Manuel the Magnificent – MAN CITY 2 WEST HAM UNITED 0

The comfortable Premier League title deciding fixture originally scheduled for May 13th 2012, finally arrived at the Etihad Stadium just shy of two years late.

The incredible unscripted, once-in-a- lifetime, nerve shredding rollercoaster ride culminating in the Aguerrrrroooo moment was replaced by a controlled and utterly predictable stroll in the park, as Manchester City claimed a second PL crown in three years.

Champions - not quite the same climax but title winners all the same. Courtesy @MCFC

Champions – not quite the same climax but title winners all the same. Courtesy @MCFC

Palpatations, a sense of foreboding and the tightening of backsides was replaced by steady breathing, serenity  and a loosening of inhibitions, as goals from Samir Nasri and Vincent Kompany delivered  a polished and thoroughly professional performance.

Having beaten West Ham three times already this season by a cumulative score line of 12-1, every ounce of commonsense and iota of logic said this was a home banker.

Haunted by how close City came to throwing it all away before eventually winning the 3-2 cliff hanger with QPR, the City fans, weaned on decades of under-achievement and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, had that niggling fear that ‘Typical City’ could yet re-appear.

We ARE the Champions -what a beautiful sight. Courtesy @MCFC

We ARE the Champions -what a beautiful sight. Courtesy @MCFC

Such apprehensions were groundless.

Typical City – TC – is no more. TC now applies to Top Cats, the cream of the crop and with a sage like Grey Owl as leader, Manchester City are going to keep feathers flying for countless years to come…but for all the right reasons.

Forever grateful to Roberto Mancini for FA Cup and Premier League successes, breaking 35-year and 44- year trophy and title droughts, the Blue Mooners now know that the move to replace him with Manuel Pellegrini was the right one.

Big smile - Manuel Pellegrini has delivered City's most successful ever season. Courtesy @MCFC

Big smile – Manuel Pellegrini has delivered City’s most successful ever season. Courtesy @MCFC

The manner of City’s two Premier League title wins personifies the characteristics of the respective City bosses. With Mancini it was a managerial reign based on volatility, unpredictability, abrasiveness, cliques, discord, division, hostility, poor man-management and a ‘bad cop’ approach.

Sergio’s last minute strike took City supporters from the nadir of despair to the dizziest levels of euphoria.

As fans, we were largely ignorant of some of Roberto’s everyday working traits and how he seemingly ostracized players and staff alike.

Fight to the End #Together - Kompany's message to the fans was clear. Courtesy @MCFC

Fight to the End #Together – Kompany’s message to the fans was clear. Courtesy @MCFC

Contrary to what it might appear, this isn’t a have-a-go at Roberto contest, but by highlighting life under Mancini, it helps to showcase why, this time around in 2014, City is a much happier and contented work environment.

Pellegrini is a man who keeps things on the level, an even keel, always consistent in both the approach to, and achievement of, Manchester City’s objectives.

Behavioural spikes which meant City’s boat was constantly rocking, be it for good or bad under Mancini, are not for him.

Let's get the party started - #TOGETHER at kick off.

Let’s get the party started – #TOGETHER at kick off.

The Engineer charts a steady course, one that encompasses attractive entertaining football, a man-management style that is inclusive, transparent and breeds contentment – no mean feat in a squad where everybody wants to play, but only so many can.

From the outset City looked relaxed and focused. They were going to end the day with a nice, big shiny trophy and it wasn’t going to be the ‘Cup for Cock Ups’, as former City chairman and legendary striker, Francis Lee, once opined many years ago.

It wouldn’t be City if there wasn’t a healthy – or should that be unhealthy – degree of scepticism and anxiety within the massed ranks of the Etihad support, but it never transferred to the players or coaching staff.

Exocet - Nasri's 39th minute missile had City zeroing in on the PL title target. Courtesy @MCFC

Exocet – Nasri’s 39th minute missile had City zeroing in on the PL title target. Courtesy @MCFC

Big Sam Allardyce was sporting a snazzy line in microporous tape on his jabbling jowls – the gob as big as the Mersey Tunnel – which had blathered how he was going to help deliver the title to Liverpool. As usual, he was a huge irrelevance.

His Hammers had all the impact of a warm beer on a hot summer’s day.

His captain, Kevin Nolan – a Scouser – had been running his ‘north & sarf’ all week saying how, in one last dramatic twist to the season, he could be the man to score the goal to hand his boyhood heroes the PL crown.

Andy Carroll, the £35m Liverpool misfit who Brendan Rodgers had so unceremoniously shown the Anfield door last season, was for some perverse reason, threatening to do his ex-employers a favour.

