Arrivederci ‘Bobby Manc’ – Grazie!

Even by their own crazy historical standards, the last 48 hours have been eventful for Manchester City Football Club…for all the wrong reasons.

The sacking of Roberto Mancini – a year to the day of him guiding City to their finest hour and that stunning ‘Agueroooo’ title winning triumph – is seemingly outrageous in the extreme…until you take a closer look.

Prima facie it beggars belief that the Italian has been dismissed after delivering FA Cup and Premier League success, following decades of chronic mismanagement and under-achievement at City.

Just 12 months after being handed a five-year deal and a mandate to build a Mancini-Mancunian dynasty, the darling of the Sky Blue supporters has suffered an ignominious end to what had seemed destined to be the most successful managerial reign in the club’s history.

His dismissal has sparked a furore among City fans with a social media backlash aimed at the Abu Dhabi owners, not just for the sacking of the manager – but more so, for the manner and timing of Mancini’s exit.

For whatever reason – and it was obviously not intentional – City have not emerged favourably from events in the run up to last night’s sacking. That said, the Club was not entirely free to make announcements whilst discussing severance details with Mancini.

Feelings of unease and something being ‘amiss’ were palpable at Wembley before the shock FA Cup Final defeat to Wigan. It’s increasingly apparent that Mancini was told he was to be sacked at the end of the season BEFORE the Cup Final. Subsequently, it’s more than likely that the players knew Mancini was a goner before kick-off.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but the wave of negativity that engulfed the Club in the hours immediately prior to kick-off, then proceeded to smother the team on the field, resulting in an abject showing.

Understandably there is a huge outpouring of sympathy and no small degree of sentimentality being accorded Mancini.

City owner Sheikh Mansour and Chairman, Khaldoon Al Mubarak are – wrongly – being tarred with the same brush of previous City regimes, ones that were riddled with incompetence.

Mancini’s post-match outburst at Wembley, when he unfairly criticised City’s Chief Communications Officer Vicky Kloss and her PR team of failing to kill off speculation on his future, also needs to be put into context.

City can hardly go on record denying they are to dispense with Mancini’s services, knowing full well that they are going to do just that. Likewise, they weren’t in a position – at that time – to confirm their intention to part company with him while concluding negotiations for his departure.

As a fan and as Read But Never Red author, I have been an advocate and supporter of Mancini. However, there are two sides to every story and Mancini has not helped his cause with a somewhat combative, aggressive and, arguably, self-serving, stance.

It’ll hardly come as a surprise if Mancini is installed as Monaco’s new manager in the next few days or weeks. There is even a school of thought suggesting he intended leaving City to move to the riches of the Principality, and closer to his father – presently in poor health – in Genoa back in Italy.

Perhaps it should not be forgotten that fresh from winning the PL last summer, prior to signing his new five-year deal, Mancini was exploring all options and was talking with Monaco.

The ‘problems’ that have enveloped Mancini this season began when – as he sees it – City failed to back him in the summer transfer window. He landed neither Van Persie or De Rossi.

City’s Champions League campaign was pretty disastrous. Winless and without even claiming third place in the Group- and with it the poisoned chalice of a Europa League berth – a second early exit did not sit well in Abu Dhabi.

The public condemnation of his players – individuals such as Joe Hart and Joleon Lescott – during the doomed CL matches, rankled within the dressing room and the boardroom.

While his passion and determination to succeed were not in doubt, his outbursts were viewed as divisive and he was asked to refrain from effectively doing ‘dirty dressing room laundry’ in public.

He seemingly assumed a more autocratic air and ostracized more and more people – players included – along the way.

It appears he is at odds with City’s new powerbrokers, Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, who are putting a Barcelona-esque blueprint in place to provide foundations for future success.

The much vaunted Etihad Campus and the focus on Academy football is a fundamental building block for City’s future prosperity and sustainability.

The widespread adoption of a broad 4-3-3 football philosophy, from the most junior Man City Representative XI, all the way through to Vincent Kompany & Co,  is not one that apparently meets with Mancini’s blessing.

When City’s statement confirming Mancini’s sacking, speaks of the desire to have a manager who buys into the ‘holistic’ approach of the Club, it could mean overseeing the nurturing of young talent and bringing it through the ranks and into the first team.

In Manuel Pellegrini it would appear that City’s Soriano and Begiristain have identified a man who ticks all the boxes, especially player development.

