Blues break United hearts in Fergie time



It is a little over four miles from Eastlands to the Granada Studios lot on which Coronation Street is now filmed. Perhaps, though, the time is nigh for those penning ITV’s long-running soap opera to slip into quiet retirement, lay down the quill one last time, and recognise that no Weatherfield ferment can ever match the emotion, melodrama, and sheer intoxication of this season’s Premier League denouement.

No Street plot line has ever been this improbable. Nor heart-rending for those in Red. For 28 tortuous minutes Manchester United, quite inexplicably, grasped a 20th domestic league title as Roberto Mancini’s Blues conspired to fall behind, at home, to 10-man Queens Park Rangers. For near half-an-hour of agony those in Red dreamed of Manchester City’s stunning demise, and a United triumph much against all expectations. It was truly a demi-heure like no other.

This was a drama with a stunning final revelation though. How could it be any other way? No happy ending for the 2,000 travelling Reds in Sunderland, nor the United players whom emerged victorious at the Stadium of Light, or the millions more watching in hope on television. Instead, only the agony, no, disbelief as Sergio Aguero jinked past Taye Taiwo’s lazy tackle and slammed home City’s title-winning goal at 90 minutes plus four.

That United had already departed the Stadium of Light field only enhanced the drama. Sir Alex Ferguson’s players standing, waiting, for what must have been the two longest minutes of many careers after securing a hard-fought victory on Wearside. Cruelly, it was Sunderland’s fans that brought the news that anyone in Red could only anticipate with horror – City’s winning goal at Eastlands.

“I congratulate City on winning the league,” said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in the aftermath.

“It is a fantastic achievement to win the Premier League, it’s not easy to win, it’s the hardest league in the world and anyone that wins it deserves it. We knew there were five minutes of injury time being played there, one of our assistant referees informed us of that. Our game only had three minutes so for two minutes we didn’t know that was happening. Of course, they got the break and won the game.”

Cruel though the manner of league defeat is for those in Red, it is not the ceding of United’s Premier League title that will hurt the most. Indeed, losses to Wigan Athletic, City and the draw with Everton in the past month all but ensured that conclusion whatever Sunday’s matches brought. After all, United has made mistakes by the legion to help City erode a comfortable Premier League over the course of just six games.

No, the pain will reside in those 28 minutes of hope, when QPR unexpectedly rallied after Joey Barton’s imbecilic dismissal to take a 2-1 lead into injury time, and all too briefly United’s players, staff and supporters believed the club was champions once again.

“It’s cruel, but we’ve experienced many ups and downs in the 25 years I’ve been here – most of them are great moments,” Ferguson added.

“We’ve won the league title three times on the last day and today we nearly did it. Coming into the last game I said, ‘Concentrate on your job, that’s what we have to do’, because you’re going to get certain types of reaction from the crowd and you saw that.”

“At the end of our game our players didn’t actually know the results. Now, they’re really disappointed, I’m glad to say. There’s no other way they should be. They conducted themselves brilliantly today. Their performance level was good. I’m pleased at our performance this season. Eighty-nine points would win most leagues. It wasn’t our turn today.”

As with so many seasons winners and losers are selected in the details; an unlucky break here, a fortunate goal there. United’s players will hold many of those moments close in the coming months – not least the occasions on which points were squandered on the precipice of conceit. Blackburn Rovers’ unlikely victory at Christmas, defeat at Wigan, and a two-goal lead at home to Everton thrown away. Each should long live in the memory.

So too must Ferguson reflect on the cautious approach adopted at Eastlands last month that backfired in such spectacular fashion – a trick United almost repeated on Wearside. While the Scot has boldly lauded Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes in recent days, Ferguson could not trust the pair to win games against City, or again on the final day.

Whether Ferguson will, or can, address United’s issues is a question for the summer, and thoughts will quickly turn from defeat to the future. The new Premier League season is now less than 100 days hence, and United will find claiming back the league trophy from a City side emboldened and educated by glory no easy task.

After all, Mancini’s outfit is unlikely to repeat the mistakes made this season, nor fall victim to the bout of nerves that at one stage seemed set to sweep the tile to Old Trafford by Easter. Instead, City will now build from a position of strength, shedding disruptive influences or under-performing stars, and exploiting the market as only a club built on sovereign wealth can.

United, meanwhile, faces a painful summer in the knowledge that there are many questions to be asked and answered of Ferguson’s squad.

The coming weeks will be replete with talk of a ‘shift in power’, the ‘end of United’s empire’ and City’s looming hegemony. Ferguson, re-invigorated by City’s challenge, will have none of it, even if the pensioner is unlikely to meet City’s challenge in the transfer market this summer. In youth and history Sir Alex trusts, whether by his design or that foisted upon him.

“We have a rich history, better than anyone, and it will take them a century to get to our level of history,” adds the 70-year-old United manager.

“But for us it’s still a challenge and we’re good at challenges. We’ll kick on from here. I think we take credit in the fact we’ve had so many injuries this season and we’ve coped with that very well. Some of the young players have gained some experience and they’ll be around in five, six, seven years time all these young players at Manchester United. Experience is good for them – even if it’s a bad one.”

Yet, United will look back on a season where players and manager needed to raise their game to meet City’s challenge, and ultimately fell flat. Two defeats in five games coming into the final day cost United dearly – a pattern that cannot be explained away by inexperience, nor injury.

It all added, of course, to the most extraordinary league finale since Arsenal beat Liverpool at Anfield in 1989. The Eastlands tumult will rarely, if ever, be bettered for the wave of emotion. That, however, will be of little consolation to Reds tonight.

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Comments

  1. simonthered says:

    I can’t help but feel that there is less resentment about citeh winning the title in this manner than if they had won it two weeks ago by six points….. it’s as though we respect a team for winning in injury time… I kinda like that about us, UNITED TILL I DIE!!!!

    • I don’t know if it hasn’t sunk in yet, or, having expected this for weeks, I was just well prepared.

      Saw some interesting facts on twitter re united injuries this season.

      Average no. of separate injuries per 1st team player = 3.14
      Rio + Wayne had 6 separate injuries each. Smalling had 8.
      Every single utd 1st team squad player has been injured (except scholes). Only Carrick and De Gea haven’t had multiple injuries.
      (From @RedMancunia)
      There is a point where its bad luck and there is a point when its just negligence. (and obviously there have been lots of reasons other than this for our 2nd place)

      • DamnedUnited says:

        Precisely. The ‘injury crisis’. Ferguson was talking about United’s injuries this season and he said something along the lines of, “… our players get injured because we hold the ball so much and the other teams are trying to get it off us …” which would have been true two years ago when United tried to play possession football. The team has played a counter-attacking style exclusively this season and they almost never dominate possession.

        The only injury I saw this season which involved someone trying to desperately get the ball off us was Cleverly’s injury when the Bolton idiot tackled him.

        I’m astounded at the individual injury stats though.

  2. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Just saw the City highlights on MotD…

    City deserved to win… no complaints about the result.

    However… I feel a bit sorry for Barton… Tevez, the dirty little cunt, set him up for that sending off… he nibbled at Barton, and then went down wailing when Barton nibbled back…

    Lowlife prick… just made my shit list of most loathed players/managers, along with Terry, Suarez, Dalglish, Benitez, Dennis Wise…

    • The Truth says:

      He should have been on it since 2009 pal.

    • 19 and Counting says:

      City deserved it and we threw it away. But I can’t watch that ugly cunt hold up the trophy after lounging about the golf course for 4 months and treating his own fans with such petulance. I hope they take away his medal and he goes back home – permanently.

  3. DamnedUnited says:

    Wonder how many concubines (virgins?) Barton is going to be gifted tonight.

  4. Michael llcoolt says:

    Need to spend 100+ million no excuses

    • 19 and Counting says:

      won’t happen mate – lucky if United spend 25m

      • shuddertothink says:

        I think this is the off season/transfer window when we finally see what has really been happening at United. One would think they have to strengthen. Midfield, another striker as you guys look light if Rooney is struck by the United injury curse.

        Is the ‘no value in the market’ excuse just that, an excuse? I agree with Ed here, I think United are being handicapped by the Glazers. The only thing that gets me is the lack of indignation by the majority of the fans. Calls of ‘were United, we’ll never die, and back the team, and Glazer apologists are just papering over the urgent intervention that needs to place.

        United should be, as they also once were, the biggest spenders, a top draw for potential signings. But that has been eroded, and you guys are left with ‘no value’ and signings with potential.

        I don’t see that changing now under the Glazers. Have to rid your great club of that type of owner, even I don’t want to see United in a steady decline a la Liverpool

  5. Are you serious

  6. A remarkable end to a truly remarkable season. City toyed with throwing it all away in what would have become an infamous and criminal manner.

    I have sympathy for Utd guys, It would of broke my heart to lose it in such a manner after all those years. The emotional release will never be surpassed for City fans as it might never for Utd in 93.

    Roller coaster end to a roller coaster season.

    I’ll bring up that prediction I made(which you lambasted)of City 89 and United 88 points with 12 games remaining another time, Ed.

    Here’s to another close season next year, whoever may win it.

    • shuddertothink – good job we both got 89 points in that case.

      • shuddertothink says:

        Close enough, Ed. I was 1 point out with 72 to play for. I got Man City’s record of 8 wins 2 draws and 2 losses spot on, and the eventual EPL winner correct.

        Wasn’t so ignorant after all. If anyone else got closer let me know?

        It was a crazy end, cruel tension for both of us.

        • shuddertothink – luck, because it wasn’t a good model. But in any case, well done on getting so close :)

          • shuddertothink says:

            Yeah, it was close. Some luck though eh, ridiculous luck to be out by only a point!

            You may say it wasn’t a good model, I didn’t divulge all details, but it got top 4 places correct, and relegation except for Wigan’s late, crazy surge. It was just a little experiment and it worked better than MSM pundits guesses. Then again it’s probably not too difficult to better MSM!

          • shuddertothink – maybe it was a better model than you let on, but based on these comments (I re-read them) highly arbitrary. Will you be predicting places 1-20 next season?

      • shuddertothink says:

        Ah come on, now I wouldn’t be as silly as that. It needs a minimum of 3/5th’s 2/3rd’s of a season.

        It had more detail than I divulged. If I believed it to be that accurate and such a strong model I wouldn’t be posting here. I’d be sat on it watching it increase through betting, not sharing it. But I believed it to be good enough to share it’s basic premise on here and bitter and blue so as not to be accused of celebrating something after it had been proven true. I may have looked like an idiot then and even more so had it failed miserably, but it didn’t.

        I thing EuroClubIndex has a good model (though I outperformed it) even if it does put too much on the weight of previous seasons league performance. I think we had a discussion about that too. For whatever reason(injuries??) United didn’t perform as strongly and nervelessly as they had in previous seasons. My argument was it isn’t the same team, and it was backed up. You’s sure missed Vidic and Fletcher this season and that had a big affect on things.

        I have major worries about Vidic and his ability to come back

  7. 19 and Counting says:

    Look, to finish level on points with billionaire City after all our injuries and an inferior squad is pretty damn good. But how we just handed the title over to City when they gifted us the title is hard to take. You can look at a lot of factors over the year – DDG’s poor form in the first half, Vidic and Fletcher being sidelined, massive injuries etc – but past United sides would not have capitulated like they did. That Everton match summed it up for me – City wanted it more and we didn’t.

