Manchester City and Mancini. A match made in hell.

Yesterday I took a look at Liverpool.   Now about Manchester City.

They have joined Leeds United and Chelsea in imposing tough restrictions on who can get near the club – following the revelations about how they sacked Mark Hughes.  (Leeds ban papers who report on the legal battles of K Bates, or report on the fact that no one knows who owns the club.  Chelsea are implementing tight controls in the light of the latest Terry scandal.)

According to many sources Mancini is the greatest manager Inter Milan have had in the last 30 years.   But as Evelyn Waugh would have said, “up to a point”.  (See “Scoop” if you want a real insight into newspapers in the inter-war years).

The problem for Mancini’s history is what else was going on at the time that he was a manager.

Let’s take his first championship winning season at Inter, 2005-06.  AC Milan were deducted 30 points that season.  Juventus actually won the title (15 points above Inter) but had it taken away from them.

Now on to 2006-07.   Milan were deducted 8 points, Fiorentina 15,  Reggiana 11 points, Lazio 3 points.  Juve were in Seria B.

So 2007-8.  Everyone was back, except by then, Inter as the new champions had been able to pick up any one they wanted from the disgraced clubs.  Juve were particularly badly hurt because top stars don’t want to play in Seria B.

To show the scale of the disaster for Juve, Patrick Vieira, whom you may remember, left Juventus after one year, and went to Inter.  Juve got 5 million Euros less for him than they had paid a year earlier.  Others followed our Patrick in buggering off.

Thus when we look at Mancini’s record we may say that by having a record at Inter of winning over 60% of his matches with them that is a great result.  But for two of the three years of his success the clubs we might expect to challenge were weakened, and by the third year he had been able to build a team that he wanted, made of players who otherwise probably would not have been available at all, or certainly not at a price his club would be willing to pay.

Mancini is not unfamiliar with cloak and dagger transfers and strange doings.    As a player he joined Leicester in January 2001 with a contract until June.   His first game was against us (0-0)

But then, within a month he was off.  He was given a leave of absence for “personal reasons” and then phoned the club to say he had had enough and was not coming back.  The personal reasons turned out to be a coaching job with Fiorentina.

In 2004–05 rumours circulated that Inter had approached our man (sound familiar — rumours…)   By then he was with Lazio, and he suddenly left and went to Inter.

When things started to go wrong in 2008 (Inter were beaten by Liverpool in the Champs League) Mancini said he was on his way out.  But the club were having none of it, preferring to sack him because they wanted Mourinho.

So, where does that leave Man City? Probably with the manager they deserve, each side being very used to the breaking of contracts and doing deals behind each other’s back.

The problem for both parties however is that Manchester City want success and they want it now.  Mourinho was good at delivering fairly quickly from a standing start, as was Wenger.  Sir Alex F Word certainly didn’t hit the high spots straight off.  With Mancini, who knows.  Maybe he is hoping that Arsenal, Chelsea and Man U will all have points deducted.

As for the squad Mancini inherits, it is a semi-crazed affair – a mismatched bunch that don’t seem to be able to play together.

The basic problem is that if you pay £25 million for a player then you have a player who expects to be the king, playing every week, nurtured, caressed, loved.  You don’t expect to be criticised or dropped.  But the owners want success now.  “I don’t spend £400 million to come second” is the story, and they won ‘t waver from that.

The secondary problem that Manchester City has, is a total dependence on bought in players.  There is no youth or reserve system to speak of, and if you were playing in Manchester City reserves as a 20 year old would you hang around hoping to be given a chance?   The answer is probably no, because you know that £30 million will be spent on Johnny Foreigner who will come in ahead of you.

If you were 16 and a Manchester City, you’d be sending love letters to Mr Wenger every day.

So yes, Manchester City and Mancini deserve each other, and will undoubtedly muck each other around.   What a joy that we only have to watch this in humble amusement.

  • Read about Arsenal’s endeavors 100 years ago in the book Making the Arsenal which follows Arsenal in 1910 through the diary of a Fleet Street journalist.
  • Read what Arsenal Independent Supporters Assn said about “Making the Arsenal”

(c) Tony Attwood 2009

30 Replies to “Manchester City and Mancini. A match made in hell.”

  1. Hey you know that thing where someone writes a long article and then some twirp comes along and talks about something totally different…


    I just finished this piece and went to look at the Guardian web site and it says

    Suspended Nasri (first of three)

    Did I miss that? Goodness, I must have had more sweet sherry at the theatre last night than I thought. What happened?

