It’s an ill wind that could ultimately prove beneficial for Manchester City after last night’s encounter with Sunderland turned into a stormy affair without the flashing of any red or yellow cards.
With 100mph winds uprooting City’s classy programme vendor booths and generally wreaking havoc, it was completely the right decision to call off the game.
However, as one of many who travelled from long distance I would question the timing and a lack of foresight on behalf of the powers that be. The weather forecast wasn’t exactly a secret and the motorway network across the North West was testimony to the extremely hazardous – no, downright dangerous – conditions.
National radio stations were regurgitating reports that the local Manchester media had been running a story advising that people should stay indoors, especially between 17.00 – 20.00hrs when the gusts were expected to peak.
Given the game was postponed due to concerns over spectator safety en-route and around the Etihad, the specific three-hour window was surely something of a clue to the Greater Manchester Police?
This isn’t intended as a malicious ‘bitch’ against what was undoubtedly the correct course of action, it’s just that a good few thousand folk – the away support more than most – will be well out of pocket this morning, having taken the financial hit on fuel, travelling and subsistence costs.
Ultimately it’s ‘one of those things’ and admittedly hindsight is a wonderful asset, but one can’t help but feel it could have been addressed earlier in the day.
Premier League postponements are such an unwelcome novelty nowadays due to the advances in under soil heating and the ability to preserve a pitch. Had the occasion been judged by events inside the Etihad, the chances are the fixture may have been playable, but that’s subjective.
The fact is Manuel Pellegrini would be quietly satisfied with events elsewhere, bar Liverpool’s last gasp win at a Fulham side, who suddenly have a bit of wind in their sails! The Scousers’ win came in spite of the continuing efforts of undercover agent Kolo Toure!
The ‘exhilarating’ Emirates draw between the stumbling Gunners and Europa League wannabees, Manure, was perversely entertaining for the paucity of football product on show.
Had it been the sky blue side of Manchester playing out the listless stalemate with Wenger’s Boys, City would have been criticised for lacking invention and prolonging their ‘goal drought’.
But because it was those of the red persuasion from Trafford Borough it was a hard earned, well deserved point from a difficult away fixture against a title challenging team blah blah blah ad nauseam.
The upside for Pellegrini is he has a fixture that will be rescheduled when some of his injured star players could be back playing. He has been presented with a vital few days to rest weary bodies without the risk of game time injuries and he’s seen City’s two principal title rivals drop vital points over two nights.
He still, however, has a selection dilemma for the FA Cup 5th Round clash with Setubal’s favourite son, ‘The Snide Sniper’ riding into town with Chelsea, just three days before the clash with Barcelona.
Samir Nasri could appear ahead of schedule after being assaulted at St James’ Park on January 12th, providing much needed attacking impetus. Sadly Sergio and Fernandinho seem set to miss both major cup games, although I still wonder if there might, just might, be a bit of skulduggery going on and the superb Brazilian midfielder might play a part against Barca.
Social media-using City fans now laughingly refer to Mourinho as ‘Maureen’ – I wonder if it has any reference to the wonderful actress and comedienne, Maureen Lipman CBE – given that Jose is always giving it plenty of lip when it comes to City and Pellegrini.
Let’s hope the ‘Special Needs’ One will be tripping over his trembling, pouting or sulking lower lip on Saturday evening as City advance to the quarter finals of the FA Cup.
By David Walker
Birthday greetings on this day go to two lovely ladyeeez & both ‘lookers’: True Blue Susan Bookbinder @SuzyBookbinder a friend and would-be business collaborator, as well as Lisa Butler @lisabuxa who gives not a jot about football, but is a cherished friend and ex-colleague – have a great celebration ‘girls’ xx