The Malaga boss is widely credited with bringing Spanish midfield protégé, Isco, to the fore – it may well be that both manager and player alike will soon be championing the cause of the blue side of Manchester.

At Villarreal, Pellegrini made a real impact in La Liga, splitting Real Madrid and Barcelona at the top of the table, bringing home grown talent through the ranks – even getting the tiny provincial side through to the semi final of the Champion’s League.

Pellegrini’s teams play attractive, progressive football and his Malaga side came within 120 seconds of sending the brilliant Borussia Dortmund out of this season’s Champion’s League quarter finals.

The 59-year old Chilean has already signaled his intention to depart Malaga this summer – at the conclusion of a three year contract – signed after Real Madrid sacked him in 2010.

Like so many before him, Pellegrini’s stay in the Spanish capital was short-lived, but in that time he ran Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona – at the peak of their powers – a close second, amassing a then record 96-point haul for Madrid, just three behind the Catalan champions.

He is an excellent English speaker, tactically astute, credited with excellent man-management skills and very well regarded in Spanish football. He is a man who has won titles and cups throughout South America and has -unlike Mancini – taken teams into the serious end of Champions League campaigns.

In short Manchester City would be bringing in an experienced and highly accomplished manager if Pellegrini succeeds Mancini.

I lament Mancini’s departure because it means he and City did not hit the heights of which both were thought capable. I would welcome Pellegrini’s arrival on the premise he will lead City to hitherto unchartered success, both at home and in Europe.




  1. May 14, 2013  3:17 pm by Andy Devereux Reply

    Excellent piece of scribing again fella,agree with everything you say.Sad at his demise but not angry as lots seem to be.Football is a strange old beast and nothing really surprises us anymore whether it be our club or another.An interesting summer lies ahead me thinks. CTID

    • May 14, 2013  7:00 pm by David Walker Reply

      Feels like a loss in the family - it upsets the status quo and leaves us rudderless for a while. It's sad because RM has been our focus for three and a half years but unfortunately things had changed and not for the better - not sustainable, going forward.

  2. May 14, 2013  3:20 pm by Matt Coleman Reply

    One aspect of Mancini's tenure that always frustrated me was his flat-out refusal to give the academy players a chance in the big time — even in the early rounds of the League and FA Cups.

    Dedryk Boyata made about half a dozen starts before being consigned to the scrap-heap after being sent off against Arsenal.
    Abdul Razak gets a token injury-time appearance every now and then. But that's just about been the sum of it, in three and a half years.

    Would love to see some of our highly-rated youngsters, such as Rony Lopes, Denis Suarez, and especially John Guidetti, get meaningful game time for once.

    • May 14, 2013  7:03 pm by David Walker Reply

      The whole essence of the Etihad Campus is to replicate the Barcelona Academy system and, in the fullness of time bring our own top quality youngsters through - you only have to look at Barca of recent times to see the crop of top players that came through the system.

  3. May 14, 2013  3:23 pm by Dave Bones Reply

    Absolute fantastic piece David,you never let your heart rule your head,some of the stuff I've been reading,especially on my twitter timeline has been infuriating.
    Idiots not taking the time to look at the big picture,choosing instead to insult our fantastic owner and the guys (and girls) he's chose to run our legendary club.They seem to forget that by slagging of messers Soriano & Begiristain there questioning the judgement of the very man who decided to give Bobby a chance to manage our beloved city.
    Imagine if Mansour had decided to give BM another season,now imagine we go potless again,also failing in the UCL,the same people lauding him now would be saying we should of got rid last season,GUARANTEED.
    The way I look at it is this,I'm sad BM has gone, part of me probably would have said go again for another season Bob,but there's also a part of me,nagging away,that mirrors a whole lot of the points you've made in you brill piece David,and at the end of the day,the only man us city fans should really be lauding above all others,and yes that includes Mancini,is sheik Mansour,for everything he's doing for city.
    Look at the Etihad Campus,that's not Mancini's doing its our treasured owner,basically if he has decided to relieve Mancini of his duties and replace him with someone else,well that's fine by me.
    Mancini will always be up there with the city greats,Mercer/Alison Book etc but we can never lose sight of who really is City's number one guy SHEIK MANSOUR.
    Sorry for the ramble David,catch you on twitter soon.

    • May 14, 2013  7:05 pm by David Walker Reply

      Not rambling Dave - not at all - it's because you, me and most of the City support care, and care passionately about MCFC.

