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VIEW FROM THE ENEMY: City Fan On the Tevez turnaround, winning the league and FFP

Whilst I hope the feeling at the end of last season sticks with our players for a long time, serving as the motivation for them to work even harder, I have spent the past couple of months trying to pretend that 2011-2012 didn’t happen. We didn’t drop eight points behind then go eight points clear, only to lose it all with the last kick of the game at the Etihad. It was only last week that I saw the Sergio Aguero goal that won them the league, spending weeks carefully avoiding the footage.

Danny Pugsley, who isn’t very bitter but is very blue, who owns the excellent Bitter and Blue blog, has shared his thoughts on this coming season.

Scott the Red: What would have to happen this season for you to class this as a successful one?

Danny Pugsley: This has been the most asked question of me for the various previews this summer. Having done what City have the past couple of seasons there is a platform for continued success. By that, of course we mean lifting trophies so to go without a trophy would be classed as a disappointment. The hope will be for a better showing in the Champions League but the big prize will be to try and retain the title. Success breeds success, but it also breeds expectation so this will be an added pressure for the squad to cope with.

STR: After years of United fans rubbing it in your face, how much satisfaction did you take from winning the league in such a painful way for United fans?

DP: It would have been far, far worse had City lost the title on the final day. For me, and certainly the wider impression I got was that it was about City, not United or anyone else. The thoughts in the final ten minutes and then at the final whistle were no way concerned with United or anyone else apart from City. Maybe this was to do with the manner of the win and how the title was ultimately achieved but the feeling was that this was solely about City.

STR: How do you feel about your club’s business in the transfer window this summer?

DP: Lack of you mean? Far too much has been placed on the lack of activity I think. Mancini’s comments make for good headlines but the market is not huge and City are no longer in the position to have to throw money around to quickly catch up. They also have the added problem of being burdened with some of the contracts from the early days which are hampering them due to FFP.

Rodwell is an interesting signing. There doesn’t feel an obvious ‘fit’ at the moment but the fee is not huge and he will have a couple of seasons to emerge. If he then goes on to be a dominant player for a decade then it will be a great signing. I suspect it will be 3-5 years before we can really assess the signing.

STR: Who do you think will be your most important player this season?

DP: City have a spine of Hart, Kompany, Yaya Toure, Silva and Aguero which I think are unmatched. Silva is the obvious choice (and one I long went for) but Yaya Toure continues to impress more and more and was such a key figure over the final games in 2011/12. I wouldn’t rule out Tevez having as successful a season as 2010/11 however. If Mancini does field a 3-5-2 (or loose variant of) this will fit him perfectly.

STR: Speaking of Tevez, Mancini said he would never play for the club again and the fans showed up with “Tevez Out” banners. How do you feel about him now?

DP: I know football fans are supposed to have a black and white view on these sort of matters but the overwhelming feeling I had was one of ambivalence. So much nonesense had gone on that I was indifferent to the whole thing. It felt such a shame as where was he trying to move to, and for what reason? In hindsight that was a mistake for Mancini to say that (regardless of how he felt) but what had happened clearly affected him and he was caught immediately after the game. Tevez can come back and repair things (forgive rather than forget) and amidst everything it shouldn’t be forgotten that he is one of the top players in the Premier League. It does look – for now – that everything is rosy in the Tevez garden and he may go on to have five or six successful seasons. You do feel though that those six months will inevitably be a footnote or an asterisk on his City career.

STR: How do you rate your manager’s ability to take your club forward?

DP: It’s easy to dismiss what Mancini has achieved given the players and money at his disposal but last season proved quite how tough the league is to win. To maintain form when United were so relentless and to then bring the team earned him plenty of credit. He can be quite an emotional character at times (witness the incidents with Tevez and Balotelli) but he has fostered a strong spirit and identity with the squad, despite the common outside view of them being a disparate bunch of mercenaries. I’ve always thought though that he may ultimately be judged by his ability to win a Champions League. His record at Inter was underwhelming and he needs to improve on last season. The title win will have bought him some time however.

STR: Who do you think will win the league this season?

