The lady of ample proportions gargles before spitting out the soothing fluid, producing a guttural grunt as she clears her throat. Her bulky bosom heaves as she fills her lungs with a massive inhalation, in readiness to belt out a big number…
The sizeable songstress has yet to let her vocals loose on Manchester City’s swansong of their Premier League title, but it’s only a matter of time before the fat lady sings.
Sadly City have played too many games in the key of ‘off’ this campaign, hitting a few bum notes in Hampshire and on both Wearside and Merseyside, failing to strike the right chord on to many occasions.
They’ve even orchestrated their own downfall from time to time, but make no mistake these boys aren’t one hit wonders – they WILL be back in a cacophony of sound, as befits the noisiest neighbours on the planet.
A crescendo of glory is just around the corner as City prepare to unleash a dynasty, ready to take centre stage in English football and make sweet overtures across continental Europe.
Like his countrymen Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli, Roberto Mancini is a passionate act, evoking deep emotion in his audience, reducing men, women and children to tears at the climax of a peerless – never to be surpassed – gala performance.
The delirious, unbridled joy of May 13, 2012 delivered precious moments that can never – never ever – be torn from the hearts and memories of every living Manchester City supporter.
Almost 11 months to the day and Mancini will lead his team of champions into the den of their arch foe – the neighbours who are rather ‘up themselves’ – manipulative, arrogant and belittling those with the temerity to aspire to live in the ‘big house’.
Sadly his victorious warriors, who inflicted unimaginable pain on said hated rivals, will relinquish their crown in the coming days and weeks as the Dark Forces muster and spirit away City’s precious prize, and with it the mantle as the best in the land.
Just how a Manchester United side – who are not a patch on previous glorious line-ups of the Baconface era – are 15 points clear of City, is a quandary to those who witnessed the Sky Blues swashbuckling style as they swept to their first title in 44 years.
United will not have won this 2012/13 title, it will have been presented to them by a City side who, at times have lacked the will and gumption to press home obvious advantage.
The Premier League is won based on 38 contests. It doesn’t help Mancini’s cause when his team only decides to show up in 34 or 35 of these encounters.
One must hope that they turn out at Old Trafford full of heart, sound of mind and with the self confidence to plunder a memorable victory. By doing so City not only save face in a disappointing season, they also serve notice that they will want ‘their’ title back by 2014.
It’s true that those who sit aloft the table at the final whistle on the final day deserve to be champions, it would be sour grapes to say anything different.
City, having reveled in the ecstasy and elation of last year’s success, must heed the lessons of blunted hunger and diluted desire. It pains me, but City must look to United for their example of unrelenting ambition and an insatiable appetite for more and more success.
It’s a cultural thing – what Roberto would refer to as having a ‘strong mentality…only this.’ It will come and it will come quickly – it absolutely has to when you have men of the stature of Sheikh Mansour and Khaldoon El Mubarak at the helm.
City arrive at The Swamp knowing this is their last face-to-face confrontation with the champions-elect following Manure’s Easter Monday reversal at Stamford Bridge.
A good proportion of City fans were disappointed to see Fergie’s double dream die. Their preference would have been to see their team expedite United’s exit from the FA Cup in a Manchester versus Salford semi-final. Still, it doesn’t really matter who City beat on their way to a sixth FA Cup success and Mancini’s third major trophy in his tenure at the Etihad.
The 4-0 demolition of Newcastle saw City playing unhindered by any weight of expectation. It also coincided with the return of the side’s backbone – in more ways than one. What team on the planet would not be hurt and rendered weaker by the absence of Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero?
Coupled with the traditional Easter resurrection – only this time it wasn’t good old ‘JC’ it was Samir Nasri – and you can see why City have nothing to fear travelling to the noxious neighbours.
How ironic would it be if the Frenchman turned into the hero of the hour having gone so woefully missing in action last December, when United came to Manchester?
Cowering behind Edin Dzeko, as the ‘bad brick’ in a City wall, Nasri’s cowardice enabled Robin Van Persie to score an undeserved winner in United’s 3-2 win.
If he were to be more than instrumental in a second consecutive City win in Salford, it would go down a treat, perhaps even delivering salvation from a summer exit to PSG – who knows?
Let’s not delude ourselves City are going to be second best this season, but that doesn’t mean second best on the night.
The elephantine female WILL undoubtedly sing, but Mancini, his team and City’s wonderful supporters can be well out of earshot when she does, knowing that the new Champions of England won’t stay that way for very long.
NB: Read But Never Red’s coverage of the Manchester derby will be delayed by 36 hours due to an ageing engagement by the Blue (sorry Red) Sea, as the author officially becomes older but not necessarily wiser.