Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Just when things were going well...

An unbeaten pre-season that included beating the Scottish champions and thrashing the Serie A runners-up, the signing of some exciting new players, a striker who literally cannot stop scoring... it even looked like we were going to hang on to Berba until at least the next transfer window. Everything seemed to be going so well, but then with less than a week to go before the league season commences, one or two problems have appeared.

But first, just let me provide a brief update on some of the events at WHL since my last post:

  • On Wednesday the club announced that we will become the first Premier League team to join the football-themed motor racing championship, Superleague Formula. Not quite sure what all this means, but I guess full credit to the commercial department for doing what they can to grow our brand.

  • On Friday there was action with a couple of our reserve team players. Captain Troy Archibald-Henville joined Norwich for the season, and Leigh Mills, who recently returned from a loan spell at Brentford, has joined Gillingham for a month.

  • Two days later we witnessed the WHL debuts of Gomes, Modric, Bentley and Gio as we spanked Roma 5-0, with Darren Bent and David Bentley getting a brace each. The perfect end to what has been a pretty good pre-season.

  • The rumours may have been going on since before the last season finished, but Younes Kaboul finally completed his move to Portsmouth yesterday. On last season's form he won't be missed, but many Spurs fans are worried we may have let someone go who has the potential to turn into a future star. Still if he isn't in Ramos' plans and doesn't have the discipline to keep his mouth shut, I fully support off-loading him.

  • And earlier today the club announced the signing of 36-year-old Spanish goalkeeper Cesar Sanchez from Real Zaragoza, who should be a decent and experienced deputy for Gomes.
So a pretty busy week with plenty of good news stories. However, it hasn't all been going our way as the press have picked up on a few events this week that are cause for concern.

Firstly, it seems that Berba is indeed off. Levy may have crushed the advances of Old Red Nose last month, but ManUre haven't given up. According to recent reports, Berba has told friends he expects to be joining the Premier League champions by the end of the week.

Obviously the timing is not great. We have known for ages he would be leaving, but for him to leave so late in pre-season does not give the club long to sign and then bed in a new player. I'm sure Ramos/Comolli/Levy are working hard on bringing in a replacement, but with our first match just four days away it's frustrating news. As for who the replacement might be, I don't think we're any closer to knowing as the press are still enjoying the silly season of linking several new names each day.

It is not yet clear whether the Vedran Ćorluka episode will work out well for Spurs or not. But what is already clear is that football is definitely the loser here, or more precisely, Man City fans. If there is just an ounce of fact in any of the recent stories, it's clear that the club have a very uncertain short term future. An unnamed Man City executive posted a rather alarming message on a number of football websites in the last couple of days:

I'm sorry to say this, as a life long fan and - for the last few (for me at least) unforgettable months - employee, MCFC as we know it is finished. Here are the FACTS, for those who really want to know. Thaksin is, as of midnight 10th August, 2008, an international fugitive.

The Ćorluka affair is the last straw - I personally worked on the deal and can assure anyone interested that he has already been transferred to Spurs. Spurs have this evening started legal action, and he will be barred from playing for City following an injunction in the courts tomorrow.

He now has to be found guilty of corruption in Thailand in his absence, offering no defence. Extradition requests will surely follow. The PL will then have to find him short of the fit and proper ownership rules (and believe me, the pressure for that from fellow 'members' has been growing since June).

Thaksin is trying to palm off City onto whoever will now take it, an insolvent mess of a business, completely incapable of sustaining itself. The truth is that the only interested party (until recently) - Wardle - is not now able to bail City out now , he can't come close on his own and no partners have been found. The wage bill and commitments due on the last two years' transfers have spiralled out of control.

Personally I expect Hughes to then resign on principal (he has no choice now, he is on record as saying that he will have final say on all transfers). Many wont believe any of this, but a few will. I am very close to this situation (readers will never know who I am or how close - a few would know my name but it isn't appropriate to for me to come 'out') - trust me, I am close enough to know what has happened in the last fortnight, I am pissed off with it (as a fan, and as someone who has worked hard for the club during the last 18 months or so) and it must be said, a little drunk.

