Since Sheikh Mansour first entered the city of Manchester in 2008 – with new-found footballing dreams in his head and a whole wad of externally sourced finances in his hands – life among the English top-flight has changed rather dramatically.
No longer do the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool dominate the Premier League with their long-standing histories of success and deserving reputations. Nowadays, money simply talks above all else in football – and although Chelsea seemingly ‘bought’ the title before any of their rivals thanks to a certain Russian businessmen greatly benefiting from the fall of communism towards the end of the 20th century – Manchester City are now the undisputed spenders of the English game.
In sourcing themselves over £100million worth of talent this summer, Manuel Pellegrini’s side simply have to win the title by the end of the season, for if they don’t, the Chilean’s position at the Etihad will certainly be called into question.
However, even though the club’s expensively assembled group of players are already well on course to finishing in first place this term, is supporting a team such as Manchester City – with their seemingly endless pots of wealth behind the scenes – actually any fun in the modern era?
Let’s face it, although such an outcome obviously bares no ill-feeling towards the fans themselves and their continued loyal following of their club, the Citizens were ultimately but a mere foot-note within the wider English game before the Middle Eastern riches came to their rescue. Many even saw the Sky Blues as a lovable second-team, boldly pressing on within the shadows of their far superior local rivals, Manchester United, even when the odds were greatly stacked against their favour.
However, in light of such a turnaround in events for the current Premier League high-flyers, Manchester City now arguably represent all that is wrong with the modern game. The once seemingly unheard-of club have proved the latest team to shamelessly buy their way to the title, robbing several top European clubs of their best assets and generally ruining the natural order of competition among the game itself. Although the current era may be a rather enjoyable one for the Etihad faithful out on the pitch, no honest Man City fan could justifiably pretend that their club aren’t slowly killing everything that is good about football.
Without wanting to sound overtly harsh, everyone knows that the likes of Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero, David Silva – and now both Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne – are only at the Etihad on the basis of financial reasoning above all else. Pellegrini’s players ultimately can’t have the same level of respect for Manchester City as several other top flight English teams achieve in abundance, for the club were relatively unknown before the money came along. It must therefore be strange supporting a side with such hollow values at its heart…
The fact that City have also signed several young, up and coming English stars in the past, only to leave them rotting on the bench in the name of home-grown requirements, also fails to shine the club in the most sustainable light possible. Quite frankly, the Premier League acts as no more than a mere game for the Manchester City owners – one that eventually pays off for them until every other competitor is seemingly blown out of the water by their respective spending power. Tell me, where is the fun in that?
At the end of the day, such an undignified approach just can’t be smiled upon, even by the club’s own set of determined supporters. What’s the point in certain teams trying to grow organically and honestly graft from the ground up, if outfits such as City can somehow skip those all-important hurdles on the back of wealth alone? Surely the Etihad faithful also want to see some of their own break through the academy ranks under Manuel Pellegrini sooner rather than later – yet if the club continue to spend so carelessly with every passing season – there is absolutely no chance of that ever happening.
Yes, Manchester City weren’t the first to carry out such a damaging path of action of course – Jose Mourinho and Chelsea seemingly aren’t exempt from this discussion either. Yet because they are the ones currently stretching the logistical boundaries of the Premier League in truly unsportsmanlike style, supporting such a team must eventually weigh heavy upon the shoulders of all their loyal fans once the penny finally drops amongst them – and invariably goes towards the signing of yet another marquee name in the transfer window.