City Want To Be ‘The New Chelsea’

I remember the day Roman Abramovich arrived at Stamford Bridge. The media were wetting themselves but that was nothing compared to Chelsea supporters once news broke that some Russian millionaire had decided we were a worthy investment.

My first thoughts were probably along the lines of ‘thank god’ the club I loved had been saved from almost certain bankruptcy. As for my second thoughts, well naturally, as players names were bandied about, I found it hard to connect that sort of luck with Chelsea – particularly while I was running around screaming like a madwoman anyway. So to an extent I could understand the City fans’ excitement yesterday when the news broke that some Arab group ‘ten times richer than Abramovich’ had decided they were worth a punt.

I say to an extent, because Roman’s takeover was five years ago and in that time I’ve had some of the shine taken off all that initial excitement. Of course the first title was unbelievable and back-to-back titles were even better, but then the struggle started. You see, we were always warned it’d take more than just throwing money at the club to be truly successful, over a sustained period anyway, and we’ve since found that to be true. After all, for all Roman’s millions, what exactly did we win last season? City should take note.

Of course, we’ve heard these people at City have pockets even deeper than Roman’s, so it’s no wonder the supporters are giddy. And even yesterday, didn’t they beat his millions to a player we’d chased for months? Well, actually the truth of the matter is, whilst Roman’s five years in the Premier League have taught him to be a little more conservative than he was on arrival – seeing Chelsea pull out of the deal once Real got greedy – the Abu Dhabi United Group are new to the market and as such, want to buy everyone in sight. As far as Robinho is concerned, City were fortunate enough to come across a player so desperate to get out of Real Madrid, he’d have signed for anyone. They certainly didn’t get the same response from Dimitar Berbatov and I expect it’d be the same for most top players given time to assess the situation.

Fair enough the promises City will make are for a top four finish this season, winning the Champions League within three seasons and becoming the biggest club in the Premier League but everyone’s heard those sort of promises before – because Chelsea made similar predictions. But the fact is, there’s a few differences between Chelsea when Roman took over and Manchester City’s current position. Chelsea were already finishing in the top four pre-Roman, we were already playing Champions League football – add an injection of money to that and prospective players could see the potential. City are a different kettle of fish at this moment in time, their position (if you take the money out of it) isn’t quite as promising.

Do I sound bitter? Well if I do it’s because I sat and listened for an entire day to claims that “Manchester City will be the new Chelsea”, with questions like “if Chelsea can jump from 10th to 1st, why can’t Man City? For a start we weren’t 10th when Roman arrived – we knew what it was like to lift a trophy, we knew what it was like to finish in the top four as I’ve already said, and I find the comparison a bit insulting.

But what really got me was the way City’s owners announced their arrival. Coming in on the last day of the transfer window and making somewhere in the region of £200million worth of bids in a matter of hours is just a joke. Yes, Roman threw ridiculous amounts of money around, but it took time to put Chelsea together, and Ranieri did a bloody good of it. In other words, he thought about what he needed to put a ‘team’ together. He didn’t run around like a headless chicken within hours of Roman’s arrival, hijacking deals, offering deals to players who’d signed contracts a mere three days before etc. And that was reflected in his league position that year. Will the same be said of Hughes when he’s inevitably given the boot at the end of this season? I hardly think so.

And what of those supporters who are now experiencing the same sort of manic excitement and total delirium Chelsea supporters did five years ago? Well, I guess one of the reasons they were so happy to have hijacked the Robinho deal is because people just don’t like Chelsea. It’s a money thing you see.

They’re about to find out how much fun it is being a rich club!

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4 Responses

  1. I think you’re being very harsh on Manchester City. Before Abramovich took over you could argue Manchester City were the bigger of the two clubs as they had (still have?) a bigger more loyal fan base and they had won around the same number of trophies (although you had won more recently, i.e. the couple of cups you won in the late 90’s).

    Manchester City were getting 30,000 fans a week in the second division a few years back, Chelsea struggle to fill their ground for champions league games – look at the attendances for group stage games last season.

    Chelsea are not in the same league as Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. For them to get there they will have to continue winning trophies for the next 10-15 years. With the bigger fan base and the money being talked about, Manchester City could easily overtake Chelsea within 3-5 years in terms of branding and how they are seen by fans of other clubs.

    With regard to their squad, it could be argued Manchester City have a better midfield than Arsenal and with the talent they have in defense and up front I think it is possible for them to finish 4th – that will come down to how good a job Hughes does.

    With regard to finishing in the top 4, Leeds and Newcastle both had similar league success to Chelsea in the early 90’s so I don’t think that is a valid arguement. The top 4 as we know it now didn’t exist in the early 90’s, the top half of the table (maybe 3rd – 8th) was much more open.

    Btw, I’m not a City fan!

  2. I see in the future Man City would be one of the clubs people would hate. Nvm Chelsea don’t need Robinho, we got other good prospects.

  3. Achieving success in football goes beyond acquiring big name players. It is a function of good players, quality coach and cohesive teamwork. The galacticos is a good example. Man city should stop dreaming and start working so that they can be the next chelsea. Chelsea’s back to back league title was not just about Jose Mourinho, it started from the foundation laid by Claudio Ranieri. So it is not what Robinho and Mark Hughes can achieve independent of other factors of achieving football success.

  4. this sounds a bit sour this write up, chelsea splashed millions on anybody,if abram would have upped his robinho offer i think the arabs might have too, robinho like drogba is only here for the money,same as berbatov,same as gallas or adebayor ,they would go play 4th divioion for the money rather than stay where they are! was chelsea fans really buyin robinho shirts last night?

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