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A Manchester City Title May Signal the Death of Football As We Know It

8 May 2012 by

Newcastle United were swept aside on Sunday as Man City almost certainly sealed the Premier League title. A bit of English football died that day. Man City have undermined the integrity of the sport financially, competitively, and morally.

£24 million Toure scored the goals, the stand-out performer amongst the £82 million Man City midfield. Do we need another scary statistic? Well, their starting 11 cost £179 million, with collective wages of over £1 million per week. Say what you like about Mancini’s managerial qualities, City’s fight back when the title seemed beyond them, or simply the feat of out manoeuvring Alex Ferguson; Manchester City have bought the Premier League trophy.

There are numerous economic reasons why the oil-rich billionaire’s toy is having a drastic affect on football, but let’s start with the most obvious. Football is a sport built on very simple ethics; a successful club is built on a tradition, and it is built on slow progress.

Manchester United’s current position has come from decades of brilliance. Their stadium, their fan base, their commercial power, their ability to attract players – in short, their success – is built from a long history of achievement, each contributing to the next generation, each weaving a stronger thread into the complex tapestry of their success. The same can be said of Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Aston Villa, and Everton (amongst others).

In modern football, success is dependent on money. Whether you see this as a blessing or a curse, it is difficult to deny. A successful league season will be rewarded with prize money or lucrative European football, which will allow a club to build towards the top. Villa almost got there, Tottenham are getting close. Manchester City, on the other hand, skipped this bit, pretending they were a big club and producing money out of nowhere.

As an Aston Villa fan, let me use the Villa as an example of how football is supposed to work. Founded by 4 men convening under a lamp post in 1874, Villa became one of the world’s biggest clubs in the Victorian era. Slowly gaining household status after FA cup and league success, crowds flocked to watch the Villans, leading to an eventual move to a larger ground, now known as Villa Park. Over the next hundred years the stadium and fan base grew, with Aston Villa remaining a famous name in European football. Today, the 40 000 capacity stadium, the club’s financial position, and the club’s Premier League status, are all a result of this chain of success.

Man City have not grown to their current position. They have produced money from an industry that has nothing to do with football, and used it to buy the world’s best players, cheating the system and frankly destroying the integrity of club football.

Man City’s rise to Premier league champions has been anything but organic, and to achieve a rapid ascent to success relies on incredible transfer sprees. Since there is not an infinite pool of world class players, this inevitably hinders the progress of those clubs who have persevered with a more traditional, honest approach, before seeing the talent they have nurtured lured by City’s billions. Their signings ripped the heart out of Arsenal, Aston Villa, Everton, Newcastle, Valencia, West Ham – the list goes on. Everton, fighting heroically for European football on a small budget, had Joleon Lescott lured away from them in their prime. Aston Villa, desperately trying to finish in the top 4 and consolidate their rebirth under Lerner and O’Neill, saw captain Gareth Barry and playmaker James Milner taken from them in successive seasons, with the latter transfer culminating in the resignation of the manager. Wenger’s endlessly ‘transitional’ Arsenal side were cut down by the sales of Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri to Man City.

Of course, the reason these players leave is because Man City can offer wages and transfer fees that are (seemingly) impossible to refuse. Prepared to make a substantial year on year loss, the amount they invest is essentially ‘free money’; there are no repercussions for spending grotesque amounts on footballers that will bring them trophies. It is quite simply an abuse of economic power, treating the structural integrity of the sport carelessly, with no consideration for the long term effects of their actions on the industry as a whole. Losing one billion pounds in four years may not affect Manchester City, but it has huge repercussions on the rest of English football.

It is common knowledge that the debt of English clubs is spiralling out of control. This is almost entirely due to inflated transfer fees and increasing wage demands that do not correlate with the finances of top level football. 17 of the Premier League’s 20 clubs are making a loss each year; that is a failing industry. Millions of pounds are written off every season, making players and agents wealthier and football clubs (and fans) poorer.

When did it get out of control? Certainly football finances have been managed ineptly across the board, but the game never really got out of control until the creation of the Premier League, and the first ludicrous football investment at Blackburn Rovers. Rovers would win the league in 1996 after creating a dream team from the millions made available for transfers, but being built without lasting foundations, their decline was almost as rapid as their ascent.

This story, along with similar exploits at Leeds in the late 1990s, Chelsea in 2004 and Man City in 2008 had an enormous impact on the market, doubling or even tripling the valuation of footballing talent and raising wage expectations. Abramovich can flippantly throw £50 million at Fernando Torres, but any club without the luxury of being able to record a loss, cannot afford the knock on effect of inflated fees.

There is an undeniable correlation between the over-paying of Blackburn, Leeds, Chelsea and Man City during their periods of heavy spending, and the overall inflation of player valuations. The trickle down effect of this is hard to see, but football economists claim that an increase in the average price of a premier league player increases the valuation of players at every level. Teams in the lower divisions of English football cannot make up this gap without serious consequences.

In a conventional confined economic system, a market will fluctuate based on supply and demand. Logic would assume that clubs would baulk at inflated fees and refuse to pay them, thus bringing prices back down. Unfortunately, the stakes are too high for such stubbornness.

Since the creation of the Premier League in 1991, TV deals have become an integral element of football finance, and short term success is crucial in maintaining TV income (such is the disparate spread of generated revenue). Relegation threatened clubs cannot afford to risk refusing increased transfer fees. Short term failure could cost them upwards of £60 million in the following financial year. Equally a team desperate for European qualification is forced to yield to the market even to tread water, with the difference between 4th, 5th and 6th costing a club tens of millions. This catch 22 is exactly the same with regards to the increase in wage demands. The average premier league wage today is £22 000 p/w, with some earning £250 000 p/w. When free-spending Blackburn signed Alan Shearer in 1992 he was paid around £8 000 p/w.

The type of success Man City have bought has contributed greatly to the rise in transfer fees, which has directly affected the enormous debt that looms over football, threatening to completely obliterate the sport at professional level. If the current situation persists, it is simply impossible to see football surviving another 20 years in its current format. Fortunately, the first wave of clubs to sink into administration this millennium (QPR, Hull, Bradford, Leicester, Derby, Ipswich, Wimbledon, Leeds, Southampton, Portsmouth, Rangers) have all been rescued at the last minute. It cannot be long before one club is left to drown, and when one club is liquidated, many more will fall.

Unless of course, UEFA’s Fair Play initiative has anything to say about it. Firstly, it is worth mentioning that this system, although likely to reign in club football debt (Chelsea have begun a ‘sell to buy’ strategy now and many other Premier League clubs have begun cutting their wage budget), the system has already had setbacks. The £400 million sponsorship of Man City’s stadium by Abu Dhabi Group owned Etihad is, overtly and unashamedly, just another way to pump £400 million of their own money into the club. It is cheating, and it undermines the system, again. But even if this system does work, there is a very high chance that it will be a poisoned chalice.

From next season clubs must be profitable; their expenditure cannot exceed their turnover by more than £5m, or they face transfer bans, withholding of prize money, or even bans from European competition. Although appealing, this initiative holds one fatal flaw; it does not allow for the risk of investment for long term gain.

Aston Villa and Tottenham, two sides who have challenged the top four (with varying degrees of success) in recent years spent £120 million and £140 million respectively in the space of four years. The idea being that initial investment will break the monopoly of the big clubs and bring Champions’ League qualification, which is worth up to £70 million per year in TV revenue and prize money, offering an eventual return on the money spent. If such gambles are stopped, then the rich clubs will simply cement their dominance, relying on financial might gained from European football to ensure nobody else can take their spot away from them. The league is in danger of becoming repetitive and non-competitive. Newcastle may break the top four this year, but there are already rumours that their key players will be signed by bigger clubs, and it is unlikely that they will be able to repeat their success next season. A system that may cause more problems than it creates has only been instigated as a result of the morally dubious exploits at clubs like Chelsea and Man City.