The Fat, The Sad and The Ugly failed to deliver on all three counts.

Ooh la la - Samir celebrates City's 101st PL goal of the campaign. Courtesy @MCFC

Ooh la la – Samir celebrates City’s 101st PL goal of the campaign. Courtesy @MCFC

Nolan and Carroll were substituted having achieved nothing as City made merry through the rain and the shine of a blustery Mancunian afternoon.

A mention in dispatches however about the magnificent travelling West Ham support. They’ve suffered four defeats against City, seen their team stuffed 14-1 and yet still cheered them, indulged in self-deprecating humour and even stayed behind to applaud the new Champions of England.

A truly class act – unlike their manager and a number of their witless players.

S-E-R-G-I-O - Aguero holds the PL trophy aloft. Courtesy @MCFC

S-E-R-G-I-O – Aguero holds the PL trophy aloft. Courtesy @MCFC

Speaking of class acts, Kompany, Yaya, Silva and Aguero had that rarest of occasions…they all got to play in the same City starting line-up.

Along with Pablo Zabaleta, the quartet are all ‘world class’ and had only mustered 216 on field PL playing minutes, as a collective unit, all season. They managed another 76 before Silva went off to a standing ovation, with James Milner coming on.

West Ham surrendered to the inevitable when Man of the Match, Nasri hammered home a low 20 yard drive in the 39th minute.

It's coming home - the PL Trophy was already on home soil. Courtesy @MCFC

It’s coming home – the PL Trophy was already on home soil. Courtesy @MCFC

West Ham keeper, Adrian, in an orange jersey that wouldn’t have gone amiss in a Tango advert or a high-visibility road safety campaign, was slow to react and the Frenchman crowned his own personal renaissance with his 11th goal of the season.

Allardyce’s bus-parking master class wasn’t looking so masterful as City booked a one-way fare to glory.

Goal 102 of the PL season – just one shy of equalling Chelsea’s record – came courtesy of  Captain Fantastic Kompany, back to his best after the injury and jitters of April.

Kompany man - Captain Fantastic hit the last goal of the season as City swept to the top. Courtesy @MCFC

Kompany man – Captain Fantastic hit the last goal of the season as City swept to the top. Courtesy @MCFC

Displaying the predatory instincts of a striker, the skipper whipped the ball home from within the six-yard box to calm even the most extreme of Doubting Thomas’ in the Etihad.

City were home and hosed in a way that had been envisaged 728 days beforehand!

The ease of the final three points and the feeling of inevitability were in stark contrast with the frenetic and unpredictable nature of the preceding weeks.

Liverpool, Chelsea and City had all juggled with the PL leadership like a hot potato doused in double Piri Piri sauce. It was the cool, suave sophisticate from Chile who eventually froze out City’s opponents with five straight wins to see out the season.

May Spray - The bubbly flowed as Liverpool's bubble went pop. Courtesy @MCFC

May Spray – The bubbly flowed as Liverpool’s bubble went pop. Courtesy @MCFC

The after match celebrations spoke volumes of the unity and the togetherness of the team and Manchester City as an entity. Pellegrini was hijacked from an interview with Sky and thrown into the air half-a-dozen times by his players – with beaming smiles from everyone involved.

When City last won the title it was supposed to herald the dawn of Sky Blue domestic domination. Alas, Mancini unfortunately found reverse gear and City immediately surrendered the title to a sub-standard Manure.

It all feels so different this time around.

Happy Beast - Alvaro Negredo is a Champion in his first season in England. Courtesy @MCFC

Happy Beast – Alvaro Negredo is a Champion in his first season in England. Courtesy @MCFC

Expansion work at the Etihad is well underway and the sprawling expanse of the adjacent Etihad Campus becomes ever more breathtaking.

A summer transfer window will enable Pellegrini to make a good thing better, strengthening key areas of his high achieving squad. His transfer dealings have so far been exemplary with all five signings from 2013 proving successful, albeit to varying degrees.

His target of five trophies in five years is off to a flyer, but City and Pellegrini know that such a target was a base minimum.

Premonition - Read But Never Red tweeted in June 2013 that City would be PL Champions in 2014 #TrustOurMP

Premonition – Read But Never Red tweeted in June 2013 that City would be PL Champions in 2014 #TrustOurMP

With victory comes an opportunity to be magnanimous to the vanquished…but the hell with that.

Manchester City had fallen foul to a gut-churning Liverpool media love-fest, one in which Pellegrini was denigrated as lacking charisma, while we were all supposed to suck up to Saint Brendan of Anfield.

