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The Bumper Bundle of City Slurs: The Journalist Files (Part 2)

April 15, 2014

In Part two of City Slurs: The Journalist Files, it’s time to look at more recent years. City had re-educated many a journalist over the first couple of years of the Mansour reign, but there were still plenty of dissenters.

A good source was always the Sunday Supplement, a relaxed forum for croissant-eating ill-informed opinion and general prejudice. One episode in particular stands out:
(don’t click on the link, it will only give you indigestion:

In it, moral arbiters and Chelsea supporters Rob “Jose’s my bessie mate” Beasley and Paul “Dracula” Smith went to town on classless City.
Smith: “£220 grand a week for Yaya Toure? . Someone must be out of their mind there. The thing is about Manchester City is…that whole structure there is an absolute load of nonsense.”
Beasley: “They’ve got so much money, but morally they are bankrupt,” said the Chelsea supporter.
Chelsea supporter Smith: “They’ve got a manager who is clearly arrogant in his’s a typical example of a club who think they can go and buy success. You wouldn’t have Mourinho, a good manager, doing this, buying left, right and centre,” added the Chelsea supporter.
“I don’t think they’ll win anything under Mancini,” added the Chelsea supporter Smith.
Chelsea supporter Beasley then added: “They’re the richest club in the world, but for me they are morally bankrupt. Any man who brings in the new manager, and sits him in the stand, while they’ve still got a manager, and any manager who agrees to that, to sit in the stands while they’ve still got a manager, knowing he’s going to be unveiled after the match, it’s just moral bankruptcy.”
“And I hope City pay the price,” said the Chelsea supporter, “I’ve used this word two or three times – about DIGNITY,” said the Chelsea supporter.
“There’s no dignity there..the posters they put’s not dignified,” added Chelsea supporter Beasley.
“They’ve got loads of cash, but no class, I hope it all implodes.” added Chelsea-supporting Beasley.
“Where is the structure there?” asked Smith
“There isn’t,” says Brian Woolnough.
Beasley added (Chelsea supporter): “Hughes knows he’s up there..I mean, if that had been most people they’d have gone ‘you can stick your job’..Hughes must have been absolutely fuming…”
“Football wants Fulham to win,” added the Chelsea supporting Beasley.

Beasley was forced to apologise live on the show the next time he appeared for claiming that Roberto Mancini was in the stands during Mark Hughes’ last game as City manager. Rob skilfully worked his apology to be under 5 seconds long.

Speaking of which, there was great criticism for City’s owners at the disgraceful way they got rid of such a bright, promising young manager in Mark Hughes, who has since gone on to distinguish himself globally at various clubs. This prompted the Manchester Evening News’ Pete Spencer to ask the questions none of us were asking, the best few of which are listed below:

Pete Spencer’s 12 Questions To Garry Cook.

6: IF Mancini doesn’t do as well as Hughes – and his appointment is a huge gamble as he has never worked as a manager in this country – will he go at the end of the season? Is he really a stop-gap until there is a better chance of landing Mourinho?

7: ON reflection was it a mistake to sell Richard Dunne to aspiring rivals Villa? I accept hindsight is a great thing but his replacements have hardly been on top of their game and, while I’m on this, how close were City – truthfully – to signing John Terry?

11: YOU want City to be a brand as well as a football club don’t you? Well that brand is tarnished now so what can you do about it?

12: AND finally, the relationship that you have done so well to develop with the most important people of all, i.e. the fans, is now strained. What are you going to do to address this?

He had nothing on Michael Calvin though, who got a bit giddy after FCUM defeated Rochdale in the FA Cup.