    • Today’s starting line-up’s Utd 166m City 161m

      • shuddertothink – I hate to get all factual on you, since you seem like a nice chap. But these are calculations taken from accounts or those reported:

        City v QPR
        Hart £1,500,000
        Kompany £6,700,000
        Zabaleta £6,500,000
        Lescott £22,000,000
        Clichy £7,000,000
        Barry £12,000,000
        Nasri £22,000,000
        Silva £25,000,000
        Y Toure £24,000,000
        Aguero £38,000,000
        Tevez £25,500,000*

        = £190,200,000
        * The Times has insisted for two years that the true cost of Tevez’ transfer is £47,000,000

        United v Sunderland
        De Gea £18,900,000
        Evra £5,500,000
        Jones £16,500,000
        Ferdinand £27,550,000
        Evans £0
        Giggs £0
        Carrick £18,600,000
        Scholes £0
        Young £17,000,000
        Valencia £16,000,000
        Rooney £27,000,000

        = £119,500,000

        • shuddertothink says:

          This an example of why I should always check other people’s work before regurgitating it!

          Cheers for the corrections. Though Hart’s figure is too high by £1m unless the clauses for an England cap or winning trophies have been factored in. Ferdinand was only £27? And it is probably now accepted that Tevez was closer to that £45m figure, which in all honesty is just crazy

  8. As close as we’ve come this season, we can’t expect City to let us claw back such a big gap again, or for the other teams to all be so shit. We’ve had a good season (in the PL), but other teams have made it look better than it was.

    I really missed having a CL run this year. This was almost certainly why our (and city’s) points total reached 89 points. Despite only challenging for one cup our squad never seemed deep, even with injuries factored in. Most of our young players will be a year better, but injuries have disrupted some of their seasons (rafael, cleverley etc.) to the point where it was a wasted year in their development. Not enough of our young players have taken a step forward and our older players are continually taking steps backward (or ‘adapting’ their game).

    Squad needs to be strengthened somehow. I don’t want to see us embarrassed by Europa league teams again.

  9. 19 and Counting said:
    That Everton match summed it up for me – City wanted it more and we didn’t.

    Of course City wanted it more. I don’t need to explain why. Despite that, I don’t believe we lost on a lack of desire. I’m not sure I can remember a season when the team has blocked so many shots diving in at the last second. (Although sometimes it looks like there are 11 Berbatovs on the pitch, doesn’t mean they don’t care). I agree some of the old teams would have held their nerve. Its not like we’ve not lost titles before. Not like this though. Everyone at the club, top to bottom will learn from this. The younger guys will learn from this. If they are in the same position next season, they’ll be able to look back at this run-in and it will galvanise them. I’m sure the way they let this title go, only to almost win it but for a few minutes of injury time will haunt them and they’ll be better players for it. They will want it more. For their entire lifetime, United have won titles to the point where it is expected rather than earned. They will not take it for granted again.

  10. Gabagool says:

    I perversely enjoyed all the drama, deep down I just always knew citeh would scrape through, even with 2 goals needed in 5 mins, so I wasn’t as devastated as I would be if we’d blown it at Sunderland.
    Hopefully there’ll be a silver lining to this season, it may give fergus a kick in the arse for one more challenge, and force some spending to be done.
    The downside is that city have proved to themselves that they can be mentally strong, and won’t be relied upon to crumble anymore.
    We’ve seen off all challengers for the last 20 years, confident we can do it again.

  11. When Fergie took over, the carrot was liverpool’s perch. (Fergie was obviously the stick). We need a new carrot. (Same stick will do). Guess it’ll be city but I wish it was Europe. Best team always wins the league, but CL is on another level.

  12. 19 and Counting says:

    marlon said:
    When Fergie took over, the carrot was liverpool’s perch. (Fergie was obviously the stick). We need a new carrot. (Same stick will do). Guess it’ll be city but I wish it was Europe. Best team always wins the league, but CL is on another level.

    Yeah and the CL will be even stronger next year with Juventus back, Dortmund stronger, and teams like PSG with money to spend. I really worry for us next season both in the EPL and CL because the big teams will continue to strengthen – but not sure if we’ll actually be stronger next year. I can see City bringing in Hazard and Llorente or Falcao – hell, they may even bid for CR or Messi!

    No, SAF is already making excuses and saying our squad only needs tweaking so don’t expect much – Kagawa and 1 or 2 youngsters might be it (although I hope I’m wrong). Is that really going to help us regain the EPL title and go farther in the CL? I don’t know guys, I’m worried.

  13. Krishnendu Sanyal says:

    Defeat is only dangerous if it makes you defeatist. A pessimist is never disappointed.Next yr we will still be the same MUFC in heart & soul

  14. Damian Garside says:

    The good news is that our future rivalry with City will be based on respect (no more ‘liddle Ciddy’ crap). I think they won for three reasons: 1. Aguero (a truly great player, a match-winner in a class of his own) 2. they wanted it and needed it more than we did (`eye of the tiger, Rocky’, you used to have that once’). If they had lost the pain would have been too much for the Universe to handle. Their joy at winning will de-zombify them; make them human again 3.I’m clairvoyant and had a dream two months into the season in which I was told City would be champions. The manner in which they became champions is devastating proof of my clairvoyancy — and therfore of the truth that time is not linear (a quantum universe).

    If we had won — it would have been such a mickey mouse victory for us: like the tortoise’s victory over Achilles. Next season we need a team that plays with verve and panache — and go to the Etihad and beat then 4-3 or 5-2 instead of parking a bus that is more like a sieve.