Early signs of this are already becoming apparent. The gap between the big clubs and the rest is so plainly evident that owners may have begun to realise that there is no financial gain in attempting to be competitive. With £9 million prize money separating 17th from 5th, and £60 million+ separating 17th from 18th, what is the use in investing, aiming high, when the chances of any monetary gain are so small?

This is clearest of all at Villa. McLeish was seen as a ‘safe’ appointment, ahead of a riskier one that would try to build something challenging the top 6 again (of course, we can now see how foolish he was in thinking McLeish was safe, but that’s a different matter). Boring mid-table obscurity becomes an attractive prospect for an owner who has seen significant financial investment fail to turn into anything substantial.

Clubs creating wealth from nothing, like Man City, are the cause of this dearth in competition. They have forced UEFA’s hand that may reduce long term competition. They have taken key players from burgeoning sides and thus stunted growth and increased competition. They have made it impossible to sign players without running up insurmountable debts, thus reducing the ability for others to compete and causing the financial system to fold in on itself. They have contributed to the wealth disparity that has led to pragmatic management aimed at safety, not glory. And they have done it through means that essentially amount to cheating the system, producing money out of nowhere, leaving nothing but chaos in their path.

That is why we are watching a two team league. We are lucky it is as competitive as that.


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  • Andy

    Get. A. Grip. God almighty.

  • pete

    Spoken like a true bitter.

  • David Bacchus

    bag of shi'ite.

  • Dave Smith

    Ow shuyt yower brummie mowf

  • J Davidson

    Get over it!

  • Craig Booth

    Another stat for you! City’s starting 11 on Sunday £161m, United’s £168m! The facts speak for themselves I’m afraid!

  • dave@shepton

    Manchester United got there through sleeping with the devil. When you sleep with the devil, something not unexpected (TRYING TO KEEP IT CLEAN HERE), will eventually happen.

    Be prepared to pay the consequences of not quite knowing who you are getting into bed with. Look what happened to Giggs. (Sorry off topic here but never mind).

  • Craig Booth

    You wouldn’t be a rag by any chance would you?

  • toe

    WHAT A COMPLETE LOAD OF BITTER LAZY JOURNALISM. Total cost of Manchester City’s starting line-up V Newcastle: £161m. Total cost of Manchester United’s starting line-up V Swansea: £169m.

  • toe

    How do you continue to earn a living making this tripe up ? the death of journalism as we know it. PRATT !

  • Brian Slater III

    You bitter cunt. Read about 4 paragraphs and it became increasingly obvious that you're a jealous brummy muppet.

  • Paul Fay

    A lovely,succint and well informed,balanced article that got to grips with the core issues.I enjoyed it,as opposed to the inaccurate statistic manipulated printed in the MEN.

  • Anthony TwoHands Smith

    Amazingly accurate article

  • Brian Slater III

    slags, the lotta ya

  • Blewmoon48

    Am I to understand you are not a Man City fan?

  • Blue Mancunian

    Well comparing City with Villa is like comparing any Premier league club with the likes of Portsmouth

    Before the Sheikh came in, we had already moved to Eastlands and were getting much bigger crowds than Villa.

    Even now, Villa have thousands of empty seats for DERBY MATCHES !!!

    Yet another jealous football supporters who will now lose faith in his team just because City became rich. It’s not like Villa have challenged in the last 30 years

    City have always had a large fan base which is why the arabs were attracted.

  • Paul Buddery

    what a load of bitter brummie bollocks.

  • R Aghayter

    What a load of tosh. United have been buying the league for decades.You rags wrote the book on this decades ago. City’s starting 11 on Sunday £161m, United’s £168m.

    Man those rag grapes sure taste bitter.

  • Dom

    Clearly your preferred world is the one dominated by Arsenal and Man U, leading the fab 4. Where the CL money guarantees the same 4 every year. Big clubs stay big and small clubs stay small. CIty gate crashed somebody else s party in the only way possible and you know what, I’m loving it. I loved it when Chelsea did the same nod now I’m loving it watching smug Man U fans seeing their annual entitlement challenged. Yippee

  • David Pollard

    Why haven't Arsenal, Villa or Everton re-invested the transfer money they received from City into buying players of the same quality or better than the ones who left?
    You sound like you would prefer United to win the title every season. How boring would that be? You also forget to mention that United broke the transfer record three times in the early 2000's and 'stole' players from Leeds, Everton and Lazio by signing Ferdinand, Rooney and Veron. Short term memory eh?

  • Melon Man

    Lerner “bottled” it when it came to putting in enough money to compete and grow the Villa “business”, despite his billions, so to accuse City of immorality is a bit rich (pun intended).
    If Lerner was a wealthier, braver man, he’d be the one you write scathing articles about I suppose, with Villa being the villains of the piece?

    The business of football has grown global, with global investment – it’s a natural economic progression, and unless you can invent a time machine to undo all that has come before, then learn to live with it.

  • Cookster

    Being a Villa fan I can see why you’re so very bitter.

    Hope they go down next season and they you can have a real cry about the death of football.

  • Utd111

    That started out OK – but I started giggling when you tried to assert that
    Villa are a “big club” LOL!

    The rest was bollox

  • mick

    yaaaaaaaaaawn,sorry but after get 3 lines into the first paragraph i realised i didnt want to read anymore because as brian slater quite rightly pointed out your just an obvious bitter cunt

  • Anonymous

    Manchester City should have refused the vast investment and referred the Sheiks to to a club with no morals. I have no doubt Aston Villa would have also turned down such an opportunity and shown us how a club ‘is supposed yo work’!

  • toe

    The arabs at city are not just building a football team, they are building a community a brand a dynasty creating jobs and creating a brighter future for local people and up and coming footballers of the future. do your homework on this rather than talk out of your backside.

  • Anonymous


  • Mikey W

    So Manchester City have owners who rather than bleed football dry actually put large amounts of money into the game.

    The same owners are also making massive investment in the Eastern Manchester area hugely improving the infrastructure and creating real employment for many people in an economic blackspot.

    There is much thay should be thanked for, we are grateful they saw opportunities in Manchester and that City and the city are the beneficiaries

    “Cheating!” Get real.

  • Bertie Blue

    Wow. So much bollox in just one article. Shame your yank owner’s fortune has shrank from 1.5 billion to just 20 million but don’t blame us for your clubs bad business decisions.

  • Horsenap Betting

    Tosh, as a Villa fan you should be glad you got so much money for Milner and Barry as you would not have recieved that amount of cash from anybody else.
    And as for ripping the heart out of Everton by buying Lescott, do me a favour, could you remind me where Everton got him from?

  • Woz

    You havn’t got a clue what your talking about, for every point you make there is counter arguement. The reason you don’t mention them is that your either positively thick or it does’nt suit your agenda, personally I think it’s a mixture of the two. Congratulations on narrowly avoiding relegation let’s hope your not so lucky next year.

  • bulblu

    So Man City have led to lack of investment and over investment at the same time. Those Arab’s are cunning little blighter’s aren’t they.
    No mention of the work being done to regenerate East Manchester. No mention of the money paid to the Aston Villa’s, Everton’s etc in transfer fees.
    It sounds to me as if you preferred the Super Sunday top 4 cartell. Well sorry to tell you it’s been smashed to pieces.

