Ravenous City put Premier League three-peat on the menu

‘Have the lambs stopped screaming?’ It’s a chilling line delivered by serial killer Hannibal ‘The Cannibal’ Lecter in the famous 1991 Hollywood thriller, ‘The Silence of the Lambs’.

Fast forward 28 years and a similar question could be asked of the red Merseyside-dominated media mafia, ‘Have the Scousers stopped bleating?’

Hannibal Lecter asked if the lambs had stopped screaming. He may well ask if the Scousers will ever stop bleating?

In the way that Sir Anthony Hopkins’ human flesh-eating character would skin, butcher and devour his victims, Pep Guardiola’s back-to-back Premier League Champions, show no mercy or compassion for those that stand between them and their objectives.

Such an outlandish comparison could be construed as a tad distasteful, but not half as unsavoury as the torrent of bile and venom unleashed on City, in the wake of a unique, domestic treble-winning season, (I’m resisting the temptation to include the Community Shield and call it a quadruple).

When someone of the calibre and class of City’s Chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak, speaks of the ‘jealousy’, ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘envy’ directed at City, you know the pernicious accusations, unsubstantiated allegations and vile attacks have gone too far.

City’s superb Chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak is ready to fight the jealousy, envy and hypocrisy aimed at City.

It heartens every City fan that finally – finally – City are prepared to take on UEFA and FIFA in the courts, and not the corrupt governing bodies’ own ‘kangaroo’ courts.

The unrelenting, insidious and carefully choreographed criticism of City is now boringly predictable and obvious to all.

Consumed with faux outrage, the media pander to their traditional mass audiences of viewers, listeners and readers, drawn from those of various red persuasions both Liverpudlian and Traffordian.

They all received, and adhered, to the memo – ‘Keep up the negativity on City and keep our punters happy.’

The best football brain in all the land and all the world – City’s Catalan Genius.

City’s achievements, first as Centurions, and latterly as Treble winners, are only grudgingly acknowledged. Even the most jaundiced ‘journos’ and putrid pundits, cannot deny City’s brilliance, as much as they would love to do so.

One can only imagine the media’s gut wrenching glorification of Liverpool if they’d snatched the title and 2019, had turned out to be ‘their year’.

 A nation rejoiced that they didn’t and it wasn’t – apart from those peddling the misplaced romanticism of Klopp’s team and their ‘wonderful’ fans.

We’re constantly reminded, 97 points would have won all but two Premier League titles, since its inception in 1992. Klopp’s style of so called ‘heavy metal’ football was big on the bass booster, but fundamentally lacking when it came to a perfectly pitched treble. How it must rankle with the likes of Jamie Carragher, John Aldridge, Phil Thompson, Steve McManaman, Danny Murphy et al. What a joy.

Leaders of Men – Will Vinny one day return to manage City after Pep departs?

Ever respectful and magnanimous, Pep, thanked Liverpool for pushing City onto new levels of performance and endurance. Yes, it came down to a solitary point, but that hardly tells the full story of a Guardiola team that had amassed a staggering 198 points from a possible 228 in the past two years.

Arguably City’s most influential player, Kevin De Bruyne missed half of the season with three different injuries. Captain Fantastic Vincent Kompany was absent for 21 matches, Benjamin Mendy only played a quarter of the games, whereas the vital Fernandinho, was ruled out 25% of the time.

Much has been said about ‘fine margins’ – John Stones’ goal line clearance in the 2-1 win over Liverpool and Sergio Aguero’s winner at Burnley.

Big Kev and Little Kev – if De Bruyne had been fit all season City would have won the title by a bigger margin, whereas Zinchenko stepped up in the problematic left back slot.

In Pep parlance, those few centimetres were ‘so, so satisfying’, but the points gap could have been a gulf, with a fully fit City squad.

Injuries are part and parcel of the game and City have coped with more than their fair share, in their back-to-back titles, but how would Liverpool have fared if Virgil Van Dijk or the Diving Pharoah of Bootle had missed half-a-season?