  15. 19 and Counting says:

    Commenter said:
    The good news is that our future rivalry with City will be based on respect (no more ‘liddle Ciddy’ crap). I think they won for three reasons: 1. Aguero (a truly great player, a match-winner in a class of his own) 2. they wanted it and needed it more than we did (`eye of the tiger, Rocky’, you used to have that once’). If they had lost the pain would have been too much for the Universe to handle. Their joy at winning will de-zombify them; make them human again 3.I’m clairvoyant and had a dream two months into the season in which I was told City would be champions. The manner in which they became champions is devastating proof of my clairvoyancy — and therfore of the truth that time is not linear (a quantum universe).

    If we had won — it would have been such a mickey mouse victory for us: like the tortoise’s victory over Achilles. Next season we need a team that plays with verve and panache — and go to the Etihad and beat then 4-3 or 5-2 instead of parking a bus that is more like a sieve.

    There will be no verve or panache as it will be much of the same next season I reckon. I hate to say it but we may be turning into a selling club and may have to sacrifice Nani if we are to spend on a quality central MF. But SAF seems content with our MF – amazing as it sounds – so I doubt much will happen. I do miss the UNited teams of old who would run riot over opposition especially at OT.

    My question is would all of you be willing to sacrifice Nani IF SAF bought a quality central MF like Hazard?

    • Yes, mate. It would better the team in the long run. Hazard can play as a CAM in a 4-2-3-1, thus enabling a formation of Young, Hazard, Valencia and Rooney. This is the kind of attacking formation that you take to the Etihad, my friend. But if we sell Nani, we’ll need another winger for the rotation. You’ll have 3 strikers (Rooney, Welbz and Chicha) with Rooney able to play as a CF as well. And you’ll have 3 wingers, 1 winger + CAM (Hazard) and Cleverley who is more of a CAM than a CM.

  16. I blame everything on not having the ‘What if we end up Potless’ thread this season. I remember seeing that thread crop up every year except this year, when we’ve actually ended up potless.

  17. madmax said:
    I blame everything on not having the ‘What if we end up Potless’ thread this season. I remember seeing that thread crop up every year except this year, when we’ve actually ended up potless.

    I agree completely – I say we bring it back for next year! Cap?

    I’d rather City had won 10-0 yesterday, it would’ve avoided the half an hour of false hope that I enjoyed, quickly followed by one almighty disappointment. At least we now know how Bayern fans felt (although, to be fair, they probably felt worse as they were at least the better team for the majority of the final, unlike us being the inferior team for most of the season). As gutted as I am, I think we may need something like this, just so that we’re not papering over the cracks again and making ourselves look better than we actually are (some of our football this season has been shocking), as we have done the past few seasons (although only just losing out on goal difference will no doubt give them a good excuse for pointing out how close we are…I wonder if Fergie still thinks we’re not that far behind Barca?). This should also give the young’uns a good dose of reality and show them what’s actually needed to win the title and give them the desire to go out there and win it again.

    At the end of the day, City should’ve run away with the league but they faltered for various reasons and that’s the only reason we were able to keep up – Fergie coming out with the old line of our points total being enough to win in previous seasons is just another one of his tactics to protect the players, etc., and doesn’t mean anything in reality – it’s all about being enough in whatever season you’re in, not previous ones. City could’ve and should’ve racked up more points than they did this season. They won’t make the same mistakes again next year and will have the added experience of actually winning the trophy. I also think Chelsea are going to spend big this summer – whilst they may not have as many rubles as City have dirhams, they can still buy big and they won’t be happy with their final league placing, regardless of whether they win the CL this year. We’ll have two big spenders against our modest outlay next season and it’ll make things even harder for us than this year. I genuinely think we’re in for a tricky couple of years (at least).

  18. Most of the grief I got yesterday was from Arsenal fans which seems odd as they are in a precarious position given the influx of money from city’s owners. It seems that everybody is ignoring the elephant in the room. The impact of billionaire ownership presents a few problems for me. Firstly, even if we are self sufficient and the Glazers are gone it’s only going to take one more billionaire oligarch and the top 3 automatic champions league spots are bought/sewn up. We along with Arsenal, Liverpool etc could effectively kiss goodbye to UCL football irrespective of UCL FFP (which I don’t believe will work). Breaking into the top 4 has been arguably a closed shop over the years but not just because of money, but in part due to good investment, good youth academies and good management. Chelsea, PSG and city have replaced all this with cash.

    Secondly, what’s in it for the billionaire? I struggle with this aspect and how long it can continue. Can city ever truly look to break even/turn a profit and become self sufficient? Do they have the numbers? Will it ever grow as a business quick enough before the apron strings are cut? I don’t understand the motive particularly in city’s case. Why bestow all this money on this club in this part of a country that they have no affinity with whatsoever? Billions! All the regeneration work proposed to benefit who and why and for how long?

    Now I’ll be honest here I’m not from Manchester. I’m originally from St Helens and now live in Cornwall and my family are from Urmston/Cheetham Hill, my Grandad played for United, we have season tickets and I go and watch as much as I can. I practically grew up in Manchester City Centre, the people, the music, the football everything. Manchester is and will always be my spiritual home. I love its socialist history, I enjoy reading about its impact on the industrial landscape, the worker bees in the crest, the Outcasts FC all these things that were battled for against the will of the ruling classes demonstrating how hard work, co-operation and determination in most cases can win through and improve lives.

