Let’s take a day off looking at transfers shall we?
Afternoon. How are you feeling? Myself, I`m caught in two minds. Living in Manchester, I`m slightly jealous of everybody else in the world who appear to have had ten years worth of snow dumped on them in the space of a week. However, this means that we can all go to the shops without fear of being attacked by Monty the Polar Bear who took a wrong turn at Reykjavik.
So, tomorrow we go to Citeh, the team managed by a man who, if the press are to believed, will be looking forward to Christmas about as much as the turkey that`s going to end up on your table, such is the precariousness of his job. It`s funny that this time last year, our manager at the time was in the same position. And look how that turned out.
It`s hard to know what to feel about Citeh. Sure, they certainly have fans who stand by their team through the bad times, as their average attendance in 1998-99 whilst in the second division can attest. Sure, you can feel some sympathy for them for being the second (third?) team in Greater Manchester for so long that that sign in the corner of Old Trafford is running out of numbers. But then you have to stand that against the money that has come flooding into the market since the oil money arrived, the buying of players for outlandish fees who had their heads turned by the money and who now sit on the bench at Eastlands. And by this I mean Milner and Lescott. Yes, even Lescott.
Some may call it envy. Indeed I`m sure that the Citeh supporting members of my extended family will be calling it envy sometime before the turkey has hit the table. But there is more to it than that. Naturally, I would prefer it if we weren`t £93million in debt, that goes without saying. But, as strange as it may sound, I would prefer to be trying, and failing, to live within our means than have glory foisted upon us. Or, at least, an attempt at glory. For if we do do the impossible, which for us would be European qualification again, then we have done it on our own merits and not by being a rich man`s plaything.
Everyone knows that Citeh are going to win something. You don`t throw that amount of money around without getting some success. And if anyone deserves that success it is the Citeh fans. There are grown men with children of their own who weren`t born the last time their team made a major final. And that, if you know your history, is two less than us.
St Owen Coyle certainly agrees that, eventually, silverware will hit Beswick, but when that happens remains to be seen. The team itself is just too inconsistent and it will be interesting to see how they cope with the current conditions. One of the players who sums up this inconsistency is Mario Balotelli, excellent on Wednesday in Europe, but a player with a reputation for disappearing from games if it doesn`t go his way and of being, how shall we say, hot headed? And Zat Knight