MAN CITY 0 WIGAN 1 – Mayday Mayday, City in distress!

What a mess from start to finish!

How and why have Manchester City found themselves in a position where – just 12 months on from winning the Premier League  – they’re back being savaged and ridiculed by their many detractors?

You would be hard pressed to find a more passionate supporter of Manchester City Football Club than I, so it saddens me immensely to witness what has unfolded over the past 36 hours.

Obviously, inexplicably, we lost an FA Cup Final to Wigan Athletic – a major shock and one that will take some time to fully absorb. That said, let’s not detract from Wigan’s achievement, their commitment and application and the fact that they thoroughly deserved their victory.

It spoke volumes for City that Kompany and Co and a large portion of the massive City support at Wembley, stayed and stood in the rain to acknowledge and applaud Wigan as they collected the Cup. Not many teams have been so magnanimous in recent years.

That does, however fail to address the fundamental question as to what the hell happened to what appeared – on paper – to be City’s strongest possible line-up?

The match kicked off against a horrible backdrop of rumour, gossip and innuendo – subsequently proven to be just about on the money – about the imminent departure of Roberto Mancini.

A year ago – almost to the day – Mancini was a footballing God on the blue side of Manchester. The ‘Aguerooooooooo’ moment was etched indelibly into the conscience of every football fan – let alone City fan – in the country, after THE most breathtaking climax ever to a domestic football season.

City’s first title in 44 years followed hot on the heels of an FA Cup win that ended a 35-year trophy drought, and the Italian boss was handed a new five-year contract to start a blue Mancunian dynasty.

An underwhelming summer in the transfer market didn’t bode well and Mancini made it known that City had failed to acquire his primary targets of Danielle De Rossi and Robin Van Persie.

City, cognisant of the demands of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations, always knew it was maybe a case of one step back to take two steps forwards and, set against that, it was always going to be a tough challenge retaining their title.

It was made all the harder by a lack of goals and an infuriating habit of going AWOL as City squandered points at the likes of West Ham, QPR, Sunderland, Southampton, Everton and more recently Spurs.

A second consecutive exit at the Group stage – albeit a second ‘Group of Death’ – of the Champions League, eroded Mancini’s standing, but the consensus was that City were looking long-term and were no knee-jerk reactionaries.

A third major trophy in three years was within City’s grasp until yesterday evening, but the stories of Manuel Pellegrini’s imminent appointment were rampant long before Ben Watson headed Wigan’s winner in added time.

Wigan’s win meant the resurrection of an odious tag that many thought banished forever from the vocabulary of the average MCFC fan – ‘Typical City’. How wrong can you be?

Ten years ago, City played their final ever game at Maine Road amid great pomp, fanfare and ceremony, before switching to what was then, the City of Manchester Stadium.

It rained all day and City lost 1-0 to Southampton – Typical City!

A year ago City were trailing 2-1 in added time, when all they needed was a home win against relegation-threatened QPR – ‘Typical City’ on a  gargantuan scale!

But, remarkably NO, it wasn’t  to be, and Dzeko and Aquero delivered THE most unforgettable comeback in the history of Manchester City.

And so to Wembley 2013, with City as red hot favourites to overcome relegation-haunted Wigan.

The malicious Fergie-fawning media have had the knives out all season for Mancini and City, feasting on every drop of poison, every shard of snide insinuation and every scrap of malice.

For some reason, City haven’t helped themselves in the face of such a formidable, foaming foe. Player disharmony, and a growing detachment from their seemingly autocratic manager, has gathered momentum as the season has unraveled.

The old cliché ‘ he’s lost the dressing room…’ appears to be true of Mancini as he teeters on exiting City. I won’t pretend to know or understand why relations between players and the manager – many of whom were brought in by Mancini – have degenerated so badly.

It’s alleged that the City boss didn’t even go into the dressing room following the Wembley defeat, so what the hell has gone on and/or is going on?

The irony is that as Sir Alex Ferguson (see, I do know his proper name and title) retires and Manure head into a time of change under David Moyes, it had looked as though City, for once, would have the stability to forge ahead and press home the advantage of some potentially, very productive transfer dealings.

If, as seems likely, Mancini is leaving City – either resigning or being fired – then it’s odds on that Pellegrini is coming in as his successor.

Malaga’s eminent Chilean coach has a reputation for playing attractive, expansive football and, importantly, for being able to nurture young talent through the ranks.

He produced great results with Villarreal both in La Liga and the Champions League, and with Malaga, came within 120 seconds of eliminating the brilliant Borussia Dortmund from the CL quarter finals this season.

Highly rated by City’s new executive team of Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, Pellegrini is believed to have been a leading contender for the Barcelona job when Pep Guardiola stepped down.

The ex-Barca men are known to want to replicate the success of Barcelona’s academy – La Masia ‘The Farmhouse’ – and see Pellegrini as being more adept than Mancini.

It is expected Pellegrini will bring his Spanish midfield protégé – Isco – to the Etihad from La Rosaledo Stadium, with Uruguayan hit man, Edinson Cavani, also set to sign from Napoli in the next few days.

