Well…would you trust your MP?

Who do we tend to distrust the most in life? Used car salesmen, estate agents, politicians…?

During times of economic hardship, pay freezes and bleak employment prospects you would expect the democratically elected members of Parliament (MPs) to lead by example – the powerbrokers of Westminster to let their actions rather than their words do the talking – so what do they do – they recommend awarding themselves an inflation busting 12% pay rise!

Thankfully Manchester City is in a unique position in 2013/14, one which permits the Abu Dhabi owners, a galaxy of international star players and the bedrock of the club – it’s outstandingly loyal supporters – to buck the trend where everyone else is suspicious of their MPs.

As Sheikh Mansour sets his sights on City’s second Premier League crown in three years, everybody associated with the sky blue side of Manchester can rest assured that they CAN trust their MP – the newly appointed manager, Manuel Pellegrini.

The 60-year old ex-Chilean international is blessed with the requisite experience, guile, tactical nouse, vision and passion for expansive attacking football, that will win the big prizes for MCFC and captivate the hearts and minds of true lovers of the ‘beautiful game’.

Affable, articulate with an almost professorial aura, Pellegrini is poised to lead City into the club’s most successful era ever, superseding the magnificent reign of Mercer & Allison and surpassing the delicious delights delivered courtesy of Roberto Mancini at Wembley in 2011, and the never-to-be-forgotten Agueroooo moment on that magically mesmerising afternoon on May 13, 2012.

 

Trusted figure - City's new manager, Manuel Pellegrini

Trusted figure – City’s new manager, Manuel Pellegrini

As a staunch advocate of ‘Bobby Manc’ and a frequent writer of the phrase ‘Forza Mancini’ I, like a majority of City fans was perturbed and unhappy to see City’s Italian leader dumped in such ignominious circumstances after the FA Cup Final debacle against Wigan.

The fact his sacking became official a year to the day after he had delivered the Premier League title and seen City crowned as Champions of England for the first time in 44 years made it all the more painful.

The timing of the announcement was manna from heaven for the anti-City biased national media, already busy lapping up City’s shock 1-0 Cup Final defeat and revelling in what they saw as Manchester United’s rightful restoration to the top of the English game. 

What has subsequently emerged is that Mancini had, to coin the football vernacular, ‘lost the dressing room’ with what appears to be a lamentable lack of man-management. Forever revered for his achievements by City’s fans it was, nonetheless, completely hopeless to believe he could continue to lead City onto bigger prizes and even better times. Roberto had rediscovered the glory days for City, but hadn’t a hope in hell of sustaining them.

Manuel Luis Pellegrini Ripamonti, statesman-like, distinguished in appearance and diplomatic in his manner, was always the hot favourite to swap Malaga for Manchester and had been for months beforehand.

When Pep Guardiola opted to end his sabbatical and pledge his future to Bayern Munich, Pellegrini was the only viable candidate who ticked all the boxes in the eyes of City’s ex-Barcelona executives, CEO Ferran Soriano and Sporting Director, Txiki Begiristain.

Mourinho was never on the radar, much less the Glaswegian Gargoyle Moyes,  who subsequently accepted Mission Impossible, following Fergie after Sir Baconface called time on his 26-years at The Swamp.

Ironic then that the media were quick to malign Pellegrini for not winning trophies during his time in La Liga with Villarreal, Real Madrid and Malaga, and yet lauded Moyes, who of course was a winner – courtesy of the 1999 Second Division title with Preston North End.

Laughable but typical, and as a lifelong City fan I know who I would want leading my team and it definitely isn’t the man from Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire!

No, the ex-centre back from Santiago is my choice. His Malaga team was literally seconds away from last season’s Champions League semi finals before the outstanding Borussia Dortmund scored a blatantly offside ‘goal’ to snatch a controversial win.

In five years at Villarreal – the country cousins of Valencia and with no real history of success – Pellegrini transformed the ‘Yellow Submarine’ – guess what colour kit they wore, into one of La Liga’s leading lights. He broke the monopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top of the table taking runners-up spot in 2008.

