Manchester City have had an incredible season after qualifying for the Champions League, winning the FA Cup and finishing the season in third place, tied with second-place Chelsea on the same number of points. They finally got the monkey off their back by winning a piece of silverware, their first meaningful one since 1976.
However, it’s interesting to see what the reaction has been from some rival supporters. Rather than congratulating City on a well-deserved season, rival supporters have thumbed up their noses at Manchester City’s achievements. “You can’t buy history.” “They bought the FA Cup.” And so on. These are just a couple of the many similar comments made against City in recent days.
Rival supporters are trying to dismiss City’s achievements, to knock them down a peg or two. In their minds, anyone can buy a title if they have enough money, But while an infusion of cash into a club’s coffers definitely helps, it doesn’t guarantee success. It can help significantly, but the club still has to perform on the pitch to get the necessary results.
The “You can’t buy history” taunts are nothing new. When Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea, many supporters said the same thing about the Blues and dismissed their achievements by saying that club bought success too. However, the truth of the matter is that all English clubs buy success. Manchester United is a buying club. So too is Arsenal and Tottenham and Liverpool. The list goes on and on.
The claims that Manchester City “bought the FA Cup” often come from Man United supporters. But consider some of United’s stars this season:
- Wayne Rooney – Bought from Everton
- Edwin van der Sar – Bought from Fulham
- Antonio Valencia - Bought from Wigan
- Dimitar Berbatov – Bought from Tottenham
- Chicharito – Bought from Chivas
- Rio Ferdinand – Bought from Leeds
Of the 11 Manchester United players who started against Blackpool this past Sunday, only Jonny Evans and Paul Scholes came through Manchester United’s youth system. Everyone else was bought.
Manchester City critics may argue that it’s the extent to how much City paid that makes the claim that “They bought the FA Cup” more real. Looking at this season’s wage bills for the clubs in the Premier League, Manchester City does have a bigger wage bill (£133m) than Man United (£131m), but only by £2 million. If City “bought the FA Cup,” then Man United “bought the Premier League title.” Looking more closely at the wage bills of the Premier League clubs, it’s Chelsea who has the worst wage bill at £174m. But as I said before, money doesn’t guarantee success. Chelsea finished the season empty handed.
So the next time when supporters start a banter about how your club bought their success, remember that all clubs buy success. Some more than others, yes. But we live in a day and age where all Premier League clubs are heavily involved in the transfer market as they try to get a competitive advantage over their opposition by procuring the best talent from England or anywhere else in the world. Manchester City isn’t the only club on this planet who spends a ton of money to help achieve their goals.