So, Manchester City now have to go approximately 11 months before being able to proclaim themselves as champions once again…but it’ll be worth the wait.
It’s been an amazing buzz to refer to Roberto Mancini’s braves as ‘Champions’ in the glorious aftermath of May 13, 2012 – but now it’s gone.
The dull aching pain that washed over many a City fan in the aftermath of Manure’s mandatory win over Aston Villa, is tempered by the fact that it hardly came as a surprise.
City fans were resigned to their fate weeks ago – even when celebrating the 2-1 win at The Swamp – when City proved they ARE the best team in the Premier League this season. They just lack the trophy to prove it.
It goes without saying the Etihad faithful are understandably disappointed – they know, the players know and Roberto Mancini’s managerial team knows – they could and should have won it.
But in the wake of the slow burn loss of the title this season, it struck me how utterly devastating it would have been to the Reds when we all went crazy in the wake of the Aguerooooooo moment.
Every single United fan from Salford to Singapore, from Maidenhead to Malaysia would have been annihilated – they didn’t see it coming. They plunged from dizzy ecstacy to suicidal despair in the space of 120 seconds.
Holding that thought, I suddenly felt more at ease with Monday night’s ‘bereavement’, and 100% convinced that the focus and desire will be back in City’s DNA next season.
There’s no doubt City will spend this summer, spend big and spend early, wherever possible.
Some of the names in the frame are mind-blowing. It would be easy to mock what is about to come, BUT, such information is from sources of integrity connected with City and published in good faith.
Constrained by UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations, City kept their powder dry in the summer transfer market. They held back and missed the men Mancini maintains would have taken City to the title again, plus a darn side further in the Champions League
Edinson Cavani, Isco, Marco Reus, Stevan Jovetic and one …Gareth Bale are all, seemingly, on City’s radar. Sheikh Mansour wouldn’t see much change from £150m such is the calibre of Mancini and City Director of Football, Txiki Begristrain’s targets.
Offsetting such a mouthwatering spree is the sale of Mario Balotelli and upcoming deals which should see City recoup a sizeable portion of the proposed transfer budget. Dzeko, Nasri, Lescott, Kolarov, Sinclair, Maicon and possibly Richards and Guidetti could be on their way this summer. Kolo Toure is a definite departure having come to the end of his four year deal.
Yaya’s ‘big little’ brother has performed surprisingly well when asked to step into the breach this season.
There will be much sadness on the Etihad ‘terraces’ that the Yaya-Kolo ditty that reverberates around every Premier League venue with such gusto will now be consigned to songs of yesterday. Fair to say opposition fans have often raised a smile when hearing the City fans giving a full on rendition of the Toure brothers tribute tune.
Anyway, all of this is for the summer months when City fans won’t know what to do with their idle Saturdays or Wednesday nights. More immediately, Mancini’s men need to rack up half-a-dozen victories and rid themselves of the calamitous traits as displayed in six mad minutes at White Hart Lane last Sunday.
Just what possesses our heroes in maroon (in this case) or sky blue when playing Southampton away, escapes the average City supporter. It is as frustrating at it is aggravating as it is totally illogical.
Still, that was then and this is now, so sticking a few past Big Fat Sam’s ‘Cocker-nees’ will be a starter for 10. The likely return of Aguero, Silva and the swift re-introduction of Milner will go a long way to bolstering City’s attacking play.
The antidote of closing the points gap on the Swamp-dwellers is important, but nowhere near as important as winning the FA Cup on May 11th. A Champions League slot is virtually assured, but City have to finish as runners-up – and in no little style – if they are to put sunshine in their hearts of their phenomenal supporters as we down tools and head off into an English summer.
The team needs to reinvigorate itself and the supporters find voice in sell-out Etihad occasions – this is no time to be showing the world that we lack heart or can be accused of being fair weather fans.
Aside from the obvious necessity for a rip-snorting City win, one of the highlights of the day will be an emotional 23rd minute tribute to fallen City and ex-Hammer hero Marc Vivien-Foe.
Moistened eyes will abound when images of the man from Cameroon are flashed on the big screen, to the inevitable rapturous applause of both sets of fans.
Truly one of the tragedies of modern day football, the loss of the genial giant out of Africa is still felt to this day.
Images of a Maine Road stadium adorned with tributes remain vivid and front of mind. The sea of scarves from teams of all persuasions, handwritten messages scrawled across sacrificed City shirts, the flowers, the cuddly toys…the emotions still well up inside almost a decade after MVF’s passing.
The No 23 shirt retired by City in his honour, the Cameroonian colossus will always have a place in the beating heart of Manchester City and the thoughts of its wonderful support.
What better way than to celebrate his life than City and the Hammers serving up a feast of football entertainment?
It will always be Forza Mancini and RIP MVF.