That’ll be the same perpetually whinging Rodgers who, rather than sticking with the fine achievements of a very progressive Liverpool team, just had to moan about City’s money, the transfer budget, the wages ad nauseam.

Get the celebrations swinging - Joe Hart had the bottle to come through a tough time. Courtesy @MCFC

Get the celebrations swinging – Joe Hart had the bottle to come through a tough time. Courtesy @MCFC

The hypocrisy was truly staggering. City had demonstrated massive respect, sympathy and empathy for Liverpool as a club, and as a fan base, during the 25th Anniversary of the Hillsborough Tragedy.

Rodgers could and should have reciprocated, rather than deflect his own shortcomings on to the perceived affluence of others. Doubtless it’s controversial and inflammatory, but Rodgers has been, and will doubtless continue to be, guilty of conduct most unbecoming wherever City are concerned.

Title winner - Fernandinho is one of five succesful Pellegrini signings. Courtesy @MCFC

Title winner – Fernandinho is one of five succesful Pellegrini signings. Courtesy @MCFC

Let’s see how Liverpool squirm and try and wriggle around the fatuous Financial Fair Play rules when they come under UEFA’s scrutiny next season.

Rodgers will be singing a different tune if Sheikh Mansour takes on Le Prat Platini and destroys the ill-conceived FFP laws.

As things stand, Liverpool would be one of the main beneficiaries, but doubtless Brenda will forget to mention it whilst harping on about Yaya’s take-home pay.

Challenges abound for City both on and off the field, but if ever a club was equipped to optimise its good fortune and opportunities it is Manchester City.

Just in case you missed it - MAN CITY CHAMPIONS 2014 #TOGETHER. Courtesy @MCFC

Just in case you missed it – MAN CITY CHAMPIONS 2014 #TOGETHER. Courtesy @MCFC

Pellegrini is the embodiment of a club that oozes integrity and ambition – a rare and laudable combination in a sport that seems to thrive on the spite and malice of miscreants.

Manuel didn’t sign up for that – he’s one of the good guys and good guys sometimes come first!

 

#TrustOurMP

By David Walker

www.readbutneverred.com

@ReadButNeverRed

@djwskyblu

 

SUPERBLUES DEDICATION

Paul Glennon a true blue Manchester City fan, wife Aileen and five Junior Blues #TeamGlennon were MCFC VIP Guests with Manchester City Club Ambassador Mike Summerbee for a truly memorable day, one that will provide treasured memories for years to come. Paul has an incurable medical condition and City’s win over West Ham was his last opportunity to see City play live at the Etihad…and he witnessed a Champion Show.

True Blues - Team Glennon went pitchside with Buzzer and Sky Pundit Niall Quinn.

True Blues – Team Glennon went pitchside with Buzzer and Sky Pundit Niall Quinn.

Read But Never Red was privileged to help make it happen and meet up with a very special family on a very special day.

What's The Story... - Paul Glennon and City mad Jessica met Noel Gallagher at the Etihad.

What’s The Story… – Paul Glennon and City mad Jessica met Noel Gallagher at the Etihad.

 

READ BUT NEVER RED COMPETITION TIME

 Read But Never Red and Campo Retro have come together to offer fans a fantastic opportunity to win a unique and personalized Campo Retro shirt plus free delivery.

Welcome partner - CampoRetro are teaming up with Read But Never Red.
Welcome partner – CampoRetro are teaming up with Read But Never Red.

Campo Retro have a wide range of Man City retro shirts and track jackets ranging from the 1950s to the 21st century . Not only that, but Campo Retro will also print the name & number of the winner’s choice on the shirt, to make it a little more extra special.

Champions 1968 - one of the City shirts up for grabs in our CampoRetro competition
Champions 1968 – one of the City shirts up for grabs in our CampoRetro competition

Whether you live in Moss Side or Melbourne, Denton or Abu Dhabi (you get the drift) you still have a great chance to win this super prize. All you have to do is answer the simple question below and email the answer to competitions@camposports.com

‘When City won the League back in 1968 who was the Manager?’

Sweet memories - SuperKev and Tricky Dicky from 1999. You could win this beauty with CampoRetro and Read But Never Red.
Sweet memories – SuperKev and Tricky Dicky from 1999. You could win this beauty with CampoRetro and Read But Never Red.

The competition closes on 31st May 2014 and the winner will be announced soon after.

Blast from the past - City's Swedish beauty.
Blast from the past – City’s Swedish beauty.

The winner will receive an email from Campo Retro to request information on shirt size, personalization and delivery address. All entries will also receive an exclusive discount to use at www.camporetro.com GOOD LUCK.

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