  • Fozzy

    Shocking article! Depressed much? Hoping you get relegated next season fro
    a toon fan. We have not forgotten about Vila Park May 2009. What goes around…

  • Ady

    Football fan that think financial fair play will make things right need to get a grip! Christ it means your club if they are outside the top 4 will NEVER be able to compete. City fans have been through all the big teams coming and picking off their players, like Chelsea did with Wright Phillips, I didn’t hear anyone feeling sorry for them then, when Arsenal Villa Liverpool Spurs used to look down their noses at them.
    As a Villa fan you should be against FFP as where you are at the minute will be where you’ll stay and the big clubs with gates and Champs League money will just get bigger and still come after your players.
    It won’t change the world of football it will just shut the door on you doing it and extinguish any dreams you had of winning the league.
    And what’s with the big love in with United? Their team isn’t grown from their youth team you know they go off and poach other clubs young players…….like yours if they were any good.
    Get a grip and stop going with the other sheep saying City are the only bad ones, as your view is blinkered my friend!

  • Nick Pickard


  • dave edge

    Oh dear has randy’s cash all disappeared lol

  • Toon91

    if you all think about it, everything written in the article is true. man city have bought the title(if they win it that is). they are spending so much money and creating so much debt and sooner of later they wont be able to pay it back. the premier league is in enough debt as it is without city adding to it. and this could be a slow and painful death for football in england.

  • Dale

    Is this another jealous rag? poor attempt at a dig there. everyone knows you have to spend to win. this is no different to chelsea or united (the two main candidates for spending to win) grow up.

  • M

    Oh no the moon being moved to block the sun. What a tit you are. Both arsenal & villa have filled there boots with city’s money not to mention half a dozen others city have a long & proud history long my it continue.

  • Simple Simon

    I can’t be bothered constructing an argument but please digest some figures before you try journalism (tongue in cheek) again:

    Lowest Manchester United post-War home league attendance: 8,456 v Stoke City at Maine Road, First Division, 5 February 1947
    Lowest Aston Villa attendance: 2,900 (v. Bradford City, Division One, 13 February 1915)
    Villa record transfer fee paid: £24M for Darren Bent!!!
    Record attendance for a domestic game played in England: 84,569 between Man City and Stoke City at Maine Rd 1934.
    Manipulate the figures all that you like. City have always been and will always be a bigger draw than Aston Villa.
    Man Utd went from a Manchester club to a world club on 6th Feb 1958. Tragic disaster but still a fact. They won over the world and then became a PLC!!!
    Hypocrite and a jealous one at that!!!

  • Gripper

    The Fab Four ruled the Premier Leagur before City gatecrashed so how was that competitive??
    Villa should have invested the “hugely inflated” transfer fees better………..and didn’t Everton poach Lescott from Wolves?? Hardly innocent parties! Stick to hating city though eh it’s what everyone else is doing.

  • JTB

    bitter cunt – two words that sum this guy up succinctly.

  • City Fan

    And can I just advise the Toon fan that City aren’t in debt, we don’t borrow a penny, it is our owners personal money that has been in the past converted into shares. So no debt here mate.

  • Mark

    May I ask which player they took from Newcastle? You say that City ripped the heart out of Newcastle whilst listing teams…
    I’m a Toon fan, I personally see nothing wrong with what City are doing, considering Man Utd paid £17m for Nani, £30m for Berbatov, £29m for Ferdinand, £27m for Rooney, £19m for De Gea, shall I go on? Man Utd have been doing it for years.
    City deserves the title, they’ve played good football and worked hard, yes it’s annoying when they snap up one of your team’s targets, but that happens to everyone, just so happens their hit ratio is more successful than most. Besides, if your players have any actual loyalty to your club, they’ll stay regardless of money (Shearer for example).

  • Steve

    Jealous cunt. Just because you support a shite team

  • Dribble

    You bitter knobhead!!! I had so many things ready to say to you but thankfully the more informed than yourself have already responded to your brain-dead diatribe.

    Manchester City didn’t create this status quo, we just played by the rules created by the likes of Villa who used their billionaire benefactors wonga to rip Young from the heart of Watford, Downing from the down & out Boro, Milner from the relegation threatened Geordies & Bent from a struggling Sunderland…. Do I need to go on?

    When we bid for Milner it was Villa who quoted a ridiculous price which we were forced to pay & you accuse us of greed & financially doping football? As part of the Milner transaction you received our former player of the year & your current player of the year Stephen Ireland. If it wasn’t for Given & Dunne, the relegation places would have already been decided this season.

    When O’Neil was buying all the aforementioned players (Young, Downing, Milner etc) you forget that at the other end of the scale was a club with a higher average attendance than you that had no billionaire benefactor & who had an annual transfer budget of £6m, plus whatever could be raised from player sales….. That was back in 2007 & that team was Manchester City & where were you then?

    Fast forward to 2012 & now we’ve got a trillionaire benefactor, you want to complain? Sir you are a steaming lump of ill-informed dog-shit of the stenchest order!!!!

  • Mark

    Dribble, perhaps the best argument I have ever seen!

  • JTB

    The camera zooms to a forlorn looking Bacon face shaking hands with Martin O’Neill and the DJ plays Gene Pitney – It’s over. Meanwhile elsewhere Bobby Manc comes running onto the pitch punching arms aloft in triumph… and he’s wearing white shoes. One word – priceless.

  • Max Rose

    Don't be bitter mate, be better.

  • blueknight

    Speculation is growing that Manchester City may have exchanged money for players, leading opposing fans to claim that they have ‘bought’ the title.

    The Premier League was set up in 1992 as a collective non-profit cooperative with the sole objective of volunteers coming together to mutually benefit society and culture. Rule 3.2.7 prohibits any exchange of money for players or their services.

    Since 1992 Manchester United have opted to grow all of their players in small pots on a windowsill in Stretford in a similar method to that used to grow cress.

    Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted on only using local, organic soil after attributing Ryan Giggs’ curly chest hair to a particularly good batch of earth.

    Since the inception of the Premier League Arsenal has exclusively used the website Gumtree to advertise for all of their players

    Gunners midfielder Tomáš Rosický famously signed for the London club after he accidentally happened upon their ‘players wanted’ advert whilst searching the classified site for a replacement rear-wiper blade for his 1998 Hyundai Sonata.

    Chelsea assembled much of their 2005/6 Premiership-winning squad from the unsuccessful applicants to Channel 4’s desert island reality television programme Shipwrecked.

    And Liverpool’s current squad is entirely made up of discarded public sector managers who are compensated with buttons, small lengths of twine and delicately carved ornate fruit and vegetables, similar to those found in Thai restaurants.

    Ian Simms is president of the Manchester United supporters association and spoke to News Manc regarding City’s reported use of financial methods to obtain players.

    “It goes against everything the league stands for.”

    “When the Premier League was set up everyone agreed that this wasn’t about money, it was about carefully nurturing players in small pots of nutrient-rich soil. Like our ancestors did.”

    If City are found guilty their Chief Executive Mark Trimble could be forced to spend the next 12 months on internet forums and social media sites tediously debating what actually constitutes ‘buying a title’.

    “To be fair, that does sound a bit harsh”, admitted Simms.

