If Man City thought things were this bad, why didn’t they join us in the fight?

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by Tony Attwood

In an earlier piece about Manchester City and FFP, I asked: “How could they have got it so wrong?”  Meaning, given the size of Manchester City and their obvious financial clout, how could the club have got themselves into a mess such as the one they appear to be in at the moment?

Clearly the people at Man City don’t like Uefa and its regulations.  But why, given the obvious strength of feeling, and the run-ins that the club has already had with Uefa, what with its previous punishments etc, why has the club let itself get into the current situation?

Now, a number of people have written into Untold pointing out the dubious ways in which Uefa are acting, and how Uefa are clearly out to get Man City.  I’m not 100% sure I agree but suppose I do.  Did Man City executives not see the current situation as one that is likely to emerge?  And if they didn’t, surely they are guilty of gross mismanagement and should be kicked out the club at once.   I’ve never run a business remotely the size of Man City FC, but even in my modest-sized business operations, we included a forward planning operation, looking at exactly what changes in regulations and the law could happen, and which changes we should lobby for.

So I’m certainly not sure I buy into all the top people at Man C have said, but if I did, the question that puzzles me is how could a club as powerful and wealthy as Manchester City not have seen this coming?   Indeed if the club does agree that FFP is in part (or even totally) set up to stop Man City from challenging the existing power elite in football (as many of their supporters have claimed in emails to ourselves, and elsewhere), why have the club walked into the current set up, and expected a level playing field?  After all, it is not as if Infantino left Uefa last week – it has been clear from the moment that he went and Aleksander Čeferin came along, that life within Uefa might be a bit different for the rich and powerful from the old days.

And it is not as if the same issues have not arisen elsewhere.  For example, the Man C v Uefa row is the same argument in essence as that used with those Arsenal fans who still get uptight about referees being unbalanced.  As we so often say to them, “Have you not read any of the 160 game analysis?” and “What is it about the way that PGMO is set up and operates, that you don’t understand?”

With ourselves and Arsenal we have a problem.  We have no power, and loads of people laugh at our accusations that refereeing in the PL is not as unbiased as it is presented.

With Man City, however, the options for change are easier and clearer.  They could, from the off, have challenged FFP in the European Courts.  Or if they think that other clubs are happily breaking FFP regulations every day of the week, they could get their accountants to send the details to Uefa.  And if that doesn’t work, just make all the details public.  Or they could do what they think others are doing.

But the problem for Man City, rather like Arsenal’s problem with PGMO, is that the club has signed up to the deal.  However whereas the PGMO deal seems to include regulations akin to those surrounding Fight Club (“The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club,”)  Man City have joined the club, have known how it works, have gone along with it, but now want to complain.  At least Untold Arsenal has been consistent: we’ve been exposing the weird ways of PGMO for 12 years.

And we’ve done that because this is how sport is run in Europe.  In some countries such as Greece, there is a long history of corruption and battles via the courts.  In some countries like Italy, there is a long history of corruption and complete public exposure of just how corrupt things can be.  But England is different for in England, there is an internal set of rules which are not talked about, and everyone gets on with it, ignoring any statistical quirks, or organisational oddities that occasionally get exposed.  It’s Fight Club.

37 Replies to “If Man City thought things were this bad, why didn’t they join us in the fight?”

  1. Man City thought they had everything under control because they had certain UEFA people as “friends” However the leaked documents put a huge spotlight on UEFA and it suddenly became obvious that they had to stop protecting City and start defending their image.

  2. Manchester city DID see this coming, hence the referral to CAS before this punishment was even announced.

    Unfortunately city had to “play the game” in order to follow the legal process of screwing Uefa to the wall, now that uefa have played their hand city will retaliate accordingly and put a very distinct nail in the uefa coffin, or at the very least get a ruling on FFP and its fundamental flaws. that will instigate a rethink that is fair and legal, and not just a protection racket for those already established.

  3. Well Tony

    As Arsenal are part of the trilogy of red mafia together with the original G14 within UEFA that dictate UEFA policy why would we trust Arsenal on this?

    They could, from the off, have challenged FFP in the European Courts.

    True but decided not to rock the boat as new comers – big mistake in hindsight.

    Don’t forget why we got sanction the first time – Agreed a deal with UEFA due to players already signed on big contracts being excluded then they made it retrospective
    at the 11th hour, presumable at the instructions of the G14 because they needed us found guilty.