Soriano and Begiristain presided over Barcelona in their most recent glorious past, so who is to say they’re not putting together a blueprint for sustained Manchester City success in the coming years?

What City fans have a problem with, is the apparent manner of Mancini’s imminent departure. Here is a man who has taken City to heights that even the most avid Blue Mooners dared not dream.

His name blasts out from the terraces, he is revered by the overwhelming majority of City supporters – success-starved fans who are forever in his debt for delivering an FA Cup and Premier League title over the past couple of years.

Roberto Mancini is a rare breed – a Manchester City Manager who the fans do NOT want to see go, a manager who has delivered silverware and one who most would be happy to see continue next season.

Admittedly the shameful showing yesterday – amidst all the shenanigans surrounding the manager – hardly helped Mancini’s cause, but in truth Cup-win or no Cup-win, it all appears to have been academic – Roberto was on his way out.

Of the 14 City players who took to the field of play – it would be an offence under the Trades Descriptions Act to imply that they actually ‘played’ – nine were Mancini acquisitions.

It beggars belief that an entire team can underperform in unison – but of course, that’s what happened. Were they fearful that if they won the Cup it might earn Mancini a reprieve?

Not one player should be able to look in a mirror and feel they gave a decent account of themselves. Nine times out of 10, City should have won – that’s neither arrogance or sour grapes – simply a fact.

Yes, Cup shocks happen under the auspices of the ‘Magic of the Cup’. Well City added to the illusion,  conjuring up a trick of their own – all the buggers disappeared!

There’s no need for me to perpetuate the misery by relaying a commentary of the match, suffice to say Wigan were worthy winners. What possessed City, for 93 lacklustre minutes only the players can possibly know.

The faith of many City fans has been shaken by the ineptitude of so many associated with the Club.

If Manuel Pellegrini succeeds Roberto Mancini he will get my full support. The manner of Mancini’s exit is not down to him, in the same way Mark Hughes’ botched departure was not of Mancini’s making.

The Italian looks likely to leave with a place in the heart of all City fans and gratitude for his achievements.

I had the pleasure of his company for an evening in January – he was a gentleman and a fine ambassador for City. I wish him every success wherever he goes and would like to say ‘grazi’ for what he has done for my club – Manchester City.

I shall miss him at the helm.



  1. May 12, 2013  9:59 pm by Fifthcolumnblue Reply

    Managers come and go.

    Only the fans will be with their club forever.

    I don't want Mancini to leave, nor do I understand why he is being shown the door.

    But I remain City til I die

  2. May 12, 2013  10:17 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    I don't think I can add anything to that, except....Don Roberto, thanks for the memories, & ciao.

    • May 12, 2013  10:31 pm by David Walker Reply

      It's so bloody sad - how many managers leave a club with so many supporters wanting them to say?

      • May 13, 2013  9:35 am by Phil Reply

        And how many stay when the fans want them out?

  3. May 12, 2013  10:20 pm by Andy Devereux Reply

    The way things have been handled has been poor and for that reason people are getting upset with Pellegrini coming in if indeed he is.However the same thing happened when Mancini came people were a bit miffed with that too.However Bobby did a great job and i hope the new fella does just as good of a job and i'm sure he will,one thing is for certain he will have my full support.A friend of mine has been saying since January "there's something wrong at City" maybe he had a point,whatever happens in the coming days/weeks i will always be CTID.

    • May 12, 2013  10:33 pm by David Walker Reply

      Undoubtedly things aren't right behind the scenes and a huge gulf has grown between Mancini and his players. It wasn't sustainable - whatever the rights or wrongs. We will always appreciated what Bobby Manc did for us. I lament his going but will support Manuel Pellegrini.

  4. May 12, 2013  10:27 pm by Susan Richardson Reply

    You can feel the emotion coming through, I bet that has been one of the most difficult RBNRs to write. The whole manager debacle yet again gives the tabloids grist for their mill although I do believe there will be a few crocs shedding tears over the coming days. As you say we true fans will support the new Manager and phew at least Moyes already had a new job (horrible thought that!). Ignore all the crap you've put up with today from the glory hunters !! Although it pains me to say it well done Wigan.

  5. Pingback : MAN CITY 0 WIGAN 1 – Mayday Mayday, City in distress!(RBNR) | Quick News

  6. May 12, 2013  11:06 pm by Kev Russell Reply

    Sad all round. Sounds like he won't even be in charge for final 2 games of his season. Was it his abrasive manner that didn't sit well with the top boys. Was he not nice enough for them. We will probably never know but I don't think it helped. We have been a yard off the pace all season with lots of congested midfield that opponents filled even more to prevent us progressing. Didn't seem to have a plan b. Looks like he will need one now! If City are heading in a completely different direction as now seems likely, then i understand the last 6 months trying to get Mr Malaga under Bobbys nose. If we are much the same next term then he should have been given another Year. As for yesterday you have said it all brilliantly David. Well done Wigan. This is gonna be some summer with more ins & outs than a Mary Millington Film. Looking forward to you telling us all about it. #TopScriber

    • May 12, 2013  11:42 pm by David Walker Reply

      Mary Millington ? Blast from the past - maybe if City need a new front pairing we should bring her out of retirement!