  • Leigh Stewart

    how many years ago did the rags pay £28m & £19m for Veron and van Nistelrooy, and all the rest. Clearly that's when the spending started. CTID

  • Jon

    Of course City have spent a lot. How else are you meant to get to the top? Man United have done it, Chelsea have done and so have Blackburn. Huge credit to Spurs and Newcastle for getting where they are now without spending that much but I can’t see them progressing to the top unless they splash the cash to get the quality they need to breakthrough

  • anxiouswarrior

    lickle citeh will always be a small club, even with their arab windfall

  • geoff

    i wish people do their research before writing utter are finally back where they belong please read the archives of man city’s early history you will find that in the late 1800s early 1900s city became the wealthiest football club and the governing bodies of the football league did not like it so they litterally moved the goalposts to make it hard for city ( history repeating itself) with this fair play lark but this time city are here to stay and dominate again so get used to it…

  • Rosco

    I’m a Toon fan and even I find this fuckin hilarious. Villa are shit with a piddly little ground they cant fill. Clubs will always try to buy the league by assembling the best players who cost the most money. Its economics. Blackburn done it years ago. Nothing new here. Bitter man.

  • Wayne

    Oh Dear, Villa fans jumping on the hate CITY campaign started by the jealous rags from the swamp..I think you need to keep your comments positive and focus on your own team ! They need all the support they can get seeing they only avoided relegation on goal difference.

  • Ateeb Hussain

    bitter looser

  • Jim

    How can such a bitter rant be disguised as serious comment. The great thing about football fans is their honesty. If you hate another club, you say it out and don’t hide behind a pseudo intellectual treatise. You’re a City hater. No further comment required.

  • Joseph Davies

    Chelsea already bought the title in 05, so what's so bad about Manchester City doing it? They've always had a passionate fanbase, a proper football club. They did win the lottery yes, but they'd suffered for years and years while United cleaned up domestically in Europe. It's their time in the sun and it's long overdue.

  • hernandez

    suddenly an increase of city fans from nowhere weree will they all go in 5 yrs wen the arabs run out of oil and leave lol real madrid 4 life

  • onetouchpassing

    Wow this was depressing. If City win it will be because they have the best team, and played better than United throughout the season. I hope they do win, it creates a bit of variety. Buying players, regardless of price, will not signal the death of football.

    “Two Team league” sounds rather like La Liga, which is one of the best leagues in the world. Also, there was no mention of Malaga or PSG both owned by ridiculously wealthy people. Man City are just a few years ahead so I guess the death of football will also occur in Ligue 1 and La Liga too?

  • Laff @ Hernandez

    Hernandez your club with its dodgy finance deal on the training facility you “sold” means you lot aren’t whiter than white, we all know you were bailed out of bankruptcy! The mighty Real Madrid! So I’d keep quiet if I were you.

  • uptoeleven

    To all the toon fans on here, easily the best premiership opponents we faced home & away. Pardew’s doing a fantastic job of keeping you up 🙂 Really impressive stuff and great to watch you deserve champions league football next season. As for the OP – what about Lerner’s millions? Or don’t they count?

  • Zahar

    It’s just the team that played the best football who’ll win the league. Doesn’t really matter how much they cost actually. United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool have done it for years because they can afford getting good footballers and played better football. Money cannot buy titles. Good players do it. Perhaps good players will cost more. Teams like Villa can only hope their players will eventually become good players and when they do, along comes United to poach them.

  • tublu

    well alexweeble, I’ll bet you’re really glad you wrote that…
    @blueknight, top post loved the imagery of old purple nose slurring away talking to his little potted veggies as he tries to grow a yaya

  • Michael Baxandall

    Everton were referred to as the "chequebook champions" in 1963, but I reckon football was ruined when Blackburn Olympic won the 1883 FA Cup, using a lowdown dirty subterfuge known as "training".
    It's "effect", not "affect" by the way. CTID.

  • Steve 'Buzz' Booth

    well I've read some shite regarding City over the last few years but this tops the lot. Villa's long history of achievement? Whining fucking maggot.

  • Paul Gilmore

    yeh cos nobody like united blackburn liverpool chelsea arsenal real madrid all the italian giants barcalona ….have ever done anything likw this b4

  • Paul Gilmore

    in fact the last team to win the league and cup with all English playyers was …..erm …….CITY ha ha best team in the land and all the world

  • Lee Hilton

    What a blinkered bitter goon Alex Keble is,whoever he is?sounds like terry Christian in disguise to me!up the blues!

  • Chris West

    What a load of bollocks!!rags bought the league how many times??

  • Rowey

    (everton fan so I might be bitter coz my team are skiiiiinnnttt!) My mate said I was cheating when I play football manager coz I went into the editor and gave myself 400 million to play with. Am I cheating?

  • dave

    Did anyone out there ever see the documentary on man utd and the louie edwards in the early days before they became what they are today. It was so damaging to both the owner and man utd mr edwards died within three days.I live in the UAE and I am sure that the owner of city will always act responsibly and respect the sport of football.

  • Ian Vesey

    What an amazing article.Full of tripe. City's starting 11 were around £1m more than United's on Sunday. During the course of the game they got cheaper. £1m collective wages? Y Toure on £250k C Tevez on £200 K so the other 9 are on £550k between them!
    Have you noticed mate that prior to City killing the game only 4 teams have won the EPL? We are I believe in the 20th year of this competition! 3 clubs have shared it as Blackburn (who "bought" the league btw) were one hit wonders. It struck me some time ago that competition was dead. United have built up a myth not some finely woven cloth of history and tradition! Even when they won it with kids (sic) they had expensive (for the time) bought in players – Hughes, Bruce, the big Middlesbrough defender etc etc These myth's aren't true and for things like this to be repeated are ridiculous.
    There is no correlation between Blackburn, Chelsea, Leeds and Man City. Those clubs did not fully find the deals.Blackburn paid Shearer £15k a week by the way! City's owners have. The knock on effect will not be the same. City's owners are investing a £1bn in the area around the ground. It's well known we lease the ground (from Sport England and the Council) however we have bought the land in the area and are investing in developing that into a football city for the good of the community in terms of jobs and improvement in appearance! I am not blind, I know they are doing it for themselves as they will own it & it will bring in income but I can get over that. They are in it for the long term. This of course helps FFP too in due course. You state that FFP is to rein in debt – why then are MUFC not bothered by FFP at all? Debt is not the issue here. If you can pay your debt from income as United do (to the tune of £500m since the Glazer's took over) then FFP won't affect you. City's problem is that they spend more than they earn. You studied the Etihad deal have you? You don't seem to know much about FFP so I would be careful about saying it's illegal as yet. Certainly the authorities haven't and it has been announced for quite some time! We haven't sponsored our reserve team kit for £80m yet!
    Debt & Loss are too different things! Ask United! In debt but the most profitable club in the world. City have no debt.
    I don't know any other industry where you cannot invest your own money! Where rules are put in place that prohibit freedom of choice in the way FFP does. QPR will have great difficulty in moving forward now that we are into the reporting years. If you won a £1bn on some lottery you would find it hard to take Villa back to where you believe they belong.
    CIty ripped the heart out of various clubs! Forgive me but wasn't Barry off to Liverpool the season before & then when all expected that is where he would go he joined City at the vastly inflated fee of £12m when Liverpool didn't even enquire! We made an enquiry for Milner and you sold him. I wonder why Martin O'Neil left! Did you train Barry yourself or did you rip the heart out of Brighton & Hove when you took him & Standing from them?
    You make United's purchases of players from other clubs sound like their right. Do you think that they would have got Ferdinand and Rooney without the large amounts of money they offered both their present clubs and the players. In any event if you are correct as people have short term memories – in particular players – they'll start to come to City because we have success and it will become self perpetuating.
    I live in Birmingham by the way & collected my lad from Primary School yesterday, 5 City shirts on the kids – one being my son's! Not the same story last year!
    I am not saying all is right in the world of football but your analysis is petty short sighted and driven through with invective rather than truth.

  • John Morgan

    havent you got any work to do ??

  • Pattaya Dave

    Billion quid and still in a council house tut tut. LOL 🙂

  • Michael Perrigo

    At least you haven't let it get to you!!