  4. I think a lot stems from the fact that this is from the same period that Man City were found in breach and fined for before. Porto get a meagre fine for racist abuse but City get more for being a minute late for the second half. Juventus get plenty of dosh from the FIAT group Bayern fom Allianz [who own 8.3%] but no one bats an eyelid, PSG/Qatar have now got seats on the UEFA board so the`re alright, the same Qatar that has a world cup coming up…seriously, what have Qatar done to deserve a world cup? It`s politics, this “hacker” supposedly got 90 thousand documents but knew exactly what to look for!

  5. I don’t think you quite understand the situation… UEFA’s ban on City isn’t based on recent or a change of behaviour of the past seasons. It pertains to the same period that they have already sanctioned City for namely the books between 2012-2014. They previously penalised City (which resulted in 50E fine and the limited squad for Champions League matches) because City submitted their books and UEFA changed the rules on the expenditure that could be allowed. Those books were vetted and sanctioned by UEFA.

    The only change that has happened is the hacked documents from Der Spiegal that have alleged that the sponsorship monies were co-funded, so the same period but a debate on who sourced the funding coming from a very dubious source that is currently serving time in a Portuguese prison for hacking and extortion.

    It is quite clear that UEFA have had a vendetta against City for a very long time. It’s also quite staggering that the investment that Mansour has put in for the good of the game (global academies, womens football) has gone unnoticed when we still have the likes of Real Madrid, PSG and the quite shocking stewardship of the Glaziers at United getting off scot-free. Hopefully the City lawyers will stick it to UEFA otherwise any mid-table club has zero chance of making it to the top table in the future – the cartel is shut, not taking any future memberships

  6. Is football a business though? I have a gardening business and if some body acting for the the larger gardening businesses told me I couldn’t buy the best mower the best rake and the best fertilizer I would have to question why? and also my business would go bump, FFP is only keeping the status que at the top table its blatantly obvious, did FFP save Bury? also the original FFP which City signed upped to was changed a year after to take out debt very strange! also UEFA refused to look at any evidence that MCFC has why was this?

  7. Man City are not a “MASSIVE” club, they have a medium sized stadium, medium sized fan base and therefore should be attracting medium size sponsorship deals. They were caught out once before for exactly the same reasons and escaped the punishment they should have recieved. Overinflating sponsorship deals paying players off the books in “apparent” massive boosts in their wages in “image rights” getting paid twice sometime 3 times more than Ronaldo and Messi do for thier image rights.

    They are downright dirty cheats how on earth do they continually outspend teams like Juve, Utd, Real or Barca. They are pimple on the nose of these clubs in terms of size as well as Arsenal and Liverpool. They dont deserve to dine at the top table cause the bought their place they didnt earn it.

  8. From the Mail on Line:

    “The Frenchman (Arsene Wenger) believes that the final league table in the top leagues are ‘linked to the amount of money clubs spend’ and wants teams to show more respect for the rules by competing fairly.

    ‘My belief is that sport is about trying to win by respecting the rules,’ he added. ‘We celebrate the best in every sport – but only if we know the winners respect the rules.

    ‘If there is no respect then it’s not real sport. The table is always linked to the amount of money clubs spend on players.”

    Seems the great man and I agree. Just saying.

  9. I’ve heard it all now on Talk Sport. I switched the radio on just in time to hear the following disgraceful garbage from the stations chief Arsenal basher A Durham who appears to think Man City’s problems are all down to Arsene Wenger..
    The idiot Adrian Durham whilst defending Man City said it is “odd how all this has happened since Wenger has been working at FIFA”.
    What a stupid comment. Shouldn’t a responsible radio professional at the very least know that the body responsible for Financial Fair Play and it’s regulation is of course UEFA and absolutely nothing to do with FIFA.
    But of course, so deep is Durhams hatred of Arsene that his stupidity gets the better of him in his repulsive desire to discredit the great man. The trouble of course is that his anti Arsenal/Wenger mud sticks so easily with the brain dead idiots who actually pay heed to what he says. I can just hear a Man City supporter saying to his mate at work tomorrow…..
    “you know it’s all that Wengers fault, I heard that Adrian Durham say it on the radio last night”

  10. @Nitram When I read quotes like you have written about Arsene Wenger it makes me realise why I rate him as one person in football who has integrity.

