So it’s official now, Manchester City’s owners have shown there true colours with yesterdays sacking of Mark Hughes and replacing him with Roberto Mancini. Rumours had been circling Hughes since Saturday morning, with several British papers stating that the game against Sunderland was to be his last. The board of Manchester City can no longer hide the delusion that powers the boardroom, a complete lack of the fundamental understanding of football and the team ethic.
Yes, they’ve spent massively over the last 18 months, but quite where this decision now sits with the empty promises over the summer that Mark Hughes was a long term investment is anyone’s guess. Here is a team that sits in 6th, with a game in hand, with a forthcoming League Cup semi-final next month against United to come. Apparently, this simply isn’t good enough.
Of course, only an idiot would think that you could create a title challenging side in 18months. Regardless of the investment or the monies spent, this is fantasy football based on the idea that if something costs a lot of money it must be good. Football doesn’t work like that. All the hoo haa about Robinho when he signed has been proved to be just that. He’s nowhere near as good as his marketing team tell us and it’s now apparent. Yet he cost £31 million and he’s Brazilian, so he must be brilliant it seems. All those people banging on about him being one of the best players in the world seem to be keeping their heads down these days.
City fans, some of footballs most hardy and loyal followers will be surprised by this but it’s not a situation they’re not accustomed to. During the tenure of Peter Swales, most fans needed an encyclopedia to keep up with the manager merry go round at Maine Road. It was no surprise that the side yo-yoed between the top two divisions for nearly two decades, with a season in the third tier for good measure. Of course, that situation will surely not repeat itself, but the boardroom now resembles that of a tantrum throwing teenager.
The statement issued by Manchester City yesterday speaks volumes about the little understanding of football they have. “A return of two wins in 11 Premier League games is clearly not in line with the targets that were agreed and set, Sheikh Mansour and the board felt that there was no evidence that the situation would fundamentally change.”
I feel for Hughes, I don’t feel he’s been given enough time for the side to gel. Don’t let the outlay cloud the truth of what has gone on here. In fact, you have to question who was choosing their transfer targets. With the exception of Bellamy and Given, most of the big outlay players simply haven’t delivered consistently. No-one is questioning Wengers decision to sell Toure and Adebayor anymore are they? To create a side takes time, patience and knowledge.
Yet, the decision to install Mancini shows two things: The decision to install Hughes had already been taken and Mancini tapped up to replace him and by appointing Mancini, a complete lack of the understanding of football. The owners of Manchester City want to be the best side in the world, but they appoint someone who hasn’t managed since being sacked by Inter Milan in April 2008. Why no offer for Hiddink? Frank Rijkaard? even Jose Mourinho?
Mancini was sacked after his continual failure to trouble the further rounds of the Champions League but his tenure at Inter is rose tinted. With the exception of Roma, all of Inters major rivals were embroiled in the match fixing scandal of 2006. So Mancini’s first title was given to them after Juventus were stripped of it. The second title was won when all their rivals were deducted points, or in Juventus’ situation, relegated to Serie B and Roma couldn’t capitalise. They were also able to strip players from the other teams who were punished, so how great a manager was he really?
Mancini was sacked before the third title was assured. Yet Sheikh Mansour thinks he’s the man to make them a great side? Fantastic decision making there Sheikh Mansour, I don’t think Chelsea will be losing any sleep. Yet another Fantasy Football decision based of a complete lack of knowledge of the game. Manchester City fans deserve respect, not this ridiculous attempt to sign every person you’ve heard of. It was a dreadful decision to sack Hughes, but an even worse one to replace him with Mancini.