Monday, 13 April 2009

Anything but that

The Fulham defeat was bad in itself.

But the real sickener was how closely it matched last season's fixture. That match is seared deep in the darker recesses of my City memory.

Not quite as bad as our most recent relegation, but not very far off.

In the first half, Stephen Ireland has the ball twenty yards from goal, just to the left of the D. He aims a right footed shot towards goal, it hits a defender and loops into the top corner.

A patchwork City side go in ahead, but collapse in the second half to Roy Hodgson's resurgent Fulham.

That game was one of the key events in the club's collapse of Spring 2008. There had already been rumours of Thaksin's unhappiness, but this defeat, in front of Thaksin and his Thai tagalongs, sealed Eriksson's fate. It was soon known that Sven was history, and the players sent him off with a nice 8-1 defeat. Then there was a farcical far East tour, before the inevitable sacking was made official.

It was as depressing an end to a season since 2001 under Royle. Not just because the events were disheartening, but because they destroyed the slow progress of Eriksson (in contrast to no progress under Pearce), the hopes that 2008/09 would see more of the same: Academy players more experienced, foreign imports better settled and another season of steady improvement. The impatience and narcissism of Shinawatra (what suprise to see him treat his country now the same way he treated our football club) had thrown us back into the chaos of the mid 1990s, with the added element of international criminality. Wondering whether we would go down the Hearts or the Leeds United route didn't make for a very enjoyable summer.

Whatever happens over the next few months, can we please not suffer this again. No public undermining of the manager by the Chairman with games left to play. No humiliating foreign tour with the decision already made. No 8-1. One crucial element is different - there are no doubts over the long term future and financial stability of the club. But the board still have a crucial role to play. If they do sack Hughes, they should do it on Monday 25 May, with no prior mutterings and a quick replacement. If they stick with him (my preferred option, still), they should announce their intentions as soon as they have decided to give him another season.

Anything but the mess and chaos of last spring.

4 comments:

Feed the Goat said...

Thurday's match could be a the defining point for Hughes as manager with this Football club.
A full house disheartened by the Fulham result will not I think sit in silence if we again fall apart at the seams.
It has the potential for a media disaster on an epic scale that no amount of "spin" can gloss over.
The fury of our fan base when the dream is broken and patience exausted is brutal and ugly.
Look back on Swales or Ball or even Pearce at Blackburn in the cup.
The passion when running high is unknown to the existing management or owners.
It would be like watching a car crash in slow motion we all know its going to happen but can do nothing about it.
Can we win... I thought we could before Fulham but not now.
Give me defeat with dignity but the performance Sunday has robbed me of even that hope.

trinder said...

Interesting: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2009/apr/13/manchester-city-mark-hughes-robinho

Feed the Goat, I think you're right about Thursday.

Wigan Blue said...

The Boj battled manfully on his own throughout the first half. He was crying out out for someone to play off. What happens? He brings Evans on. The man to partner Bojinov? Nope - he takes Bojinov off. Evans not making any more headway than Bojinov? THEN he brings Sturridge on to give him a partner. What in God's name was wrong with partnering the Boj?

Then, to make matters worse, he brings Robinho on (if you're going to rest somebody, you rest them - but that's another matter). Great - with Petrov on the wing, Robinho can really get stuck in where he's at his most incisive, in the middle. Nope - he takes Petrov off. You really couldn't make it up.

My son and I weren't amongst the crowd shouting "Hughes Out" and "You don't know what you're doing" at the end. For the first time ever in 45 years of watching City, I couldn't stand it any more. We left early.

I've heard all the excuses. I'm not listening any more. Steve bloody Coppull was a better manager for us than Mark Hughes. At least he had the decency not to turn up.

Only Allison managed to wreck a good team like this guy has - and he never managed it so quickly.

Bluephill said...

Wigan Blue, Bojinov and Petrov were both knackered, that's why they were brought off. You seem to forget that they are both coming back from long term injuries. I suppose this is besides the point though given the dire nature of the performance.

Though rather than clear out the coaching staff, I'd rather see a mass cull of the playing staff, get rid of Vassell, Etuhu, Hamann, Mills, Ball, Ben Haim, Mills, Fernandes, Elano, Evans, Benjani, Caicedo. I'd even be open to offers for Dunne and Robinho.

Cutting the dead wood and those players from the Ericson era who have failed to adapt to Hughes' methods will give Hughes complete cotrol and we'll then be able to judge whether or not he's up to the job.