  7. May 12, 2013  11:12 pm by Ian Barton Reply

    Well considered article Dave, today's events cap off a really horrible weekend. I think you speak for all of us on this one. Farewell Roberto, you go with only our best wishes.

    • May 12, 2013  11:43 pm by David Walker Reply

      Cheers Ian - did not enjoy writing that one iota.

  8. May 13, 2013  12:29 am by Phill Gatenby Reply

    I reckon Peter Swales would be turning in his grave at Mancini's exit.... even he would find it hard to weild his infamous sacking 'axe'.

    Bobby, we will miss you and remember you always - the pleasure, the privilege was ours.

    • May 14, 2013  6:24 am by David Walker Reply

      Sentiments shared by tens of thousands of City fans BUT clearly a major disconnect between Mancini and his player. Views from within the club differed wildly from views outside and, ultimately, we have to go with the Sheikh and Khaldoon. I love Mancini to bits BUT in the long run this will prove to be the right move.

      As fans, we rightly get sentimental about such things, and Roberto's departure could and should have been handled differently.

  9. May 13, 2013  10:18 am by Alan Baxter Reply

    As I write this, on the BBC Sport Website Pellegrini is denying any contact with MCFC, so I expect if the disingenous norm is maintained he will be confirmed by the end of the week.
    Glad you gathered your reserves of stamina and managed to write this piece, not scathing as I thought you might be, but you come across like I feel, a little bewildered as to how events unfolded. Ah well, onwards and upwards. Look forward to reading more (see what I did there?)
    Thanks David.

    • May 14, 2013  6:06 am by DAVID WALKER Reply

      Troubled times Alan, it feels akin to a bereavement and, yes, somewhat bewildering, especially when set against events of but one year ago.

  10. May 13, 2013  10:57 am by carol Reply

    Our club has obviously not been a happy place to be this season, for whatever reason, and it has frequently shown on the pitch. Dont understand why the club have not backed RM, presumably the tactics he used this season are the same he used last season when it clearly worked and he was rewarded with his contract, then within months all the rumours start and the club do nothing to protect him> For heavens sake back him or sack him, all this nonsense is clearly causing unrest amongst the players and gives the City hating media a bigger stick with which to beat us!

    • May 14, 2013  6:09 am by DAVID WALKER Reply

      Perhaps the reasons for the degeneration in Roberto's relationships with his players may become apparent in the coming weeks and months, but, that said, I'd rather City don't do all their laundry in public. Mancini delivered a hell of a lot and we will be eternally grateful, but as you say, something is clearly not right and the situation could not continue.

  11. May 13, 2013  12:57 pm by Martin Ryan Reply

    Goes without saying the vast majority want Roberto to stay but to sum it up in two words - 'Marwood OUT'

    • May 14, 2013  6:28 am by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Martin. Those within the Club present a much different picture to Mancini than that, that we as fans see. Obviously sadness and regret - especially given the timing of events. Football is nothing but pragmatic and ruthless and, as much as I supported Mancini, I can understand the reasons why he has gone, certainly when set against a backdrop of aggravation and disenchantment in the dressing room.

  12. May 13, 2013  5:43 pm by Doug Reply

    First of all well done to Wigan - they deserved the win. Having said that only City can court disaster when there is the opportunity for greater success. Photos in today's papers summed it all up - SAF in glory and celebrating and Mancio with the body language of a defeated man. We should have been celebrating the departure of SAF but instead we are making the news for the wrong reasons. Can't put all the blame of Saturday's defeat on Bobby - there were world class players out there playing for 40000 vocal fans - what more do they need to inspire them? As much as I like Mancio I'm afraid he has brought much of this on - open criticism of players, backroom staff and now his media team embarasses the club; he didn't have to sell NDJ and AJ last year never mind complaing about inferior players arriving. As much as I dont like how the owners do their business I and most other supporters don't complain when they splash the money. As you say this is a mess -when we should be thinking about bringing in transfers early in the season we are thinking about who is going to manage our great club. It's clear to everyone what is happening so why dont the owners come clean and put Roberto and the rest of us out of our misery and let's move on.

    • May 14, 2013  6:33 am by David Walker Reply

      With you all the way on those sentiments Doug. Forever grateful for what he did, but clearly Roberto - for whatever reasons - was not sustainable as the leader of MCFC in the future. It's been a dreadful week but we have the time and resources to come roaring back and, I for one believe that Pellegrini - if indeed it is to be him, aligned to the right signings will see us restored as Premier League Champions in 2014.

  13. May 14, 2013  1:35 pm by ALAN BROWN Reply


    • May 14, 2013  2:49 pm by David Walker Reply

      Mancini will always be revered and appreciated by MCFC fans but there were inherent problems at the Club which appear to have made it nigh on impossible for him to continue in post. It might not seem it right now but his departure could ultimately benefit the future prosperity of MCFC.

  14. August 14, 2013  7:19 pm by maillot cameroun sans manches Reply

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

Size shouldn't matter!

In a second article where Read But Never Red goes slightly 'off piste' from writing exclusively about Manchester City, we once again delve into the thoughts of a football manager a[...]