During the takeover of Manchester City last summer, City’s Chief Executive, Gary Cook made several rather tasteless comments but one stood out above all the others for me. During an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Cook was outlining City’s plan for world domination. As Wednesday’s defeat at Tottenham showed, sometimes things don’t go to plan.
During a rather ill-judged interview, which looking back, is quite hilarious now, Cook had this to say: “China and India are gagging for football content to watch and we’re going to tell them that City is their content. We need a superstar to get through that door. Richard Dunne doesn’t roll off the tongue in Beijing. Ronaldinho brings access to major sponsors and financial reward”
Going on their current way of doing business at Manchester City, they’ll try sign Ronaldinho, who is nowhere near the player he was between 2003 and 2006. Yet Richard Dunne has been instrumental in Aston Villa’s fantastic form this season by continuing in the same vein that saw him Manchester City’s player of the year in 4 out of his last 5 seasons at the club. A great club build from the back by having a superb defence which allows the flair players to express themselves. Cook was out of order to pour scorn on Dunne especially judging by the comedy defending Lescott, Toure and Bridge have offered so far this season.
If anything, Manchester City are crying out for a player like Richard Dunne, but as Cook said, he doesn’t sell shirts in China. Why on earth would Manchester City want someone who can defend but just isn’t glamorous enough. He just gives 100% and puts his body on the line, always pushing himself to keep his side in every game. For club and country, Dunne has always been Mr. Consistency over the last 6 seasons and Aston Villa are now benefiting from his work rate.
Since joining Villa, Dunne has slotted in seamlessly and allowed O’Neill’s side to concentrate on their effective counter attacking game. By knowing they have such a dependable and reliable player behind them, Villa’s attacking quartet can concentrate on trying to run teams ragged. With the pace that Villa have, Dunne’s strength and presence at the back allows the team to quickly break out and take advantage.
With the experience last season will have given some of the players, they’ll know that they have to avoid a repeat of running out of steam once the season came down to the run in. With Downing now almost fully match fit and Collins complementing Dunne at the back, Villa have a real squad that can enable them to stay the pace.
Everyone has been surprised by Everton’s slow start, but they’ve been ripped apart by injuries to the point they were reliant on the youth set up at Goodison, but Spurs and Manchester City are also up there with Villa. For once we have 7 or 8 sides battling at the top of the table and the Premiership is all the better for it. Liverpool continue to press the self destruct button too which strengthens the pretenders attempts to gain a top 4 slot.
Under Martin O’Neill and with the reliable Richard Dunne in the team, Aston Villa will be hoping they can look down on Manchester City. I wonder then if Gary Cook will see any Aston Villa shirts with Dunne on the back during his summer holidays. I really hope he does.