THEY’RE at it again!
Whilst a thrilling World Cup keeps most of us entertained, back in England Manchester City have been ‘Connorflashing’ the cheque book around.
City announced last week that they have signed midfielder Yaya Toure from Barcelona on a five-year deal for a fee of about £24m. This follows the capture of Spain midfielder David Silva and Germany defender Jerome Boateng, taking their summer outlay already to about £60m. They spent £120m last summer and there is every indication that the Manchester club will continue to splash out obscene amounts of cash.
One can only hope and pray that this tactic does not pay off. The idea of one club, such as City or Chelsea, dominating football purely on the basis that they have a stinking rich owner, will eventually ruin the game.
City manager Roberto Mancini will also have to take note of what happened in South Africa: Having wonderfully talented individuals like Lionel Messi and Kaka in your side will win you nothing unless you have the right team framework. Many people, myself included, were convinced that Brazil or Argentina were the favourites to win the World Cup, but in spite of having the likes of Messi and Kaka they didn’t even reach the semi-final!
Right at the very other end of the scale, you have to admire plucky non-league Forest Green. Their chairman David Drew admits that the club continues to face a financial struggle after the failure of a campaign to raise £250,000. Drew told BBC Gloucestershire that the ‘Keep the Green Alive’ campaign, launched earlier this year, fell ‘substantially’ short of its ambitious target. “We’re alive. I won’t say we’re healthy but we are keeping going. The good news is we’re still there. We’re receiving monies to help with the playing budget and other things, but we’re not out of the woods yet.”
Last season Forest Green fought off two winding-up orders and finished in a relegation spot in the Blue Square Premier only to earn a reprieve when Salisbury were demoted due to financial irregularities.
The Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill is one of the game’s brighter characters and when he speaks people usually sit up and listen, so it was interesting to read that he has joined calls for the Premier League to implement a winter break. This follows England boss Fabio Capello’s comments that he felt his players were tired after a long, uninterrupted season. “There should be a break, it would be fantastic. I believe it would give everyone a lift in January,” said O’Neill.
The Irishman was managing Celtic when they got to the Uefa Cup final in 2003. “We had it for a couple of years in the Scottish Premier League and we all got great benefit from it,” he said.
There is still a great resistance from the majority of football fans for a break and one suspects that the television companies would not be too keen either.