Little wonder then, that Guardiola believes City can improve further and be even stronger in 2019/20.

City’s detractors pathetically harp on about the club’s ‘lack of history’, a bizarre and skew-eyed interpretation at the best of times. It’s convenient to forget how City missed out on being Champions of England, by a single point in 1977.

If Colin Bell hadn’t been ruled out of City’s 1976/77 season, Tony Book’s team would have beaten Liverpool to the title.

Ironically it was Bob Paisley’s Liverpool who pipped Tony Book’s City to top spot – a City team deprived of Colin Bell – the equivalent of Pep’s Kevin De Bruyne. Only the The Annual Village Idiot Convention or The Kop, could argue that City wouldn’t have won the League, had ‘Nijinsky’ been fit and able to stay the distance.

Of course we didn’t have the vices of social media back in the 1970s, so there was no chance of an online petition demanding a trophy for coming second.

As City look to the future, they do so without the legend that is Vincent Kompany, with a handful of other title winners also set to depart the Etihad. Nicolas Otamendi, Fabian Delph, Claudio Bravo, Eliaquim Mangala and Danilo are all among the potential departures.

Captain, Legend, Leader – Vincent Kompany is all of these things and more to Manchester City. His reign at City came to an end at the same time as the world-beating Games of Thrones concluded. Both will be sadly missed, but unlike GOT, Vinny is destined to return. Image courtesy of The Stizmeister from our BlueRoom partners. Look them and him up on Twitter @ManCityBlueRoom @StizGfX or on Facebook at creativebluestar.co.uk

The fact City’s defensive ranks – which conceded a meagre 23 league goals – continues  to evolve, is an illustration of Pep’s relentless drive for improvement. Aymeric Laporte has emerged as the defensive lynchpin, with John Stones set to step up as a key figure for both club and country.

A double swoop for Leicester’s Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell, could be money well spent. Ajax’s prodigious Matthijs de Ligt would be a tremendous capture, but he looks Barcelona bound.

The contribution of a fit and firing Benjamin Mendy cannot be overstated, but when will this guy ever stay healthy enough to justify his £50m fee?

£57m ‘bargain’ Aymeric Laporte scored five goals last season, as well as establishing himself as a world class defender. Perversely he has still to be capped at full international level.

Oleksandr Zinchenko, or ‘Little Kev’, has done remarkably well in his 14 first team starts in the league, but he cannot be considered a long term solution at left back, if Mendy remains ‘un-mended’.

If Danilo heads to Serie A, Kyle Walker will need strong competition at right back to encourage him to up his levels. It could come in the form of Juventus’ Joao Cancelo, or perhaps Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

A defensive midfielder WILL be acquired, whether it be Rodri of Atletico Madrid, Ndombele of Lyon or whoever – it’s the one key position where City don’t have a ‘like-for-like’ replacement.

Hard act to follow – Fernandinho’s days at City are not over yet, but the succession planning has to start this summer.

Ilkay Gundagon put in some outstanding displays in the absence of Fernandinho, but he lacks the defensive guile and ability to ‘put his foot in’ when it’s most needed.

Nonetheless, City are rightly keen to sign him up before his contract runs out next summer.

The biggest transfer conundrum, of course, is Leroy Sane. Pep wants him to stay beyond the remaining two years on his deal. The fans want him to stay, but does the 23-year old, with 25 goals and 28 assists from 89 Premier League appearances, want to stay? 

Sane celebration – Leroy has just struck the winning goal against Liverpool to inflict the Scousers one and only league defeat in 2018/19.

Bayern Munich, perhaps City’s most virulent critics, are openly touting for Sane to return to Germany. The hypocrites from Bavaria, headed up by convicted criminal and tax evader, club president Uli Hoeness, have even had the temerity to say they won’t break their club record transfer fee of £70m for Sane.

Clearly Hoeness, and his partner in crime, the hideous Karl-Heinz Rummenige, are beyond contempt, but, nonetheless, Pep should put his German linguistic skills to good effect with a firm, ‘Fukken zee offen’ to these sourest of Sauerkrauts.

