Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Tuesday March 6 2007
The damning facts continue to pile up against Stuart Pearce and his Manchester City squad. During his increasingly painful tenure as manager a paltry 89 points have been scrambled out of a possible 222 by The Dubai Boys and their predecessors. It is absolutely stunning that we have reached this stage of one of the most financially important seasons in Premier League/Ship history and he somehow retains his post.
The majority of us have been speculating for months that something has to be seriously wrong inside Eastlands and our worst fears are being realised with every half arsed, demotivated and embarrassing rollover by Pearce's p*sspoor team. The clueless, confused zombie like state of recent performances has only served to increase the fear of impending relegation amongst all Blues.
The doubts were always there that he might not be experienced enough when Pearce was offered the post after the City (Let's get out of Dodge as soon as we can) board had insisted upon a temporary wait and see period up to his appointment. Many of us accepted that and desperately wanted him to succeed. There is no doubt that he came across as a likeable, admirable and honest figure. His post match comments were a breath of fresh air when you consider press hack nemesises Arsehole Whinger, Moaninho and Taggart's hissy fits. But as time, results and that outrageous farce of the Blunder 21 job caught up with him he began to appear arrogant and disinterested. Constantly relying upon soundbites to explain away the latest non performances.
There is a school of thought out there that if Pearce's team of mercenaries and Jim Cassell's prodigies can somehow scrape to safety and continue to grind out results in the unpredictability of the FA Cup that Johnny Three Lions will either be retained on the back of cup "success" or be allowed to depart amicably to England and the FA without a blemish against his managerial record. Neither scenario should be accepted. Certainly Pearce should never be allowed near any transfer money which is begged, stolen or borrowed this summer based on his abysmal purchases and lower league ignorance to date.
I've directed blame at many of our senior players and backroom staff this season and cheered the departures of certain individuals who did little or nothing for us, but another pattern is emerging. Cole and James couldn't get away quick enough before this agonising season started. Reyna went stateside as soon as he could. Sibierski has publicly questioned the manager's failings. Corradi has been sounding off in Rome about being crappily treated. Sun Jihai is moaning that he isn't happy in England. Flowers and Bunn prefer Coventry to Manchester City. Now we hear that Distin is to open talks with Fulham with his current employers facing a relegation dogfight. Worst of all, the proven Swedish International goalkeeper Abba Isaakson is almost constantly overlooked.
If you look closer, you see other patterns emerging, this time with our younger players. Samaras has now lost all confidence and looks like a basketball player on LSD. Abdoun, the cheeky French lad gets a 3 minute run out, then gets dropped. Sturridge inexplicably gets a four minute run out when the game is long lost against Wigan following his 15 minutes against Reading. Ishmael Miller offers more threat than Corradi, Dickov and Samaras put together but never gets to lead the line. Another youngster learning his trade, Ireland, has also come in for questionable tactically naive treatment masquerading as an established squad rotation policy. He is then suddenly relied upon to pull the strings in an over-run midfield. What signals does Pearce send out to these lads? Er, Trevor Brooking, if you're reading this, hardly young talent nurturing stuff, is it?
Another relentless aspect of this season is that we have a whole host of players outside of the unfortunate Nedum Onouha that cry off injured with alarming regularity described as tweaks and twinges by Pearce. That's not in the Roaring England lion script is it?
There are other developments that deepen the concern of all Blues. Remember the debacle he oversaw at Southampton. Is it any surprise that the appointment as First Team coach of Pearce's sidekick the hapless Steve Wigley (whose own backdoor arrival came after ousting City legend Asa Hartford from his successful reserves leadership) has coincided with a quickening downward spiral in form, tactics and morale?
Throughout all this mayhem, a few special mentions are in order. Surely Jim Cassell should be given some sort of honorary president status by the club in recognition of his tremendous efforts in all but preserving our team's top flight status for so long.
Let's not forget the City board when weighing up the whole shambles. It was they who allegedly pushed for Mad Kev's Fowlergate signing that saw off David Bernstein, a man widely respected by all Blues. They oversaw the stumbling appointment of Pearce when KK's entertaining flame of passion finally blew out. They also sanctioned the signings of poor Samaras, those other barrel scraping mercenary transfers and the ridiculous high wage policy that are making us a laughing stock after our amazing fightback to the top flight saw us respected again. City increasingly resemble a rudderless footballing circus. Are we going to allow Distin to talk to Fulham? If the story is true, he should be dropped immediately. Also, why was Alex Gibson left to field questions on Channel M as to Frank Bunn's whereabouts?
A lot of hard work achieved at Manchester City in previous seasons is at risk of being completely undone and no amount of court jester touchline screaming, gesticulating at everything that moves, roll our sleeves up, stand up and be counted, take a long look at ourselves, have to be more hard nosed, cuter, bollox is acceptable anymore. Nor will it dig us out of this hole. Passion and enthusiasm can only take you so far in a league where there is no margin for error. We all know that we need proven experience, sound tactics, clear playing systems, intensive training and above everything else, leadership. The likes of Rijkaard, Scolari and Ranieri could be obtained by a credible, secure club this summer but there is a clear and present danger that club would not be Manchester City.
There is a potential nightmare scenario looming for Manchester City supporters and we are all acutely aware of what that could entail on 5th May and what that would mean to us. Our problem right now is that the players representing us evidently have no idea what it means to represent Manchester City and are "led" by a manager whose ambitions obviously lie elsewhere.
We need some urgency, some direction and fast.
Date:Tuesday March 6 2007
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