  4. May 14, 2013  3:35 pm by Mikey Kendall Reply

    I can also understand the board not ti back hom with de rossi and van persie, both being 29. Granted van persie was the diff in the league. But there are no value in the 2players. City have taken massive hits un players. Like dejong adebayor, santa cruz bridge robinho and the list goes on. With the fair play city cant keep doing this. You can see the board want the acadamy player breaking the ranks thats why they building the campus. Is it true mancini wouldnt spend time working with the acedamy players?

    • May 14, 2013  7:08 pm by David Walker Reply

      Certainly not into besmirching Roberto's name and will always appreciate what he has done for MCFC but it does appear that he became increasingly autocratic and alienated folk around him as time went on. FORZA MANCINI wherever he lands but more importantly FORZA MAN CITY. The Academy was not a Bobby Manc priority.

  5. May 14, 2013  4:30 pm by susan richardson Reply

    Sad to see bobbymanc go but there was always going to be more to it. I must admit I hated it when he slagged of the players in public except Nasri who I also wanted to punch for not fullfilling his potential!! I do think the PR department should be quicker to rubbish some of the crap written in the media and sorry to disagree but with something as huge as this they should have had contingency plans in place but lets learn the lessons. Will welcome Pellegrini I think he will be good (not sure what his song will be) reading some of the candidates being put forward its bloody scary!!

    • May 14, 2013  7:10 pm by David Walker Reply

      If it's Pellegrini we'll be in good hands. There are still murmurings regarding Mourinho but surely he's going to Chelski? Michael Laudrup and Rafa Benitez could be considered wildcards.

  6. May 14, 2013  4:35 pm by Mark Turner Reply

    Another brilliantly written article David after a few days when it has felt a little embarrasing to be a City fan. Not because of the loss in the final, or the way we played, but because the way the institution has been ridiculed by every one in the media.
    You have clearly articated critically important facts in this sorry saga and it is surprising that during the decison making process, no one seems to have given any consideration to the likely impact on the team and the fans.
    I do have absolute faith our wonderful owners have the right strategy for the future, I just hope there is PR lesson learned for the future. Maybe you should offer your services?

    • May 14, 2013  7:14 pm by David Walker Reply

      I wouldn't presume to undermine people already at MCFC but by crikey - yes, I'd love to be able to help the cause if ever the opportunity should arise. Admittedly I would have to rein in some of my more colourful vocabulary and be a tad more respectful to those very nice folk in Red over Salford way!

  7. May 14, 2013  5:00 pm by Chris Williams Reply

    I will obviously get behind whoever City appoint as the next Manager, as I have done since first watching in 1977 as a young 10 sprat. My concerns over Pellegrini are his age, he is not going to be a long term appointment if it works out, and also other that getting clubs past the CL League Stages he's not really done much else. Yes he won the Intertoto Cup over nine years ago, but this season Malaga will finish 6th not even qualifying for the CL were they not banned.

    I also take on board your comments regarding Mancini's comments regarding Vicky Kloss not rubbishing the speculation, but she has let journalist and media disrespect Mancini since he walked through the door.

    Rumours are now circulating that he might of lost the players, if so that is poor, but grown men should be able to sit down and sort there difference out.

    • May 14, 2013  7:23 pm by David Walker Reply

      Pellegrini is 59 years old - he could give at least five years to taking City to the summit of European football, even more, but his age wouldn't be a factor in my deliberations at this point. He worked wonders with Villarreal (CL SF) nearly knocked Dortmund out in CLQF this season and has won titles in his native South America. He is extremely highly regarded, very tactically astute and, given a club like MCFC, could achieve a helluva lot.

      You can't blame Vicky Kloss for the rabid anti-City press of this country, but yes, perhaps we should develop more of a siege mentality and introduce punitive measures on obnoxious journalists, rather like the measures adopted by that retiring Glaswegian over at The Swamp.

  8. May 14, 2013  5:00 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    Given your consistent support for Don Roberto, I can imagine you had to put a lot of thoughts together before writing this piece, and that it may have been quite painful to come to the conclusion you have.
    Thank you for this, it's the second excellent article I've seen in the last 24 hours on this decision by the club. We should never forget the great memories left by Mancini, and I am grateful for that.
    The die is now cast, and we will have to see how it now rolls. This is the second serious decision taken by HHSM and his senior advisers. They got the first right.

