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Good Friday comes early for Guardiola

Pep Guardiola finally nailed it, on what turned out to be an extraordinarily good Friday.


After 538 minutes of play, City finally scored at Spurs' new stadium - courtesy of Nathan Ake

Not only did his Manchester City team score at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at the sixth time of asking, he sent his nemesis of recent times crashing out of the FA Cup, in front of 9,000 ecstatic travelling supporters.


Nathan Ake’s 88th minute winner had been such a long time in coming – not only on the night – but ever since their hosts switched from White Hart Lane to the sumptuous, state-of-the-art, 62,850 capacity in April 2019.

Ake's 88th minute winner slays the Spurs curse.


Statisticians, commentators and ‘pundits’ alike, revelled in Pep’s pain on five previous occasions; an initial 1-0 Champions League defeat, followed by two 2-0 and a brace of 1-0 Premier League losses. A staggering 84 attempts on goal – 22 on target – but not a single solitary goal to show for it.


Pep celebrates his primary objective for 2023/24 - a City goal at Spurs.

City added a further 18 attempts, with five on target, by the final whistle last night, contrasting with Spurs’ one shot throughout 96 minutes. Fair to say City thoroughly deserved to slay their Tottenham curse.


For some inexplicable reason the relief and sheer unbridled joy of victory, took me back to 1981 – the year Ricky Villa scored Spurs’ mesmeric FA Cup Final Replay winner against City – but also the year unfancied Norway famously beat England 2-1, knocking them out of World Cup qualification.

Ange Postecoglou was man enough to say City deserved the win.


A nigh on delirious Norwegian football commentator called Bjorge Lillelien went on a now immortal rant, which went something like this: “Lord Nelson, Lord Beaverbrook, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Clement Attlee, Henry Cooper, Lady Diana – we have beaten them all!


Players and fans alike, celebrate City giving Spurs a 'helluva beating'.

“Maggie Thatcher, can you hear me? I have a message for you. Norway have knocked England out of the World Cup. As they say in the boxing bars around Madison Square Garden in New York, your boys took a helluva beating. Your boys took a helluva beating!”


Ricky Villa's 1981 FA Cup Final replay winner still haunts City fans of a certain age.

Yes, it’s completely off tangent, but it prompted thoughts of, ‘Ricky Villa, Fernando Llorente, Son Heung-min, Osvaldo Ardiles, Glenn Hoddle, Steve Perryman, Garth Crooks, Gary Mabbutt, Chaz and Dave, Keith Burkinshaw, Paul Miller, Mido, Jermain Defoe, Harry Kane, Robbie Keane, Steve Archibald, Lucas Moura, David Pleat, Graham Roberts, Paul Miller…your boys took a helluva beating!’


An FA Cup image to savour.

Perhaps a touch adolescent, but it meant a lot to beat Spurs on their own patch. It helped that 1981 FA Cup winners, Hoddle, Ardiles, Miller and Roberts were paraded at half-time.

Once again a replay was beckoning, but then came Ake.


Cometh the hour, cometh the man - Ake is a favourite of the City fans.

Starting the season as all-conquering Treble winners, Pep had been asked if a successful defence of City’s Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup titles, was feasible? What was the primary ambition of the Catalan genius?


Tongue firmly in cheek, Guardiola responded: ‘To score a goal at Spurs!’


2023 ended with City as Champions of the World.

With that box well and truly ticked and City having weathered an autumnal dip in form – surrendering leads, dropping points and etching up more draws than a football pools winner – the focus now switches to whether Pep’s serial winners can pull off a Mission Improbable - that of a double Treble?


A 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace had seen City head off to Saudi Arabia, facing the distinct possibility of being 12 points behind Premier League leaders, Liverpool, upon their return.

We know what we are...


Such a gulf never materialized and City started clocking up the ‘W’s with easy wins over Urwawa Red Diamonds and Fluminense, to be crowned Club World Cup winners.


Seeing the year out with victories at Everton and at home to Sheffield United, City could reflect on a year of unparalleled achievement.


Super Jack and Bernardo with that winning feeling.

The 5-0 demolition of Huddersfield Town gave City safe passage to the FA Cup 4th round tie at Spurs, with a pulsating 3-2 win at Newcastle United sandwiched in-between.


The question is how can it get any better than 2023?

The Famous Five and all in one calendar year.


In one calendar year City won one Treble and five trophies. It’s funny how those three digits 1, 1 and 5 sound familiar – 115.


When the Premier League’s trumped-up charges are exposed, Sheikh Mansour, Khaldoon Al Mubarak and the Club’s executive management team can take ownership of that number – figuratively ramming it up the fundament of all who seek to damage and defame City.


Pep and Khaldoon will continue to reign supreme both on and off the pitch.

City have put together a seven-game winning streak whilst deprived of the services of top scorer Erling Haaland, just three substitute appearances from Kevin De Bruyne (but oh boy what cameos they’ve been – two goals and two assists) and a four-game absence of John Stones.

