Date: 8th May 2008 at 9:00am
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NO WAY BACK?

Following Dr. Thaksin’s decision to talk to the media regarding City for the first time in what seems like a Blue Moon ago, up pops another twist in the saga. Only hours later, Portuguese TV giant SIC followed a tip off to the Radisson Hotel in Manchester to see what Svennis is up to at his Penthouse suite. There, they filmed a Benfica delegation leaving the hotel shortly before going for a curry in Rusholme. It looks like a contract is on the table for Sven to sign if the seemingly inevitable comes to pass.

Ordinarily, we’d be talking breach of contract here. But with the Chairman talking about Mourinho and Scolari in the same breath as Sven and furthermore, having allowed unchecked relentless rumours to persist over the City manager’s future, it’s hardly surprising that Sven has decided to start listening to overtures and cover his arse. Let’s face it, he’s a worldwide respected coach and would be an asset to any top club.

I’m getting the impression that the unrest within Manchester City has been going on for much longer than is widely perceived to be the case. I’d suggest that there could have been trouble brewing as early as that bizarre January transfer window.

I can’t see any way now that Svennis and Dr. Toxin could work together taking the club forward in the wake of MCFC’s improved image being reduced to a soap opera again. City fans have been left bemused, confused and frustrated. I can’t see any way back for Sven now as the Chairman has the ammo he needs now to fire him. Surely there’s no way back. Above all else, what we do not want is for public mud slinging to follow any sacking.

The worst aspect of this whole regrettable episode is that it is such a great shame. A team was cleverly reconstructed with a limited timescale with the accent on youth and though sussed out and fatigued, the small squad remained a top ten side. Now a second summer of uncertainty and unrest is closing in fast.

DUNNE TO THE POWER OF FOUR

The one man who outside of the brilliant Joe Hart has held City’s defence together throughout this season has got the nod as City’s Player of The Season for an unprecedented fourth year running. Call me cynical or paranoid, but considering the instability surrounding the club right now, City officials will be desperate for the majority of our young and promising squad to stick together. If their captain were to join the likes of Mad Kev, that could precipitate an exodus as the vultures circle inbetween managerial appointments. Player of The Season, then.

DON’T GET STUCK IN

Sven’s City team’s failure to really mix it with the opposition to our frustration could be about to bear unexpected fruit. The Blues are the Premier League Fair Play winners. We finished 5th in the Fair Play League behind the already Euro qualified rags, Chelski, Gooners and Spuds.

Norway are top of the UEFA Fair Play League and should get a place in the UEFA Cup. Germany, Finland, England, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and Spain’s names will all go into a draw for the last two places.

For City to qualify for the UEFA Cup would at least be some reward for the hard work put in this season to transform City from relegation certs to European candidates. You really couldn’t make it up!

The Fair Play draw, will be held at the City of Manchester Stadium on 13 May at 14.30 GMT (15.30 CET), between the pre-match press conferences before the UEFA Cup Final.

NEXT ON THE AGENDA: MIDDLESBOROUGH AT THE RIVERSIDE
Sunday 11th May, 15:00 GMT

Boro Form Last 6 PL games: L,D,D,L,L,W
City Form Last 6 PL games: L,L,W,W,L,L

Goals Factor:
Boro last 6 PL games: 7
City last 6 PL games: 10

In the City sin bin: All clear for our fair play straw clutchers…

Squad size:
Boro 27 + 4 on loan
City 24 + 10 on loan

Injured:
Onouha out. Richards, Bojinov and Sturridge all off the agenda recently and with many squad futures in the balance the odds have to be against them being risked.

Johnny on the spot?:

Well, considering what’s been going off around SportCity the past fortnight, City’s players might as well not bother turning up. I suggest the fact that Sven has sent out the signal by talking to Benfica that he has effectively given up will further deepen the squad’s malaise and we could well see a season that promised so much against all the odds go out with a whimper.

Boro, 16 points behind The Blues by contrast have had an erratic season to say the least. Gareth Southgate, famous for criticising Sven’s management style has done a pretty good job with a similarly small squad to The Iceman. Maybe that will motivate Sven to give it one last go. Who knows? Still, it’s always beneficial to play your last game of the season at home with futures to consider so that will swing the result Boro’s way barring a turgid draw or unexpected City resurgence.

Boro 1 City 0

 

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