Thursday, 26 August 2010

City & Liverpool - wishing they were each other

So on Monday night Man City trounced Liverpool 3-0 and it got me thinking, it’s ironically funny how right now these two teams wished they were the other one. Liverpool, a team with an endless history, trophies bursting out the cabinet (even if it hasn’t been opened for a while) and set in football tradition and Man City, with a stupidly rich owner, no debts & some of the most expensive players on the planet. Liverpool wish Shake Mansour had bought them and was sorting out their financial woes whilst Man City wish they had Liverpool’s history and standing in the football world so they could attract some of the truly great players (i.e. Torres) rather than a bunch of very over paid mercenaries (Yaya Toure isn’t worth £200k a week). However right now both teams stand on the brink of massive problems and, sadly typical of this day and age, it all involves money.

Liverpool are in dire straits and anyone can see that, it’s been reported in the press that Kenny Huang pulled out of the deal to buy the club because he felt they were wasting time and being unnecessarily slow with the things they needed to do because, as far as he was aware, he was the only viable bidder. If he really had billions and billions of pounds to his name, and looking at the history of his involvement with sports in China and the U.S it’s hard to think he didn’t have the cash needed then why did Liverpool mess him around? Despite Martin Broughton being bought in to help speeding through the sale of the club ultimately Hicks & Gillette are still the owners and apparently tried everything they could to stop the Chinese buying there club from them. Now not only do Liverpool look on the verge of missing out on a transfer window they sorely need to strengthen with quality player’s but there is a very real chance they will either be stuck with the two Americans for another 6 months, the debts pilling up and interest continuing to accrue on these debts. The other major worry for Liverpool fans must be the figure of RBS in the background, who apparently Huang went to first to try and buy the clubs debt and force his way in through the back door so to speak.

When Hicks & Gillette refinanced the £237m loan in April RBS were in a strong position because no one else wanted to take the debt on given the club had failed to repay £100m of the debt by an agreed date (it was June but it had to be repaid before the date or refinancing the loan). This meant they forced Hicks & Gillette out as chairmen and also told them they had no choice but to sell the club, RBS aren’t exactly in a strong position themselves and would rather get their money back and wash their hands of the situation. The overall point is that Liverpool are in dire financial trouble and if no buyer is found buy 6th October there is a very real chance that RBS will step in to find a buyer and take control of the club, putting it in administration to remove Hicks & Gillette as an obstacle in the sale of the club and Liverpool fans will be crying out for a Man City type sheik owner willing to through the cash around.

Man City on the other hand are the envy of fans worldwide with their bottomless pit of money, although so far they haven’t signed ‘World’ names they’ve really pushed on this summer signing Yaya Toure & David Silva, two leading lights from La Liga but they fall short of tempting people like Torres or Kaka because they are still seen as a smaller club with no history. Before City fans go mad trying to claim they are a big club now, the fact is they aren’t. They are not in the Champions League this season, have not won a title since 1967-68 and aren’t a well known name around world football except for the fact they now have lots of money. The other problem of course is the fact they don’t seem to have any structure at the club, the way they dealt with Mark Hughes was just a total farce and Garry Cook is a total clown who clearly isn’t a football man. The way he dropped the ball with the Kaka deal was just hilarious to fans outside of City and proved that he isn’t capable of dealing at the kind of level City now want to operate.

Whilst on the pitch Liverpool will continue to struggle with average players except for Torres (who won’t stick around forever) & Gerrard as well as a manager who’s been brought in to bring stability and a clear head to the club. I like Hodgson and he seems a very nice level headed guy, but he wasn’t bought in for his tactical nous or his ‘big name’ to keep players at the club and attract others, he was bought in to steady the ship & maybe sneak a good cup run but he is not a top 4 manager and he isn’t a tactician that can see things on the pitch and change them with a sneaky substitution or half time tactical change – this was clearly obvious in the City game.

City on the other hand need to realise you can’t just go out and buy a team and expect success over night, yes they did well beating Liverpool but they aren’t the force they once were and you need to measure yourselves against the clubs you want to be competing with which brings me to the Spurs game. For those with short memories Spurs also went to City playing a 4-4-2 formation and if it hadn’t been for Joe Hart having an excellent game they would have lost, and this season it will be Spurs & City chasing 4th place. Mancini is a man under pressure, with nearly £130m spent this summer on new players he will be expected to deliver and if come Christmas time City aren’t in 4th or close to it he can expect to receive his P45 just like Hughes did, and I personally think this would be a step forward for City because I think Mancini is to set in the ‘Italian style’ to break the top 4. When Spurs went to City last season in the game that basically decided 4th he played a defensive 4-5-1 when an attacking formation was the order of the day, City needed the win and didn’t get it. City need a manager that will take risk’s and get results that are needed not adopt a safety first approach and Mancini isn’t that man I don’t think. However if City do get rid of him a manager they might be interested in would be Martin O’Neill who might well be able to do a job there, but that’s a long way off.

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