    So I have to raise an eyebrow and look at the city owners with a sceptical eye and ask what are your motives? I do not see how this type of ownership is beneficial long term for either the community, city, region, country or the sport of football. Manchester City’s fans serve no purpose for that club in the short to medium term other than atmosphere. The owners don’t need the fans money hence they are practically giving away season tickets, they don’t need the city. They don’t fit the historical ethos of Manchester. Nothing epitomises the juxtaposition of the city of Manchester and the intrusion of this Human Rights abusing family more than that frustrating banner “Manchester thanks you King Julian”. Does it really?

    It’s a strange time and even without the Glazers I doubt we would be competitive in the face of the sovereign wealth on offer at eastlands and the desire to be better than United. It all needs reigning in. People are washing over the issue of sustainability in football with the “how exciting was it yesterday” mantra. If that’s what people want then adopt a spending cap and strict financial rules and prioritise youth football then you will have exciting all the way through the season. Will billionaire owners make the top 4 more competitive? Maybe. Will it address the issues in football we have encountered over the last 10 years? Not a chance in fact it will only exacerbate it and we will lose more clubs, more jobs and more money in years to come unless something sensible is done.

  19. Gopher Brown says:

    Thank god Aguero scored that goal eh, because the amount of guff that has been written of late about how we threw it all away and are no where near good enough would have made a great number of people look properly foolish.

    How about in future we save the negativity until it’s mathematically impossible?

  20. Saw this on Goal.com describing Fergie’s management in the Glazer years:

    “Like a balding man arranging his remaining hair to cover the growing gaps, his deployment of resources has created the illusion of a thick thatch, and you can only shudder at how well the club might have done were it allowed to spend what it makes. ”

  21. City becoming self sufficient will take some fairly incredibly feats of financial and structural engineering.

    To sustain their wage bill, they need to increase their revenue – and fast. They have a huge gap between what they earn, and what they pay out. Interestingly, what they will see soon is a huge hike in what they are paying from the success they achieve. How long are Hart, Silva, Aguero, Kompanys going to be “B team” pay and will want a hike up to the Yaya Toure levels. Certainly, if I was a player there of the calibre of those I mentioned, I’d be *expecting* a pay hike up to £200k – £250k a week. They can afford it, we are successful – thanks for the compensation for my talent and my best years.

    Allegedly, the average wage there is already £85k a week. I can’t see that reducing. They also need to maintain a large squad to compete in all competitions. If the rumours are true and they are having a clear out of their squad of “fringe players” – De Jong, Tevez et al – then where is their cover going to come from? Are they going to go into the season with a thin squad? City had a relatively light season from injuries (accident or design, it doesn’t matter – no freakish knees, no broken legs / ankles / shoulders / dodgy bulky Brazilians). What happens if they decrease their squad only to see Yaya out for the season, Kompany out for the season, Hart out for 3 months, etc?

    City need their youth system to squeeze out 5 – 7 top notch youngsters over the next 5 – 7 years to become viable as a business. It’ll be interesting to see what happens because if they don’t they will need a continuous cycle of intense capital expenditure on players at the top of their game.

    To increase their revenue, they need to increase the size of their stadium and exploit new commercial opportunities. To do that, they need more success and two to three years to build the stadium up. I don’t believe they own the Emirates stadium (Could be wrong), so there will likely be hoops to jump through to either acquire and develop the stadium.

    Effectively, they’re in a tough spot. To maintain the success, you need a strong squad. To maintain a financially viable model, you need success. To maintain success, you need to spend. If you’re starting behind the curve financially, you need *massive* investment on players, infrastructure, stadium, youth system and academy, etc.

    I don’t see them breaking even unless there is a colossal number of “interesting” sponsorship deals from Abu Dhabi related companies – no doubt, we’ll soon see a £150m 10 year deal to sponsor City’s studs, £150m 10 year deal to sponsor their shin guards, £150m 2 year deal to sponsor City’s haircuts, etc etc. Of course that will make a mockery of FFP rules, and it will be interesting to see whether UEFA actually enforce them (See ya Barca, Madrid, PSG, potentially even United).

    I agree Shauno that the situation is effectively unsustainable. But what can you do? Effectively nothing, unless ownership rules change.

    United will not spend in the summer, sadly, and we will fall further behind. Chelsea are clearly gearing up for some massive expenditure, and I expect City to have net expenditure of at least £30m – £50m to sustain their position at the top. Falcao, Hazard, etc – all will cost top top £s.

    Huge summer ahead.

    • Seems that way and that seems like a fair broad brush analysis. But it still begs the question why? Why invest and for how long? I imagine the net expenditure will be higher. I can’t see them reducing the available squad by much if at all. All those on loan may be sold on at a loss or may say they don’t want to go and run the contract down or have to be paid off.

  22. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadforfucksake says:

    ed do a season player ratings topic, I would but I can’t remember all of the games

  23. DeadRevel says:

    Football is shite isn’t it.

  24. I notice City’s Arab owners were visible at the Council House yesterday. Did the Glazers turn up at “The Stadium of Light” to join in the possible celebrations.If not, why not? I think we should be told!

  25. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Ben Hulston…

    I wouldn’t be so quick to write off Citys chances of meeting the financial rules.

    First of all, they’ve got another year to fiddle the sums, and they’ve got the best accountants, and lawyers to find solutions.

    They’ll have to cheat, no doubt, but since the rules are new and untried, I’ll be amazed if they’re not full of holes…

    Not to mention the general spinelessness of the FA/UEFA/FIFA… making rules is one thing… enforcing them is another… I don’t see Barcelona or Real playing by these rules, and the ruling bodies wouldn’t have the stones to stand up to those two, so City should have no trouble using them as an excuse for their own failures.

    These rules are great in theory… but in the real world of high finance football… I just don’t see them doing a fuckin thing… not without a lot of trial and error and rewriting to suit the most powerful clubs, who don’t want to abide by them.