    • May 14, 2013  7:26 pm by David Walker Reply

      I so wanted Roberto to go from strength to strength and create a Mancini-Mancunian Dynasty but sadly it wasn't to be. It feels like we all have a void in our lives BUT ultimately I am sure this decision will prove to be correct and MCFC will grow and prosper into a true European force, whilst dominating domestically.

  9. May 14, 2013  5:07 pm by Matt Coleman Reply

    Big fan of Mancini and he didn't deserve to be dumped so unceremoniously.

    BUT. One aspect of Mancini's tenure that always frustrated me was his flat-out refusal to give the academy players a chance in the big time — even in the early rounds of the League and FA Cups.

    Dedryk Boyata made about half a dozen starts before being consigned to the scrap-heap after being sent off against Arsenal.
    Abdul Razak gets a token injury-time appearance every now and then. But that's just about been the sum of it, in three and a half years.

    Would love to see some of our highly-rated youngsters, such as Rony Lopes, Denis Suarez, and especially John Guidetti, get meaningful game time for once.

  10. May 14, 2013  5:34 pm by Alan Baxter Reply

    I thought Kevin Parker from the OSC gave a commendable interview last night regarding the sacking from a supporters viewpoint, disappointed is putting it mildly. Your post reads as though you've had a little more light shed by somebody regarding the goings on prior to the decision and maybe "the truth will out" as they say. Mancini apparently didn't hit his set targets and there are very few industries more result based than Football. The argument was to give him time like they did over at the swamp with SAF, but our owners have a plan and it looks like they intend to push it through by whatever means they deem necessary. If this plan leads to us becoming the dominant team in England and Europe, then so be it. I will miss him though.

    • May 14, 2013  7:27 pm by David Walker Reply

      Concur with all of that Alan. Yes, I think most of us will miss Roberto 'in this moment' but life goes on and MCFC have new peaks to top and challenges to conquer.

  11. May 14, 2013  5:43 pm by Andrea Kiernan Reply

    Well written David. I was so angry at the news but you have answered a lot of questions and put everyhing into perspective. I just hope that this has not unsettled the players and we can continue to develop a team that will put the scum in its place for years to come....and win many trophies too!

    • May 14, 2013  7:30 pm by David Walker Reply

      Very sad to see Roberto go - he's part of us - but there doesn't appear to have been a viable alternative. We don't know half of what goes on behind the scenes, but sadly it was obvious something has been amiss for a while now.

  12. May 14, 2013  5:52 pm by carol Reply

    Thanks Davy, that must have been a tough one to write.After the initial dismay I think most blues were ready to admit that there has been something wrong all season and that this was the likely outcome. However I think what has rankled is the timing, unfortunate to say the least and the feeling of "here we go again" . I'm sure the vast majority of fans will get behind our new manager whoever he is.

    • May 14, 2013  7:33 pm by David Walker Reply

      I took no pleasure in even alluding to negative aspects of Bobby Manc's reign and wish he could have stayed on and City had achieved the objectives set by HHSM. Bobby will go elsewhere and enjoy success and Pellegrini, Mourinho or whoever will come in and take MCFC to the next level of that I have no doubt. #MCFCChampions2014.

  13. May 15, 2013  4:19 pm by Guvnor Reply

    Reading 0-2 City. The players in general have got what they wanted, the result was good but the play was just the same as the rest of the season, patchy and patchy is not good enough. The players must be shipped out if they want to go Mercenaries come to mind.
    Overpaid spoilt pratts come to mind, I would be like Manchini, I wouldnt talk to some of them either. Lets see what the next one brings. I fear a sinking ship for a couple of years, unless of course you say to certain players, good morning I love you, soft sods

  14. May 15, 2013  6:27 pm by mark james Reply

    there were so many roumours last nite bout mancini doin this not doin that maybe well never no the truth but one thing il say is u never c fergy slatein players in public i think mancinis problem was his attitude hes sn arrogant hot head who cant be told sadly this caused his dsmissal ... maybe he would of gone on to greater things maybe not well never no now ... time tomove on now n support our great team ... cant wait for th 1st prlegreni song im sur a panini will b involved haha !!!

  15. May 21, 2013  12:23 am by ArtyS Reply

    Agree totally. Some City fans need to get real, especially when it come to criticising the owners & what they are trying to achieve.Will always be grateful to Mancini for what he helped to achieve after our years in the wilderness but I don't think he was going to take us to the next level & his departure was inevitable.The media's crocodile tears were laughable.

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