He took Villarreal to the semi finals of the CL in 2006 and, when given the poison chalice of the manager’s job at Real Madrid, amassed the club’s biggest ever points haul of 96 – just three behind the all conquering Barcelona at the peak of their powers.

He was subsequently sacked from the Santiago Bernabeu, before going onto prosper with Malaga. Lest we forget he had already chalked up a myriad of successes in his native South America winning a trio of league titles, one in Ecuador and two in Argentina with San Lorenzo and River Plate, along with numerous domestic cup successes and the Copa Mercosur – the equivalent of the Europa League.   

Clearly, Pellegrini’s record in the CL far outshines that of Mancini’s and he can lay claim to being the only manager to take two different teams to the quarter finals in their debut seasons in the competition.

Jesus is on City's side - newcomer Navas with the Barclays Asia Trophy

Jesus is on City’s side – newcomer Navas with the Barclays Asia Trophy

City have invested approaching £90m on Pellegrini sanctioned targets. Negredo, Navas, Jovetic and Fernandinho haven’t come cheap but,they nonetheless look shrewd acquisitions and Pellegrini’s summer shopping will probably carry on before the September 2nd transfer deadline.

Real Madrid’s notorious, but effective central defender Pepe still seems a target. Pellegrini had the combative Portuguese under his wing at the Bernabeu and has seen enough of him in La Liga to rate him. Whether City need reinforcements at left back revolve around Aleksander Kolarov’s situation, with Juventus bidding for his services.

Denis Suarez, Scott Sinclair and Gareth Barry seem the most likely departures following on from Carlos Tevez, Maicon, Kolo Toure and Jeremy Helan. As for Wayne Bridge and Roque Santa Cruz they were more like non-returners rather than departures – at long last!

City have had an eventful pre-season, travelling the world like never before. South Africa, Hong Kong, Germany and the unlikely final stop in Helsinki finished the friendly season which, by and large, went very well.

Marketing, fitness levels and tactical understanding – not necessarily in that order – are major components in the preparation as we head towards the opening fixture against Newcastle at the Etihad on August 19th.

Results are far from everything, the irony being the 2-1 defeat against reigning European Champions Bayern Munich in the Audi Cup, representing City’s most encouraging display – above winning the Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong before beating AC Milan 5-3 via an amazing first half goal-fest in the Allianz Arena.

It’s well documented that Pellegrini is nicknamed ‘The Engineer’  because he studied engineering at the end of his playing career, but more tellingly, because of his ability to construct teams that strike a fine balance between defensive discipline and attacking flair.

And when it comes to the Manchester derby in September, Pellegrini has already put one over his new counterpart at Old Trafford. In their only encounter to date, Pellegrini’s Villarreal knocked Moyes’ Everton out of the 2005/06 Champions League 4-2 on aggregate in the preliminary round.

#TrustOurMP!

 

 

30 Comments

  1. August 11, 2013  1:49 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    Good to have you back, David, and there's just over a week before the big kick off to the new PL season for City.
    However, some things don't change, as there have been some examples already of the media trying their luck baiting the Engineer. I think this afternoon's events at Wembley will give us a fair idea of the approach to Moyes at Utd.
    It would have been good to have won more than we lost in pre-season, but, as you say, fitness and familiarity are more important, and there maybe more changes to come in the playing staff before the end of August.

    • August 11, 2013  3:00 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Graham - I'm focusing on City providing a much more fluent style of play with lots of creativity via Jovetic, Silva, Nasri, Navas, executioners touch in front of goal Aguero and Negredo, solidity and power Yaya, Milner and Fernandinho, so my main concern sits with our recent defensive showings. Ironic since we've had the best defence in the PL for past three seasons. I questioned the pursuit of Pepe initially, but I can see the wisdom of it in terms of experience and that element of ruthlessness. Would like a CB & LB to provide competition and depth before the transfer window closes.

  2. August 11, 2013  2:44 pm by Nev Artingstall Reply

    Great read as always David. Keep em coming.

    • August 11, 2013  3:02 pm by David Walker Reply

      Cheers Nev - much appreciated I'll be doing my best with pre and post match pieces and I'll try to do some more analytical articles if time permits.