  26. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Commenter said:
    I notice City’s Arab owners were visible at the Council House yesterday. Did the Glazers turn up at “The Stadium of Light” to join in the possible celebrations.If not, why not? I think we should be told!

    Because they don’t really give a shit.

    There… you’ve been told.

  27. Alf – don’t disagree bud, see my last few paragraphs

    £150m sponsorships of players haircut’s, studs, shin guards, etc. I am fairly certain, as you say, they’ll be engaging with extremely clever accounting and legal types to slip through the rules.

    In the widest sense, to maintain the current closed club of G14 et al – I believe the clubs will just strong arm UEFA to make sure, from a finance perspective, they can pretty much do whatever they want. I don’t see the rules making a realistic bit of difference to how clubs are actually run. UEFA need Barca, Real, United, and the rest more than they need UEFA. Take the big guns out of it, and all you have is the UEFA Cup, and while I actually think it is a cool european competition with a lot of talent in it, it doesn’t draw the big crowds, cash, and sponsorship and frankly never would.

  28. I think the best way to limit spending would be to have a salary cap – for most clubs that is their biggest expense. It would stop a club like City having the best 25 players. They would only be able to afford a certain number of top level players’ salaries in their squad and we wouldn’t have teams having £100,000/week players in the reserves. (Berbatov?) Of course a lot of clubs would not be able to afford to reach the limit of their salary cap, and so the effect of financial power would not be gone, just regulated.

    Obviously this wouldn’t stop ridiculous transfer fees, but I don’t think there is a good way of regulating that.

    FFP is probably easy to work around, especially with UEFA holding little power over the big clubs, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

  29. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadforfucksake says:

    at this point I can’t really give a shit about dissecting the season or going on about the owners or going on about transfers

    city are champions of england

    city

    never thought I’d have to say that in my life

  30. Denton Davey says:

    Ben Hulston/Shauno – Thanks for those thoughtful comments. You’ve put your fingers on a really interesting circumstance – all the more so because the principal owner didn’t even bother to show up for the title-decider. Does he want to cut his losses now that he’s shown us that he can spend, spend, spend ? Is he bored already ?

    Turning to the red side, how much expenditure do you reckon SAF is going to need to overhaul the midfield ? If he can get Shinji Kagawa for 10 million Euros (which would certainly be “value)”, then will he press to get someone like Javi Martinez for 35 million Euros ?

  31. As a prelude to the piss-taking that was to follow at work, and I was on my way there, I only spotted Roberto Mancini standing in the street grinning from ear to ear and having a laugh with his mates this morning.

    Talk about an inauspicious start to the day.

  32. Denton – I honestly couldn’t say how much money might be available / will be available to SAF in the summer. I suspect it isn’t nearly as much as United fans might like, but perhaps more than, say, £15m.

    I don’t imagine you will see a big “marquee” signing, though. I would not expect Hazard, Javi Martinez, et all. Shinji Kagawa would be a good signing, and one to bring in something we tactically lack at the minute – a ball playing midfielder who can join up the base play with the forward play, break from midfield and score goals. That is what I believe we crucially lack. Coupled with that, I want to see a physical midfielder who has excellent distribution skills – a Demebele, Cabaye, or Tiote player. This would allow us to field a variety of midfield options.

    I suspect we will see Anderson leave this summer, along with Giggs and Park probably too.

    I imagine City’s owner didn’t show up because he likely had better things to do, and trusts his family to do the right thing.

    Everyone knows football clubs are a billionaire’s plaything, in the same sense that I pick up a copy of Football Manager. I imagine they will look for the club to become self sustaining within five to seven years, similar to what Roman expected, but the parallels are interesting to see between City and Chelsea

    (1) Young, well regarded Manager
    (2) Hoover up a lot of “at the top of their game” talent
    (3) Sweep most teams before them

    Interesting to see the ages in that team of the key players – Yaya Toure is 29. I imagine he can continue playing for a good 5 years – but at the top level? Especially given his “all action” (:| sadface cliches) style of play. He runs up and down that pitch with such intensity. Alot of their players are getting towards 30 rapidly. And it is interesting to see Chelsea had and now have the same issue. They need another wave of solid investment.

    Where is the youth talent? Of course, it doesn’t get played at Chelsea, and I don’t see it happening at City either. I think they have a good spine in their side – Hart, Richards, Aguero – but they need some youth in there. With youth, comes inconsistency and with that comes a severe element of risk in the pursuit of success.

    Of course, we will have to see how willing the Abu Dhabi lot are to chuck in piles and piles of cash after this year. Another wave of massive investment will probably solidify their grip on the league, but at what cost FFP-wise, and long term future wise?

    I think, more than anything, it is just a fuck around toy for them, one they will use to impress business associates and hence they want it looking sexy as fuck. Hence they are pouring pound after pound into the club so, when their business associates come round the gaff for canapés and caviar, they’re not wondering why the team in blue are stinking up the shop.

    Fergie often talks about “groups” of players in the squad, and it’s an interesting concept that I think a lot more managers would do well to heed. Having groups of players at each stage of development – making their way in the game, learning and developed, trusted, top of their game, experienced, super experienced, plays every second game, plays every third game, Giggs. Having those groups allows you to manage the in and out flow of talent quite efficiently from the club. You can target exactly what you need, at what level of experience, based on people’s development.

    • Yeah no idea how much will be spent I think gross £40m and if the IPO goes through successfully then maybe more next year. Depends who we off load.