Two players going nowhere, but to the very top, are Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling. Surprisingly they’re both the same age at just 24 years young. Not surprisingly, they are among an elite group of Pep’s untouchables, along with Ederson, Laporte and KDB.

Raheem Sterling finally made the press eat their words, as he was voted The Football Writers Association Player of The Year 2019.

Bernardo was voted as the Club’s Player of the Year, whereas Sterling picked up the prestigious Football Writers Association Player of the Year 2019 Award. It was such a sweet irony for a player, mercilessly hounded by the press, since his departure from Anfield in 2015.

Another man well versed with winning is Sergio Aguero. He’ll be 31 this Sunday – one digit shy of the number of goals scored for City in this, his eighth campaign in Sky Blue. He’s not getting any younger, but neither are his goals getting any less.

Silverware everywhere and Sergio Aguero’s 32 goal haul this season was crucial to City’s success.

This truly remarkable striker has hit 164 in 239 Premier League games, with a further 67 goals in 99 cup competitions. He’s contracted to City for two more seasons, so who’s to say he can’t get close to 300 goals, before heading back to Argentina?

Of course the dilemma will be who is Aguero’s long term successor? Gabriel Jesus has just completed his third season with City, netting 45 goals in 100 appearances. Not too shabby for a youngster who’s had to overcome two serious injuries since joining the club in January, 2017. If Pep can develop him in Sterling-esque fashion, Jesus could be the man.

Whether City are happy to wait to invest in another out-and-out striker until 2020 is unknown, but succession planning under Pep has thus far been excellent.

If Gabriel Jesus can emulate the improvement shown by Raheem Sterling under Pep Guardiola, the young Brazilian strike could yet be the man to succeed Sergio Aguero.

David Silva – perhaps City’s best player of all time – enters his tenth, and most likely, final, season when the Fourmidables return to pre-season training. El Mago opened the scoring in the 6-0 FA Cup Final thrashing of Watford and is still an important part of Pep’s slick machine.

It’s not treason to say Merlin hasn’t been at his majestic best since the turn of the year, but a below par Silva is better than most. By 2020 he’ll have secured his testimonial with 10 years served – something of a rarity in the modern game.

A touch of magic from El Mago started City’s 6-0 FA Cup Final rout of Watford.

He’ll follow in the footsteps of Captain Kompany’s incredible 11-year stint, and should hopefully have eclipsed Vinny’s haul of four Premier League titles, four League Cup wins and two FA Cup victories before he bids adios to Manchester.

These truly are the best of times for Manchester City. With more shrewd transfer dealings, the emergence of young talents such as Phil Foden, Eric Garcia and perhaps Claudio Gomes, plus Pep’s coaching genius, it could be this City ‘dynasty’ is only just getting started.

Phil Foden more than earned his Spurs when he headed the winner against Tottenham, en-route to his second Premier League Winners medal.

There’ll be battles aplenty in the weeks, months and years that lie ahead. Khaldoon and some of the finest legal minds and business brains are more than ready, willing and able to fight the morally bankrupt football institutions of the world off the field.

The on-field challenges will see Pep and his squad go for a Premier League ‘three-peat’ and, as far as Sheikh Mansour is concerned, the Holy Grail, of the title of Champions League winners.

Will it be more fireworks and celebrations at the Etihad at the end of next season? Pep certainly thinks so.

As ever, most City fans will opt for being Champions of England as the true barometer of their club’s success. Lifting crooked UEFA’s prize possession still comes a distant second, but it’d score 10-out-of-10 for pure devilment alone.

A ‘three-peat’ and a Champions League triumph?

Bloody hell, never mind the lambs, the Scousers would never stop screaming.

