Bang on the money! Sunderland 1 Man City 4

By day Manchester City illuminated the business world with stunning financial results. By night they shone like a beacon of excellence in an arena where they had all too often been engulfed by darkness.

Sergio stunner - Aguero's equaliser was timed at more than 70mph. Courtesy@MCFC

Sergio stunner – Aguero’s equaliser was timed at more than 70mph. Courtesy@MCFC

Go back four years and City were running with annual losses of £198m which dwarfed revenues of £153m. Go back to 2010/11 and you have the onset of a run of four incredulous 1-0 City defeats at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, each one against the odds and the run of play.

On December 3rd, 2014, two very different sets of ‘City’ watchers could not fail but be bedazzled by the club’s performances both on and off the field, as business analysts were as one with football fans…it had been an exceptional 24 hours.

Manuel Pellegrini’s team finally laid their Wearside bogey to rest by annihilating their North East nemesis 4-1, just a few hours after club owner Sheikh Mansour, Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and Chief Executive Officer Ferran Soriano had led the line to beat off the bogeymen of UEFA.

Home bankers - Ferran Soriano and Khaldoon Al Mubarak have set on track to post profits next season.

Home bankers – Ferran Soriano and Khaldoon Al Mubarak have set on track to post profits next season.

When City returned to action following last month’s international football break, Pellegrini called for eight consecutive Premier League wins before the onset of 2015. So far it’s three-out-of-three, plus a famous beating of Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

City’s win came in imperious style – but only after enduring 120 seconds of cold sweats and a sense of déjà vu when Wickham scored in the 19th minute, generating that most dreaded of score lines – 1-0 to the hosts.

Thankfully the Black Cats finally exhausted their seemingly endless run of lives against their visitors from Manchester.

Blinder - Jovetic scores City's second at the Stadium of Light. Courtesy@MCFC

Blinder – Jovetic scores City’s second at the Stadium of Light. Courtesy@MCFC

Sublime Sergio Aguero scored a net-busting equaliser within two minutes before providing a deft assist for strike partner Stevan Jovetic in the 39th minute.

The Montenegrin swept home his fourth league goal of the campaign after Yaya Toure’s exquisite pass had been flicked on by Super Sergio.

The half time 2-1 advantage was the least City’s play merited.

Any deep rooted fears of a Mackem’s recovery were banished in the 55th minute, when ‘Doo Doo Doo Pablo Zabaleta’ did did did, dinking the ball over ex-team mate Costel Pantilimon, in a style of which Sergio would have been proud.

Fair dinkum - Zaba dinks the ball opver ex-City team mate Costel Pantilimon for the third goal. Courtesy@MCFC

Fair dinkum – Zaba dinks the ball opver ex-City team mate Costel Pantilimon for the third goal. Courtesy@MCFC

It was the popular Argentine full back’s ninth goal in 255 appearances for City.

When his fellow countryman, Aguero, sealed the game with clinical precision in the 71st minute it was Sergio’s 66th goal in 101 PL games – his 94th in 142 matches in City’s colours.

Prolific, productive, prodigious – the superlatives are nigh on endless for this goal taker and goal maker. In his present vein of form you quite literally wouldn’t swap him for another player on the planet, including Messi or Ronaldo.

Demi God - Martin Demichelis marshalled City's backline in the absence of Vincent Kompany. Courtesy@MCFC

Demi God – Martin Demichelis marshalled City’s backline in the absence of Vincent Kompany. Courtesy@MCFC

With Sergio & Co scoring an average of three goals per game on their four match winning streak, the pressure has eased on City’s often hard-pressed defence.

An unfamiliar centre back pairing of Martin Demichelis and Dedryk Boyata performed admirably in adversity.

Boyata stepped up in the absence of City’s regular Belgian Boulder Vincent Kompany, and proved to be a sturdy barrier.

Nonetheless Eliaquim Mangala should be restored to the side against Everton, while City’s Captain Fantastic faces a race against time to be fit for the Champions League shoot-out in Rome next Wednesday.

