Sunday, 12 May 2013

Too much fluff; not enough ‘huff ‘n’ puff’.

It was like watching a car crash in slow motion. My ‘Blue spider sense’ kicked in about 2/3s of the way through the 1st half; I could smell that something wasn’t quite right and that it might just…JUST…blow up in our faces.

Trying to ignore that all-too familiar feeling, I left my seat at Wembley with 7 minutes to spare of the 1st half to get a couple of pints in for myself and my wife. What I saw was equally concerned faces in and around the bar and food court-areas. My spider sense had gone from a tingle to a nagging itch at the back of my head & neck.

Why was this? Roberto had picked pretty much the strongest team that he possibly could; apart from, perhaps, Nasri for Milner. Even those who were berating Mancini for not choosing Pantilimon (and quite right too in my opinion) added that, “…of course Hart was the stronger choice”.

In that decision alone [to pick Hart] I think our Italian Manager was indeed nervous (see previous article/post).

Into the 2nd half and my foreboding feeling didn’t go away…it got worse! The afore mentioned slow road collision was there in full sight. Along with thousands of others I shouted and sang until I was hoarse for the lads to go at Wigan with more purpose. But as the minutes ticked by, my apprehensive feeling was turning into all out dread.

And then…as though I’d seen a copy of the DVD of this game before; as soon as the 4th official held up the board to show 3 minutes I got a sinking feeling that told me, ‘This is it! This is where we get punished for not sticking a goal past the relegation-threatened team from West Greater Manchester’.


It really hurts to have to admit it but they deserved it. However, apart from performing their, what looked like to me for the most part, 3-5-1-1 tactics to very good affect - closing down our attacks in numbers very well for the most part – that’s where my praise for them ends and frustration at City starts.

Simply put, there was FAR too much (pink booted) fluffy stuff and not enough drive & desire in front of their goal. The tippy-tappy, lack of force in the final third alone concerns me when we get ourselves into a position to win silverware. But the lack of drive and spirit is VERY worrying for me; not to mention downright annoying!

What was wrong with them?! Even Mancini said in one post-match interview that he was at a loss to explain.

Suck it up

I’d felt the pain of Manchester City ‘sticking the knife in’ before. Although this doesn’t compare to seeing my team relegated to the 3rd tier of English football (to name just one worse occasion); I’d not felt much City pain for quite a while now and when you’ve not been accustomed to something for a while, well, you know…


After the match, the sky was dark grey and the rain poured heavy…

Back on the coach I just wanted to shut out the world and so I did just that. The best way to get through it, I thought, was to shut the coach-window curtain, blow up the neck rest and try to sleep it off. As I was just nodding off...

...“Suck it up!” was the cry from a chap 2 seats back; ‘suck up the pain’.

I’d been so used to doing that so often over the years it was like I’d been on a permanent anaesthetic throughout the 80s, 90s & 00s. But, like I say, I’d been taken off that numbing drug for the last few years and I felt it. Ironically the feeling was…numbness. At the risk of upsetting war veterans; I felt shell-shocked!

However, the pain of shock-defeat began to leave me just a few hundred yards after leaving Wembley car park. Nope…I’d not developed a sudden attack of optimism; nor had I developed the ability to shrug off such defeats in a short space of time. We’d moved no more than ¼ mile in 1 ½ hours and I needed a wee-wee badly! 3 hours, I thought, THREE HOURS to the first motorway services stop! I needed to try harder to fall asleep.

My task wasn’t made easy by the same ‘suck it up’ bloke who had the worst smokers cough I’d ever heard! (1 minute 35 seconds on this video link sums this up quitewell…)

He’s gone?!

Later in the journey a lad one seat in front of me took a call on his mobile and half way through his conversation he said in a rather resigned way, “What…he’s gone? He was told before the game?” Heads were turning; we were all looking at each other with worried & perplexed expressions. He ended his call and we braced ourselves for an announcement.

Nothing. Not a peep.

He just sat there looking as fed up as the rest of us. And strangely there was no immediate & communal grab for the I-phones either...and so I took out my slow-internet, Blackberry ‘wish-it-was’ phone. There was nothing about us being temporarily managerless.

Later still I had another look and could only see this regarding Roberto…

A quick glance this morning sees no further update either, apart from the same mischievous speculation that was floating around on Friday. Although ever-so slightly more concerned for the Italian’s job, I maintain that it’s all being fuelled by people with nothing better to do; and that Mancini will be picking our team again next season. Time may prove me wrong of course.

2nd place and no trophy might not be a good end-of-year report to hand in to Khaldoon Al Mubarak but rather than getting detention; I think Khaldoon will simply issue a ‘must do better’, 7/10 to Roberto…and might even suggest to the rest of the Board that they send Brian Marwood to a Northern corner of Greenland to head-up an Academy there…

Don’t panic! Don’t Panic!

Tin hats on everyone! They...pick up their trophy this afternoon; it’s work on Monday (for most), it’s their parade tomorrow too and the gutter-press vultures are already circling.

Aaahhhh…the good ol’ days are back…

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