 

By David Walker

 

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www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

30 Comments

  1. May 29, 2019  12:28 pm by Sean McDougall Reply

    Spot on as ever DW. The fighting back is way overdue from City IMO - Spanish football particularly Real Madrid's incestuous relationship with the Spanish Government absolutely stinks whilst, as you rightly pointed out, the hypocrisy at Bayern is staggeringly hard faced. Price Leroy at £150M and if he doesn't go then he's got 2 years to grow up & realise just how blessed he is to be at our great club! We can run his contract down and raise transfer funds like last season selling off bit part players and loanees like Danilo, Delph, Otamendi, Oradabiojo, Patrick Roberts, Nmecha, Barker, Harrison at Leeds and so on - all whilst revenue spirals skyward over £500m with sponsors clamouring to get on board and supporters joining Worldwide by the tens of thousands! Ally this to how they price things for fans with season tickets from £300, kids for a fiver Cup games etc and the Arabs they so cruelly dismissed as rich playboys looking for a toy really have run rings around teh established order!!! Long may it continue!

  2. May 29, 2019  12:39 pm by Pete lynch Reply

    Wonderful piece David, so eloquent. Thank you!

  3. May 29, 2019  1:09 pm by AB Reply

    Great article as ever. You’ve been missed!

    Awaiting fixtures for next year to see if I can find an August game to attend when back in UK. Hope to catch up again.

    Stay well.

    • May 29, 2019  1:12 pm by David Walker Reply

      I've been missed? I'm getting better at zig-zagging from hostile fire. It's a case of finding the time nowadays. Many thanks AB, always appreciated.

  4. May 29, 2019  1:38 pm by polar smith Reply

    Another great piece of writing mirroring the views of most City fans who have urged the club to test EUFA in the courtroom. We will prevail, much to the heartbreak of the whinging red-shirted hordes with their second place trophies

    • May 29, 2019  3:16 pm by David Walker Reply

      I'll certainly go with that 'verdict'. Thanks for reading and your comment.

  5. May 29, 2019  2:14 pm by Richard Leonard Cooper Reply

    Very good read as always David.
    It has been a superb season and even more special because of how City have coped with the injuries. That "run in" to claim the title was breathtaking, and I would be the first to admit we wouldn't do that unbeaten run that culminated on the final day at Brighton.
    I am sure you know my opinion of the anti City/ UEFA "goings on and on and on....". It has in my opinion gone well beyond FFP and I could speculate on various reasons, jealousy, ethnicity of ownership etc etc etc. Suffice it to say we have very highly paid lawyers for what appears to be inevitable Court Action.
    Next season will be very interesting. 1. Will we do the treble again, hope so but perhaps doubtful. 2. As we know Siva D, Ferna, Sergio, VK (now gone) have birth date problems. We have to slowly replace these giants and maintain the high standards we have set. 3. Transfers - Hopefully Gundogan is staying, he has been 10 out of 10 in our run in. Sane is an enigma. At times outstanding at times frustrating. He has suffered due to the form of Siva B and Raheem, but when he has come on he hasn't really taken his chance. I won't speculate on the endless names being touted on gossip columns, I will leave it to see what transpires !

    • May 29, 2019  3:22 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks, as always RC. Let's hope Txiki and Pep have planned and can execute a very fruitful transfer strategy this summer. As I said in the piece, succession planning on Pep's watch seems to have gone well thus far. With Vinny gone and seemingly one year left of El Mago City must get things right. De Ligt would be a great acquisition, but it might be City like Maguire as he's Premier League proven. As for the sad day when Merlin does leave, well, we already have his namesake and a young lad from Stockport! That said, Pep will strengthen, strengthen and strengthen again, such is his relentless quest for titles and trophies.

  6. May 29, 2019  3:00 pm by Steve Williamss Reply

    Great article and spot on about UEFA and about the whinging Scousers who seem to think the world is against them and that they should be given divine interventions to succeed. The truth is the Scousers and Klopp for all their high blown moaning are serial CHOKERS as well as being serial JOKERs when it comes to winning anything. Klopp is the silver medal champion......how many times has he lost in finals? The best they deserve is a tin pot for being continual runners up the CHOKER COLA CUP perhaps

    • May 29, 2019  3:25 pm by David Walker Reply

      Very good :-) I don't say it often, if ever, but come Saturday night, it's #COYS. Thereafter, let's see if UEFA can contrive to screw us again in next season's Champions League? It'd be nice to win it just to see the look of horror on the faces of UEFA's collective and corrupt hierarchy.

