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Man City Taking The ‘New Chelsea’ Thing Too Literally?

Well, well, the money men aspired to be ‘the new Chelsea’ when they arrived at Manchester City and to a certain extent, it looks as if they could go one better. No, I haven’t been struck down with early onset dementia, I’m not imagining them climbing anywhere near the top four, but certainly in terms of being impatient enough not to care who they alienate, City’s owners are striving to be the best.

You’d have thought that bearing in mind Roman Abramovich’s initial spending and Chelsea’s revolving door policy on managers had already provided plenty of material for the ‘How Not To Win Friends And Influence People’ manual, City might have taken a bit of notice. And yet, in just 18 months, they’ve not only read the manual but seem hell-bent on copying it to the letter and adding a chapter or two themselves.

I remember saying it wouldn’t be long before City found themselves in the position they do now – where money doesn’t automatically equal success and everyone outside the club wills them to fail. If they’re honest, they can’t say they didn’t have it coming though. From the minute the Robinho deal was hijacked on the day of their arrival, through to that ‘Welcome to Manchester’ sign, their arrogance has known no limits. And the more naive supporters adopted that arrogant, moneybags attitude all too easily, believing they really would achieve the instant success their new owners had bragged about. Is it any wonder I’m doing an ‘I told you so’ article today?

You see, we’ve been there and done it because as if Abramovich’s millions weren’t enough reason to hate us, we replaced the likeable, genteel Ranieri with the cocky arrogance of Jose Mourinho. Claudio Ranieri had put together a good squad at Chelsea, and he’d done a decent job even without the money but it wasn’t happening fast enough for our owner. Cue Jose Mourinho and the rest of the country’s utter abhorrence of everything Chelsea. Ok, so it took a season before every pressman and pundit felt the same way as the opposition, but you get the drift.

And yet, Manchester City, having lost just two Premier League games so far this season and getting into the semi-final of the Carling Cup have decided to dispense with the services of Mark Hughes and replace him with Roberto Mancini.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel particularly sorry for Hughes who clearly knew it was coming as he said his goodbyes after their narrow win over Sunderland yesterday. He was far too smug at City for my liking, hardly set the world alight even after he’d brought in £200million worth of talent – pinched from under rivals’ noses or otherwise – and as for his ridiculous comments about Frank Lampard recently, he doesn’t exactly invite sympathy.

If I’m honest though, I just can’t understand how the owners think Roberto Mancini will do any better. Obviously he wasn’t first choice but having been flatly turned down by Guus Hiddink, who really has far too much integrity to take a job like that, their choices were narrowed somewhat. But even so, you’d have to question their decision.

Roberto Mancini may well have won three Serie A titles but as I’ve mentioned before when he’s been linked with us, two of those were by default and the third one wasn’t exactly convincing.  Add to that the fact that it’s well noted his is the biggest ego in the dressing room, which makes it nigh on impossible for him to manage players who believe in their own hype, and you can’t help but question City’s judgement here.

The Premier League has to be the hardest league in the world for a manager and the press in this country are unforgiving. Roberto Mancini’s style of football is unlikely to be appreciated by many and as for PR – well I haven’t previously described him as ‘Mourinho without charisma’ without good cause. As if all that isn’t a recipe enough for disaster, Mancini has a pretty suspect temperament as well, which should make meetings with the likes of Fergie and Wenger better viewing than any plot Guy Fawkes could ever have dreamt up.

Want the good news though? With City copying every single mistake we’ve ever made, it’s unlikely Mancini will last beyond the summer!




Blue is the colour is an honest insight to the World of Chelsea FC. Not always pretty, sometimes rather cynical, but always realistic.


December 2009
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