By Michael Calvin

His Highness, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, wooed the wrong noisy neighbour.
Instead of blowing £1billion on Manchester City, he should have donated £1million to FC United.
He wouldn’t have been able to shape a club owned by the fans, for the fans.
But, for a relative pittance, he would have become a folk hero.
He would have helped expose the hypocrisy of the Glazers, the unfair burden of leveraged debt.
In so doing, football’s richest man would have discovered what football is all about.
The empowerment of a community, rather than the enrichment of opportunists.
Faith, defiance, and the credibility of commitment.
Passion, unprocessed and deliciously unrefined.
Joy, rather than empty rhetoric, and massaged opinion.
You don’t need advertising copywriters and simpering apologists to make a statement of intent.
Alienated Manchester United fans did that, when they formed a football club to give a human dimension to a protest movement.
Equally, the League pyramid cannot adequately measure the difference between City and FC United.
On paper it is seven Divisions. In essence the clubs are separated by a chasm, which separates constructive outrage and graceless vulgarity.
I defy anyone to watch a re-run of FC United’s FA Cup win at Rochdale without a smile. Players were stripped to homemade Superman underpants by euphoric fans.
They cavorted for the cameras in the dressing room, and promised not to turn up for work on Monday.
Their manager was wide eyed, and about to be legless. “We’ll have a couple of sherberts, here and there” he promised.
I’ll take Karl Marginson, before Roberto Mancini, any day of the week.
The FC United boss does need a personal website that is beyond parody.“Roberto Mancini,” it croons. “The football. The class. The champion.”
Strange how it didn’t mention the cautious coach, the closet politician, and the cry baby.
Marginson used to be a milkman, reliant on boot money from the likes of Salford City and Bacup Borough.
You wouldn’t catch him posing for soft-focus photos, like a 10th-rate George Clooney.
Blue Moon Rising?
I prefer the red flares of class warriors, which illuminated Spotland’s Willbutts Lane Stand.
Money has siphoned innocence from football.
City’s purchasing power is intimidating, and intoxicating to outsiders.
I came across a caricature of a marketing executive late on Friday night.
He was worried my views would compromise his commercial relationship with Eastlands.
His type – swivel-eyed networkers who couldn’t spell the word integrity, let alone grasp its meaning – are everywhere.
I loathe what they represent, why they genuflect at the feet of the City hierarchy.
They are prepared to overlook the positive aspects of City’s problems.
Three successive defeats remind us that wealth is worthless, if used unwisely.
Briefings, and counter briefings, tell a cautionary tale of unchecked egos and unseemly ambition.
But, with apologies to the vast majority of City fans who will understand my disillusion, let’s light the bonfire of the vanities.
I hope Mancini crashes and burns.
I pray FC United realise their impossible dream, a third round tie at Old Trafford. And that someone, somewhere, has the courage to inform His Highness that he needs to act. Now!

Apropos of nothing, Mike too has his own website – check it out at This is ok though, as Mike has had a far more illustrious career than Roberto Mancini, as you are about to find out.
His biography reads:


I could go all corporate on you, and describe myself as an award-winning sportswriter who developed a significant secondary career in performance management, strategic communications and socially-responsive sports programming.

But, truth be told, I’m a hack, down to my scuffed trainers. I’ve been lucky, working in more than 80 countries, watching the great, and not-so great, events of world sport.

That’s propelled me the wrong way around the planet, as a crew member on a global yacht race against prevailing winds and tides. It has pitched me into politically incorrect car rallies, around the Amazon basin and Arctic circle.

My Mum will tell you I’ve twice been named Sports Reporter of the Year, and have collected the Sportswriter and Sports Journalist of the Year award. I’ve featured at the British Press awards on seven occasions, and been honoured for my coverage of sport for the disabled.

Back to City though.

Mario Balotelli was back in the news as he grappled with manager Roberto Mancini in training. It made headline news, but no one really cared any more. Wild speculation ensued that Balotelli’s time at the club was over, and that Mancini was losing the plot. For once the speculation was right. Balotelli exited first to Milan and not surprisingly ended the year back on sale.