      As for the owner not turning up it only emphasises in my mind that all this talk of investment and regeneration for the area is either bull shit or they have ulterior motives? Look at the Glazers it’s obvious what they are aiming to do make money then cut and run. Roman…its a groovy play thing which he will move on from in time once he feels it can stand on its own two feet a bit. King Julian…I have no idea I cant imagine it being self sufficient in a reasonable time frame. By which time the investment without return will have been phenomenal! As Roman is finding out…

  33. Tevez has been caught on TV holding up a sign saying “RIP Fergie” whilst at the parade.

    • DeadRevel says:

      Wow. Incredibly, I’m still shocked, despite him being an infamous cunt.

      • He’s a disgrace…even had city fans on Radio 5 slagging him off today saying he shouldn’t have got a medal. It’s just beyond belief that a player can do what he did and still be invited back!? Slagged the club off, the manager, the city and the people fucked off for 6 months refusing to play and they still picked him…ABSOLUTELY MENTAL!!!!

  34. Is the city guys name actually KIng Julian or is it a reference to the King of the Limas in Madagascar?

    • Madagascar…its just that picture of him grinning and the subservient we thank you banner with all the city fans sat next to it. Just makes me think of that movie…I can even imagine him having the same voice…childish I know…

  35. eltricolor2014 says:

    Losing the title will give us the edge next season. We were non-typically soft this year. Next City game we’ll be going for the jugular and remind them of Man United’s strength and quality.

  36. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Quality?

  37. uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    at this point I can’t really give a shit about dissecting the season or going on about the owners or going on about transfers
    city are champions of england
    city
    never thought I’d have to say that in my life

    It only took them half a billion pounds and us massively fucking up to finally reach the same number of league titles as Huddersfield.

    • As soon as jonny fat wallet turned up it was just a matter of time. Nobody could have anticipated such a huge lotto win. Listening to the city lot today was hilarious. Stating that after everything the fans have been through they “deserve” the massive influx of money and success. No logic to it, they just deserve it more than anybody else? Also all they have done is add to the top end of the club as thats all that was lacking apparently and it was just the icing on the cake really as everything was in place anyway. Great supporters, brilliant youth system, fantastic ground, history, staff…I’m not even joking! The coverage went on all day on 5 Live…MENTAL!

  38. Love that even though City made sure Balotelli was out of the country they still had to apologise to United and Fergie on the day of their title parade. I hope Tevez stays at City. Apparently he’s now earning £500,000/week

  39. DamnedUnited says:

    Dignity shown by City.

    Need a moment to internally laugh at Liverpool again.

  40. DamnedUnited says:

    Oh and also, I dont think Tevez can actually read English. The simpleton must have just picked it up.

  41. The agonising gut wrenching pain felt by the players, especially the younger ones, should be ingrained in their characters now, so that come next season and a piss home game against Everton when you’re 2 goals to the good with 7 minutes left, they keep their concentration and we see the fucking thing out

  42. 19 and Counting says:

    sheesh said:
    Tevez has been caught on TV holding up a sign saying “RIP Fergie” whilst at the parade.

    Will someone please do us all a favour and shoot him? Not one person on this planet would mind I’m sure.

  43. Good on Tevez, Fergie thrives on that stuff
    Mourinho doing the chin up thing and that, bring it on, there will only be one winner in the end

  44. 19 and Counting says:

    sidney said:
    Good on Tevez, Fergie thrives on that stuff

    Mourinho doing the chin up thing and that, bring it on, there will only be one winner in the end

    Your eternal optimism is encouraging mate. Keep it up!

  45. uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    at this point I can’t really give a shit about dissecting the season or going on about the owners or going on about transfers
    city are champions of england
    city
    never thought I’d have to say that in my life

    hope we don’t have to repeat that next season

  46. 19 and Counting said:
    Will someone please do us all a favour and shoot him? Not one person on this planet would mind I’m sure.

    apart from his entourage of parasites, sycophants and the like

    he will probably come out with the usual bollocks about not understanding the words because they were in english not spanish etc

  47. Anantax Anantax says:

    The biggest gut-wrenching disappointment for me is that we still lost the title despite being 8 points up with 6 games to go…..

  48. There’s only one reason we ALMOST won the league this year and that’s because City ALMOST bottled it. They should’ve sown it up weeks ago and the fact that we then flapped it after they’d handed us the title on a silver platter, just goes to show how far behind them we actually are. If the two derbies didn’t tell us that already, anyway. The closeness of the eventual finish is very deceptive.

    • DeadRevel says:

      The result at Old Trafford was a freak result. We are not far behind them at all. In fact had we not suffered so many injuries, we would have won the league easily.

      The only issue is whether we will be given funds to improve, & whether City will be given another 200MIL on players this summer.

  49. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Commenter said:
    The result at Old Trafford was a freak result. We are not far behind them at all. In fact had we not suffered so many injuries, we would have won the league easily.
    The only issue is whether we will be given funds to improve, & whether City will be given another 200MIL on players this summer.

    Which result was that then?
    The 1-6 to City?
    The 2-3 to Blackburn?
    The 4-4 with Everton?
    You talk about injuries… City had problems as well… the injury to Kompany, the ACoN…
    Stop talking shit!
    City are better than us in every area of the pitch… every area… one or two average signings is not going to make up the difference… especially if they add even more quality, like Hazard.
    When fans like you stop making excuses, and reasoning that… “we’re doing ok”… maybe we’ll get some real change.

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

    • DeadRevel says:

      alf

      Stop being melodramatic, Im getting pretty sick of it tbh. Every time I see a comment from you it invariably includes lazy generalisations eg – “fans like you”. You don’t know me.

      Now onto the comment: I said if we hadn’t had as many injuries as we’ve had, we would have won. This is a simple fact. We had far more injuries than City, we only finished behind them on goal difference. I didn’t say we don’t need to improve. You just inferred it so you would have an excuse to give the usual ‘alf rant’.