  3. August 11, 2013  2:58 pm by Dave Bones Reply

    Nice to have you back David,great read,now let the season begin.

    • August 11, 2013  3:03 pm by David Walker Reply

      Gratitude Mr Bones - hope to be writing about the coronation of our MP at season's end.

  4. August 11, 2013  3:02 pm by Paul Reply

    Fantastic read as always David, at last did not think we would get here together again, you are by far the best writer fortune blues, keep it up we need you. CTWD

    • August 11, 2013  5:09 pm by David Walker Reply

      More importantly Paul I need you to be around to read my writing. Here's the deal - I keep writing 'em and you hang on in there and keep reading 'em. Warmest best wishes from me and every MCFC fan with a heart - you are a brave, stoical man and it's a privilege to know you.

  5. August 11, 2013  5:55 pm by MoleRocks Reply

    Great read. As much as I loved Roberto, I do trust in MP. A very calm and professional persona. Very happy with the new signings, quality players, who don't appear to have any character flaws to cause disruption. Come on City, do it for MP!

    • August 11, 2013  9:01 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks for taking the time and effort to comment - the fact your feedback is positive is a bonus. I love it when readers want to reply to a blog - it must be stirring the emotions. Thanks again Carl.

  6. August 11, 2013  6:02 pm by Diarmuid Reply

    Cheers Dave. It's writers like yourself that give us all the more reason not to read rags like the Guardian.
    Keep up the essential work - your country needs!

    • August 11, 2013  9:03 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks fella - maybe there's a need for a few of us to counter balance what is essentially a national football media that has a distinct dislike for all things MCFC. It's always denied and we're accused of being paranoid - but that doesn't mean they're not out to get us - the old ones are the old ones!

  7. August 11, 2013  6:26 pm by Martin Lawlor Reply

    Another brilliant read David,glad to hear you got through your operation.Looking forward to reading your Blue articles this season.

    • August 11, 2013  9:07 pm by David Walker Reply

      The shoulder operation held me back during much of the close season, hence the RBNR silent routine, but gradually improving - thanks. I need to do a catch up and pay homage to Bert Trautmann before the season starts. I also have a few MCFC book reviews to do, plus a very interesting look at the distinctly unglamorous world of football scouting via the esteemed Michael Calvin of the Independent.

      Thanks for taking the time to feedback.

  8. August 11, 2013  8:24 pm by James Reply

    Any footstep that heads towards overtaking the Salford rags will do me....CTID

    • August 11, 2013  9:08 pm by David Walker Reply

      Well if we're talking about fancy footwork let's hope City do enough to see Manure and Chelski etc Foxtrot Oscar! CTWD.

  9. August 11, 2013  8:35 pm by Grant Mills Reply

    Great read. I gave up writing City blogs after reading the quality of yours. I still miss Mancini and get annoyed when people question his man management whilst forgetting how he took the pressure off during that 6 game title run in. But life goes on. Trust in MP.

  10. August 11, 2013  9:13 pm by David Walker Reply

    Grant thank you for commenting but listen mate, don't stop doing something you want to do because of any other influences. If you have an opinion, a passion and you have something you want to say, just get out there and say it to the best of your ability. I'm just doing the best I can but there's plenty out there better than me.

    Like you I had a tremendously high regard for Roberto but sadly, having learned what I have learned it simply wasn't credible for him to carry on - whatever the rights or wrongs. However, Mancini will always - always - have a place in our hearts as MCFC fans.

    Once again thanks Grant!

  11. August 11, 2013  9:31 pm by Frank Reply

    Fantastic to have you back. It now feels like the season can start. I feel like if Nasty had been playing yesterday none of those goals would have happened as they all seemed to be coming from the same side and poor Kompany was racing back to fill in the gaps.

    The lack of finishing did give flashbacks from last season, but don't think the experiment of Dzeko and Negredo starting up at the front was tactically sound. The formation was too, shall we say, Mancini. Also, do we have concerns about Hart? I feel like Pants should get a few starts to keep things fresh. Any thoughts on who the starting XI will be next week? I think the team that started up front against AC Milan was great and then the defense we had against Munich are the right combo. It's good to see we have so many options, but now its about gelling!