  • Pattaya Dave

    Lol I was going say the same 🙂

  • Denis Victor Meldrew Warnick

    you bought the league and you know it. Massive buyings, small sales, little success this season on early CL exit. It doesnt make for a good business plan.

  • Ian Vesey

    In fact it turns out the cost of the City was less than the United starting line up !

  • Denis Victor Meldrew Warnick

    Yes but purchase prices are different to annual running costs. Jeez you should go into politics Ian, always twistin and turnin'

  • Denis Victor Meldrew Warnick

    Ok, you'll more than likely win the title, but iis it enough reward for the mahoosive investment??? I guess its not.

  • Lee Bradbury

    Lol, I think the title of the piece may infer the author has the response he wanted … that said I've got to pick you up on the Barry bit. GB never played a game for BHA, in fact not even a reserve game, he was though a sub for the Youth team once. There was a quote from Gregory at the time that went " wouldn't recognise Gareth Barry if he was stood on Brighton beach with a seagull on his head"

  • Jason Patel

    Totally agree Ian!!

  • Ian Vesey

    Denis Victor Meldrew Warnick It's all we can get now so i'll guess it will thanks !!

  • Ian Vesey

    Lee Bradbury Your right he never played for them but was a trainee there ! That's why someone at Villa ended up paying £2.4m for him and Michael Standing (where is he now….) Glad your staying up btw got to have an easy 3 points locally 🙂

  • Lee Bradbury

    Villa paid £100,000 for the pair of them initially, they both had never played a league game …

  • Lee Bradbury

    The £2.4m came after a tribunal a year later because Gregory was forced to throw GB in at left back (ring any bells) and somehow found his feet, he was then called up by Hoddle for England hence the pricetag – Standing was the bigger prospect at the time of the two supposedly. He's now GB's agent after spells with Bradford and Walsall.

  • Lee Bradbury

    Oh and on the easy three points, you're welcome to them, I'll be at home watching it on Sky like everyone else next season … still – you'll enjoy it 😉

  • Stoph Blind Lemon Cockney

    Shut up you old fuckin muppet. Your team cheated their way to the top. Your team is a fake plastic plaything for an Arab prince and the rest of the football fans in the country would pity you if you weren't all such a bunch of fuckin twats.

  • Mac toon fan

    Wish Villa had got relegated after the way they celebrated when we went down…next season eh? You are just jealous, the money city are spending filters through to the rest of us anyway

  • mcfc phil

    This is a joke init???????????? think you will find a certain club becoming a PLC back in 1988, lead to the inbalance of english football. Get over it you bitter prick!

  • Jon

    You just can’t get over the sale of Gareth Barry….. Can you? You sad, sad bastard!

  • Jason

    You’re right. Football is ruined, well for an Aston Villa fan – seeing they can’t even put 2 passes together.

  • Kev Sharkey

    what a complete load of drizzle, how very bitter are you? I suppose you said chelsea did the same when roman took over, the only way for city to compete was to spend big in a limited amount of time due to the financial fair play rules kicking, who did we buy in the january tranrfer window? pizzarro on loan that's who, to tell you the truth, I don't know why you write this nonsense and worse of all I read it, shame on me!

  • Jason Dewhirst

    Your net spend since 2008 is near to 500 million….Uniteds NET spend in since the Glazers bought the club is 7.5 million per seaon. Lower than Stoke, Villa and Sunderland…You get 400 million deal from Etihad but only 12 million from your new deal with Nike? I smell BS and so will UEFA

  • David Taylor

    Now now sharkey!

  • Stoph Blind Lemon Cockney

    You so clearly a £iteh fan. You're the only thick fucking cunts who come out with that shit. You're the bitter ones because deep down you know every other English football fan thinks your team cheated your way to a hollow victory.

  • Citizen sid

    So Villa didnt over inflate the prices of Milner and Barry then? Saw. cityninterested and stuck another 10 mil on top.
    You bleat about wanting to invest the whine when another club does.
    Grow up and just be thankful youve managed to survive another year in the prrm
    Next year you’re a dead cert for relegation (£10 investment on bet fair me thinks)

  • Darren Pilkington

    I have never heard such contrite nonsense in all of my life, lets have a look into some of the points made by the, in the loosest sense of the word, author;.

    " Football is a sport built on very simple ethics; a successful club is built on a tradition, and it is built on slow progress".

    Yes it may have been back in the day when the average working weekly wage was about 5 quid, but as with everything in modern life money is the route of all things, from kids in the street wanting the latest Addidas trainers to Mr Jones wanting to upgrade his little Vauxhall Astra to a BMW. This is a natural progression whether people like it or not!

    "Their signings ripped the heart out of Arsenal, Aston Villa, Everton, Newcastle, Valencia, West Ham – the list goes on".

    These clubs despite what is said further down the article could always turn around and say NO to the transfer requests of players and the "over inflated prices" that are quoted nowadays. If these clubs were to hold on to their talent the may have a chance of success themselves.

    " The £400 million sponsorship of Man City’s stadium by Abu Dhabi Group owned Etihad is, overtly and unashamedly, just another way to pump £400 million of their own money into the club. It is cheating, and it undermines the system".

    Personally this old chestnut is a favourite of mine. The Deal that was done with Etihad is much more complex than just "pumping in 400 million" into the club, it is to be used to develop the area, create a state of the art training facility to rival the best in Europe and pump some much needed investment into the area by creating seasonal and permanent employment.

    All in all this article is written by a Fan who is perhaps frustrated that they're own investor has not maybe come up with the promised goods and left a once great club high and dry on the edge of oblivion. Oh and by the way we have been in the football nether-lands and believe you me, speaking from experience its not a great place to be. LONG LIVE MANCHESTER, LONG LIVE OUR CITY….CTID.

  • finbar blue

    Wot did ur bullshitting yankie brummie do with the millions city Arabs paid for ur two players ! Get ur head out of ur arse and wake up. It’s progress. These Arabs ain’t just built a team ,why not follow villa away to eastlands next season and ave a look around outside the place the local area and u will see that its more than just football. In a country that’s bankrupt of money and ideas these people are the lifeline of all our citys not just football

  • tony

    ” Billion quid and still in a council house tut tut”

    we could buy it many times over but sport england won’t allow it’s sale.

    but plans are afoot to increase capacity to 60,000 and then onto 75,000.

    here’s a sickener for Utd fans. the sheik could buy Utd 11 times per year just on the interest from his bank account if he banked all his wealth.

    to the villa fan who scribbled this bollox, if city have caused the price of players to increase then surely thanks to city your team is now worth a lot more than it was.

  • Jeremy Poynton

    Tell me, dear author, how do we differ from Chelsea? And did you attack Chelsea as you have attacked City, when Abramovich came in? What a poor article. What a poorly researched article. City are investing more in their local community than any football club in the UK has ever done. And you have the nerve to criticise us.

  • alexkeble (author)

    Ouch! Never been called a cunt before, but i can now say i’ve been called it 30+ times in my life.

    Anyway, my phrasing for some of this is a bit tactless. Making the Villa comparison was probably a mistake, especially since i can see why people have read it on the basis that i believe you need a history to deserve success.

    I absolutely do not. I do not believe that significant outside investment should be made for the reasons listed in the article – clearly UEFA agree with this and hence their FFP rules.

    People saying this has happened before with Blackburn and Chelsea – pretty sure i mentioned this in the article.

    I am not bitter, but my references to Villa do, in fairness, present that view. Villa deserve nothing; Lerner has made some bad decisions and the club is deservedly in a dire position.

