‘We Fight Till The End, We Fight Till The End, We’re Man City We Fight Till The End…’ It’s a rousing terrace war cry and one rapidly becoming Manchester City’s Champions League campaign theme in 2015/16.
Last gasp winners against Borussia Moenchengladach and Sevilla have seen City snatch six points in nerve-shredding, nail-biting encounters in a fiercely competitive Group D.
The joy and relief was palpable as City’s flame-haired Belgian Prince set the Etihad alight with a sublime finish against the luckless Spaniards. Kevin de Bruyne is already drawing favourable comparisons with City royalty of the past…none other than Colin The King.
As he heads into the intensity of his first Manchester derby, the 24-year old attacking midfielder is a huge hit with the City faithful.
Five goals in seven starts and two sub appearances, plus four assists is a sensational start to his City career, statistics which even suggest the Premier League leaders could have netted a £54m bargain.
KdB has assumed the main creator duties in the absence of El Mago David Silva, and completely confounded the snide comments aimed at him by Jose Mourinho, his former boss at Chelsea.
As is to be expected, ‘The Sour One’ has stunk the place out with his bilious mumblings this season, almost as bad as the stench created by the corrupt and scandal ridden shenanigans of UEFA.
With its leader, Michel Platini, suspended from all football activities pending investigations into an extraordinary £1.3m payment from disgraced FIFA President ‘Sepptic Blatter’, UEFA have now held themselves up for ridicule beyond compare.
The nincompoops of Nyon have decided to charge Manchester City with the heinous crime of – wait for it – allowing their fans to boo the Champions League anthem – SACRE BLEU!
The 1992 adaptation of Handels 1727 ‘Coronation Anthem’ is undoubtedly an evocative musical arrangement, but one that City fans see as highly provocative, symbolising the pomposity, hypocrisy and potential criminality of UEFA.
The irony of UEFA attempting to curtail freedom of speech, at the same time as their fatuous Financial Fair Play regulations face being outlawed in the European Court Of Justice, is not lost on those who value democracy throughout the EU.
Memo to UEFA Officials: Subject: Bedtime Reading – Article 10 of The European Convention on Human Rights ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of expression…’
Maybe Le Petit Napoleon Platini has been listening to the sycophants within UEFA a little too much. Alas he will soon discover he isn’t an all powerful Supreme Being, more like a petit tête de merde.
On the topic of freedom of expression, perhaps those who attend Champions League fixtures at the Etihad would care to pump up the volume and actually SING WHEN CITY AREN’T WINNING! It would make a welcome change.
Rewind to September 30th and the incessant booming support of the Borussia Moenchengladbach fans who kept ‘singing till the end’ in an attempt to give their team every encouragement.
Yes, it’s the right of every ‘Cityzen’ to express themselves as they wish, but if you’ve bought your ticket you might wish to optimise the chances of your team winning…by doing more than just sitting there moaning at City’s perceived shortcomings on the night.
It’s a chicken and egg situation – what comes first the entertainment and goals to get the fans rejoicing or, could the supporters conceive of the notion of cheering the team in periods of adversity to help lift their game?
Just an idea – perish the thought!
What wasn’t in doubt – at least for those who hadn’t buggered off before the final whistle – was the unexpected but unbridled joy of de Bruyne’s winner against a very able and dangerous Sevilla.
For long periods the La Liga outfit dominated play accumulating 12 corners to City’s 6 and having 55% possession.
City were once again gripped by the strange lethargy and malaise that seems to come calling on Champions League nights, but not everyone in sky blue was afflicted.
Oft maligned, Jesus Navas put in a magnificent shift against his former club, on what would must have been an emotional occasion for the flying Spanish winger.
He was indefatigable, providing a string of fine crosses only to find the levels of anticipation sadly missing in City’s strike corp.
Another player who is heavily criticised, Wilfried Bony, took much of the praise for the Sevilla own goal which levelled the scores in the 36th minute.
Bony is a top quality Premier League striker, his record at Swansea is there for all to see. In Aguero’s absence, City have to persevere with him and hopefully game time and match fitness will help the big Ivorian come good.
Sadly his lack lustre performance was encapsulated in one act, when he wasn’t even looking as Sterling played a promising through ball up to him in the second half.
He was replaced shortly afterwards by Fernando, a switch that released Yaya Toure to maraud upfield and ultimately lay on the winner for KdB.
Bony could conceivably still be suffering the after effects of the malaria he contracted in the summer. It’s a horrible disease, so maybe City fans need to give him the benefit of the doubt for a while longer.
A man whose contribution isn’t in doubt is Vincent Kompany. His 93rd minute introduction will surely mean the Belgium and City skipper’s restoration to the first team for the derby on Sunday?
If – IF – Manuel Pellegrini and the City hierarchy were annoyed by Kompany’s appearance for his country, having missed five City games with a calf injury, then the point has been made.
Quite simply, City got away with it against Sevilla, but despite the obvious talents of Mangala and Otamendi, neither possess the leadership qualities of City’s Captain Fantastic.
Vincent needs to ensure his men fight from start to finish and give the vociferous 3,000 band of travelling Blues plenty to shout about.
Unlike the sometimes tepid ‘support’ inside the Etihad, the hardcore away fans are never short of a song or two, especially when their team take maximum points and the booing is reserved for disenchanted Reds.
COME ON CITY!
By David Walker
www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu