In preparation for the 2014-15 season, The Republik of Mancunia has spoken to fans of all the clubs in the Premier League about last season, next season, their own clubs and their thoughts on United.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report’s Manchester City correspondent and editor of Typical City.
Scott: How did you rate 2013-14 for your City?
Rob: It was absolutely superb – the best I’ve witnessed, for sure. Two trophies and some unbelievable football, as well as some small progress in Europe, means it’s difficult to say it was anything other than a resounding success, particularly given we had a new manager. The football we played throughout December and January was outrageously good at times.
Scott: Who was your best performing player?
Rob: David Silva pretty much always is. He’s the best City player I’ve seen and many older than me are starting to say he’s the best ever. He started the season on the left and was doing great, but Aguero’s injury troubles and Negredo’s loss of form meant he moved to the No.10 role where he excelled. Some of his performances there were wonderful to watch and he, perhaps more than any other player, got us over the line in those final weeks of the title race.
Scott: Which player are you expecting to be most important for you in 2014-15?
Rob: Silva again. In an attacking sense, he is everything to City. The difference when he plays to when he doesn’t is pretty ridiculous. The Community Shield gave a nice snapshot of that. When he came on, we started to look capable of putting decent moves together after a woeful first half. He’s an absolute joy.
Scott: What do you think of Yaya Toure after his behaviour this summer – claim club refused him leave to see his dying brother/birthdaygate etc.
Rob: It was all completely bizarre. His agent leads a lot of it looking for a pay rise. It’s an age old he trick he resorts to most summers. It was sad that it all started just seven days after winning the league when everyone connected to the club should have been celebrating their achievements. Why Toure blindly follows his lead is a mystery to me. Modern football is weird at times.
The idea the club would have denied him leave to be with his brother is absurd.
Scott: Are you happy with your manager?
Rob: Yeah, definitely. He plays attractive football and conducts himself well off the field. I don’t think he’s necessarily in the elite manager bracket just yet, but we love him.
Scott: City fans were singing “you can stick your Pellegrini up your arse” before he got the job. Are you pleased Mancini was sacked now that you have Pellegrini?
Rob: I wouldn’t say I’m pleased but it was the right move. Everyone at City tells me how toxic the atmosphere was during Mancini’s final season. It seems the club had no choice.
What does annoy me, though, is the lack of recognition Mancini gets around the Etihad. I’m not saying there should be a stand in his name and a statue erected, but he did end a 35-year wait for a trophy. He changed the mentality and culture of our club and it’s all the better for it. No one, not the least the club, should ever forget that.
Scott: How do you think City will get on this season?
Rob: Retaining the league will be difficult, given Chelsea’s squad this year, but it’s definitely possible. Their recruitment policy in recent years has been excellent and they’re beginning to reap the rewards for that. I’d certainly expect us to win a trophy and progress to at least the last-eight of the Champions League.
Scott: Are you happy with your club’s performance in the transfer window this summer?
Rob: Yeah. We didn’t need major surgery but we did need some strength in depth in certain areas, and that’s exactly what we’ve got. Fernando looks a hell of a player, too.
Scott: City spent over £100m last year, over £50m this year, and accepted a £50m fine from UEFA for breaching FFP. What do you make of the fine?
Rob: I fundamentally disagree with FFP and it’s whole ethos. I’m genuinely unsure as to what exactly it’s trying to achieve.
Scott: If you could have one United player, who would it be?
Rob: Fellaini. Na, I’m kidding. I like Welbeck, for obvious reasons, but I don’t think he’s a great player. On the basis of last season I’d have to say De Gea, but I also rate Mata very highly when he’s used in the right position, which your last manager failed to do.
Scott: Can you believe United were as bad as they were last season?
Rob: No. It was all very odd. Ferguson didn’t leave behind a great squad, I think we can all accept that, but for Moyes to take a title-winning side into seventh was ridiculous, really. The players didn’ t help him and neither did Woodward, but he also didn’t help himself. Some of the quotes from post-match interviews and press conferences were bizarre, to say the least, and quite rightly pissed the fans off.
Scott: How do you expect United to perform this season?
Rob: Much better. I think you’ve got the right man now. He seems like a right cocky bastard, which after the insipid Moyes reign feels like just what United need. No European football will help domestically. I think top 4 is doable and would be real progress given the shambles of last season.
Scott: Who do you think will win the league?
Rob: City or Chelsea. I’ll say City but I’m not that confident.