no urgency for the crisis we are in danger of shifting into. If we are relegated or if we manage to stay up, we will almost certainly lose our star players to fund new signings. The MCFC Academy is not a bottomless pit of talent and a squad with such poor strength in depth cannot rely upon it forever as booms in talent are cyclical.
Finally, I have to go on to direct a question at Trevor Brooking and the Football Association. What exactly is it that you have seen at Manchester City that means you would entrust the England U21 team into the hands of the likes of Stuart Pearce and Steve Wigley? I can assure you all that the patriotic, admirable, man of honour and passion spin has run it's course with the vast majority of Manchester City supporters.
(With respect to the brilliant Easterhouse).
Date:Sunday February 4 2007
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