Thursday, 26 March 2009

City on 5Live

I've just finished listening to the BBC Radio 5Live programme 'Abu Dhabi Blues', a fifty minute discussion programme about City. Chaired by Brian Alexander, it featured former chairman David Bernstein and City fan and author Colin Shindler as guests. There were interviews with Mark Hughes, Garry Cook and Steven Ireland. You can listen to it HERE.

The most interesting part of Hughes' interview concerned his relationship with Khaldoon al-Mubarak. He said that while he has only met Sheikh Mansour once, he speaks to Khaldoon two or three times weekly, and mentioned that Khaldoon has once eaten at Hughes' house. Khaldoon calls Hughes before games, but does not phone immediately after defeats because he 'very much understands' how Hughes feels. There was then the standard defence of Robinho - it's hard for attackers to adjust, he's not the only one to disappoint, and the denail of any personal problems between player and manager.

While discussing this David Bernstein appeared thoughtful and considered, saying that Hughes had 'a very difficult to play', and, in mentioning that different levels of management required different skils, implying that Hughes may not be the man to take us to the top level. (He also said of two managers he employed that: 'Joe Royle was great to deal with, Kevin [Keegan] was easy on a good day.') I'm a big fan of Colin Shindler's books so was disappointed that he chose to buy into the whole 'Sheikh Mansour = Florentino Pérez' discourse of which we hear so much. He suggested that Hughes was fighting a losing battle with the owners, and that the board are set on assembling a team of Galacticos over Hughes' head.

Garry Cook spoke about the Kaká, saying that the public criticism of the move was more to do with the fact that it was Manchester City rather than the sheer volume of money we offered. Which I don't think is at all true. Regarding why the deal failed, he said that 'there was a defining moment when it became public space and the agendas changed a little bit.' Bernstein said that it was 'the wrong move at the wrong time', and 'out of sync with wider social issues.' He voiced the criticism that we were too early in our progression to go for Kaká, which I do agree with. Shindler suggested that there ought to be more 'football people' involved in the running of the club. Brian Marwood wasn't mentioned.

They finished with a brief interview with Stephen Ireland (he really loves 'the gaffer', apparently) and a comparison of Sheikh Mansour and Randy Lerner. Shindler would rather the former was more like the latter. I can see his point, but I'm not going exactly upset with the whole ADUG project thus far.


Jack said...

I thought Colin Shindler was unbelievably negative. He did say it was only his opinion but he almost sounded like he wanted City to go back to the Swales or Alan Ball days. Kept saying that money was bad for the game. Money has always been accused of being the problem in football. I remember when City signed Denis Law and watching Dimock on Sportsnight and praying that we got him.And the hand wringing and shock when City lashed out 52,000 for him. Wow we were ruining football .... ring a bell?

Gary Nolan said...

''saying that the public criticism of the move was more to do with the fact that it was Manchester City rather than the sheer volume of money we offered. Which I don't think is at all true.''

How can you not think that is true, Real Madrid tried to buy Ronaldo for 80+ and nothing was said about it.

Philip said...

Sorry JPB, it might not have been the only factor, but the fact it was City undoubtedly had a lot to do with negative publicity surrounding the Kaka deal.

There were two strands of criticism: firstly that we were spending £100m ('obscene', etc., etc) and secondly that it was ridiculous. THe second was absolutely because it was City daring to bid for a world class player. Even the first, in my view, was over-egged because it was City. Had United made that bid, or Liverpool, or Arsenal, or even Chelsea, it would not have been covered in anything like the hysterical manner that it was.

As to being the wrong transfer, well yes, I think there's force in that argument. THe same goes for Robinho. But I will say that a lot of the criticism currently doing the rounds about Robinho has the underlying motive that he 'shouldn't' be at City. Where's all the criticism of Berbatov for being a 'lazy' £30m timewaster, etc.? There is some,but you have to look hard for it.

Daniel B said...

Schindler personifies for me the systemic cancer that was eating away at the heart and soul of the club for years...namely, this self defeating insistence on "typical city" being the perennial comedy club. That lack of a winning mentality and bizarre desire to be liked as opposed to making others envious of our success is something that I think can still be very detrimental to us. I honestly cant see how any City fan can decide that NOW is the time that football/the club has "lost its soul" or feel "alienated" by what is going on. Football lost its soul many, many years ago. You either accept the fact that the sport is an immoral capitalist gang bang and reconcile that with your own conscience or you stop giving it your time, attention and money. I want the best for my club. I want them to be successful. This requires, in today's climate, cold, hard cash.