Success in Europe is essential for City as Sheikh Mansour’s transformation of the club continues and a new era of sustainability dawns at the Etihad.

1-0 no more - Aguero starts the beginning of the end of City's Sunderland jinx. Courtesy@MCFC

1-0 no more – Aguero starts the beginning of the end of City’s Sunderland jinx. Courtesy@MCFC

The club’s 2013/14 accounts provided further evidence of a brilliant business strategy, akin to Aguero’s astonishing achievements.

Revenue streams have more than doubled in the past four years while City’s losses have halved year-on-year. Contrast the figures of 2010/11 with those revealed yesterday – a turnover of £347m and an overall loss of £23m – and the progress is breathtaking.

The losses would have been as low as £7m had it not been for UEFA’s punitive fine of more than £16m for City breaching the trumped up Financial Fair Play rules.

F-word - Ferran has led the business to the brink of profitability and so can tell UEFA where to go.

F-word – Ferran has led the business to the brink of profitability and so can tell UEFA where to go.

Who knows, City may one day get that money back if a legal challenge to the legitimacy of Financial Foul Play is upheld. Now that would be cause for celebration, and one in the eye for Napoleon Platini and his dodgy disciples.

City’s fiscal success is revenue driven with significant upturns from matchday income, broadcasting rights and a burgeoning commercial portfolio…and yet the Champions of England still have some of the lowest seasoncard and ticket prices.

Player wages are coming down in relation to the percentage of turnover, representing 59% of income. Ideally, and in best practice terms, wages will eventually drop to nearer 50%.

Bright night and even brighter future - Jose Angel Pozo made his Premier League debut for City. Courtesy@MCFC

Bright night and even brighter future – Jose Angel Pozo made his Premier League debut for City. Courtesy@MCFC

City’s players are obviously on handsome contracts, but there’s a new emphasis on bonuses e.g. they earn more – much more – if City are winning titles and trophies. It also helps that bonuses are not factored into UEFA’s FFP criteria.

The days of City overpaying for players of any calibre, let alone under achieving players are long gone, we shouldn’t see any repeats of the likes of Robinho, Roque Santa Cruz, Emmanuel Adebayor, Wayne Bridges and others who flattered to deceive.

CEO Ferran Soriano said City have now reached a new level of financial sustainability, moving into an expected profit this season (2014/15), and being free from any FFP sanctions or restrictions from next summer.

Financial Foul Play - Platini and his UEFA plebs can go forth and multiply as far as City are concerned.

Financial Foul Play – Platini and his UEFA plebs can go forth and multiply as far as City are concerned.

Khaldoon Al Mubarak stated the club had moved ‘…beyond a period of heavy investment…’ one that was needed to bring in players such as Yaya, Sergio and David Silva to accelerate City’s route to the top.

Yes, mistakes were made in the transfer market, but whichever way it is viewed, City’s business model has worked and will continue to get even better.

Khaldoon added: “The club is where we hoped it would be when we began this transformation six years ago.

“Now we have moved beyond the period of heavy investment that was required to make the club competitive again, it is commercial growth of the kind we are seeing today that will underpin and support our operations in the future.”

Dazzling trio - City's goalscorers on a sensational night in Sunderland. Courtesy@MCFC

Dazzling trio – City’s goalscorers on a sensational night in Sunderland. Courtesy@MCFC

CEO Soriano added: “I believe the days of Manchester City playing catch up are over.”

It’s terrible news – but only for the City haters in the media and embittered rivals, both at home and abroad, and as Khaldoon said, it’s all been achieved in just six years!

Leading City – as in the City of London – financial analysts were crystal clear with their commentary saying there were ‘…no negative elements within the accounts…’ adding that if Manchester City Football Club were on the Stock Exchange – which of course they’re not – the analysts would be ‘rushing to buy shares’.

Lights out - Sergio snuffs out Sunderland with the fourth goal. Courtesy@MCFC

Lights out – Sergio snuffs out Sunderland with the fourth goal. Courtesy@MCFC

Financially, City are bang on the money and the Spanish CEO is right when he says there’s no more catching up to do.  However that isn’t the case in the two competitions that matter most to City’s owners.