  7. May 29, 2019  3:09 pm by Barbara Hinchy Reply

    Spot on once more, next season will see us sat in the east stand once more hoping to see the same great football, and I have my tickets booked for Vincent's testimonial, I enjoy reading your blogs very much, I've been a season ticket holder on and off since 1977, long may I be able to keep on trucking.

    • May 29, 2019  3:27 pm by David Walker Reply

      That's great feedback - thanks Barbara. I'll be sat across the way in the Colin Bell Stand - hopefully City will look just as scintillating from either angle.

  8. May 29, 2019  5:54 pm by Clive Vickerstaff Reply

    Wonderful comments from fellow City fans but your breakdown on all the players is outstanding , I love all the correct info on uefa and the Germans at Bayern , Bravo DW simple outstanding ,

    • May 29, 2019  8:57 pm by David Walker Reply

      Bravo? Is he staying? :-) Daft comments aside from me, thanks for your feedback. Obviously it's just my take on the various players, but I think most City fans would agree with my views on those Bavarian b@st@rds!

  9. May 29, 2019  7:52 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Love the diving Pharaoh bit made me chuckle. What a season we have had & how the Liverpool loving media will of hated it. I think the scousers are still putting up petions. I really hope we can keep Leroy he is a talent no doubt about it. Really pleased that City seem like they are going to take on Uefa, that will be Interesting. Nice to have my favourite blog back & thanks for taking the time to do it much appreciated Dave.

    • May 29, 2019  9:02 pm by David Walker Reply

      Always appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. I like doing RBNR, but of recent times my venture into writing books to earn a crust, has taken priority. Just needed to do this one to round the season off.

  10. May 29, 2019  8:01 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Forgot to mention about Captain fantastic leaving us. He will be a massive miss what he has done for us on & off the field is amazing. But I don't think this the end for Vinny at City more just a sabbatical, I think one day in the future he will be back.

    • May 29, 2019  9:03 pm by David Walker Reply

      Obviously his testimonial will be a great occasion and, if all goes well at Anderlecht who's to say he won't one day be back as manager. Maybe have Zaba as his assistant?

  11. May 29, 2019  9:13 pm by John Bampkin Reply

    David your articles have been sorely missed over the last few weeks but how fitting that you come back at the end of the season and underline and so eloquently describe the feelings of every true blue!
    A great and fitting tribute to a great club going through its wonder years at present (OR are they just the beginning?).
    Can I suggest that you have forgotten one major piece of this jigsaw in this great tribute.....?
    The FANS!!!
    The fans of this club are truly the best in all the land and all the world.
    I sat watching Watford being dismantled at Wembley by sheer class on the pitch and fair play to the Watford fans they started their flag-waving frenzy for the last 20 minutes of the game, obviously appreciating what they were watching and also trying to "enjoy" their big day out. This tells you that they have amazing supporters but..... once again the City fans showed just as much class off the pitch as out heroes were showing on it..... they gave the Watford fans a massive and lasting round of applause...….(No surprises that the media made no mention of it as far as I am aware).
    Once again demonstrating to me that they......WE are the best supporters and therefore complete the best club in all the land and all the world!!!!!!
    I am very proud to have supported this club for the last 49 years (I was 5 when my Grandad sat me down to watch City and Francis Lee win in Europe and convert my preference at that stage from a pretty impressive Leeds United to CITY). Thank God he did and...……..Ive never been more proud to be a CITY fan.

    • May 29, 2019  9:22 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks 'young' John, I've supported City since 1970, so we're totally on the same journey and timeline. I actually filmed the moment City's fans started applauding their Watford counterparts - approximately the 83rd minute - and received loads of positive feedback from both sets of fans when it went on social media. It was a classy gesture - not patronising, but heartfelt - because the City of old had been on the wrong end of many a pasting. It was such a pleasant experience to be able to mingle with opposition fans without any malice or violence. We are Blue Brothers together, and I think the best is still yet to come.