DP: City have been installed as slight favourites and I think that is about right. Chelsea and Arsenal will improve but let’s not forget how big a distance they were behind last season. Tottenham I’d expect to post a similar season while Liverpool will improve; even a slight improvement in them converting chances will increase their points total. United will be challenging again as there is plenty of talent still within the squad plus there will be the motivation of how last season ended. Don’t forget that historically United price very adept at winning titles back once they have lost them.

———–
Follow Danny on Twitter and read the Bitter and Blue blog.


About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

View all posts by Scott »

 

147 Comments

  1. Zibbie says:

    Good read

  2. mancdub says:

    Cedars- cheers mate. They said I could go home today but now they say I can’t. But I’m out of the intensive care ward and on the mend.
    On topic
    City won the league on goal difference with almost the last kick off the season when considering the amount of money they’ve spent they should of won it by a about March. They deserve no credit for that. 
    Blackburn raised the bar in 94/95 with Jack Walkers millions and  won the league. The next year United took it back.
    Abramovich raised the bar further when Chelsea won it in 04/05 taking spending to a new level and retained it the year after. But the following year United took it back. 
    Blackburn were Jack Walkers  passion and I can respect that. But City and Chelsea only purchased because they were cheap and it would cost too much to buy a big club.
    IMO since the start of the premier league the only genuine champions have been United and Arsenal. Fuck City

  3. mancdub says:

    *were only purchased*

  4. Zibbie says:

    RvP wold be a great additions, even if some think MUFC would pay some 5 mill to much.

    Then the player will find there shape.

  5. james21 says:

    Mancdub
    At least you’re on the mend and you get to oggle the Nurses for longer. :D

    Worked for a Bloke once who actually worked for Jack Walker. Said he was a lovely man and really kind to his workers. Very sad how such a man died riddled with Cancer, he told me he was so ill he wouldn’t let anyone see him. Shame. He was a Blackburn fan all his life so you tend not to begrudge their lottery win like you do Chelscum and shitty. Still hate Shearer though. :D

  6. Zibbie says:

    mancdub, mend well.

  7. shuddertothink says:

    http://www.bitterandblue.com/2012/7/5/3138356/robin-van-persie-a-worthy-target-for-man-city

    I know it’s a Man City article. But don’t shoot me. There are some relevant statistics in there about just how brilliant he was last year. Also, at the bottom of that dirty blue page there are reasons for signing him and reasons for not signing him. All of which are valid for any club.

  8. DreadedRed says:

    ex Daily Mail – no quotes or references!

    “Rio Ferdinand’s FA race hearing has taken place amid top secrecy and the verdict could be announced as early as Wednesday afternoon. Ferdinand was charged with improper conduct by the FA after he acknowledged a comment on Twitter that referred to Chelsea defender Ashley Cole as a ‘choc-ice’.
    Sportsmail can now reveal that Ferdinand – who denied the charge – attended a secret hearing in London last Friday and it is understood that the outcome will become known later on Wednesday or, at the latest, Thursday.”

  9. DreadedRed says:

    Redbilly – Ha Ha! I thought it was because every bin in England has a dipper lurking near by!

  10. DreadedRed says:

    goatinaunitedshirt – I’d like to pit my wits against you.

    I have never entered or even looked at fantasy leagues. Does it require close attendance?

    What tips are you prepared to give me, considering my greenhorn status?
    I’d rather not spend the first few months learning from silly mistakes.

  11. philco says:

    A three one four two could be an option.
    It would mean pat at l mid and tony v at r mid scaring shit out of the opposition.

  12. kylelaw84 says:

    Don’t know why people are so hung up about us potentially signing RVP, I think it’d be a great add to the squad not only domestically but for the CL. Let’s face it he’s the player of the season and any time I watched him last year I was in awe of him. He’s a player that can change games on his own and you can never have enough players like that.
    People are going on about his age and the fee but let’s be honest it appears he isn’t asking for real top money. If we were to leave it a year and get him for free what agent isn’t going to hike his wages up knowing clubs would happily double it knowing the club has got a bargain. It takes the fee out the equation when you see it from that side because you could end up paying nearly the same but getting a year less out of him.
    As well, I like the transfer business we’re trying to do this summer. I think many would agree our style of play has been a lot more conservative the past couple of years and to hear people saying City play better football than United sticks in my throat. With the signings of Kagawa and potentially RVP I think Sir Alex is trying to bring back the All out Attack in us, who can think that is a bad thing?
    Ps. We already have a holding midfielder his name is Michael Carrick on that argument and is one the best passers and readers of the game in the league. Don’t write off Fletcher as well yet. If Cleverly stays fit he can easily get a spot in the team. Scholes ain’t bad either ;-) Scrap this holding midfielder carry on and concentrate on the United way of being positive and going forward. Sir Alex knows what he is doing.