I am posting this message on a few sites - apologies for those that keep reading it, but I want City fans to know what is happening. The sad truth is we are finished, and that as a result, the PL will be facing its biggest challenge since inception within two weeks of now."

Ooh err, all sounds very worrying and it sounds like an affair that might run and run. In the meantime, will Ćorluka become a Spurs player? I hope so, as I think he's a very able defender who can play anywhere across the back four. Will he be a Spurs player by the weekend? Not likely.

And talking of defenders that brings me on to the last point. Captain Ledley has been hanging out at his favourite establishment once again and has been snapped by the paps with his trousers falling down in a rather sorry state. C'mon Ledders, we know you've got worrying injury problems and your future is uncertain, but you're the club captain and therefore an ambassador. We all need to let our hair down from time to time, but the privileged position you find yourself in means that when you want to do so, you need to use a lot more discretion.

The Carling Cup celebratory antics were perfectly acceptable. But to be thrown out of a club when you're too unfit to play in the fist team isn't great news. For a similar escapade to be repeated on the eve of the new season is pretty silly. Sort it out boss. You're much loved at WHL and we'll continue to support you, but don't go and do stupid things that others can use to shoot you down and cause you more problems.


Yiddooooooo said...

Ledders would have had Monday off and then a further 4 days to train and prepare for the weekends first fixture. I hardly think i'ts a huge problem. At the end of a day, whats the point in earning £45000 a week and not getting to enjoy the fruits of your labor (hardly). At the end of the day who gives a f*ck, it hasn't embarrassed the club, I for one found it quite funny.
Now lets see Ledders give us at least 3/4 of a season!!


baggyshorts said...

I might be wrong but I think you will find that the pics are the same ones used in the Carling cup bash
regards Baggyshorts

JohnnyB said...

Afraid you are wrong baggyshorts, at the carling cup do, Leds, much like the others was suited and booted, in the latest pics Ledley is (just about) wearing Jeans! C'mon Ledley, do Spurs really need their captain staggering around Essex with his trousers round his ankles?

Anonymous said...

A cracking article N7teen. With so much to look forward to this season it remains extraordinary that there's such a big question mark over Berbatov's future and who might replace him. I do feel sorry for Man City's fans. The club got greedy - Shinawatra's money was never anything other than filthy and it looks like it'll be the supporters who will suffer when the chickens come home to roost. As for Ledley, funny though the photos are, the Carling Cup party was one thing but no player should be getting into that state at this stage of the year. Let's have a fantastic season - COYS!!

jjaammeess666 said...

Ledders and the rest of the squad shouldn't being touching a drop this close to the start of the season. It may be several days 'till the start of the first game, but they are training this week and it just sends out the wrong signals.

And that quote clearly isn't from a Man City director. People in such positions simply don't talk like that.

Anonymous said...

I have to say to the author of this article.....bravo - there is only one other blogger a Mr HH who I have enjoyed this silly season but you have just gate crashed that party - no sensationalism no bullshit just well written and insightful.

Well done and COYS!!

Anonymous said...

Am a spurs fan living in Manchester and know a few people working at city. I don't know anything about this Corluka thing (haven't seem the City mates in the last few weeks), but to be honest the bits and pieces I do know would support a lot of the content of the post, and I would be inclined to believe it rather than disbelieve it.

The chairman, like Abromovich, hasn't transferred money into the club, but rather has been using the club's debt facilities to fund itself, putting in extra cash for wages every now and again. There are always promises that it will be done properly when funds are released from Thailand. It means that the club is not cash-rich at all and if he cannot get his money out of Thailand then they could well be in a lot of trouble.

Hope we get Corluka, but feel sorry for the City fans as they're a good bunch all in all.

Anonymous said...

It is the 12th today and nothing has happened at Citeh.Don`t believe what you read.