Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Technical issues.

Just a quick note to regular (and not-so regular) readers, technical issues have prevented me from posting any new articles for the last few days. Sorry for the break in service and I hope to have everything working again soon. Thank you.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Soriano talks like an EXPERIENCED City fan.


Too many times recently have I cringed whenever I’ve heard Manchester City fans boast about what we’re gonna win or achieve. Confidence is one thing; arrogance is best left to those who “follow” that lot over the border…

Since coming into a little bit of cash in recent years - and since we’ve started signing some stellar names - it’s completely normal that expectation levels amongst City fans will rise. And, of course, we HAVE won 4 trophies in 3 seasons following decades of bare trophy-cabinet shelves.

But with a few exceptions (I must get that in); talk to City fans who started following in the last 5 seasons or so and talk to ones who have 20 to 50 years under their belts and the difference is there for all to see.

Those longer in the tooth, in terms of following the ‘great unpredictables‘, will, in the main (there are exceptions there too), have a more calm, measured…almost unintentional pessimism when asked about the prospects of Manchester City; whether that be season expectations, a particular competition…or even just about an up & coming game.

Me? An alien?

Whenever I’ve been forced into such a conversation with a red, for example, I’m sure they believe that I’m being less than honest when I don’t bang on about us conquering the world. Whenever I’ve tired to sensibly predict something like us-finishing in the top 2 or 3 and perhaps getting to the final of the League or F.A. Cup – adding that we’re not ready to go all the way in the Champion’s League – they look at me as though I’ve got two green heads! It’s quite amusing to watch really…

But yes, I will admit that going into the F.A. Cup Final against Wigan - although not complacent whatsoever - I am slightly disappointed that we did the hard part (in beating Chelsea in the Semi) and couldn’t quite finish it off with a win against Wigan.

Finishing 2nd and winning the F.A. Cup as oppose to “just finishing 2nd“ has a very different ring to it.

But regarding the Champions League, for example, I’ve said it time and time again; we need to establish ourselves more as a domestic force before we consider getting ourselves to the final (or there abouts) of THREE cup competitions as WELL as trying to win the Premier League (surely our main priority-goal at this point in our development). We’re not that strong in terms of quality in depth nor experience as a growing team just yet.

So it heartens me to read Ferran Soriano’s comments in a recent interview where, amongst other sensible remarks, he says,

“It doesn’t mean we are going to win one or two titles, but in the grand scheme of things, if we look at the next five years and I could plan now, I would say I want to win five trophies in the next five years.

“That may mean we win no trophies one year and two in another, but on average, I want one trophy or title a year. That is the Champions League, the Premier League or the Cup.

“If next year we don’t win, but progress our football and get to the semi-finals of the Champions League, finish second in the Premier League and lose the FA Cup Final again, that will be fine.

“That is because we will have progressed in the way our football develops”.

Yes I'm sick as a parrot whenever we lose and yes it even takes me a couple of days to shrug off a defeat in a game where we underperformed badly or "should have won".
And of COURSE I want us to win the Premier League next season and a domestic trophy chucked into the mix would be a very welcome, added bonus. Get into the knock-out phases of the Champions League too if we can – I am, after all, a glass half full man…but a realistic one.

I can only hope that Soriano’s words are music to the majority of Manchester City fan’s ears as much as they are to mine.

New home kit

2013/2014 home kit
Nice. Smart. Relieved that Nike haven't messed up (I had my concerns having seen some of Nike's kits for other clubs).

Looking forward the the 2nd and 3rd strips. Hope we don't bring out a meaningless all black or navy blue strip...

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

HOLY JACOB’S! Cavani & Falcao at the double?

Now there are mouth-watering prospects in football…and there are some positive DROOLERS! This one, however, would be the Niagara Falls of all footballing prospects!

As recently mentioned in my last piece, I don’t believe everything that I read in the press and on-line. Even when I see (more credible?) “quotes” from someone, I still glance at it slightly sideways through squinty eyes and a curled-up corner top lip.

Live long and…hope!

But I would have to be an emotionless Vulcan not to feel a pang of excitement when recent reports suggest that, Monaco rumours aside, Radamel Falcao would prefer a move to City (over Chelsea) and that we have met their ‘buy out clause’ of £54M.

So add that to the fact that Film Producer and Napoli’s Chief Executive, Aurelio De Laurentiis, has been quoted as saying that he very recently instructed his Sporting Director to speak to City to see what can be done to secure a deal to move Edison Cavani from the blue of Napoli to the Blue of Manchester City.


