Wednesday, 5 August 2009


Most City fans will by now have seen Colin Shindler's sorrowful essay on his detachment from City, from the Daily Mail on Monday. His key point is that he now feels 'as if I can honestly say I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't support Manchester City.' And this is down to the new foreign owners:

And now, when they ran out of money, my beloved City took to the streets and lifted her skirt at every passing lecherous bloke with five quid in his pocket.

Mancunians sold my love to a man from Thailand who was on the Most Wanted list of Amnesty International. It didn't faze the marketing manager he appointed, who thought Thaksin Shinawatra was a good bloke with whom to play golf.

Too many fans looked no further than the money. Shinawatra's money was all smoke and mirrors. At least this Abu Dhabi lot have got money, but that's all they've got. They've taken my love who Shinawatra turned into a whore, cloaked her in the finest of silk dresses and doused her in the most seductive of Arabian fragrances.

I don't recognise her any longer. She might look beautiful but she's rotten at the core. I still love her. How could I not after all these years? The opposite of love is indifference and I'm certainly not indifferent to what happens to Manchester City.

Colin Shindler is one of City's most famous fans, certainly in the sense of being famous by virtue of his being a City fan - unlike Noel Gallagher and Ricky Hatton who are famous for their achievements elsewhere. So it's worth reading what he has to say. I think, though, that is far out of touch with the feelings of most City fans.

His central contention seems to be that the soul of the club is inherently tied up with the ownership. Once the ownership leaves Manchester, the soul goes with it. If you accept that, his argument makes sense. I'm just not sure I do though. There is so much more to the soul of Manchester City than the money men. If anything, they are merely the foundations, or the enablers, which allow the soul-carrying aspects of the football club: the fans, the shirt, the young players - the sport itself - to exist. And I don't think there can be much doubting that those areas are stronger than they have been for some time.

The fans' engagement with the club - the new website, £5 tickets for Hamburg, the Open Day tomorrow - seems as strong as it has ever been. The shirts are beautiful - and closer to anything from the eras Shindler describes than we have had for some time. And the Player of the Season last year was, for the first time in ages, someone City had raised and nurtured in our own Academy. We have just given a five year deal to a local lad we've raised ourselves, and who has it within him to be a great captain of the club. Then there's Micah Richards and Michael Johnson who, despite difficult 2008s, can, with a bit of focus, still grow into City regulars. And the football itself is about to be better than anything I have seen in my lifetime.

So I just can't bring myself to agree with Colin Shindler's contention that foreign ownership has destroyed the soul of the club. If he was making a point about the recent high spending I might be able to see his point. (I don't think our spending is morally wrong or anything, but I do think it rather distorts the competitive balance of the EPL. But that's a whole different issue.) But Shindler says nothing like that at all. So I must admit to finding myself a little bit bemused by a writer for whom I have real respect. Just because what we're seeing is so alien to us, it just doesn't follow that we all feel alienated by it.


David@shepton said...

I read the article and thought, here we go, this seems to me to be an entirely Jewish-Arab issue. Colin, grow up, we might play at Eastlands, god, I hate that name, but we do not live in the middle eastlands.

pjdemers said...

There was an excellent article in of all papers the NY Times in which an American University professor and Man City fan Thad Williamson counters Shindler's arguments very thoughtfully and articulately (there is a link at Bitter and Blue).

while I do not think poorly of Shindler I did find the piece incredibly over dramatic. In fact some of his inferences to ADUG were quite manipulative and bordered on shrill journalism and only served to hurt his allegations.

still I can understand his feeling conflicted. the money at City's disposal can sometimes make me feel dirty at times but I just don't see any compelling arguments from Shindler that we have sold our soul. I may be short sighted and delusional at times but aren't most football fans and besides I was like that long before the wealth arrived. Money may indeed have corrupted the game but that only argues City at worse are a symptom and not the disease itself.

M9NY said...

Self serving melodramatic horseshit. ADUG are our saviours and deserve to be lauded as such. The game has moved on since Rossettes and Rattles, I suggest Shindler do the same if this is really the way he feels. Its bad enough that every dipshit from Ian McGarry to Sir Osis Ferguson want to take pot shots without our own piling on with them. I think I speak for most Blues when I say Mr. Shindler, respectfully, please fuck off.

jackblue said...

Colin Shindler is interested in one thing alone. Money for shindler plc. Every thing he does is about making a nice little earner for himself. Do one shindler and tyake youe whoreship ideals elsewhere.

Patrick said...

I have to say when I read it there was a great deal of resentment and hatred within it.

Whether he has based that hatred towards foreigners I don't know but it certainly appears that way.

He writes things that is what he does. This does not make him an authority on anything Manchester City and even more now as he may as well be writing for the rags judging by the level of twaddle he was spouting.

He has not nothing to endear our club except to try and convince others that this is the general consensus.

Frankly my dear Schindler you talk utter crap and you should stick that in your racist pipe and smoke it.

We don't want idiots like you over at the Shrine Arab owned or not since you obvious take issue with it.

What a complete limelight seeking money grabbing git!

trinder said...

Colin doesn't like the money, doesn't like where it came from, hates what it makes the club do.

He, as a writer of high principle, would never of course take money from a disreputable source (an anti-semitic paper, say) to write just the kind of hand-wringing disapproval that it demands of all its contributors.

menino azul said...

the soul of the club are us the fans. the very fact the article is in the daily mail says it all really...heads up blues!

Bernie said...

I dont know if anybody else has read Colin's excellent book about Mercer and Big Mal (I guess some may have been put off with the nonsense in his "lost soul" article). Anyhoo it reminded my that back in the day that we werent averse to splashing the cash to get success - Bell, Lee, Summerbee were all brought in and Marsh was signed, if you believe Colin, cos Mal wanted a crowd pleaser. It also reminded me that the attendance at the final home game before Joe and Mal took over was 8000 - fans wanted success then as much as now. The difference now is that being a City fan carries a huge responsibility - if we continue to act with the dignity, loyalty, good grace, good humour and dry wit with which we have always been associated (and dont let this dosh go to our heads) then our soul will be intact! On On!