  13. philco says:

    DDG/ LINDY

    JE. RIO. VIDA

    CARRICK

    TONY V TOM C. KAGS PAT

    ROONEY. RVP / DANNY.

  14. wayne says:

    Not into formations lot has to do with who’s playing well,who Utd are playing and whether its home or away,so predicting formations is pretty redundant,I know a lot of lads like doing it,not knocking it just not into it
    If RVP has told the Arse he prefers Utd over City I’ll give him credit for that means he’s not making the move for money,don’t think its really a issue imo Berba should have been picked over Danny and Herenandez in most games and see no different in RVP,he’s a top class striker who’s going to make the team better
    Simple as that really

  15. mancdub says:

    Zibbie – cheers mate.
    James- the nurses are still here but the morphine stoped days ago :(

  16. dijev says:

    If Nani shows some consistency, we should not fear anyone but ourselves.

    I think RVP should only join us if he was a childhood fan of our team. I remember how I felt when Rooney handed in a transfer request (and looking blue). If this happens at another club full of tradition, like Arsenal is, it’s really painful for the fans.

    I watched all the pre-season games and Macheda lacks some confidence, or is it skill?

    Also, I’m from Flanders (Belgium) and it’s a pity to see that no-one of the talents has joined Man Utd so far.

    Really happy about Kagawa though, as I am a Borussia fan too and I follow all of their games. Maybe Man Utd should try to sign central defender Subotic, he could partner up with Vidic.

  17. Costas says:

    @kylelaw84

    One of the problems is that RVP, unlike Berbatov, won’t be forced to the sidelines in order for Welbeck and Hernandez to flourish. His arrival is a step back for these two at a time when we should start building the team around them. And that’s on top of signing Kagawa and possibly reverting to 4-2-3-1. And I know people will say that the youngsters will have to fight for their place, but looking at the fee and wages we will pay for RVP, he won’t join us to sit on the bench.

    There’s a misconception that the team hasn’t attacked a lot. Not entirely true. I know are tactics were suspect at City and Wigan, but overall, we scored 120 goals in 54 games last season. We had our second best goal tally in the Premiership years. Sir Alex did have us attack all out last year. And it ended up being costly. If anything, it’s our defensive play that we have to improve on. Defence is what cost us the title.

  18. Wakey says:

    @LORDGAGA

    When will people like you get a clue. You will sit there calling the Glazers leaches and claim they are starving Fergie of money BUT ignore the fact that between £120mill and £150mill was in the bank between Ronaldo being sold and September 1st 2011.  

    Interest rates are awful and have been for years as anyone who has a bank account or an ISA will tell you (You might get an introductory offer that may get you 2-3% for 6-12months  but without that you are most likely looking under 0.5%)  and its actually below the rate of inflation so money LOSSES value. Now how exactly does letting over 100mill lose value make any sense if the argument is that the Glazers have starved Fergie of money so they can pocket it.

    The money was there for Fergie to spend. Fergie was just unable to get the players he wanted either because they preferred another club/country or because a sugar daddy threw stupid money at them. Unless ofc you believe the club goes after players they know they can’t get just for PR which is an equally stupid belief as doing so costs time and money which again doesn’t fit the ‘Glazers are leeches’ claims.