  12. May 30, 2019  8:26 am by Andy Jackson Reply

    Superb piece again DW, thought provoking, insightful as ever. I'll just say the following line you wrote imploring Pep to tell BM to 'Fukken zee offen' over Sane has literally had me in pieces. Serious laugh out loud jaw ache. Your articles are always on point, professional and informative, but the humour and borderline 'libelous' muck chucking at the Bin Dippers and the UEFA and FIFA establishment are hilarious. Keep on keeping on Dave - Brilliant mate !! Jacko

    • May 30, 2019  8:54 am by David Walker Reply

      Good job I'm well versed in libel law! Fair to say I'm not always conventional with my approach on RBNR, but if I can raise a smile, as well as giving my take on all things Manchester City, then it's job done. Thanks for your generous feedback Jacko.


      Now, where did I put that 'O' Level certificate for German Language, I had it here a few minutes ago...

  13. May 30, 2019  8:31 pm by Pete Taylor Reply

    I smile at the comments of the "Best supporters in the land" etc. For those of us who remember the Peter Swales era who have stood in the decrepit grounds around the country hoping we can leave with our dignity in tact and stolen at least a draw; I would agree... sadly, or fortunately, too many have only memories of success. Two lads (late twenties) standing behind me at wembley said of the Watford fans, " credit to them, we would all be on the bus at 4-0". What happened to the stoicism and the humour? we are sadly going the way of all successful teams. Will our fans in 30 years be muttering at the then current successful team and demanding a runners up cup? Will Foden and Sterling be ruminating about what should have been on T.V...?
    Good piece by the way. Hope Sane stays.

    • May 30, 2019  8:47 pm by David Walker Reply

      With nigh on 11 years of Sheikh Mansour, there's certainly a generation who have known nothing but comparative, and ultimately, supreme success. It does make you wonder if they'd have lasted five minutes back in the good old bad old days! It reflects the changes in life in general, the onset of social media, more often a medium for vice rather virtue. As a democrat I'm all for freedom of speech, but sometimes when you look at Twitter and Facebook it does make me wonder. Hopefully as we continue this golden age of Guardiola, the voices of sanity, humility and realism will still be heard amongst those bereft of such traits. That said, there's never been a better time to be a City fan and I think and believe, the best is yet to come. Thanks for your comments.

  14. May 31, 2019  2:29 pm by Will Reply

    Great reading, made me smile a few times. Liverpool fans are so knowledgable. They know the chorus to you’ll never wan* alone and everything! As for those classless leather shorts wearing, thigh slapping, sausage munching dumb kopfs they can just do one. But for VRR we could well have been back to back finalists in the CL. I will settle on us winning it with 13 wins out of 13 next season and then having wiped the floor with UEFA, playing our under 23’s in the following season’s campaign. Time to pinch the Millwall sing ‘no one likes us we don’t care’ I think!

    • May 31, 2019  5:45 pm by David Walker Reply

      My 'humour' doesn't necessarily suit all, but I'm glad you like the irreverent references to City's adversaries. Yes, had it not been for VAR we could well have been in Madrid. I only hope our 'understudies' from North London do the business. That said, I'd much rather have the Premier League in our trophy cabinet as opposed to crooked UEFA's jug-eared corrupt cup. I'm sure Pep will lift it soon enough, with sky blue and white ribbons adorning the aforementioned ears. Cracking idea sending the kids out to defend it, if as and when we manage to beat the system, as well as our opponents. Thanks Will.

  15. June 1, 2019  1:25 am by Susan Bookbinder Reply

    Great writing David x

    • June 1, 2019  8:43 am by David Walker Reply

      Thank you Suzy B x If you can make it up to our place this summer, in the words of Hannibal Lecter, it could be that:"I'm having a friend for dinner!" Perhaps some Foccacia on the side?

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