    There are, of course, numerous reasons for the current state of english football which although looking good in the short term, has some serious flaws lurking beneath the surface and the investments at Chelsea and Man City have triggered some of these.

    I also did not intend to imply that Man City have no tradition or history, or even for that matter that Villa had any more. I was not trying to suggest that having a history entitles you to success either. The comparisons were made in order to point out that the basic structure of a club should be about investment that falls within footballing terms. This often comes from a line of good investments/decisions, which obviously all 20 EPL clubs must have been making to get where they are.

    Anyone refuting my claims that City are investing well due to their renovation plans, or youth development, or anything else that lays good foundations – that still does not justify the initial money invested to boost the club to this point. i find it hard to think that anyone not supporting Man City would disagree with my view on this as strongly.

  • Alphie_Izzett

    What a bitter, rancid, jealous, hate filled collection of bile.
    Money has been driving football and most other sports for decades, I remember Liverpool being built on the Littlewoods Pools profits long before Walker ploughed his cash into Blackburn, Whelan into Wigan, Abramovich in Chelsea and don’t forget the many, many investors who lived the dream unsuccesfully and lost a packet.
    Sheik Mansour has invested his own money, not borrowed money, and is building what will become a great institution to rival the best in the world. Along the way he is revitalising East Manchester, creating jobs, paying sunstantial taxes and has funded the rebuidling of Everton’s side (Lescott) and Villa (Milner and Barry)and Arsenal (Toure[K], Nasri and Adebayor) Middlesborough (Johnson) and provided players to many other clubs including Villa (Ireland, Given & Dunne) Spurs (Adebayor) QPR (Wright-Phillips, Barton, Onuoha) Sunderland (Bridge) so may I suggest you get over it you self indulgent prat Alex Keble!

  • bluemoon

    what a load of shit… sad twat

  • tony

    The FFP is designed with one thing in mind….keep the status quo. UEFA do NOT want a Villa, Santander, Mainz or other “small to medium” clubs getting into the champions league as it will mean less sponsorship money for them.

    With FFP they will ensure that the chances of a not so rich team ever get within sniffing distance of their competition. Thus completing their European super league.

    UEFA are causing the death of football, not City, PSG, Hoffenheim and Malaga.

  • Melon Man

    would not the death of fotball come from people under-investing in it?

    Indeed, people milking football for all they can and not re-investing will eventually properly kill football, not just in the made up kind of way you suggest Mr Author.

  • City Fan

    I suggest Alex you don’t really understand FFP.
    For a start it was set up to prevent Leeds scenarios where clubs do not have the money to spend, City do and have an owner that not only buys players but redevelops the area the Etihad Arena is in. It is his money not borrowed.
    If the same thing happened to Villa now, or any club now you’d not be able to get to the top due to these rules.
    So you have no dreams now due to FFP.
    FFP means unless you have a large stadium and existing large turnover you will never get into the Champs League or win the League………….and you’re happy with that??
    Short sighted is what you are, now a couple of things, firstly go and read up about financial fair play. Then read up about Man City so you know who you are writing about. Read about the charity work and awards they get and learn about the investment in the area for the future.
    Maybe then you won’t come across like a bitter jealous Villa fan.

  • Oliver

    Interesting article with some good points but seems slighly ignorant in a couple of areas…

    1. 23 clubs have won the english league in 124 years and yet interestingly only 4 have won it in the past 20 (and none of them 1st time winners). This points to the fact that The Premier League & Champions League have conspired to cause this mess by causing a spiral of unequal wealth distribution.

    Clubs like City and also Villa, Everton, Spurs who could once compete on merit now need to invest huge sums simply to play catch up.

    All more of a reason why I become irritated by the tireless moaning of cerain football fans, such as those of Arsenal, who complain bitterly depite having profited from this unequal system for 20 years.

    And following the most exciting season in Premier League history it appears that this financial equalisation may be working.

    2. as for City’s lack of tradition/history, I believe 80 odd years ago Maine Rd held the highest attendance for any game ever played in England outside of Wembley for City home to Stoke… this was long time before Sheikh mansour had ever been heard of…

  • Bendertez

    Hahahahahaha – “The death of football as we know it” – brilliant bitter journalism…!!

  • Heather Williams

    Never in my life have I read so much utter tripe.

  • City Mark

    What a load of tripe’ welcome to the 2 team league’ well better. Than the one team league
    And as for being a villa fan why then have you a picture of Rooneys overplaye overhead kick
    Against the killers of football City , your a closet Red with a slanted perception of Reality Do you think Blackburn
    attracted Shearer because of their football history,no get real 34 million for a substitute could argue buying a player for 34 mil when you are £770 million in debt is wrong but no they’re united and that ok
    let’s forget facts and slag City, lazy uninformed and ignorant comment ,sorry but can’t dignify this as Journalism!

  • Jem

    Can I just point out to those of you happy to compare Man Utd and Man City’s numbers, the point that the original article is trying to make is not the amount of money City have but how they have received it.

    Manchester United have built their expensively assembled squad over many years thanks to their own income, mainly through the ridiculous merchandising income they generate worldwide. This income is a result of sustained marketing efforts backed by success on the pitch keeping them “on the front page”. Their owners are not pumping the club full of financial steroids and if anything stand accused of saddling the club with debt which it may not be able to sustain.

    Manchester City (and Aston Villa…) have spent money injected by a rich owner, in a tradition following Jack Walker at Blackburn and dozens of other examples too boring to recount. The money has not been gained through football activities or from merchandising due to their footballing success. The money has been injected in bold speculation on future success.

    This is, like it or not, perfectly legal and legitimate business practice. Other industries do it plenty – supermarkets operate loss-leaders; Microsoft made a per-unit loss on every original XBox hoping to recoup their cash on game sales.

    The stance taken by “alexkeble” (I presume it’s his name, but I’m not going to get chummy in case people think I know the person behind the name) is that this is a bad thing for football, but it’s a divisive argument. As I put it to the barman in my local during the Man City vs Newcastle match, I’m not sure whether to be glad that someone new will get their hands on the trophy or annoyed that rich oil barons can buy their way to the title.

    Lest we forget, five to ten years ago everyone was expecting “the big four” to hold a death-grip on the Premier League for a generation. But for a lucky last week or two, we could have had a top four featuring no Arsenal along with no Chelsea and no Liverpool.

    The other issue is the Financial Fair Play regulations, and I don’t think it’s discussed well enough in the article. By restricting the losses that can be made by a club and absorbed by the owners, UEFA is going to hamstring those who see an opportunity to rapidly inject cash and surge up the table. A rich benefactor can still buy a club, but a push for the top of the table will require prudent financial management and a long-term view, rather than simply throwing a billion pounds in in three years.

    This means that a fast mix up of the “big four” will be difficult. Maybe player prices will come down, maybe the margin will narrow but realistically it’ll be hard to break in.*

    But it also makes clubs more sustainable. Jack Walker was a die-hard Blackburn Rovers fan, so he made some provision for the club after his death. What we’ve not really seen yet is what happens when a super-rich benefactor just walks away. Well, some may say we have seen it at Portsmouth and Leeds, but what will happen to Chelsea if/when Abramovich just pulls out?

    FFP is designed in part to ensure clubs build their income to go with their spending. In principle the clubs should all be left more financially stable, better equipped to provide for themselves should the rich benefactor leave them in the lurch. Will it work? Who knows, but it’ll be interesting finding out.

  • Edwin

    Bitter written all over the face. You should thank City for bringing the likes of Aguero, Yaya Toure, Balotelli, David Silva to display their skills in the Premier League.