I would have to be a DEAD Vulcan not to be at least a little giddy at that possibility.

Radamel Falcao in for (the already departed) Balotelli and Edison Cavani in for Edin Dzeko? Add Sergio Aguero into that potent mix (he’s going nowhere) and then even IF Carlos Tevez does leave us in the summer; those 3 - plus John Guidetti and a whole host of attacking/creative midfielders - would see me being well able to polish off a full packet of dry crackers in ‘one go’...no problem at all.

Calming down a little, however, I suspect that even with our spending power AND even with (‘financial fair play’ in mind) the probable off-loading of…

Alexander Kolarov
Dedryck Boyata
Kolo Toure
Wayne Bridge
Javi Garcia
Gareth Barry
Scott Sinclair
Edin Dzeko
Carlos Tevez
Roque Santa Cruz
Alex Nimely
Luca Scapuzzi

…in the summer; chances are that we’ll get either Edison OR Radamel rather than both.

Still, even then; I’d probably manage ½ packet of dry crackers in one go (other fine brands of
cream crackers are available in the shops).

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Blue snippets

No Kiddo

Firstly, there’s a notable lack of pre-match (Caretaker) Manager interview from City prior to the Norwich game; the first time I can recall for a game that had a full 4-day build up between games. I’m certain that Brian Kidd wouldn’t have asked to ‘duck’ the opportunity so it does make you wonder a little what the reason is behind the decision – other than the obvious, of course; press talk of ‘recent events’ rather than the almost meaningless game against the Canaries...

Clichy signs

Excellent news today sees Gael Clichy sign a new 4-year contract. What a bargain (at a ‘mere’ £7M) Gael has been – even more so when you consider that some City Scout once advised that it would be a good idea to spend £16M on Aleksandar Kolarov


Not that I believe everything I read in the press and on-line, of course; but recent reports strongly suggested that we’d lost out on this goal-scoring machine to Monaco. So it was a pleasant surprise to read this morning that City have met the £54M buy-out clause and that, apparently, Radamel would prefer to link up with Pellegrini rather than (Jose?) at Chelsea. I hope so but, as I say, I don’t pay too much attention to such speculative articles.

Uwe! Uwe! Uwe!

Finally, good luck to Uwe Rosler's Brentford against Yeovil Town in the League 1 Play-off Final at Wembley today. Sorry Yeovil, I'm sure coming from a Manchester City fan you can understand why...

Saturday, 18 May 2013

How Pellegrini could save us £20-odd Million

During the long, long-running saga that was the purchase of Samir Nasri from Arsenal, not wanting us to be ripped off by Wenger & Co.; I wanted the attacking/creative midfielder-come-winger in a blue shirt. I knew that he was a very good player indeed – claiming many assists for the Gunners – but knew nothing of his personality at the time, for whatever reason.

In his first season, for the most part, he didn’t disappoint either. And at the end of 2011/2012, he of course went on to lift the league title with us; playing a big part in City obtaining what was…is…sure to be the first of many trophies/titles to come.

He could only get better, I said to myself. That was just his ‘settling in’ season, I thought.

Balotelli MkII

Then, this season, he suddenly turned into the midfield version of Mario Balotelli – all the talent but no application OF that talent. Overnight (over the close season) he’d turned into ‘Le Sulk’. Whereas Mario would give us about 1 good-performance game in 8; Samir wasn’t far behind with about 1 in 6.

He was starting to look like a bullied child at school and even appeared in a couple of YouTube ‘incidents’; where he was being jeered by Liverpool fans whilst in his car on a Motorway and Arsenal fans as he walked to The Emirates.

In between all of that, he looked like a frustrated kid who was totally fed up and wanted to lash out…and so did just that by getting himself sent off against Norwich City.

Then, in the Semi-final post-match interview, he knew all too well what the interviewer was alluding to when asked about his ‘return to form’.

It might not have been a very nice way of putting it (but most of us, I’m sure, agreed at the time); but Samir’s ‘return to form’ came shortly after Roberto said he felt like punching the French international because of his inconsistency and all-to-often languid displays.

Why didn’t Roberto beat up Mario more often then?!

Samir needed to be loved, it transpired; he NEEDED a father figure as a Manager. Wenger was that father figure at Arsenal and what he got at City - as we all know all too well by now - was a cold, heartless fish!

Eureka! Nasri’s unenergetic performances and lack of consistency explained!

