There’s been a lot of criticism levelled at the Manchester City board following the sacking of Mark Hughes and some of the fans (and players if you believe the rumours) are up in arms about it. Whilst Sheikh Mansour and his team pumped money into the club it seemed like they were happy to take a backseat and let Hughes get on with his job with plenty of time to get things right. Their decision to sack the Welshman does not surprise me at all and I am instead left rather bemused at the headlines in the papers calling them “cowards” as a result of their decision.
First of all City are now Mansour and his consorts plaything and if he wants to remove a part of it (like Hughes) then he has every right to do so. Then there’s the fact that some fans were calling for Hughes’ resignation and opposition fans mocked him regularly about it, this was a man who confidence was not high in. Given how many changes he had to make for his team Hughes was dealing with a slow process which perhaps should allow a lot of time but in the modern footballing world a few weeks without success is considered a long time and Hughes has had half a season to get it right where the chance of it going right has petered out swiftly to the point where Roberto Mancini now has quite a job to get it right.
Hughes sacking was not a bad decision, the furore about it is only there because he’s a gentleman of the game and widely liked. Whilst Mancini could easily prove a poor appointment due to his lack of experience managing in England he has his advantages over Hughes – for example, former players of his will be more willing to come to City now to work with him and since Mancini has worked with the likes of Lazio and Inter Milan he’d have some good players out there who’d like to work with him once again.
As for the owners, yes Mansour and his team have stepped in this time but it’s not like they’re constantly throwing themselves into things. Look at other owners out there; of the clubs taken over by big money chairmen only two are widely liked by fans – Aston Villa’s Randy Lerner and Birmingham’s Carson Yeung who both actually seem to have the right idea for their clubs whilst Roman Abrahamovic has long been accepted. Manchester United’s Malcolm Glazer was protested about for ages but his takeover appears to have changed nothing (in the short run anyway) whilst Liverpool fans regularly protest around their owners and Portsmouth should regularly protest about theirs!
The papers have raced out there to criticise City’s owners in the wake of Hughes’ departure but the fact remains that they’ve proven very helpful to City so far in terms of their overall input and I’d rather have them in charge of my team than most of the other owners in the Premiership. Sacking a manager like Hughes would always be taken badly by the masses but he was not inspiring City to improve and was a constant forlorn figure. Hughes was not a victim of vicious owners but simply a man unable to control his own team.