    This really is what annoys me about the most extreme anti Glazers, they just aren’t consistent. They contradict themselves over and over again with their ‘beliefs’  

    @Goatinaunited
    It’s not like Llorente is 22, he is 27 so his resale value would be limited as well.
    And the difference is RvP is a proven player in the premier league, speaks the language and is settled in England. RvP should be able to pretty much hit the ground running he just needs a few weeks to get used to club and the players. Llorente is a much greater risk and even if he did make it we could very well have to wait 12-24months for him to settle in England & the EPL

    And what if on injuries can go both ways. Llorente could get injured and sit out the season and then the extra 6mill it cost to buy him over RvP would look idiotic

    @Swissred
    Shirt sales covering transfer fees is a myth that Real like pulling out to justify stupid fees being paid. While its possible the total revenue for the shirt sales for the season may exceed the transfer fee in reality the club gets very little of this (Nike have prepaid most of the merchandise income as part of the kit deal. United only get the retailers cut when sold in the physical club shop but not the online store AND a cut of Nikes revenue on merchandise after it exceeds the prepaid figure)

    And most importantly most of the short sales would have been made even if the player wasn’t signed. Look at Ronaldo to Madrid, within a few days Real claimed they had recouped the 80mill from short sales. Even if real got the whole £50 from the shirt they would have had to sell 1.6mill Extra shirts. At most the club will get £15 per shirt which means Real would have had to sell in excess of 5.3mill extra shirts.

    United and Real  sell the most shirts of any club and are said to to sell 1.2-1.5mill shirts a year so obviously these figures are ridiculous 
    http://www.sportingintelligence.com/2010/08/31/revealed-the-worlds-best-selling-club-football-shirts-310802/

  19. kylelaw84 says:

    @Costas

    I don’t think it will hamper Welbeck or Hernandez. Let’s face they’re only going to benefit from playing with someone like RVP because neither have peaked yet and I believe are the long term future. Plus we’ll be competing in 3 competitions so there will be game time for all, we need them options if we are to compete on all fronts.
    I agree though it that is a bit of misconception about our attacking intent, some of football has been wonderful but there have been times when you’d have loved us to really go for throat and we haven’t. All this defensive midfielder talk as well seems to me that we’re running scared of going at teams these days. We basically had the same options a few years ago (bar Hargreaves) when Ronaldo was playing and no one worried about it then. I don’t see why we should in the future if we know for a fact we’re more than capable of outscoring another team. Each to their own opinion though.

  20. james21 says:

    Mancdub
    Good shit that Morphine had a shot when I had Appendicitis, talk about Lucy in the sky with Diamonds. :D

  21. fergie is the boss says:

    Costas – I totally agree, we should be happy RVP is signed, but how is welbeck and hernandez going to break up a partnership of kagwa rooney RVP? those 3 would be guaranteed starters, on the positive note, it could be the 3 prone axis of ronaldo rooney tevez. But welbeck would defiantly be limited to starts, and PPL say he is not a great goalscorer. Maybe the boss saw a signing like RVP to good to turn down, and its a way of sending the fear factor to rivals, that they will have to deal with a front 5 of valencia nani kagwa RVP rooney. But for me, even if we sign RVP, we still need a CB a fullback, and possibly a CM, the holes are still there. But it depends on if we can keep carrick cleverly kagwa anderson fit, and see the likes of powel step up, which say he is going to be a big star, and how Fletcher can regenerate from his illness

  22. United Till I Die says:

    Not sure what you’re smoking but YAYA is your best player mate. He’s the pasta and everybody else is just sauce, as blatantly demonstrated when the ACN started. Rodwell, De Jong and Barry are scant CM cover as you’ll probably realise this season. Nasri can’t tackle for shit. Yaya aside CIty have no midfield to speak of and its hilarious more deluded bitters can’t see that.

    As for this constant, monotonous call for a battling United CM to counter Yaya, can I ask the faithful how many Cups we’ve won in the last 5 seasons and how many finals we’ve reached?

    Surely in that time we’ve faced equivalent maestros? Everybody from Song and Ramires last season to Gerrard and Essien in their prime, oh and of course Fabregas.

    You know where im going with this. Im not suggesting he’s delivered single handedly, but we’ve already got a player with the managers trust to man mark our rivals’ CM threats, and he’s delivered in that regard like him or not.

    If you judge the lad on all the big games he’s ever played since 18 who can deny he’s delivered a performance in most of them? Thats why he’s selected for top opposition whenever fit. Thats why he’s still seen as the future in CM.

    United had 2 bad days at the office against City and the lad im talking about only played at OT. Visibly frustrated, he was subbed after getting a yellow at 0-1 with ten men. Shit happens.

