A Tsunami has hit the premiership in the form of the Abu Dhabi Investment Group. They agreed to take over Manchester City this morning, and with multiple billions of pounds to spend, they definately mean business.
There first act was to put a nicely dressed man on TV to announce that City were doing something big. They made clear they were using the media machine to intimidate the other big clubs - threatening both Manchester United and Chelsea, by immediately entering into a bidding war for the services of their summer targets.
As a Manchester City supporter, it's nice to hear that Thaksin is likely to be relieved of the potential to drag City down with him - however, from a footballing point of view.. today has killed football. This happens when money means more than rules.
Premiership rules state that a club may not talk to another club's player, unless given explicit permission to do so. Manchester United were not given that permission, yet continued to 'in effect' hold Berbatov Hostage at Old Trafford, The Bridgewater Hospital, and their Carrington Training Ground. Berbatov may have had his heart set on Utd; however, acts like this should not be endorsed by the premier league. There should be an independent body that oversee this flagrant abuse of the rules. Instead, Manchester United pay Tottenham off and everyone's happy. Well, with the City new boys on the block, I hope that Manchester United get beat at their own game.
Actually, I don't. This is the problem. There's so much money, that it has made sense for Manchester United to flagrantly break the rules, purchase a fantastic and proven talent, and still spend less than City. It's also broken the League Pyramid.. the league now looks more like the Needle Restaurant in Calgary... than a pyramid. The league is massively top-heavy with money, and unless the major investors decide to purchase a non-league club, and invest there (as proper fans do on Champ Manager) there's no chance of a repeat of the success of Hull City.
I went to see Accrington Stanley versus Macclesfield a week last Saturday.. it worries me that teams at that standard will have no means of getting up to the top table. It's not just from a footballing perspective, but a social one. I enjoyed meeting 'Andy' and 'Big Jim' - the popular fans of Macclesfield Town. Where did I meet them, in a quiet pub just down the road from the Fraser Eagle Stadium.. enjoying a pint with opposition fans. Increasing the size of a football club kills the individualness. A global brand no longer has to be ethical at a local level (look at Coke and Nike). The 'real' supporters will be phased out, and replaced by debetures and sponsorship. City have a recently built, 48,500 seater stadium. Manchester United have 75,000 seats.. If City expect to command the marketing power of United, their stadium will need expanding. Only 5 years old.. it wasn't initially designed to be expanded (who would have thought City would need more than 48,500 seats 5 years ago.. actually.. 18 months ago!).
The wages are crazy too, £6,000,000 a year (after tax). Currently working on a Social Computing scheme, less than 1% of that would provide me with enough to help so many people. Lets hope that City start a few social projects around the area. I hope the club makes a move like this. However, the likelihood that anywhere near the majority of investors would do this is low. I hope I'm proved wrong.
Let me repeat the mantra of this blog:
A man who knows when enough is enough will always have enough — Liao Tsu
A man who doesn't will forever be unhappy -- Andy Loughran