They still trail Chelsea by six points, but with two thirds of the season still to go there‘s plenty of room for optimism.

Everton are next up and they traditionally prove a stern test for City, both home and away. 

The Saturday evening clash offers nothing by way of respite from the scenario that ‘every game’s a cup final’, as City dare not fall any further behind Mourinho’s table-toppers.

New beginnings - Zaba is no sucker as he takes a pregnant pause in City's 4-1 annihilation of Sunderland. Courtesy@MCFC

New beginnings – Zaba is no sucker as he takes a pregnant pause in City’s 4-1 annihilation of Sunderland. Courtesy@MCFC

After that, it may as well be a cup final in the Italian capital, as City seek to pull off the great escape from Group E, with either the score draw or win that betters both CSKA Moscow and AS Roma.

If it happens, City will be celebrating wildly on the pitch, in the stands of the Stadio Olimpico..and all the way to the bank.


By David Walker

A mention in dispatches for fellow blue Mark Shaw, a man who has put his life on the line for his country, who celebrated his 40th birthday yesterday…and let’s face it, it was a day of celebration for all Manchester City fans.



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Perfect host - Jeff Whitley made a 133 first team appearances in City's colours.

Perfect host – Jeff Whitley made 133 first team appearances in City’s colours.

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  1. December 4, 2014  3:38 pm by David Kelly Reply

    I thought the Referee had a fair game last night? Boyata had his best game in a City shirt, he has improved a lot.
    As for Sergio, words such as Brilliant, Exquisite, Awesome, Unstoppable, are not enough but Gary Birtles said last night, Sergio is the best striker in the world. Nuff said on that one. Well done Mr Walker.

    • December 4, 2014  5:51 pm by David Walker Reply

      The referee did have a fair game - that's why he didn't get a mention! That's how it should be most of the time, the trouble is so many of our contemporary referees believe themselves to be celebrities in their own right nowadays. High praise indeed for Dedryk coming from yourself Mr Kelly. I remember when Boyata was promoted by Mancini in the Carling Cup semi finals against Manure and he was outstanding. Whatever happened to all that promise and potential? It'd be nice for him, and us as supporters, if he can do his bit for the cause for all the right reasons, other than simply being homegrown. As for Sergio - there aren't enough superlatives!

  2. December 4, 2014  4:08 pm by David Potts Reply

    Hi Dave. Great blog as usual, one of the few I bother to share with my mates. Anyway, Jeff appeared 116 times in the first team. I remember him marking his debut with an own goal...!

    • December 4, 2014  5:53 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks for the feedback DP but...can I suggest you look at the photo caption on Jeff's photo. He did appear for City in 116 league games but what about Cup matches and play-offs. Wikipedia doesn't always extend to cup appearances. Nice that you remember him scoring on his debut ;-) Cheers fella.

  3. December 4, 2014  4:37 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

    "By night they shone like a beacon of excellence", excuse my porcine presumptuousness, but surely 'a bacon of excellence'. The only thing streaky last night was Sunderland's first goal.

    Boyata was the recipient of a tutorial from De Michelis. As a consequence both looked cool as cucumbers. Who'd have thought that at 19:45?
    “Men plan. Fate Laughs." ― Jim Butcher,

    Not as dazzling as Sergio's (although he's the catalyst) but just as important, are the players who getting in on the scoring act. Clichy on Sunday (his first) and Zaba last night, each conversion a beauty.

    This team is carrying no passengers. Nobody does 'the Dying Swan' after a tackle, just back up and at 'em. I wouldn't be surprised if one or two of our 'Pouters and Sulkers' were moved on over Christmas.

    It will be interesting to see who are their replacements? We will probably need cover for Yaya whilst he's away in Africa.

    • December 4, 2014  6:22 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply


      Thanks for correcting my Middlesbrough boo boo.