      City are not better than us in ‘every area of the pitch’, you are mistaking formation and quality. City for example, do not have one orthodox winger who is better than any one of our wingers, let alone three. We have the better squad of defensive players, in my opinion, though not the better first team back four. We have the better number 10. On the whole, City have the superior team.

      I also said “we re not far behind them”, which we aren’t, with a full squad. We are behind them, but not far behind them.

      Then I went on to say, this summer will be the deciding factor – if City spend big and we don’t they will be too far ahead of us.

      Don’t bother replying if you’re going to ignore my comment and just respond with bunch of copy-and-pasted bullshit that has little to no connection to my comments or what I believe.

  50. Hear, hear, Alfie!

  51. 19 and Counting says:

    Well apparently Nasri is now shooting off his mouth and mocking the Gunners fans. Yep, Nasri, Tevez and the blue crew are showing their true colours. Champions – yes. Scum – also yes. Classless fuckers.

  52. Alfonso Bedoya said:
    Which result was that then?

    The 1-6 to City?

    The 2-3 to Blackburn?

    The 4-4 with Everton?

    You talk about injuries… City had problems as well… the injury to Kompany, the ACoN…

    Stop talking shit!

    City are better than us in every area of the pitch… every area… one or two average signings is not going to make up the difference… especially if they add even more quality, like Hazard.

    When fans like you stop making excuses, and reasoning that… “we’re doing ok”… maybe we’ll get some real change.

    Did you notice how City played when Toure was away and when Kompany was injured? They were both relatively short term and yet City couldn’t handle their absence.

    You can’t sit there and tell me having Fletcher and Vidic back for the season is not worth points. How any of those results you mention happen if Vidic is there? Probably none. And that’s before you even start with the rest.

    And City’s odd injury did not compare to our season-long clusterfuck. City will definitely sign a few more world class players in the window. Next season they won’t miss Kompany and Yaya if they are injured. Yes we need to sign players, but its ridiculous to think that if fans stop making ‘excuses’ we’ll start spending. Not going to happen either way. Blame is with the Glazers not fans.

  53. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadforfucksake says:

    you just compared toures importance to city to us and fletcher, what’s that about

  54. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

  55. Just another example of how far behind them we are…

  56. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Who’s this cunt with the South Park avatar?

    He’s got a lot to say for himself, for a new fucker.

  57. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    marlon said:
    Blame is with the Glazers not fans.

    The Glazers are just doing what leeches do… sucking… if the fans can’t be arsed to salt the fuckers, and get rid of them… and even worse, they continue to pay for their ownership, then they get the club they deserve.

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

  58. Alfonso Bedoya said:
    The Glazers are just doing what leeches do… sucking… if the fans can’t be arsed to salt the fuckers, and get rid of them… and even worse, they continue to pay for their ownership, then they get the club they deserve.

    Hear hear

  59. uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    you just compared toures importance to city to us and fletcher, what’s that about

    Have you seen our midfield options?
    Carrick, Scholes, Cleverley, Giggs, Park, Jones, Fletcher, Anderson.
    I’m not saying Fletch is as good as Toure, but before his illness he was comfortably our best CM and our midfield would’ve looked a lot stronger this season with him, as city’s does with Toure.

  60. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadforfucksake says:

    we have injuries crises every year, becoming a redundant excuse and a failure by the staff, the handling of fletcher was tbf diabolical

  61. Alfonso Bedoya said:
    The Glazers are just doing what leeches do… sucking… if the fans can’t be arsed to salt the fuckers, and get rid of them… and even worse, they continue to pay for their ownership, then they get the club they deserve.

    Its not easy to unite 300,000,000 people. Even if you could get all the fans in Manchester to boycott OT they’d probably still be able to keep it quite full with fans from the set of the country.

    What have you done to get rid of the Glazers?

  62. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Commenter said:
    Unfortunately mate, alf is not interested in logic.

    No… I’m not interested in bullshit…

    So I’ll ignore your previous post.

    “Stop being melodramatic”…

    FFS… stop being a tosser.

  63. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    marlon said:
    Its not easy to unite 300,000,000 people. Even if you could get all the fans in Manchester to boycott OT they’d probably still be able to keep it quite full with fans from the set of the country.

    What have you done to get rid of the Glazers?

    The only thing that needs doing… I refuse to give them my money… simple.

    If all the fans did the same, they’d be gone in a month.

    But you carry on, claiming it’s pointless to resist… that’ll help.

  64. Alfonso Bedoya said:
    Who’s this cunt with the South Park avatar?

    He’s got a lot to say for himself, for a new fucker.

    I’m Rant’s very very own Ginger Prince, who realised that his retirement was a mistake. You will respect my AUTHORITAH!!!

    We’re not very close to City, they just flapped it a bit because they didn’t have the experience of winning the title as a team – a relatively new team, I hasten to add. Next year, they won’t make the same mistakes and will have the added advantage of having the experience of winning the title and given the manner in which they won it, they’ll have bonded more as a team. We won’t compete fully until we’re rid of the Glazers.

  65. Charmingman93 says:

    I still hold the belief of lets wait and see, none of us actually know the true size of our transfer budget this season, and I’m not a fan of the glazers before you start that bullshit, we also need to at least have some positivity on after this TRAVESTY. United will also learn their lessons, we can’t overestimate city as much as we used to underestimate them, sure we won’t spend 200 mil, but still, lets wait and see…

  66. Charmingman93 says:

    Also I happened to look on ManUt.com’s transfer speculation, Pique is on the list! I laughed as I thought that would be a brilliant move if it were only true!

  67. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Eric Cantona ‘kung fu kicked coffee table after Manchester United lost title’

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/eric-cantona-kung-fu-kicked-1154255

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