Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Changing the language

Garry Cook has today talked about the importance of changing the language around the club:

"There were two phrases which struck me when I first came here - 'typical City' and 'City till I die'," he said in the Manchester Evening News.

"They tell you two things about the personality of the culture.

"'Typical City' says to me, 'We're not very good, but it's OK'. It means you are embarrassed by mistakes - you shouldn't be, because we all make mistakes.

"It's also an excuse for when you do make a mistake. You can just say, 'Well, that's us'.

He certainly has a point. Some of Garry Cook's management speak can grate slightly, but I think on this sort of key issue he's absolutely right. The phrase 'typical City' not only represents a long-ingrained culture of failure but also perpetuates it. And to combat this, we need a two pronged approach: not only to improve our football, but to improve the discourse as well - so that success is presumed and defeats require explanation. While Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool do certainly have better playing squads than the other Premier League teams, their winning mentality does also have a causal role in their continued success.

And so creating such a winning mentality at City is a central part of Cook and Mark Hughes' mission.

It's also worth pointing out that this is not simply a post-takeover analysis from Cook. In an interview with Henry Winter during the final weeks of the discredited Thaksin regime, he said this:

“We’ll be as big as Manchester United. If I didn’t have that goal, I wouldn’t be here. Can we win the Premier League? Yes. Will we? It might take a bit longer. Can we win the Champions League? Growing up at Nike, you don’t sit around saying, 'Can we?’ You say, 'We will’.

“I’ve got to change the culture here. I talk to my employees about it. You get 'This is England, not America, you know’. And then 'This is Manchester, not London’. And then 'This is City, not United’. So do you roll over, play dead and go home? No. Today you can grow faster than it took United. We just need a superstar."

The idea that City needed 'a superstar', rather than a whole team of them, sounds rather antiquated now.


Editor said...

Great article, ruined by a banner advertising manchester united's asia tour.....now THATS typical city!

JPB said...

Sorry mate, Google chooses the adverts, not me.

Mark said...

For me the phrase "typical City" is more the ability of the club to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, both on and off the pitch. Merely talking about it is not the real issue here, its about creating the right level of quality and planning that avoids mistakes being made by lack of planning and envisiging issues before they arise. The best example of "typical city" in recent weeks was the launch of the new website, which having been trumpeted for a 9am launch was suddenly delayed and made the club look like fools.....