Monday, 9 April 2012

City Talk: No. 3

April Blues?

Both Tevez and Balotelli have not helped matters
Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images Europe

By Mike Bray

April is a very strange month. Many questions floating about; will they make it to Europe? Will he get the sack? Is he signing in the summer? Will that famous team actually be relegated? Of course, with City, we have had all of these at some point. This season, however, it’s all about that elusive Premier League title. Is that fair though? Now I know we have spent a lot of money, and I realise the absolute quality in that side; but are we expecting too much of our once media-shy club

The start of this season was all about one thing; the Champions League. We had finally made it to the famous competition; we were about to rub shoulders with Europe’s elite teams. It was unbelievable; seeing that little ball be opened and a slit of paper with our name on it revealed, seeing our name place alongside the likes of Bayern Munich. It felt like the last 10 years were just a horrible dream. It didn’t quite go to plan. Some lacklustre football and a horrific night in Munich saw us dumped back in the Europa League once again; our main souvenir being 6 months’ worth of headlines courtesy of Carlos Tevez. We were on the back page of every newspaper in the shop, a big excitement emanating from the people who resented our spending power. Whilst all this went on though, we were quietly going about our business on the domestic front. By the time we played Bayern, we had won 5 out of 6 Premier League games, scoring an impressive 19 goals, including 5 at White Hart Lane. It didn’t stop there: October saw some of the most impressive displays City have ever put on in the top flight, including the famous 1-6 at Old Trafford, we were in heaven.

So prolific were we, that nobody in England could stop us until we went to Stamford Bridge on a miserable Monday night (a very long journey on a very uncomfortable mini bus for yours truly). The run had come to an end, but we were not disheartened. Lasting unbeaten right through until December wasn’t something to be taken lightly, and the Premier League elite were starting to take us seriously at last. City fans had this belief in the title challenge; sure, we knew we would be up there, but we never expected this! Our confidence was at an all-time high, we were enjoying being the team to beat; the media was slowly tearing us apart. It has always been apparent that success breeds contempt, and it was to come true once again. The headlines were all about City, checking up on the Tevez saga, telling a tale on Mario or just fuelling the ridiculous rumour that we have no team spirit whatsoever. Cracks began to appear.

We ended 2011 with a disappointing draw at West Brom, before losing 1-0 at the Stadium of Light to bring in the New Year. Two results that, whilst not drastic, showed our vulnerabilities and gave the rest of the league a renewed confidence to take us on. January did not get any easier for us as we were eliminated from the Carling Cup, the FA Cup and ended the month with defeat at Goodison Park. We were in the limelight like never before. Every paper and internet newsfeed was revelling in the state we were in, we had gone from being linked with every man who owns a pair of football boots, to stories of unrest and malicious attacks at fans and players. Maybe it became too much for some of the players to handle? No chance. We had a flawless February winning every game we played, and only conceding one goal (away to Porto). Guess what? The media decided to focus on incidents off the field instead. Somebody let off a firework in Porto, and City fans were snarled at for singing “you’re not incredible” to Porto striker Hulk (oh how terrible). Barely even a mention of the fact that two City players were racially abused in Portugal. The tide had turned fully now, but the fans just found it tedious and decided to ignore it.

United have been using their vast experience to creep up the league these past few months, finally sending us off top spot after we failed at Swansea. We saved some face with a brilliant display against Chelsea but suffered back to back draws against Stoke and Sunderland respectively before Arsenal made us look a little silly and we fell short once again, finding ourselves 8 points adrift. Now, here’s my annoyance. A lot of fans have suddenly decided Mancini is not up to the task of taking us further. Despite us set to finish at our highest point ever in the Premier League and setting ourselves up for another bash at the Champions League, some people just want more. I can’t see the issues of these people. Surely a bit of stability would suit us more? We have challenged all season and come so close to achieve something we could never have dreamed of when we first made the move away from Maine Rd. I will certainly be looking forward to next season; away days, Champions League nights and even a few new heroes to cheer on. As long as Mancini is at the helm, and we continue to build, I will always be there to cheer on the mighty blues.

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(c) The Sky Blue View 2012

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