Now some would say he should be professional enough – and gets paid enough – to rise above not liking his boss and should play his heart out for the club/shirt regardless. I wouldn’t disagree with that whatsoever.

But in the real world most modern footballers just don’t have the same mentality as you & I. In fact a few weeks back I wanted him out of our Club ASAP! Let PSG have him in the summer, I thought, and we can put £20-odd Million to good use to get a much better replacement.

Arrival of ‘the daddy’

All too soon (most likely anyway - I don’t want to tempt fate) we are going to see the arrival of that very father figure Samir has been longing for. Roberto & Manuel, in terms of personality we are told, are as different as Italian parmesan and Chilean salsa.

To quote Diego Forlan, who worked under our potential-future manager,

“He’ll speak to you and take an interest in your life”.

“If things are not going well, then he’ll talk to you and lift your confidence”.


Other comments, from other people, in other articles, also have the ex-Villarreal & Real Madrid Manager down as a bloody nice bloke when it comes to his players & staff. Apart from, we’re told, him-being a good tactician who likes his teams to be on the ‘front foot’ AND provide the paying fans with good entertainment to-boot; he makes a particular point also of concentrating on the ‘human side’ when it comes to his players & staff.

Is all of that possible?

The arrival of Manuel Pellegrini may well also see the arrival of Isco from Malaga and I wouldn’t argue with that at all. We are told that the Chilean Manager prefers his midfielders to be mobile and attacking (goodbye Barryand Yaya?) and so the prospect of David Silva, Samir Nasri AND Isco is mouth watering to say the least.

But should he wish not to bring the 21-year old, Spanish, creative midfielder with him from Malaga, I have no doubt whatsoever that under Pellegrini we would see a Samir Nasri absolutely flying again! If all the Frenchman needs is a father figure, then perhaps Samir’s season will be even better than his first in a blue shirt! The Club could then, in theory, save themselves £20-odd Million to plough into another area of the pitch.

Either way, what a nice position to be in hey?

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Failed targets OR personality?

So the Mancini bashers have already started to come out. Not even a mere 24 hours have past, which, we’re told, is now the new “1 week [is a long time] in football”.

Already there’s talk of the…”real reason” he’s been sacked. Although, strangely, there are no names to these so-called quotes. Perhaps it’s the real Invisible Man…

So let’s have it right…


…Roberto was sacked because he failed to hit his pre-set targets; who was it really, as I’ve said before, who was to blame?

Mancini, like all good Managers, told the Club’s “people” who he wanted to sign last summer and, to put it bluntly, they failed to get them! We all know Mancini wanted Hazard. We all know he wanted De Rossi. Failing De Rossi we know he wanted Javi Martinez. Failing all of THOSE, do you really think that he wanted just…whoever…to fill a pair of boots?

Do we REALLY believe that Roberto wanted Javi Garcia as de Jong’s replacement?

Do we REALLY believe that he wanted last-minute-buy Scott Sinclair?

As much as we might feel sorry for the ex-Chelsea & Swansea City lad – and we didn’t see what he could do in fairness - we were trying to build on our previous year’s success. And if, as I suspect, Mancini was handed Scott like a pair of socks and a tea towel all wrapped up in shiny Christmas paper, then the answer as to why Roberto didn’t play him is there for you on a plate.

If, as I say, Roberto was sacked because he didn’t hit his targets then either the ‘negotiating team’ and/or ‘the purse string team’ should take the bullet and not the Italian – simple as that.

However, if…

...Roberto was sacked because he wasn’t getting on with a whole lot of City players, back-room staff and other personnel at City then why isn’t Khaldoon and the City Board brave enough to issue something like,

“Relations between the Manager and the players had broken down to the point where it became unworkable”.

I can’t recall specifics but I’m sure I’ve heard that said by other clubs before without any huge fallout…

It happens in life. It happens in a lot of places of work. And IF this is the case then I can more understand the decision to remove him. Anyone with decent insight could see that he had one public face and could be a bit of a cold-hearted sod with his players behind the scenes. We saw glimpses of it when his Italian passion over-spilt; when Hart, Kompany, Richards and others got it in the neck. That was neither professional nor nice of Roberto to do.

If THIS is the reason – and it was, perhaps, much worse than I’ve just alluded to – then fair enough; get rid before it damages our future prospects of success even further.