    One other thing – the issue was raised about ownership of clubs – and I thought it might be good to do a little piece about this with Arsenal. Am working on it now.

  2. excellent as ever. Citeh do have a great youth system though, although now presume those coming through will be farmed out.

  3. No Tony, dont think you missed anything. Unless its because the yellow he picked up during the “incident” was enough to trigger an automatic ban for accumulation he’s not suspended.
    (according to bbc and im sure i read this on times website too at some stage yesterday that nasri faces no further action)
    How unlike the Grauniad to let a simple error slip through their proof-reading!

  4. Tony, I think that Guardian article is just wishful thinking on their part! At the time of writing the author obviously assumed that the FA would ban him (for what, I don’t know).

    Honest is right, the mancs do have a half-decent youth set up and have a couple of academy products in their squad I believe. But how long that will last with the pressure for instant success is anyone’s guess. The other problem they have is that they have no name or reputation to attract any players other than mercenaries chasing Arab gold

  5. Mancini is overrated.

    Just like mancity is.

    Expensive doesn’t always equal great players.

    Berbatov is a proven 30 mil fact..,,

  6. Funny how amnesia or lack of understanding or both on my part turned Mancini into something other than he was. I thought at the time why would Inter fire a coach that won three successive Serie A titles. But, as you clearly pointed out it was because of the weakened state of that league. Furthermore, Mancini is clearly controversial matching MC’s new regime. Interestingly, I think the media outlets are giving Mancini Wenger like status without the scrutiny that Wenger always gets. But, you and I both know there is only one Club and one Manager and we enjoy both. PS I hope Kolo and Adebycrap get what they deserve and that is ninth place in the EPL with the what can you do for me attitude. Great X-Mas and welcome to 10 more years of Arsenal and Mr. Wenger!

  7. I’ll retreat on the issue of the Man City reserves, but I’ll throw in a couple of things that I noted – and I fully admit they are trivial.

    First, the under 18s got knocked out of the youth cup by Preston this season. OK just one match – but when I tried to find the other results on their web site I got just the fixtures for the season. Couldn’t find the results at all.

    The reserves are very much a win, loss, win, loss type of side this season.

    So I based my comment on that. But much more important is the point that I can’t see people who come in and blow a fortune or four on a club worrying about the youth. Chelsea have blown hot and cold over youth, but still haven’t produced much since Abramovich took over, and a while back sacked the entire youth development team.

    Hey ho.

  8. i love the article and the facts it produces. good work man but if i were a 16year old at mancity i would be asking ‘who the hell brought me here? didn’nt you see arsenal? infact i would fire my manager

  9. Have a nice Christmas Tony, also Merry Christmas to all of the regular contributors and readers.

  10. It is a trade-off, plain and simple. Either you spend huge amounts of money on ready made players and do not have patience to developp, or you have patience to develop and do not spend a fortune on ready made players when a run of poor results occurs.

    Manchester City have boxed themselves into a corner now. What happens if Mancini’s first few results are poor? What if he spends another 150million (including wages) on players in January and City STILL dont get a top-4 finish? What then? They have now set a precedent as far as managers go, just as Chelsea did when firing Mourinho, and everyone now knows that development is NOT allowed, and patience is NOT available.

  11. I truly believe mancity won’t finish in top 4.
    Bellamy is thier best perfomer since the start of the season and now he’s about to be loaded off…..just because he’s not a “top” player. Without this guy this season they would be in the bottom half.
    Just goes to show you how football club is run nowadays… it a competition to put together biggest names without regarding neccessity or quality? Robinho was one of the biggest name last year but now struggle to find a place, while no one wants to buy him no more.
    And how many strikers could you have in one team?
    That’s why I love Wenger – he would only buy when he needs to.
    Stubborn or being smart….it’s your call.

  12. With Mancini, who knows. Maybe he is hoping that Arsenal, Chelsea and Man U will all have points deducted.

    Anyway, it doesn’t matter how good or bad their youth players are, none of them will make it into the side with 30 million pound “stars.”
    So Tony, you are correct, they will all be writing love letters to Arsene (or pretty much any other club where they’ll get a chance).

  13. Mancini has a great CV and he is only one year older than Hughes…It’s about winners and losers, a bit like Capello and Mc Laren

  14. Where does it leave City?

    More of a question, where does it leave the game we love ?