  11. @mick shelley every now and then somebody makes me realise why I never ever listen to Talks**t. Thanks for that I am not surprised one bit that they dont know whose regulation FFP is…

  12. Well said James totally agree with all your comments Man City did help Man Utd out a couple of times lending them Money so they did not go bankrupt and also letting them use there old stadium at Maine Road when old Trafford was bombed a few years back,but hey Utd managed to record there highest ever attendance for a league game of 81,982 against Arsenal still the highest attendance for a league game but as you should know the highest ever attendance outside of Wembley stadium is also held at Maine Rd home of Manchester City first club in town to win a Trophy a medium sized club That still Holds the record for the Highest Attendance against Stoke City an yes there was a lot more than the recorded 84,569 but hey they only get an average crowd of 54,120 which is the 5th biggest Fan Base behind arsenal utd spurs and west ham i think its more like a boil than a pimple dude CTID

  13. I’ll make the comparison once more with the NFL.
    There the owners have understood that they are all in need of each other and that balance is essential to keep the ‘show’ from being the best, and keep the gravy train going.
    So they instituted, among others a salary cap, and a draft. The draft enables the worst teams of the previous season to choose the best new players coming into the NFL. This creates a balancing motion that serves the whole league. And no team is has total domination. Cards are reshuffled and the show is much more intense.

    But then, they are considering the whole picture, not just their own club, so this will never happen in the PL or the CL. Too bad for us fans.

  14. Les Williams and Mick Shelley

    I haven’t listened to talkshite for years now. The whole station is an Anti Arsenal fest and Durham is the worst of them.

    I think people who trivialise how much the media has affected our club with it’s constant negativity simply do not understand human nature.

    Constantly drip feeding a notion that something is ‘bad’ does feed into the psyche, no matter how extreme, far fetched, or inaccurate that notion may be.

    It’s why propaganda works.

    It’s why it has been used for centuries to influence peoples minds.

    As you say, people will believe what he says, either because they are too ignorant to know any different or that they simply want to believe it.

    I very rarely look at the media but I’m tom and dick at the moment and bored, hence my constant ramblings on here, so I have had a snoop around. Well we won and I thought it couldn’t be all bad, and to be fair it hasn’t. But I still found the SUN had time to turn Ozil’s good performance in to a dig at Wenger.

    They said:

    “Arteta’s already got more out of Ozil than Emery (fair enough) or Wenger ever did”

    I mean, are they f***ing serious?

    These people are simply hell bent on destroying his legend.

  15. OT: Chel$ea v ManUre

    10m in, and Chel$ea require a treatment (no fouls called yet). The player needs to be substituted. Sargeant Taylor Schultz sees NOTHING.

  16. OT: Chel$ea 0 0 ManUre

    Second foul of the game is again by Chel$ea, and it gets a yellow from Sargeant Taylor Schultz.

    Shots off target 3:2
    Possession 46:54
    Corners 2:4
    Fouls (now) 2:1
    Goal kicks 3:5

    I don’t see a free kick to Chel$ea in commentaries, but the commentaries keep getting rewritten.

  17. OT: Chel$ea 0 0 ManUre

    Chel$ea require another treatment at 43m. It isn’t obvious if Sargeant Schultz seen anything or not. Player gets back on the pitch just in time for ManUre to score.

    Foul counter is 3:2, but I think I’ve only seen 3 free kicks given.

  18. OT: Chel$ea 0 1 ManUre

    Second half. At 48m, Chel$ea foul and again are booked for it. Fouls are supposedly 4:2.

  19. OT: Chel$ea 0 1 ManUre

    Second half. At 57m, a free kick to ManUre is indicated, and at 59m (same incident?) one player from each team is booked. Fouls are 7:2 and yellows are 3:1.

  20. Chelsea have been poorly treated by the referee. Maguire should have been sent off for kicking out and they had a legitimate goal chalked off. To pour salt in the wound ManU’s second was scored by Maguire

  21. OT: Chel$ea 0 2 ManUre

    End of the game, Chel$ea inflict a treatment on the Manchester goalkeeper. Sargeant Taylor Schultz sees NOTHING. Fouls are 13:9 and cards are 4:3.

    It’s hard to believe the game went 23m to first foul and 35m to second foul. It is more likely there has been continuous fouling all along, and that twit from PGMO just wasn’t calling anything.

  22. But after what they got away with recently at the Emirates, hard to have a lot of sympathy for Chelsea, just contempt for the PGMOL
    VAR really helped Utd today

  23. I watched this game – and Taylor – closely. As not too concerned about the result, not caring for either team. So objective. . He was clearly tilting things MU’s way. Where is Taylor from…? Manchester I believe (or nearby).

  24. I am amazed that nobody has mentioned the anonymity of VAR decisions.

    The Maguire decision flashes up on the screen, and it is accepted. The players can’t run up to the VAR official and berate him.

    How is such a decision allowed to happen, with NO ramifications.

    Giroud’s disallowed goal is just as bad a decision.

    The only solution I can offer is that the Match Referee must take ownership of the decisions. He must review the VAR decoision and approve it personally at the pitch side screen!!

    I would be interested to know if the two managers have to fill in an assessment of the VAR Referee, like they do with the match day official.