However, if this is the reason then we should see the back of Kiddo and Platt too. In a place of work if your boss comes out and slates a member (or members) of staff without real good cause then it is the DUTY of a (good) Team Leader - Brian and David in this case - to later take those staff to one side and be the arm around the shoulder etc.

Hard task-master Malcolm Allison and Uncle Joe Mercer anyone?
It’s called a Management TEAM.

However, also circling is the lack of building and use of the youth system at City. Again, I’ve got to agree with this in part. He flirted with using some younger players from time to time; he, I’m sure, was even instrumental in signing a few decent-looking younger lads from abroad.

But he did very little with them – not even in the early rounds of the cups. Neither did he loan some of them to a team in a league where they could learn, blossom and return to us ready (or almost) for the first team.

But which is it?

Have the club muddied the waters by leaking several underlying side issues? Or is it the usual Internet chat-forums and ‘nothing better to do’ rumour mongerers out there?

One thing we can all agree on is that although other personnel will leave soon I’m sure (Jim Cassell and Paul Power have already been fired too), it’s Roberto who is left with all the blame firmly thrust in his direction, rightly or wrongly.

So he’s gone…

THIS…is how it feels to be City! Well for the most of us, most of the time anyway. For any relative new-comers young or otherwise out there…welcome to 'the pain'!

I’ve already heard the words “laughing stock” from a fellow sufferer and I can understand that. If Chelsea had won the league this season (leaving Manyoo with nothing but a change in manager and a sorry-looking Robin Van Persie) and we’d have been beaten by a team in the F.A. Cup Final who weren’t threatened with relegation; then I can’t imagine me ever hearing the those words about the last few days - even if Mancini HAD been sacked.

"They're firing sir; they're firing!"

The fact is, however, that’s we’ve been buffeted and battered since Friday afternoon BEFORE the Final; when the first real rumours of our departing Manager surfaced.

Since then, a tin hat just hasn’t been enough.

-          We lose to Wigan in a gutless display for millions to watch around the world

-          Mancini was left hanging out to dry by an unforgiving Khaldoon and Board (disgusting!)

-          Manyoo celebrate THEIR changing of the guard and pick up the trophy by beating Swansea right at the end of the game; just one day after our Wembley humbling

-          Wigan’s parade yesterday

-          Manyoo’s parade yesterday

-          Not only plenty of TV, radio and other media pro-Manyoo & Wigan stuff but also negative stories about Mancini and City.
Christ! Pellegrini has not even been confirmed yet and already some sports journalist on TV this morning has combed over the Chilean’s...“negative points”!

And if all that weren’t bad enough, allegedly, in a posting on another blog; our very own David White not only reckons that we’re getting Jose Mourinho but reckons, also, that most City fans WANT the ‘special one’!

I hope you’ve been misquoted there David…

And spare a moment for the employees of the City shop in Manchestersome of which, I’m sure, aren’t even City fans - where saddo “reds” paraded in front of with banner an’ stuff.
Not that they’re embittered or anything like that of course…

Tin hat? You’d have been excused for wearing full body armour!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Mancini to go? Right or wrong?

They say that there’s no smoke without fire and the billowing smoke signals that can been seen for miles and miles over Manchester are pretty clear for all to see. I hate to admit it but it does finally look like the end for our Bobby.

If he goes, he’ll take with him the heavy hearts of thousands of Blues; Blues who like me, I’m sure, will see it as an injustice. It’s actually angered me somewhat to be honest – anger towards the men who make those decisions of course.

“I’ve never been so confident in a Chairman in my lifetime as I am with Khaldoon Al Mubarak”.

“Every time I hear Khaldoon speak I am filled with confidence”.

“Every time I hear Khaldoon speak he oozes common sense and screams out ‘stability’ and ‘long term thinking’”.

“He – and the Board – aren’t like the Chelsea hatchet team down South; there’s a deliberate sense of long term planning, stability and no knee-jerk reactions...and that excites me”.

Manchester, oven-bottom muffin


“He is ‘muffin’ over ‘bap…he’s GOT to be a top fella!”...as seen right at the end of this interview with our Chairman.

The evil, Southern-soft bap

These are just some of the quotes from me down the years, as I’ve sat at work and in the pub defending our Club against the hoards of snipping ‘reds’ and other so-called fans.

So it breaks my heart to see that Roberto might now be shown the door when the blame for our lack of progress this season should lie elsewhere.

Anyone who knows anything about City will understand, quite clearly, that the blame for our lack of progress this season lies with Brian Marwood and his underperforming team. I think Roberto Mancini actually deserves praise for restraining himself as much as he did when lamenting over the poor transfer activity last summer.

