IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Millions of reasons why City are so good

20 October, 2017 — By Richard Osley

THE sycophancy around the brilliance of Manchester City is rotten. You can’t turn on the ­television, read a newspaper (or Twitter, as you guys would rather do now) or listen to the radio without some seasoned but sappy football expert purring on about how superbly they play and how many goals they score.

Pep Guardiola is a dashing genius, a gentleman, and what a fine football club they are; how ­privileged we all are to live in the era of Manchester City. Football is so much better in 2017.

And yet none of this creamy praise seems to make any mention of the fact that all Guardiola and Man City are doing are proving the hardline economic rule: that the more you spend, the more you win. And to make sure you win, you spend such a colossal amount that nobody else can compete. If this means buying a player for more than £40million and leaving him on the bench, so be it. Take the magnificent Mancunians who received such gushing bumlicks for their 7-2 win against Stoke City, and look at how much the starting XI cost individually. Ederson £35m, Delph £8m – just the eight, lol – Walker £50m, Otamendi £35m, Stones £47.5m, Silva £24m, Fernandinho £34m, De Bruyne £55m, Sane £37m, Sterling £49m and Gabriel Jesus £27m. Let me just tot that up in my head… oh, just £620m.
You go up to £800m if you include the subs.

Teams like Spurs and even Arsenal may have two or three players who cost – or would cost – more than £40m, but City have grotesquely loaded their whole squad with players at these prices. Apart from Delph, nobody cares about Delph.

The old cliched line applies: “How would Guardiola do managing Barnsley?” He’d probably do just as well as any puffer-coat manager without the security of signing one cheque after another.

And yet nobody makes any mention of how Man City have been strung together by pound signs. Instead, football is presented on television, in newspapers and in radio commentary, as if it’s all much closer than it really is, when actually one team has smashed right through the spending ceiling to the extent that their victories don’t really feel genuine anymore.

If they dare spell this out too often, people might get bored and stop watching. That’s why no pundit ever says: “Well, Gary, Manchester City were simply awesome today, unplayable… and so they should be, having spent a zillion quid.”

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