One Daily Mail commenter had strong views on the matter:

So the Arab ‘benefactors’ have brought shame and pity to football, an unflattering, unprofessional, nasty, pantomime, an embarrassing antics roadshow to Manchester.
Whatever words we chose, it’s just not right. Like all human endeavour, sport should earn its awards through striving, consistency and dedication over a period of time. Sugardaddy demands for immediate, unearned purchase of success, brings nothing but embarrassment, shame and yes pity to a small but once decent club like City.

Last season though, the club did something unspeakably bad. Something so appalling, so pathetic, so cowardly, that they deserved all the criticism that came their way.
What did they do I hear you ask? Change the club name? Change the kit colour? Move the stadium to a new town? No, much worse than any of that. They failed to retain their Premiership crown. Here’s what James Lawton thought of it all over at The Independent:

Has the Premier League title ever been surrendered so pathetically?

In the long and not always glorious history of football there may have been more disgracefully gutless performances than the one put in by the champions of England at Southampton on Saturday. There may also have been a more bizarre series of utterances than those which came from the mouth of the man who carried the most direct responsibility, the Manchester City manager, Roberto Mancini, but if compelling comparisons are somewhat elusive there is one thing about which we can be certain.

It is that never before can such a miserable example of broken down professionalism, of abandoned self-respect and a total failure to deliver a sliver of value for money (the transfer value of City’s starters was approximately £206m, with substitutes James Milner, Aleksandar Kolarov and Maicon representing another £48m), have provoked less in the way of red-blooded outrage.
Another truth was much easier to grasp this last weekend. It is that City have become a parody of a club who might be anywhere near taking their place at the heart of European football.

Their dismissal from the Champions League was one shocking development. The tolerance of the Mario Balotelli situation was an affront to professional standards. The reinstatement of Tevez after his Munich mutiny was another compromise to make the flesh crawl.

When Gareth Barry scored his tragi-comic own goal at Southampton he displayed the body language of a zombie. It was also a reasonable way of defining the performance of most of his team-mates. It wasn’t a defeat. It was a submission. It was a terrible statement about what happens when a team is separated from any sense that it can still achieve its most basic ambitions.
For many, it was almost entirely the fault of players grossly overpaid and seriously under-motivated…..

To be fair, he was right about that Southampton performance….

To be honest, there was something EVEN WORSE that City had done prior to that – changed the name of their new ground. As sure as night following day or a Phil Jones gurn, Ollie Holt tweeted his disgust:

There are many ways in which the current owners of Manchester City have shown class. Renaming the stadium after a sponsor isn’t one of them.

I know part of the answer is FFP but if City have got so much cash, why do they have to sell a piece of their soul for stadium naming rights?

Many City fans saying they don’t care about stadium renaming because new stadium never had an identity anyway. Sad comment on the game.

Is it acceptable then to change name of team too? Presumably all in favour of Etihad Stadium would be fine with Etihad City as name of team.

If you defile the stadium by prostituting its name, you destroy part of the experience.

I said this at the time: Last night I watched a documentary on the Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna. When Senna crashed his car and died at Imola in 1994, as the helicopter carried him away from the track, Jeremy Clarkson commented (in a rare moment of sensitivity) that it really illustrated Senna‘s soul departing. A nation mourned over a lost soul. It has never mourned over the name of a stadium or the wages of a football player.

But of course we have to leave the best to last. You all know it, you’ve all read it, you’ve all sent him an abusive e-mail. So put your hands together and give a warm welcome to the one and only Brian Reade!

Take it away Brian:

(ah f**k it, the whole lot’s going in bold)

How Barca reserve Yaya Toure was seduced by the whore of world football

I’ve read many frightening stories about footballers in the Sunday papers.

But no tale has scared me as much as the one I read in a sniffy broadsheet, last Sunday, which could have come from the business pages:

“Manchester City’s new £24m signing from Barcelona, Yaya Toure, is being paid £220,000-a-week. His initial wage of £185,000 will rise to £221,000 when the 50% tax rate comes in next April. He is due to receive £4.1m a year after tax, an image rights payment of £1.65m a year and a bonus of £823,000 each time City qualify for the Champions League and £412,000 if they win the competition. He will also get bonuses if the club win the Premier League and the FA Cup. The deal including his transfer fee, wages and bonuses, totals £79.6m.”