I also think he deserves praise too for doing as well as he did after loosing Nigel de Jong & Adam Johnson and gaining Javi Garcia & Scott Sinclair. We took a couple of steps backwards in terms of personnel while Roberto had to watch our neighbours and Chelsea strengthen their squads considerably.

So what did anyone on the Board expect? How could Mancini possibly ‘progress’ when he wasn’t given improved players (Nastasic aside)?

Nastasic, in fact, is proof himself; he strengthened our defence because he was a quality player brought into our Club in the summer and what was the result? We have the best defensive record in the league! Imagine, then, what we’d have done if we’d have improved the midfield, wings and forwards too!

In my opinion, we’d have wrapped up the league by the end of March/beginning of April and gone on to beat Wigan in the Final.

Brian Marwood shouldn’t be sent to some far corner of the globe to head up whatever it is he’s heading up; he should be the one walking the plank and not Roberto.

However, just to prove that I’m not blinkered and totally blinded [in that I only see ‘good’ from our Italian Manager]; I believe he persisted with Mario Balotelli far, FAR too long…and that he didn’t seem to have a plan in January to bring in someone…ANYONE to replace him up front; even if it was someone on loan.

I personally believe that we should never have signed the troubled Italian striker in the first place and I honestly don’t say that with hindsight.

He also got a few games tactically wrong but hey; so too did a certain departing Manager not too far away…

However, if true, the Balotelli farce wasn’t helped by stories coming out that Sheikh Mansour loved the ‘crazy one’...and so I can’t help believing that Mancini was under some kind of pressure to persist with Mario for far too long.

Should Mancini go and should Pellegrini come in, I hope the Chilean performs superbly well for us of course…and stays for 10 years or more! We need longevity with Managers now…and is why I never want us to touch Jose Mourinho with a very, very long stick!

But a change at this time – particularly with ‘them across the way’ changing their Manager after 26 years – is very bad timing for me. Pellegrini (or whoever) might not like our target signings of Falcao, Cavani & Sanchez etc. Worse still, he may actually LIKE Kolarov, Garcia and Dzeko!
We took a step backwards last season and a Managerial change now - an EXTRA team re-build and change in back-room staff – is another one step backwards before we can begin to thrust forward again (and we will). As a Manchester City fan; like many I have bags of patience but, for me, it’s all very unnecessary indeed.

I have nothing, NOTHING but absolute gratitude for what Sheikh Mansour, Khaldoon Al Mubarak and the Board have done for our Football Club. I even reserve a lot of gratitude for what Garry Cook did for us in the main.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would witness what has been happening to our Club since Thaksin Shinawatra handed over the reins. So much is done for the fans (not least City Square as just one small example) and I can’t tell you how excited and proud I am of our soon-to-be training complex on the old Clayton Aniline site.

The area of Eastlands in general too is improving incredibly because of our owners…and this too is something I say repeatedly ‘in defence’ whenever I am required to.

But they will 'nark' me a little if they don't give Roberto another season after a PROPER summer re-build...although I still (and will) have faith in their long-term decision making.

All change

So in Pope style, will the smoke signals emanating from The Etihad Stadium turn from doom ‘n’ gloom black to more-optimistic white with a changing of the guard at City? Relucantly, I’d say the chances are now considerably more than 50%.

All change...again

Mancini: "Dis is the BARRY (Bury) service..."

And if we DO lose Mancini and get Pellagrini, they'll have to set aside some time for him - in between acquiring new players, training and pre-season friendlies - to get into the recording studio in time for the first home game...

Ending on a possitive note

If we do lose Mancini and gain Pellegrini, I reckon the chances of signing the Chilean Alexis Sanchez and Isco from Malaga will increase ten-fold...unless I'm just puttng 2 & 2 together and coming up with 17.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Too much fluff; not enough ‘huff ‘n’ puff’.

It was like watching a car crash in slow motion. My ‘Blue spider sense’ kicked in about 2/3s of the way through the 1st half; I could smell that something wasn’t quite right and that it might just…JUST…blow up in our faces.

Trying to ignore that all-too familiar feeling, I left my seat at Wembley with 7 minutes to spare of the 1st half to get a couple of pints in for myself and my wife. What I saw was equally concerned faces in and around the bar and food court-areas. My spider sense had gone from a tingle to a nagging itch at the back of my head & neck.

