How To Become Winners In Five Easy (Maybe) Steps

Now, before you start reading this, put Carlos Tevez completely out of your mind. Send him out the door in your brain. Done? Good.


As a Man United fan, this post could potentially come across as biased propaganda designed for you to hate the blue side of Manchester. But, it won't - in fact, I want to praise them. Strange, I know, but sometimes you've just gotta recognise achievement.


Back in the summer of 2007, Manchester City were bought by Thaksin Shinawatra, former Prime Minister of Thailand, and a vision was put in place to 'restore the glory' of the club. Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson came in to replace Stuart Pearce, and £30m was spent during the summer in order to strengthen the squad and try and return them to winning ways.


It didn't. Ninth in the Premier League just wasn't good enough for Shinawatra, and Sven was shown the door, and in walked Mark Hughes - United legend, and now City boss. But what happened next, nobody expected.


A few signings during the summer to continue building up the squad was what Hughes expected to be doing, and bringing in his own coaching team and backroom staff meant he could do everything he wanted to. But then Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of royalty from Abu Dhabi, appeared, and brought his billions of pounds with him.


And 12 hours later, Robinho was a Man City player. Talk about showing intent - £32.5m for the Brazilian, so just petty cash for Sheikh Mansour. The team continued to play well, finishing 10th in the Premier League, and reaching the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup. The new owner was a very happy man, but ready to continue spending his millions.


In comes the likes of Carlos Tevez, Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, Gareth Barry, and Joleon Lescott, and suddenly every City fan had their tongue wagging at the prospect of world-class football at the City of Manchester Stadium. Things didn't start off too well, and Hughes was sacked from the club in December, but in came high-profile Roberto Mancini, and he brought a wealth of experience and discipline. A 5th place finish in the Premier League kept Sheikh Mansour sweet.


And then the story of last season. Yaya Toure, Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko, David Silva, James Milner - players who would turn City into a force, not just a team. The club came together as one, and actually began to play some beautiful football. 3rd in the Premier League, and winners of the FA Cup, bringing their 35 year silverware drought to an end.


A bit more strengthening and replacing this summer led to Sergio Aguero, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri being some of the biggest transfers of the window. Their performances so far this season has led to a top of the table clash with United, and the title race is well and truly on. Performances in their debut season in the Champions League have been a little lacklustre, but they will pick up.


So what's the point of all this? Well, just look how far they've come. That's four seasons' worth of progression - from lowly mid-table to European contenders, just by signing a few players, changing the backroom staff, and gaining an enthusiastic owner. Many are slagging off City, due to their infinite funds, but just because they have money doesn't automatically equal success.


Mancini has done an absolutely sterling job in his 18 months in charge. He has refused to spend money stupidly, and bought players that will enhance the line-up, and bring his style of play to the now-renamed Etihad Stadium. Fergie is scared, put it that way. And nobody gets Fergie scared.


They have built a team of winners - players who want to play football to win trophies and be the best they can. Yes, I'm sure wages and agent fees have been a big factor - reports surfaced last week that Aguero only moved to Manchester to move to Real Madrid next summer - but that doesn't mean that the players aren't willing to play.


Okay, no pun intended there...


It would not surprise me to see Manchester City become one of the successful sides in both domestic and European football in the next five years. As much as that hurts to say, they truly have become a wonderful team to watch, and they are a determined bunch of players who want to do the best for their manager. Mancini won't stand for any trouble - he controls the egos in that team brilliantly - and he will continue to do so with the backroom staff he has at his disposal.


There will inevitably be a few moves in January, but only those that will help add more depth to the squad, and make them world beaters. What they could do for English football, with the right amount of time and investment into grassroots football, is phenomenal.


I know every United fan hates City with a passion, just like in any football rivalry. But sometimes, you have to give credit where credit's due. And the project City have is a very, very exciting one.


Agree with me? Want to add your tuppence worth? Follow me on Twitter - I'm @Adam9309 - or find me on my own blog!

