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Tainted victory at the Emptihad stadium

I have a friend who is a long term Manchester City fan. Obviously he is beside himself with glee since 4.45pm on Sunday afternoon last. He has long suffered in the shadows of success laden Manchester United fans. He’s always hated United and Sunday was finally the day when City could take the plaudits and bathe in the glory of success.

Or was it?

I suspect the revelry of City fans will wear off as the weeks go by. Their joy will be tainted somewhat by the synthetic achievement of winning the Premier League on goal difference, after spending vast amounts of cash on players and wages. A recent investigation published in the Irish Independent showed that City’s owners, the Abu Dhabi United Group, spent close to a billion making the club into champions. City did not generate their own income, based on the club’s previous success, history and support. They are not Arsenal, Liverpool or Manchester United. City do not even come close.

No.

The big teams will always spend big money. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich. They developed throughout their history and are successful today because of that. Clubs like Chelsea, Manchester City and FC Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia are extending the boundaries of fair competition to a “keeping up with the Jones” type scenario. It’s not sustainable or good for the future of football. It certainly doesn’t allow other clubs to grow.

It remains to be seen whether UEFA and Michel Platini’s Financial Fair Play initiative will change anything.

City have created an artificial history just like Chelsea did under Roman Abramovich. It took a large cash injection from an outside party to bring the blues to the top of the summit. While the history of sport is hardly a history of equality, City’s splurging on a cast of cash hungry characters and mercenaries is akin to soliciting sexual intercourse. It’s not real. It is a contrived transaction.

Still, on their big day, they showed they cannot handle even that kind of success. Mike Summerbee, the roly ploy ex City legend, was introduced to the City following that packed Manchester’s Albert Square to congratulate their team. “I hope Fergie’s watching”, said Summerbee, still embittered by years of City’s mediocrity in the face of United success.

Carlos Tevez stepped up the red fixation later in the parade when he held up a placard from the open top bus which proclaimed, “RIP Fergie”. Sir Alex Ferguson is no fragile pensioner, but to allude in such a way to a 70 year old man was distasteful to say the least.

A City spokeswoman said: “The creation of the tasteless material is in itself reprehensible and in accepting and brandishing it, Carlos has made a significant error of judgement.

“The club wishes to express its sincerest apologies to Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United Football Club for any offence or distress caused.”

My long term City supporting friend deserves to celebrate. It’s just a pity that his delight is only possible because of someone else’s money and informed by years of bitterness at their nieghbour’s achievements.

Robert McNamara 

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