    Thanks to Tony & the regulars (especially Walter our Belgian Master) who make such a good read –

    Happy Christmas to all !!!

  15. @Flint
    City has sold its soul for the glamour they believe they deserve. I used to love to watch them under Kevin Keegan you know when SWP was a young teenager…But they fell victim to swindler billionaire after swindler billionaire…Sven was the first bad sign..and when Sparky tookover I knew he became brainwashed too….It’s funny because I had a ton of respect for Hughes prior to City. But, he demonstrated to me that he was a fool midweek against Arsenal when Arsenal lost 3-0. What was also evident was the difference in class between Arsene & Sparky. So good riddence to Mark Hughes who tried to ride the snake but ended up sliding off….As far as being treated unfairly well what comes around goes around….Maybe we will see sparky up north coaching Celtic…

  16. Meeeeerrrrrrryyyyyy Xmas, everyone!

    Mancini has a lot to find out. I’ll just fold my hands and watch the Citeh drama unfold.

  17. The sacking of Mark Hughes leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Depending on who you read he was no JC, who is? Nevertheless the mercenary attitude with which these high and mighty owners display hi lites what can only be described as the actions of oil wealthy creatures with a greedy inferiority complex that needs to be serviced by the purchase of facilities to boost their ego. They have no interest in sport of any kind and they don`t need the money so power is all that`s left. And before the ` politically correct`, and the ` anti racist` movements jump on my wagon not all come from the middle east.

  18. Mark Hughes was more than happy to wallow in the money like a pig in sh*t, so he can’t complain when he is shafted for not giving them what they want. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

  19. I`m quite sure Mr. Hughes will have no complaints about the settlement he will receive and like a politician he will pop up in another post in the not too distant future with a few more millions in his bank book. So, no I don`t feel so much for Hughes so much as I despise the ones who have crucified British football with their power lust.

  20. @Jack,
    Money is color blind. And, anyone who calls that racist is just that blind. Fact is Wenger and this club have done well by being innovative in their approach to succeed. This includes stadium, players, and great fans!

  21. Under Mancini, Inter conceded 30, 34, and 26 goals respectively in their championship winning seasons. (Over 38 games).

    That’s pretty good defending, although I haven’t analyzed it that much.

    If he can shore up the back at City, and rationalize their squad a bit – I couldn’t understand why Hughes decided to buy every attacker on the market last season – they may become a good team. Bellamy and Santa Cruz up front are no to be sniffed at.

  22. The Rich Daddy business model is not completely worthless. Chelsea did quite well under it, until Abramovich decided that, like all possessive fathers, he didn’t like his daughter’s bridegroom, and ousted Mourinho.

  23. Merry Christmas, everyone!

    Yeah, I don’t see Man City disappearing either, and I do see them as a legitimate top 4 team, even this year (as long as they don’t have some sort of mutiny against Mancini).

    What money buys is the ability to make mistakes. Teams like this can afford a 25mill. mistake or two (or in Man City’s case, maybe 10-20…), as long as a few of them work out.

  24. enjoy Football, its about football people, FOOTBALL…you sound like old swingers chatting in a forsaken porch
    and when Arsenal lose this sunday? what excuse will you find to say? Martin wear glasses?

  25. @Mark & Tim,

    My X-Mas gift wish would be that the Gunners would be stingy bastages and not concede anymore goals for the rest of the season! HO! HO! HO! C’mon Santa it’s only fair you wear the red and white! You must be a Gunner!

  26. Last thoughts for the night as the adults sleep into the wee morning from the generous quantities of ale and bitter dry in dem brains and your kiddies wake up tiptoeing and whispering “what’s this mum and dad…wake up! The youth system question for MC? Well if your good your good if not well you are not good enough right! Where I come from the best always play before anyone and if you were struggling before the money came you were always struggling…So it’s up to the yute’s to prove they can play! So I say practice, train and practice…because I was never given anything. It’s on every player to make it or not no matter what the circumstance. Ask yourself this am I good enough? If not what am I gonna do about it? And that’s the answer to the yute’s!

  27. AnonymousGun “Manci-Ni/ty just like Arsen-e/al”

    You beat me to it! That’s exactly it. Copy the Arsenal model, starting with a manager whose name is almost the same as the club’s. Success is bound to follow! Brilliant!

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