  • blue all over

    the difference in cash between the starting eleven in the manchester derby was 25m more to city and thats because former british transfer record signing berbatov or what ever hes called, remember him was not playing. so stop spreading your bitter red shit all over the web and consentrate on your own team. hahaha make me laf!!!!!

  • Anonymous


  • HeavyRiffs

    Awful, awful piece.
    Very badly researched, no real strength to any of the arguments put forward and smacks ultimately of jealousy, woeful really.

  • John Mangan

    Were going to spend more, but not on any Villa players. We could lend you a manager as we have about two or three spare, working with Bobby Manc!

  • tony

    And of course any supporter who’s club was bought and given a huge cash injection with no debt would protest against it. NOT!!!!!!

    All this will blow over after we’ve won two or three titles.

  • paul

    Some severly deluded blue morons around if you think having five players bought over ten years amounts to anything like you Arab arse lickers have done. Ronney has been there for years,so have Rio and Janis,plus we have loads of kids in that team and some from our youth team,however long ago that was.
    I don’t begrudge you your title,but give it a tap,because like chelsea’s before,it is hollow.

  • HeavyRiffs

    Love it, we’ll take the hollow title, hollow like your head you deluded fool. Your youth policy still reaping dividends is it?
    Five players, over ten years, are you sure?!?
    Wio was £30M ten years ago, what’s that worth today eh?
    By the way, who is janis? Lol

  • HeavyRiffs

    Are you born of this planet?

  • tony

    Only hollow in your eyes matey. That’s a bit like saying ” we ran you ragged (no pun intended) all over the pitch even though you won 1-0 through a dodgy penalty”. The record books will not remember that. Just like the record books won’t be saying 2012 premier league champions MANCHESTER CITY ( but they really bought it so it doesn’t count as much as when United won it).

    I expect Utd fans to be upset as they will be for the next 10-20 years. But don’t expect any tears from us blues when people have to recall from yester year of a United title win. What has it been you’ve been shouting at Liverpool fans? oh yes “Stop living in the past” better get used to that one because we’ll be singing it for the forseeable future, Enjoy! LOL.

  • HeavyRiffs

    @Paul Love it, we’ll take the hollow title, hollow like your head you deluded fool. Your youth policy still reaping dividends is it?
    Five players, over ten years, are you sure?!? Wio was £30M ten years ago, what’s that worth today eh?
    By the way, who is janis? Lol

  • tony

    Wio would now cost £39 million according to the last 10 yrs worth of inflation rates.

  • Slacker

    “Another stat for you! City’s starting 11 on Sunday £161m, United’s £168m! The facts speak for themselves I’m afraid!”

    Indeed, but let’s not let the facts get in the way of a perfectly good story, eh?

    Another heap of old shite to block on News Now. Ho hum.

  • Peter Dugdale

    Whilst I agree that football is suffering greatly from the ridiculous fees payed for players and their wages, Man City are just another club in a long list of teams that have bought success, Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid being the chief protagonists – These are the teams that have already brought football to the brink of disaster. This article was ill concieved and little or no research was carried out to support these ludicrous claims. If you are a journalist I suggest you seek other employment as you very clearly have no Idea how to produce a well balanced and thought provoking article. The next time you choose to publish I suggest you carry out some thorough research before publishing your findings. I am a Blue and always have been, the remarkable support shown for our club even in the days of relegation to the lower divisions shows just how big a club Man City are and have always been. You really are a bitter stupid man. Good luck in your future career as a Rubbish collector!!!

  • NYC

    Pathetic. Talk about distorting the facts to fuel a story.

  • dazza

    Was you one of the 1000’s of villa fans who wanted Doug Ellis removed and replaced with a wealthier owner, willing to plough more into the team, elaborate why?, when by your logic that is against the rules.

  • Chris

    A biased and unbalanced argument. Firstly, any manager and set of fans would have done what City have to try and achieve parity with the likes of Man Utd. It’s the only way. If a manager had access to money of this magnitude and didn’t spend it, he would remain in (at best) mid table and …..the supporters would turn against him big time, calling for him to be sacked. Supporters are a big part of football’s current problems. They demand instant success and are not interested in seeing academy players gradually rising through the ranks with a correspondingly slow increase i their team’s performance. Those days are long gone. Mancini will be sacked if, having spent the money, he fails to achieve success. Equally, he would be sacked if he resisted spending and failed. It’s a lose lose situation. The article fails to recognise that Man Utd have been so powerful over the years due mainly to their huge spending power, which dwarfed that of any other club. Witness the record fees (at the time) paid for players like Rooney and Ferdinand. Clubs like City were left way behind. If Villa suddenly found a wealthy middle eastern benefactor, would you accept your manager refusing to spend heavily and instead concentrate on developing youth players? I think not.

  • Alex Zulle


  • Chris

    You must be watching a video of a Villa game. Enough to make anyone doze off

  • Kev Bell

    So where were the ‘decades of success’ when Fergie was buying Bruce, Pallister, Ince etc? He has broken the transfer rwcord more than any manager in history and Utd had won 2 FA Cups in 20 years before he arrived. No, the money he spent wasn’t earned it came by a stock exchange flotation that enabled him to smash transfer record after transfer record.

    Now the boots on the other foot he complains about it! Hypocrisy at its finest.

    All Chelsea, City etc have done is copy the model established by Utd in the early 90s. Huge short term cash injection, try to establish youth system, then cherry pick 1-2 top players per season. How else is a club supposed to truly compete through incremental growth? Your best players get picked off, you can’t afford the wages, the champions league is a closed shop and fair play now makes it impossible for your Villas, Evertons etc to join the party.

    So it’s not Citys spending you should be concerning yoursrlf with, its the restrictions on spending UEFA are putting in place that will rid football of true competition forever. So please, use your own brain, ignore the populist crap and see it for what it is. City had no choice and we are the last. Great traditional clubs like Villa are finished.

  • Nicholas Higgins

    You have tried to put over an 'intellectual' argument against the free spending Man City but failed miserably, back to the drawing board ;).

  • Jim Mcniven

    So Manchester United haven't inflated prices despite breaking the British transfer record 3 times more than any other club since the Premiership began. Plus they also broke the transfer record for the most expensive goalkeeper, defender and teenager.

    But according to your article its everyone but them that is breaking football…

  • Adam

    Where’s the rant on United for “ripping the heart out” of your attack with their purchase of Ashley Young, or Liverpool for buying Stewart Downing?

    Bitter deluded nonsense – why don’t you actually look closer at what has been happening at MCFC for the past couple of years and realise how good this has been not just for a club, or the PL but for a development for a deprived area of Manchester?

    go suck a claret and blue dick, tosser!

  • stephen

    are you a rag from villa. united supermarket sweep money. chelsea rusian fule ason villa man city oil. what about Q.P.R.

  • SouthernBlue

    “Man City have undermined the integrity of the sport financially, competitively, and morally.”
    Absolute bollocks!
    It wasn’t ManCity who insisted on £80 million for Ronaldo.
    Its greedy clubs like ManU who are responsible for the increasing costs of players in the current game.
    Answer me this……What is the highet amount City have sold a player for?
    I can’t remember one thats been sold for more than £20 million

  • matt southstand

    yep and ill settle for us buying it next year too!

  • Kallumdillon

    Manchetser Derby
    Manchester City Squad (inc. subs) total cost: £300m
    Manchester United Squad (inc. subs) total cost: £250m

    Your bitterness is humourous.

  • Geoff Pettengell

    What aload of bitter bullshit

  • Stephen Peacock

    I hate the premier league greed and everything that surrounds modern football but that article is complete tripe.

  • Neil Scott

    I agree with most of it. Sorry Geoff!

