Saturday, 31 August 2013

Glad we’re still smarting.

You can’t expect to win every game and if you do, you’ll just end up sounding and behaving like arrogant Manyoo fans; who have been doing just that for years (especially those who grew up knowing nothing outside of the reign of Fergie). But I am pleased that some of us are still feeling the hurt of the Cardiff defeat, especially Pellegrini; who says that he was indeed angry at the manner in which we lost in Wales last Sunday.


Clinical performance needed

My heart says, “Go and SMASH Hull City off the park this afternoon” and it has been saying this for most of the week. But being only 5 ½ hours away from the early KO – and having watched Manuel’s pre-match press conference very early this Saturday morning – I seem to be taking on-board some of his famous serenity. We need to show that we feel the pain of that defeat in other ways; by producing an almost faultless display of neat passing, fine organisation right across the pitch and some clinical finishing.
Of course I’d like to see us win by the same margin as the Newcastle opening game but a professional 2-0 win will do for me also.

Cup draws should see us progress

So the cup competition draws are out and, starting domestically, we have the chance of some minor revenge for our F.A. Cup Final defeat; drawing Wigan Athletic at home in the (Capital One sponsored) League Cup.
However, due to Manyoo drawing at home also (against Liverpool) the Police have, quite rightly, raised concerns and it’s City who have drawn the short straw; moving our game 24 hours earlier to Tuesday 24th September. This means that we only have just over 48 hours following the Derby at 4pm on Sunday 22nd September and this will, I’m sure, force our Manager to put out even less first-choice players than he perhaps would have liked. Still, we should progress into the 4th round…
And looking at the Champions League draw against Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen, I’ve done a quick, realistic and perhaps at little pessimistic ‘Win, Draw, Lose’ calculation. I have given us 11 group points. There’s a good chance that we’ll get 14 points but as a very minimum; 11 points should see us finish 2nd behind Bayern.
Those who know me will know that I’m not THAT bothered by the Champions League (WHAT!?). Please don’t get me wrong, I fully understand the importance that success in this competition brings. Top players look to teams who challenge strongly in this competition. Top Managers too need to see the Club’s ambition to compete at the top level of European competition. And, of course, that’s where the big revenue comes from.
But - and I’ll keep coming back to this I’m sure - I am a realistic Manchester City fan who cringes every time I hear an over-excited comrade get too excited, too soon and starts sounding like an arrogant, expectant Manyoo fan.

So how soon is too soon?

I want to see us first become a force in this country; be more consistent in winning more domestic competitions. I want to see us win back-to-back Premier Leagues over the coming years before the need for us to become a major force in the Champions League. And although there’ll room for both at some stage; that’s just not quite yet.
8 years. In 8 years time I hope we will have built up a fairly regular pattern of winning the Premier League every other year at least. I hope we keep sticking our name on the F.A. Cup too and will make it to the odd League Cup final as well.
And, yes, I would ALWAYS want us to qualify from the group stages of the Champions League and will, like most, be urging our team to progress as far as is possible. I will be excited when we do…but equally I won’t be crying in my beer if / when we get knocked out. Not just yet anyway.
(Artist impression) Academy - part of our long-term future
I’ve taken the figure of 8 years from about 2 or 3 years ago; when we really started to get a team together full of quality in most departments rather than the odd “statement of intent”, “marquee signing”. A 10-year plan to build the momentum of this Club in a sensible, steady, progressive manner. And in 8 years time, I believe that we’ll start to see the fruits of our new youth development too; as home-grown players will start to make their mark in the first team.
So whether it be 11 or 14 points taking us into the knock-out stages this season, I’ll then take my seat at the Etihad and enjoy the Champions League ride and see where it takes us.
If you share this philosophy, just watch the expression on non-Manchester City fans faces (particularly Manyoo “fans”) who, I’ve found, look completely perplexed when you tell them that you don’t necessarily want INSTANT success in ALL competitions. It’s really quite funny…
As Manchester City fans the majority of us, thankfully, have learnt to be more patient than most fans of others top-flight Clubs. And with our new, calm Manager at the helm; believe me when I say that it’s a quality that will pay huge dividends.

Saturday Footyday

Love it! It’s now 8:03am; I’ve been awake since 6:10am, the sun is shining and in less than 4 hours I’ll be heading off to watch my team play. Life is good.
The bar will be, I’m sure, open in the stadium before noon so it’ll be an ‘am’ pint for me...but I won’t be spending a fortune on a Jamie Oliver pie at half time. Those who have read my posts before will know that it’ll be a Hollands pie from Tesco done in the oven before I leave the house. Saving some money…it’s the future!
I don’t MIND the early KOs but it does mean that you’re footy day is sort of over by 2:30pm (plus added time). But with no other plans for the day ahead, no doubt it’ll be straight on to the pub to watch the other results spill in and, perhaps, take in a live TV game in the early evening.
Dry, sunny weather + 3 point + several pints + 1 curry + no work tomorrow = Bloody-good weekend! Whatever you're doing, have a good weekend also.

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