    • August 11, 2013  10:23 pm by David Walker Reply

      I think MP will go all out for Pepe this week because the defence has looked as tough as a blancmange in some games but showed stoical resistance against Bayern. Lest we forget we haven't had Sergio at all during the pre-season so he's bound to have a beneficial impact. I can't see Dzeko and Negredo as starters together but as for the team against the Toon I'd guess: Hart Zabaleta Clichy Kompany Lescott Fernandinho Yaya Negredo Nasri Silva Navas Subs Aguero (lacking fitness) Milner Dzeko Richards Jovetic Pants Rodwell.

      That leaves Garcia, Kolarov Boyata out of the equation. It also illustratesthe need for a couple more acquistions especially if Kolarov is sold.
      I expect Sinclair, Suarez and probably Barry to go before September 2nd - feel a bit sorry for GB but City are ever evolving.

      We have Nastasic returning but wouldn't mind Pepe, another creative/winger and a LB if AK goes to Juve. Baines would be good - use the AK fee and Sinclair to trade with Everton.

      Thanks for reading and especially for commenting. CTWD

  12. August 12, 2013  1:04 am by Chris Hsnley Reply

    Superb wrtiting, engaging and thoughtful. The comment you made re the press adulation of Moyes v the pessimism to pellegrini was so true.
    CTWD.... Chris H

    • August 13, 2013  1:15 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yes, the jibes against MP were and continue to be pathetic, in equal measure to the comedic 'Moyes win silverware at first opportunity' and 'Moyes is first Manure manager EVER to win a trophy in his first season' - whoopee bleedin' doo! Thanks for feedback. CTWD & beyond!

  13. August 12, 2013  3:11 pm by Mark Turner Reply

    Another great article Dave, and I echo the sentiments of other contributors here - it is good to have you back and I'm pleased you have recovered from your shoulder op.
    For me there is much to look forward to next season, our new recruits all offer something we didn't have last year, although like you, I'll be sorry to see GB go. He's given an awful lot to our team, is consistently under rated and has worn the shirt with pride. I also think it's a shame if we lose Denis Suarez - he may not be ready right now but can't help wondering if his development might be expedited under the tutelage of MP?
    Roberto will always have a place in my heart, despite what the rag tainted press rejoice in reporting - he put one over Baconface more often than not, and for that we should all be eternally grateful!

    • August 13, 2013  1:09 pm by DAVID WALKER Reply

      I whole heartedly endorse your sentiments Mark ref GB, Suarez and Roberto and many thanks for your feedback and for taking the time and effort to comment. It is so satisfying when folk write on the site - makes it all the more worthwhile!

  14. August 13, 2013  1:24 pm by Andy Devereux Reply

    Good to have you back David and a quality piece again.Roll on the new season can't wait it should be a good one and i am right behind our MP.

    • August 13, 2013  2:12 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yes, I'd vote for our MP as well - thanks Andy - should be a good season ahead.

  15. August 14, 2013  11:24 am by Rob Leek Reply

    To make your team complete, I reckon you need to sign Stephen Ireland and Alan Hutton. Perrrrrfic!

    • August 14, 2013  9:34 pm by David Walker Reply

      Mr Leek - you will NOT be milk monitor this term neither will you be teacher's pet - you have outgrown both the cage and the exercise wheel!

  16. August 16, 2013  9:13 pm by Kev Russell Reply

    Welcome back David. Thank god we have the one constant, truthful & honest journalist back to lighten up the press. While the rest of the writers will be trying to tease Jose into drama, David will heighten the only drama that matters - on the playing field. Looking forward to an exciting season culminating in snatching back our trophy & a progression in the CL. Premier slab of writing David. #TopScriber

    • August 17, 2013  1:09 pm by David Walker Reply

      Hi Kev - nice to have you back as well #mcfcbluebros. I don't know about 'snatching back' the PL trophy I think we might saunter in and just sweep it up lovingly in a sweet embrace...and never let go! #TrustOurMP!

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