  • Geoff Pettengell

    It seems to say its ok for blackburn, chelsea, utd, etc to buy the league but not CITY, makes out villa have some amazing history and CITY dont – most of Villas history was in the 1800s, its ANCIENT history, sorry Neil but its complete bollox

  • Stephen Peacock

    United. I think you'll find they've never spent a penny on a single player EVER. All of their players came through the youth team. Do you know nothing?

  • Matt Green

    Stephen Peacock Please tell me your being sarcastic

  • Geoff Pettengell

    Yeh theres a defo sarcastic tone there, dont worry, mr peacocks got his head screwed on

  • Neil Scott

    I agree about all of the Villa sentimental rubbish. But City can buy who they want and pay silly wages. When good players are available they will go to City because of the wages. Simple. I don't agree with anyone buying the league and United's level of debt is quite dreadful and unfair on clubs who try to stay in the black eg. Arsenal.
    I hope the fair play rules solve some of this although your £400 million name sponsorship nicely got around this problem.

  • SouthernBlue

    Hmmmm…Well in all I’d say your article went down quite well.

  • tony

    It wasn’t that long ago that people used to wax lyrically about how much a team was worth. How proud the fan would be when sports commentators added up the price of the bench and how we’d wear the badge of honour of being the most expensively assembled squad.
    I certainly don’t remember Utd fans moaning about splashing the cash or infact anyone else moaning.
    Anyway just think that evrey time you fill your car up it’s a bit more in our kitty.

  • arv

    You really are a prize numpty

  • Pete

    Man Utd’s current position has come from decades of brilliance? So they didn’t buy virtually their entire team when they won the league in 1993?

    Schmeichel, Bruce, Irwin, Pallister, Parker, Ince, Kanchelskis, Sharpe, Cantona, Dublin, Hughes, McClair ALL BOUGHT. Giggs was the only player not bought but made just as many appearances, so I suggest you get some facts right before you write this sort of drivel.

    It’s amazing how ‘writers’ like you get these jobs when there are plenty of unbiased writers out there that can do a better job but can’t get a look in because of crap writers like you.

    If City do win the league, it will because they have been the better team over the course of the season. Where are Villa? Oh yeah, just avoiding relegation eh?

  • HeavyRiffs

    City fans and fans of other teams seem to be mostly of the same mind in regards to this article, arse gravy of the highest order…

  • Colin Simpson

    As one sided as this blog was, it does raise the main point that football is in over its head in terms of finances. It won’t be long before it all starts crumbling away and people get bored of watching over paid people kicking a ball around a pitch, that is essentially what they are doing.

    In terms of the £161 vs £168 million teams…yes Man Utd spent more, but that has been over a period of numerous seasons. Slowly building up a team through picking and choosing players that are there to create a team & squad.

    Man City’s spending has been in a very short space of time, causing a massive inflation in the market, this is the point being made. It’s not just the amount spent, but how quickly it has been spent.

    Blackburn, Chelsea, City would see a player they wanted and offer a high amount to scare off other potential clubs. Example, Drogba was almost sold for around £10million before Chelsea came in with their riches!

  • Melon Man

    How many times have Man City broken world transfer records, seeing as how it’s all down to them, and indeed, how many times have Chelsea broken world transfer records come to that? Surely the clubs who do break these records are responsible for inflation within football?

    Pretty sure that would be the various transfers involving Real Madrid on multiple occasions (Kaka, Ronaldo, Figo, and Barca for Ibrahimovich, to name a couple)

    Also, who pays the highest wages in the Premiership/ the world? (United’s Wayne Rooney highest paid in Prem, Real and Barca highest payers in World)

    City and Chelsea have been operating WITHIN the inflationary norm in the Prem and the world, not pushing the boundaries as they are often accused of, so lets put this particular myth to rest shall we?

  • City Fan

    Look the ONLY way City were going to catch up with the top four was by spending money over a short period of time. Those that don’t like it woul not think the same if it happened to their club.
    To be honest I don’t really care, fans of the other clubs can keep their jealousy and negative spin on things.
    If city go on to win most things I for one will love it, and the whole thing will be no different to the way the premier league used to be like before we had money.
    FFP is not the answer and the sooner the mid table clubs realise it will be the death of their teams chances and not Man City’s the better.

  • drone

    Oh dear. What a waste of good blog capacity. Same old regurgitated nonsense. Fottball and money, twas ever thus. It was United’s superior buying power that finally enabled them to knock liverpool off their perch. Leeds tried and got into trouble in PL years. City owners doing it properly with a hearts and minds (though not bitters) approach that brings real benefit to the community like other great clubs, Barcelona, Bayern, Bilbao etc. Large clubs like Real and United attract glory hunters ‘cos its their business plan to do so. other than over development of OT (seats are crammed in), what have United brought to the community, other than a tourist destination?

  • JoeTheDee

    If your saying that City bought the league then your correct BUT every team has bought the league, for years Man Utd and Liverpool bought everyones best players and won the league. You cant use it as an insult to City, also when Blackburn won the league the bought and paid high wages to Sutton etc.

  • Anthony Hargreaves

    What a load of shit!

  • Mark Finnigan

    Appallingly Ill informed, half baked nonsense!!!

  • Mark Hayes

    there are some truths in it, but you've also played the best football so the leagues yours

  • Billy

    I respond to ‘kev bell’s’ comments about the fact that United only achieved success due to the fact that they floated shares on the stock market. I sure hope he doesn’t buy any goods from any company that have done that, that would be a tragedy. The question I ask is where did they money come from to ‘break 3 transfer records’ at United. Ah, i remember, some guy lent the money. Wasn’t the fact that on the pitch success had anything to do with it, just the fact that shareholders done it. What’s wrong with the fact that United have built up a huge fanbase and market to boot over the years. You could say the same whenever you see a NY Yankees cap? Don’t see anyone fret or moan about that? May be a different sport but it works doesn’t it. A football club makes profit from its fan base, correct? I mean United ‘buy’ success, even though we easily fill OT every week. Oh yes, Citeh hold the record for a post war attendance in top flight English football, how foolish of me to forget. Also forgot you are a massive club known all world over. LOL. My point is you can say what you want about football, it is ruined. I watch United because I love the way they play, what they stand for (open for critcism im sure) and that we only deserve to win the league if we DO play the better football. I am not bothered if Citeh bought the league, boo hoo. But for the media to hype it all up, saying they are ‘legendary’, that it was the biggest ever match in PL history, load of bull. I could name you at least 4 games that I felt were more significant. Liverpool are our biggest rivals and always will be until Citeh win a hell of a lot more silverware

  • I_LOVE_Steve_MCFC

    Hahaha reading through the comments was hilarious, you could tell that most City fans couldn’t even get through the entire article.. Sad thing for them is most people agree 100% with this article. And City fans feel exstatic but no real fan of the sport is going to give them full credit. People who hate United (plenty of them out there) will cheer for them now, but eventually if they keep winning trophies this way the world of sport will look down on them and what does victory mean when no one else values it? Cheers!

  • A Matter Of Time

    What a load of tripe

  • Globalhab

    Good article. Enjoyed it very much. The debate will continue, as long as there is money involved in sport. Here in America, we have the cash rich NY Yankees, whom over the years bought the very best in order to win. Texas like the Oakland A’s have had some success nurturing young talent and then selling them off for a profit. And, A’s fans understand this, because they are in a small market and can’t afford to keep them. Arsenal like the A’s have built the Emirates and still mustered top 4 success each year. But, I still believe in order to be the best you have to have the best. And, that means paying more for that talent. It is the same in all lines of business. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man United and now City are the most entertaining clubs, but at a heavy price. I love Arsenal, but dream of City at night.

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