It suggests the best is yet to come.


King Kev is back and raring to start.

The emergence of Oscar Bobb illustrates why City were happy to pocket £42.5m for Cole Palmer in the summer. The loan departure of Kalvin Phillips – plus the real prospect of recouping the £45m paid to Leeds in 2022 – makes for a healthy balance sheet.


Bobb's Oscar winning celebration at Newcastle.

A good Friday was potentially upgraded to a very good Friday – only time will tell – when a 56-year-old German man announced his intention to leave his job in May.


It may have gone under the radar that Herr Jurgen Norbert Klopp will be leaving Liverpool this summer, after nine years at Anfield.


All smiles - Pep and Kevin are ready to create Premier League history.

There hasn’t been much publicity on the matter in the last 24-hours, obviously the media focus has been on City’s historic win in North London and Kalvin Phillips’ move to West Ham - NOT!


Apparently Klopp is clapped out and no longer has the energy to continuously gurn on the touchline, fist pump at every single Liverpool fan, and constantly moan about City’s ‘spending power’.


City captain, Kyle Walker never gives up the fight.

Whereas many City fans have a deep loathing of Klopp – Liam Gallagher was surprisingly restrained when he said, ‘Yeah good riddance man’ – some will accord him a modicum of respect.


Pep Guardiola was understandably more fulsome with his reaction to Klopp's pending 'Auf Wiedersehen'.


Guten Tag and Auf Wiedersehen!

Humorously he said: “Hopefully I will sleep better…the nights before playing Liverpool were almost a nightmare.”


Referring to the intense rivalry, first when Pep was at Bayern Munich and Klopp at Borussia Dortmund and, more latterly at City and Liverpool, Pep praised Klopp as his most difficult opponent.


Respected rivals - Pep and Klopp.

“We cannot define our period at City without him. I respect and admire him – he is an incredible, incredible manager. I wish him – at the end of the season – all the best.”


Whether Pep and Klopp will be vying for the title on the last day of the season remains to be seen. Presently City are five points behind, but with a game in hand, and 54 points still up for grabs.

An additional point to ponder is whether or not Klopp's stepping away has anything to do with City's 115 charges?

It's probably totally unrelated, but if his employers were confident of City's guilt, surely it would make Jurgen's life a damn sight easier if City were demoted to the National League North?


All smiles, but Pep's intensity has helped break Klopp.

In nine seasons in England Klopp has so far won a single Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, European Super Cup and Club World Cup.


Contrast that with Pep’s Champions League win last June, five Premier League titles, two FA Cup lifts, four consecutive League Cups, European Super Cup and Club World Cup – achieved in one season less – and it makes you wonder why Klopp is mentioned in the same breath as the Greatest Manager of All Time?


Jurgen my friend, you've won how many trophies in England?

One wonders if it’s because the Scousers are the media darlings and part of the Premier League’s self-protectionist cartel?

On the other hand, City are the target of relentless smear campaigns and malicious falsehoods, just for having the temerity to gatecrash the party and win all the prizes.

Pep can bear the weight of success and expectations.

When asked if he, '...still had the energy...' in light of Klopp's batteries running out, 'Duracell Pep' said: "I'm fine. I want to do it still for one more year, and maybe extend..."

If Carlsberg did Fridays those last three words will become a reality.




By David Walker



Twitter @ReadButNeverRed



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Love it David, great read as always!

Replying to

Thanks fella 🩵💪🏻🩵


Jan 28

Great read and awesome pics ..... love Ake's 'cometh the hour, cometh the man' 💙

What a game that was!!!! And breathe..........

Thank you Mr RBNR 💙

Replying to

Thank YOU for reading and commenting 🩵💪🏻🩵


Any respect I may have had for Klopp was lost when he, after the CAS verdict was made, called it “a bad day for football.”

Replying to

He also encouraged a ‘big Anfield welcome’ for City when the coach was attacked - he knew what he was doing!

Perpetual whinging and seeking to play the poverty card became wearisome. He won’t be missed.


Great piece as always David. It was great to get that monkey of our backs putting the Spurs to the sword. Young Bobb is a fantastic prospect what a player he could turn out to be along with the other young academy lads that make the squad. Klopp retiring not heard are seen anything about it must have gone under the radar. Nevermind I'm sure Sky and the other media outlets will have something to say about the media darlings losing there manager. Regarding the charges against City I hope once we are cleared that the club goes after the likes of Simon Jordan Nick Harris and other pests that have dragged us through the mud. Would love to see…

Replying to

When, not if, we’re cleared of wrongdoing, I hope Khaldoon will take revenge on all our enemies.


Should’ve put a bet on Ake scoring the winner, he loves scoring against Cockney’s

Replying to

He’s a top player and top, top bloke. We are so fortunate to have him, but yes, he does have that violent streak when it comes to tearing cockneys apart…again!

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