Holy. Mother. Of. Jesus. Where will that leave the price of everyone’s season ticket in five years time?

Even more frightening was what that report didn’t say. Toure is not actually that great. He’s not a creative genius who will get backsides off seats but a defensive midfielder who stops players who can.

He wasn’t even a regular at Barcelona, having lost his place to Sergi Busquets. He may not even get a game for City, who already have four highly-rated players to fill that role – Patrick Vieira, Gareth Barry, Nigel de Jong and Vincent Kompany.

And scariest of all, Toure says he only joined City because his agent “told me I had to leave Barcelona”. To add insult to injury the best he could say about his move was “it’s an honour to be playing with my brother Kolo,” before telling Barca that he’d love to go back there if they’ll have him.

If you’re a City fan, I’m guessing you’ll have no problems with the story. It’s proof the Sheikh is more determined than ever to land you the big prizes, and after all those years in United’s shade who could blame you licking your lips at the prospect.

But how do outsiders begin to describe how depressing the implications of this transfer are? I can understand luring the sought-after David Silva to Eastlands for £140,000-a-week, but giving a quarter-of-a-million quid every seven days to a defensive squad player who no other club would have touched for that kind of money and whose name won’t sell shirts, is insanity on a previously unimagined scale.

See how those figures play with Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor’s agents, or the leeway it gives Fernando Torres’s and Didier Drogba’s advisors if they decide to listen to a City offer. What do you reckon, half-a-million-a-week minimum? See how it impacts on other clubs trying to keep pace with wage demands.

See the shaking of parents’ heads when City scouts ask to let their little fella join their academy. See the disillusion on the faces of the City youngsters who won the Youth Cup two years ago.

City aren’t alone. Most Premier League clubs will invest the bulk of their summer spending abroad. They’re just the most extreme example of why England’s national side continue to fare so badly at the big tournaments.

Our clubs sent 106 players to South Africa, and the number has already soared past 110 while the contest is still on. Serie A sent 75, La Liga 57.

Spot the link with England’s woeful performances which showed the lack of quality throughout the squad. We just don’t have the players. Mainly because they’ve had their way blocked by average, over-paid foreign mercenaries.

An objective outsider would look at the obscene amount paid to seduce Toure to England, look at the country’s lamentable showing in the World Cup, and conclude we deserve our misery because we’ve become the whores of world football.


(apart from a few tweets and quotes).

Stewart Gardner – Makes a nice change for Kompany and Aguero to appear in front of a full house…

Piers Moron – And you know what @SamNasri19 ?Arteta’s a better No8 for us than you ever were. #Arsenal

Neil Ashton: City 4 United 1. Could be the day English football died after City start with ten overseas outfield players.

Oliver Holt: Ok, ok, I know City fans think I banged on too much about Mark Hughes but irrespective of that, surely you deserve better than Mancini.

Barry Glendenning’s player of the year – Kompany. “One of very few reasons that neutrals might warm to Manchester City.”

Manchester United coach Rene Meulendteen, April 2012: “Manchester City don’t have a well-balanced team. They only have individuals who play for themselves. You can see that they lack the right team spirit.”

Mark Ogden article title, April 2012: Is it all getting too much for Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini?

Pete Gill, : “City, reborn by a cash rejection from a man who has only seen them play twice in person,are a club without history.”

Ollie Holt: Aguero will be highest profile signing of summer.. still think Charlie Adam to Liverpool could be best though.

Martin Lipton: Aguero is a gamble, and the wrong man to replace Tevez.

But as Liverpool triumph over Manchester City, the last word must go to Ian Herbert at the Telegraph:
“It felt like the triumph of a development club over a spending club. Millionaires over billionaires.”

PART ONE can be found here:


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