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Comment by Alan on October 6, 2011 at 10:52
...The Superiority United have enjoyed and currently still enjoy will only be reinfirced by 'financial fair play' it's unintended consequence will be ro maintain the status quo as an established elite. Anyone who thinks United's success is NOT built upon masses of money is either young, naive or ignorant of footballs history since the second world war.
The only difference with City now is a couple more noughts on the owners wealth. The biter is now in danger of being bitten. The fact that it's the perennial underdog about to have its day upsets some people all the more. It's all rather amusing to those who remember the underdogs in Manchester once wore red and white, and will do so again.
Comment by Alan on October 6, 2011 at 10:40
....furthermore Adam, I don't think 'every' United fan 'hates' City.
You clearly don't for a start ! Hatred in football is for immature folk
of all ages. I look upon Old Trafford with a degree of respect tempered by
intense dislike. A grudging acceptance of your long term uperiority which was built
upon a very healthy balance sheet, a corpirate aporoach, and very shrewd
management on and off the pitch. Nobody in their right mind will deny United
are a great club. What get's many people's backs up is the huge army of long
distance 'fans' from London to Kuala-Lumpur who have attached themselves like
success starved limpets to a mighty bandwagon. Over at City we are beginning
to experience a similar phenomenon. I guess it's as inevitable as it is a little
disncerting for old timers like myself.
Comment by Alan on October 6, 2011 at 9:53
I disagree about Ferguson's fright. He is not the kind of man to 'scared'of stiff competition.
You make many good points though, none moreso than on Mancini. He has a way to go to match 'Fergie'
but the early signs of an emerging dynasty are there. He's a top bloke, and unlike Sir Alex appeals to neutrals too.
Interesting read..thank you
Comment by Ross Cummins on October 6, 2011 at 1:24

I don't think Sir Alex is scared. And I also don't think a 'project' like this is exciting. Throw enough sh*t at a wall and some of it is bound to stick. That's the extent of what City are doing. Same as Blackburn, same as Chelsea. City have just taken it to a whole new level. They will win the title at some stage, but, and I'm very serious here, it won't happen while Alex Ferguson is in charge at Manchester United.


And when they do win the title it will be a victory for the power of money, and nothing else.

Comment by Cra19 - A true Red 'head' Devil on October 5, 2011 at 20:48
If You can throw money and a decent manager at any club you are guaranteed relative success.
Comment by Annie Eaves on October 5, 2011 at 18:48

I don't think we can say with certainty that City will win the title. If they miss out this year, which is likely, and next then we're into FFP territory.  Gone are the days of massive spending. When it comes to replacing players, and players lose form, pick up injuries, then it's going to be difficult.



Comment by David O'Loughlin on October 5, 2011 at 18:37

I'm on both sides of the fence here, as a United fan I have had to accept the sad faith that eventually City will win the title. They've unlimited resources. But if you look at the problems they've had so far. Players are still only going there for the money. Yes, now the money isn't the only attraction, but if say a war broke out in the middle east tomorrow, a serious one and the Shiekh had to withdraw his funding, City would be screwed. United on the other hand continue without serious investment from the Glazers, money spent has been money earned.


Then you look at Tevez, Balotelli, Robinho, Bellamy, Adebayor, All great players, some world class, all falling out with the club. How long till Silva, Nasri or Aguero are next? Mancini does not have the iron grasp over his club that Fergie has, a grasp needed for continued success.


But City have the greatest advantage of all, any problem they have they can buy their way out of. Tevez leaves? Well forty million will be pulled out of a back pocket and a replacement brought in, when that player moves on, someone new will take his place. Its unlimited funds.


The only hope is if the Financial Fair Play rule does what it claims, but City have already gotten round that with a 400 million sponsorship deal. Will that be allowed? Thats the big question?


The other question sadly is when will CIty win the title, not if.

Comment by WorldClass on October 5, 2011 at 16:51

so what are these 5 easy steps? It seems like the most important two steps are a million billionaire owner brandishing a blank cheque and a half decent manager who knows how to deal will primadonna superstars.... City and Mancini are going great guns and are looking impressive, the problem will come when they hit a patch of sticky form... We all know United will be fine, the squad is strong and resolute, Ferguson encourages player to share thoughts with the rest of the squad ad if something needs to be said then say it.... If that City squad is resolute enough now to cope with I don't know, as individuals yes they are all winners, but I can't help think in the case of some of the City players they are bigger than the club (or at least in their heads they are) how will criticism sit with them the pressure is on? United will pull together as a squad when times get tough and grind out wins... I think the City squad may pull it's self apart when times get tough, especially if Tevez is still knocking round the club and thinking he should be playing....


This time last year I remember a bookies paying out on Chelsea and the media as good as giving them the trophey and we all know what happened... United fans may have fallen in to the trap, but I'm sure Ferguson would certainly not be taking his eye off Chelsea at the moment. A squad that has been there and seen it, and squad that pulls together and a squad that has been improved with the likes of Mata and Torres.... I'd be more worried about Chelsea then City if I supported United, I think AVB is quite happy with the under the radar approach so far...


What will be interesting is how United, Chelsea and City react if the Qataries go and buy another EPL club because the Glaziers keep them waiting and upping the price.... I do agree though that $2b for a cash cow like United is too cheap... We'll have them at Villa....  




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