    But this season – like the manager – i’ll be backing the lad to outmuscle Yaya, Song and Ramires and keep them all quiet. At 23 I think he’s finally coming of age but you’d think he was 28 the way he’s written off.

    Heres a thought fellas. What other enforcer in our midfield is more capable of man marking top opposition CMs, has the strength to muscle them off the ball, and has the vision to thread it through to Kagawa and our strikers?

    If you are objective there is only one answer, and thats why the manager rates him so highly. I understand some supporters are easily frustrated but when it starts effecting your objectivity and you start talking bollocks thats when you gotta get a grip sunshine!

  23. fergie is the boss says:

    kylelaw84 – totally different situation to today, a few years ago like 07/08 season, back then the likes of VDS brown ferdinand vidic evra carrick scholes fletcher anderson and perhaps hargreaves were in peak condition. The spine of the team in VDS ferdinand vidic scholes carrick ronaldo rooney were primed and ready. The current squad if RVP is signed, the only spine I see with the squad is? DDG maybe vidic if he can stay fit, carrick kagwa rooney and welbeck. There are questions over vidic ferdinand jones evans cleverly anderson and fletchers fitness levels. So really the squad is still lacking an established spine, with allot of players who can pick up injury’s unlike 07/08

  24. jeet says:

    Mancdub – take care and get well soon! Seasons starting, and we need all our supporters to be fit, healthy and raring to go!
    UNITED!

  25. 3 lions says:

    tom cleverly!!!

  26. 50 Shades of WillieRedNut says:

    @Costas 13.16

    Spot on.

  27. Corea says:

    Basel at home cost us the title.

  28. jeet says:

    United till I die: who are you talking of? Ando or Cleverly? Sadly enough, you can’t be talking of Fletch

  29. philco says:

    Jeet, I reckon it was jones

  30. 50 Shades of WillieRedNut says:

    Paul Parker/United Till I Die

    Anderson. ;)

  31. Corea says:

    @jeet – Anderson

  32. Corea says:

    Paul Parker/United Till I Die ?
    I missed a lot during my absentees.

  33. Andooo says:

    @UTID

    Agreed. I say it every year but this is going to be his year as long as injuries dont fuck him

  34. philco says:

    New threads up.

  35. shuddertothink says:

    @ UTID Of course Man City’s replacements are scant in comparison. Toure is arguably the worlds best all round midfielder. De jong could do the tackling, Silva the flair but no-one has his all round game. You are just stating the obvious. As for facing a similar player to Toure, I’ll say only Gerrard in his 2 year great spell or Viera. Apart from those two, no you haven’t seen a maestro like him in recent years.

    If you are referring to Anderson then well, I don’t know what to say. A lot of unfulfilled potential for me, dogged by injuries, doesn’t have enough pace or attacking threat to become a very good United Midfielder. Could he be a DM. of course, but that is his ceiling.

  36. Wakey says:

    @Diego

    Does Sahin actually have the qualities to be ready for this league? It’s very debatable, sure he is technically very good but physically I have my doubts. Everyone raved about Silva last season but look how long it took,for him to be ready for this league and even then he seemed to run out of steam at Christmas so imho  still isn’t ready.  It’s the problem with European players as our league is different to most of the other leagues in its style and requirements.

    Admittedly his education is in Germany which is perhaps a closer league to the English one so I would put more faith in him than a Spanish player but still think physically it’s less demanding (just look at Ozil who physically struggles to complete games in Spain but didn’t have that issue in Germany. I suspect as its a lower pace as Mertasacker has shown)

    @parryheid
    what’s the point of bringing a player in a key position on loan. If he does well then you have built a team around a player who you may lose and certainly who you will then have to pay through the nose for if Madrid still decide to get rid of (or you could return them a ready made star)

    And if he needs time to settle you may never actually see him achieve anything at the club. 

  37. Clint-Iamyourpapii says:

    United without wingers is like Natalie Portman without hair.

    http://i.ytimg.com/vi/qxO0FJxOPXA/0.jpg

    Still sexy as fuck, but something very distracting that takes attention from the middle is missing.