  4. December 4, 2014  4:57 pm by Richard Cooper Reply

    A quick intake of Lambert & Butler was not really needed last night.
    As you said we might rue making the decision of the expense of 2 away games in 4 days. Oh yes, but so be it.
    Listened to Radio Manchester and saw the hightlights on MOTD.
    Everyone, including the press this morning lauded, Sergio, Daddy Zab, YaYa, Navas, Nasri, Marshal Martin and also good words for Dedryk Boyata who did not let the side down.
    No need to add any more superlatives to those given in the past few games.
    The Ian Cheeseman commentary was very good and I enjoy the sardonic if somewhat dour comments of Fred Eyre.
    It may lose something in the written word but here goes - "Young Pozo is getting ready to come on. I hope he doesn't take it personally and get an inferiority complex, but as he is waiting two thirds of the stadium are walking out on him" (or words to that effect)
    The other good news which you have highlighted is the financial results and the effect on FFP - The only way is up.
    You only have to drive down Alan Turing Way and see the super new campus to realise how lucky we were to get the investment at that time. Thanks Sheikh Mansoor.
    We really did have to go down today to get a replacement City fridge magnet !

    • December 4, 2014  5:26 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

      I agree Richard, thanks indeed to Sheikh Mansoor.

    • December 4, 2014  6:01 pm by David Walker Reply

      Glad you acquired your magnet RC, even more thrilled that MCFC were acquired by a magnate in September 2008. I was expecting a pic of Mrs C looking extraordinarily chilled the moment Zaba dinked the ball home over Pants! Now we need to be wary of an underperforming Everton who have bitten us on the backside more times than I care to remember, but surely in this form and with these levels of belief and commitment we can safely navigate around our nemesis of seasons past, before Sunderland joined the show. Let's keep Chelsea in sight and then go off to do what Spartacus did - at least for a while - and bring Rome to heel.

  5. December 4, 2014  6:31 pm by Eileen Fullen Reply

    A dazzling display by our Boys last night and as they say the only way is up. Once again an excellent read.

    • December 4, 2014  7:15 pm by David Walker Reply

      Chelsea are looking formidable indeed but let's see how they react when they lose - as they will at some stage - but definitely before February! As for MCFC as a club, business, brand etc - definitely ⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️

  6. December 4, 2014  9:03 pm by by Reply

    Thanks Sheikh Mansoor. that's all I can say now. Plz wonderful pple. I Ve a question how can a journalist call Laurie Whitwell write a stupid story "arsenal would be hovering above relegation zone without Alexis Sanchez while Manchester City would be eighth without Sergio Aguero... but Chelsea would still be top even if they didn't have Diego Costa".? Am So surprise by d hate towards our wonderful club

    • December 4, 2014  9:38 pm by David Walker Reply

      It can be written because we have freedom of speech & a free 'press', but there are some who abuse the privilege by producing nonsensical prose. There are some folk out there who believe I fall into said category

    • December 5, 2014  10:53 am by Toby Teasdale Reply

      Last year City scored a record 102 goals in the league, Aguero got 17 of them. Amazing that a 'gobshite' like Whitwell can write so much and say so little.

      Must be paid by the column inch.

      PS. David, you never produce nonsensical prose, a little zany perhaps, but never nonsensical.

      • December 5, 2014  8:54 pm by David Walker Reply

        High praise indeed 'zany' - here come the men in white coats...must dash before they take me back in their van.

  7. December 5, 2014  9:56 am by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Hi Dave it was a good day on & off the pitch for us the Sunderland bogey laid to rest good financial results. Sergio what more can we say about this guy he has to be up there alongside Messi & Ronaldo. But the all the team played brilliant special mention for Boyata he did brilliant. How Napoleon Platini must be seething at city's financial results wouldn't put it past the little toad to try & fiddle the rules.Great blog once again Dave.

    • December 5, 2014  8:56 pm by David Walker Reply

      Merci Msr...when you say toad do you mean frog? Just an innocent question before the politically correct brigade descend upon me. Thanks Doug.

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