  25. Re Maguires non red card.
    Maguire said on Sky Sport he didn’t mean it, he was just straightening his leg to stop Batshuayi falling on him. He went on to say he was glad the referee saw sense by not giving him a red card. Saw sense!!!!!
    A shame the refs don’t show a bit of sense where Arsenal are concerned.

  26. Can you even begin to imagine the vitriol toward Arsenal if for example Xhaka by some incredible fluke was to get away with what Maguire did against Chelsea.
    The media would be in meltdown in condemnation against Xhaka and Arsenal and wouldn’t let us forget it for days on end.

  27. James

    Despite the digs about a ‘Cosy little monopoly’ or a ‘cartel’ or a ‘red mafia’ the following is why City are a medium sized club and aren’t part of it, whatever they want to call it, or however they want to deride it:

    Lets start by going back to the time of Malcolm Allison when Man City were one of the elite, up there with Liverpool, Arsenal, United, Everton and Spurs.

    Then City messed up. They messed up big style.

    Over the next 28 years they had 22 managers. 22 managers for pities sake. Hardly surprising then that they went in to decline, yoyoing between Division 1 and 2, with their latest expedition as recent as 2001-2002.

    City finally re established themselves in the top division in season 2002-2003, but only as a mid table side.

    Over this same period Liverpool, then United, with Arsenal chipping in here and there, had dominated Division 1 and the Premier League.

    Yes it is true Liverpool had money from Littlewoods but nothing on the scale of what we are talking about regarding City. Liverpool won numerous titles, domestic and European trophies.

    Liverpool achieved their place at the top table through success on the field of play.

    Man Utd achieved their wealth on the back of title after title as well as domestic cups and European trophies, followed by a marketing phenomenon.

    Man Utd achieved their place at the top table through success on the field of play.

    Arsenal have been consistent. Before the arrival of Wenger they still won the odd title and domestic cup. They flirted with mid table mediocrity at times and even relegation, but still to this day have not been relegated.

    Then Wenger arrived. Not a shed load of money, just a manager. Then with astute management of the team and the Club won titles and domestic cups, as well as building and paying for a brand new stadium (City didn’t even do that) which all elevated us to a place at the toptable. That’s how it should be done.

    Arsenal achieved their place at the top table through success on the field of play.

    That may seem like a ‘cosy little monopoly’ to City fans, but to me it looks like a small group of Clubs that, for the most part, ran their business’s brilliantly, chose their managers well, and stuck by them when they knew they had a good’n and won stuff, lots of stuff.

    Being all bitter and twisted just because other clubs were ran well and yours was not doesn’t cut it.

    Just deriding them with your ‘cosy little monopoly’, ‘Cartel’ and ‘mafia’ digs doesn’t cut it.

    I know Arsenal EARNED their place at the top table, and I’m sure Liverpool and Manchester United fans feel the same about their respective clubs.

    Your club had every opportunity to do the same, but you messed up, live with it, and get that almighty chip of your shoulder.

    Yes City WERE a big club, then for nearly 30 years they weren’t, then because they couldn’t play their way back to the top they decided to buy their way back, and they couldn’t even do that very well.

    In fact, do City do anything well…….other than spend other peoples money that is?

  28. There is a certain merit to the argument that FFP is designed to protect the interest of superclubs.

    I’m not even talking about Arsenal. I’m talking about Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Man United – clubs that have over years built up enough clout to mean that their respective incomes allow them to spend within their means whilst still cherry picking the best talents and maintaining world class academies. These clubs represent the absolute maxim of a football club’s potential and catching up to them is the goal of every other team.

    However, FFP means that other clubs cannot bridge the gap. A billionaire owner can come in but can’t bankroll a club to immediate success the way Chelsea once did. That’s certainly one way of looking at it and it isn’t wrong.

    However, another way of looking at it is to observe clubs like RB Leipzig. They are focal point of a global network of football clubs who spend their vast cash reserves on up and coming talent instead of ready-made players. What City spend of fullbacks, RB spend on scouting, academies, coaching, and training facilities. The result is a constant conveyor belt of talent that feeds the first teams and sells at profit.

    Both the RB amd City models are examples of financial doping. However, one is proven over a long term, guarantees a huge income over time, and is perfectly within the rules. The other is guaranteed to fall foul of FFP amd is impossible to fake.

    FFP doesn’t prevent clubs from building stadiums, facilities or scouting networks. I would argue that if a billionaire chose to buy a club, he should look at solidifying the long term future of his investment, rather than sinking billions into first team playing staff. If City went down the RB route of patiently buildimg the foundation of the big club they want to be, they would be a lot better off than they currently are.

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