    8)

  38. Redbilly says:

    Cedars- first home match he plays for us :-)

  39. United Till I Die says:

    @shuddertothink – and you’re missing a few points.

    Ya is a great player but he ain’t GOD. Song was just as influential for his club last season as were Ramires and Modric, so don’t get too carried away praising his role in CM. Back to my point, if you agree Yaya was central to everything City do wtf are City gonna do when he’s unavailable? De Jong is a donkey, as is Milner (who I forgot to even mention, until the word donkey came to mind) and as is Barry. CIty can’t play another way without Yaya as the solid defence and attack is all based on him. To deny that is to contradict how highly you rate him, so my point stands about deluded bitters who can’t see that.

    Secondly, how many CIty goals start with Yaya? How many counter attacks? Silva is a decent player but he RELIES on Yaya as the main player who makes his runs possible, not just by finding him with passes but by making himself available to hold up the ball. Silva is half the player he is when Yaya is absent, and thats why Nani is the better FW as he doesn’t rely on a CM target man. I shudder to think how well supported Nani will now be by our new CM trio.

    Finally I agree Ando has “a lot” of unfulfilled potential so considering his career thus far am I wrong to expect more to come? Don’t be daft he’s got his best years ahead of him ffs AND the faith of the manager who knows far more than you or I! Anderson’s injuries since 09 are well documented but the Club admits to rushing him back when Fletcher and Hargreaves were unavailable, and for a player so young that says it all.

    By all accounts he wasn’t rushed back for the end of last last season, so he’s fully recovered and had time to strengthen his knee before enjoying a full pre-season for once. Based on the minutes he’s already racked up I’d say his fitness levels are doing just fine before the season starts, some might disagree but Im hopefull he’ll stay fit. But as for you saying he doesn’t have pace or attacking threat??? I take it you missed his entire first season, his start to the season with Cleverly last year, and everything inbetween? Lets just agree to disagree on that one. We’ll all see who’s who and what’s what within the next week.

  40. Redbilly says:

    Mancdub- hope the ticker is ok. Bend there with AF. Need sinus rhythm for the start of the season .

    Best of health

  41. parryheid says:

    Wakey.

    If you think there is no point in bringing i a player on loan then what was the point of Larsson?You do not build a team round Sahin,he fills a shortcoming in the existing team and if is a success at United may well refuse to return to Real.Alternatively he would be well worth paying a decent transfer fee for considering in one years time he wont yet be 25yrs old a seasoned Turkish international who you have for a year on wages.And as for maybe not achieving anything,do you consider the likes of Anderson in Five years has?

  42. Adamcy says:

    I am well contented with the squad we have got . Rvp will be icing on the cake aand just imagine to world class strikers and anorher duo on the bench that are sharp and coming up, all those moaning about a midfield signing should just check the options available with Cleverly, Carrick, Kagawa, Scholes, Ando, Nani, valencia and Fletcher back we are stocked and raring to go. The only spot thnat needs attention is the left back position cuz Evra needs a cover that will assist.

  43. parryheid says:

    I’m moaning about our midfield and you have just provided me with the reasons why.No incomers and we will get slaughtered this season.

  44. Wakey says:

    @Parrheid
    There is a differnce between an experienced player who has been able to perform at the top level both at club and international level as a backup player.

    Bringing in a player on loan who is still fairly raw is completely different

    As for Anderson atleast as our player you can afford to give him time to settle. With a loan player if they don’t hit the ground running they are leaving by the time they do. If it was a loan from an English club it may be differnt as perhaps that player would have less to be concerned about in terms of settling in the league. Would make more sense signing Sahin rather than loaning if a fair price could be negotiated

  45. mancdub says:

    Jeet – Redbilly
    Cheers lads

  46. parryheid says:

    Wakey.

    Well we are only days away from a reality check.fortunately there is still a little time on the transfer window to prevent my doomsday scenario.

  47. FRO-NAM says:

    @ goatinaunitedshirt
    August 15, 2012 – 12:06
    Yeah mate join the league I’ll keep ya company with the banter! Not to worry I’m an Irish man so piss taking is a character trait that’s been instilled from young age!

    Always good laugh pal! Keeps the league interesting when united aren’t playing anyways! Consider your wits pitted!!!

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