Why was this? Roberto had picked pretty much the strongest team that he possibly could; apart from, perhaps, Nasri for Milner. Even those who were berating Mancini for not choosing Pantilimon (and quite right too in my opinion) added that, “…of course Hart was the stronger choice”.

In that decision alone [to pick Hart] I think our Italian Manager was indeed nervous (see previous article/post).

Into the 2nd half and my foreboding feeling didn’t go away…it got worse! The afore mentioned slow road collision was there in full sight. Along with thousands of others I shouted and sang until I was hoarse for the lads to go at Wigan with more purpose. But as the minutes ticked by, my apprehensive feeling was turning into all out dread.

And then…as though I’d seen a copy of the DVD of this game before; as soon as the 4th official held up the board to show 3 minutes I got a sinking feeling that told me, ‘This is it! This is where we get punished for not sticking a goal past the relegation-threatened team from West Greater Manchester’.


It really hurts to have to admit it but they deserved it. However, apart from performing their, what looked like to me for the most part, 3-5-1-1 tactics to very good affect - closing down our attacks in numbers very well for the most part – that’s where my praise for them ends and frustration at City starts.

Simply put, there was FAR too much (pink booted) fluffy stuff and not enough drive & desire in front of their goal. The tippy-tappy, lack of force in the final third alone concerns me when we get ourselves into a position to win silverware. But the lack of drive and spirit is VERY worrying for me; not to mention downright annoying!

What was wrong with them?! Even Mancini said in one post-match interview that he was at a loss to explain.

Suck it up

I’d felt the pain of Manchester City ‘sticking the knife in’ before. Although this doesn’t compare to seeing my team relegated to the 3rd tier of English football (to name just one worse occasion); I’d not felt much City pain for quite a while now and when you’ve not been accustomed to something for a while, well, you know…


After the match, the sky was dark grey and the rain poured heavy…

Back on the coach I just wanted to shut out the world and so I did just that. The best way to get through it, I thought, was to shut the coach-window curtain, blow up the neck rest and try to sleep it off. As I was just nodding off...

...“Suck it up!” was the cry from a chap 2 seats back; ‘suck up the pain’.

I’d been so used to doing that so often over the years it was like I’d been on a permanent anaesthetic throughout the 80s, 90s & 00s. But, like I say, I’d been taken off that numbing drug for the last few years and I felt it. Ironically the feeling was…numbness. At the risk of upsetting war veterans; I felt shell-shocked!

However, the pain of shock-defeat began to leave me just a few hundred yards after leaving Wembley car park. Nope…I’d not developed a sudden attack of optimism; nor had I developed the ability to shrug off such defeats in a short space of time. We’d moved no more than ¼ mile in 1 ½ hours and I needed a wee-wee badly! 3 hours, I thought, THREE HOURS to the first motorway services stop! I needed to try harder to fall asleep.

My task wasn’t made easy by the same ‘suck it up’ bloke who had the worst smokers cough I’d ever heard! (1 minute 35 seconds on this video link sums this up quitewell…)

He’s gone?!

Later in the journey a lad one seat in front of me took a call on his mobile and half way through his conversation he said in a rather resigned way, “What…he’s gone? He was told before the game?” Heads were turning; we were all looking at each other with worried & perplexed expressions. He ended his call and we braced ourselves for an announcement.

Nothing. Not a peep.

He just sat there looking as fed up as the rest of us. And strangely there was no immediate & communal grab for the I-phones either...and so I took out my slow-internet, Blackberry ‘wish-it-was’ phone. There was nothing about us being temporarily managerless.

Later still I had another look and could only see this regarding Roberto…

A quick glance this morning sees no further update either, apart from the same mischievous speculation that was floating around on Friday. Although ever-so slightly more concerned for the Italian’s job, I maintain that it’s all being fuelled by people with nothing better to do; and that Mancini will be picking our team again next season. Time may prove me wrong of course.

2nd place and no trophy might not be a good end-of-year report to hand in to Khaldoon Al Mubarak but rather than getting detention; I think Khaldoon will simply issue a ‘must do better’, 7/10 to Roberto…and might even suggest to the rest of the Board that they send Brian Marwood to a Northern corner of Greenland to head-up an Academy there…

Don’t panic! Don’t Panic!

Tin hats on everyone! They...pick up their trophy this afternoon; it’s work on Monday (for most), it’s their parade tomorrow too and the gutter-press vultures are already circling.

Aaahhhh…the good ol’ days are back…