£107m: Disgust, Envy, and Bare-Faced Hatred
I have, over the last few days, been amazed by the change in most football fans towards Manchester City and the shirt that I proudly wear.
As I live in the North East of England, I have always made a point of wearing my City Shirt on weekends.
The reaction from fans of Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Sunderland, Darlington, and Hartlepool has always been good natured. I was often told that City was the second choice team of these fans.
A large part of City's popularity was that they are NOT Manchester United. United are almost universally disliked and being a supporter of their arch rivals earned me many brownie points.
But this weekend was different, noticeably so.
Whilst shopping in the supermarket a couple of people nudged their friends and openly shook their heads, deliberately for me to see.
One Newcastle fan even had the cheek to lean over from his place in the neighbouring till queue and suggest that I should be ashamed of being a City fan.
I am not going to enter into a debate in a supermarket with anyone and, the aforementioned Newcastle fan now understands that he should keep his opinions to himself and seemed shocked when told directly to do so.
The fact that he felt that he had the right to make comment without any fear of a response seems enlightening.
It is becoming very obvious that fans of many hues are upset at the Kaka deal and that the deal is more than just a piece of business between two clubs, a player, and his agent.
What appears to be happening is that many fans see City's bid as a low point for football, a bid too far.
The size of the deal is so startlingly large that other supporters also know now that no other club can match it.
So, amazement has lead to frustration and that has fermented into a feeling of anger.
Manchester City and it's fans have not killed football but they are part of a real change in he relative values of clubs within it.
It's certainly not good enough to have heritage and no money and still expect players to move to large, sparsely populated grounds because teams won things some years ago.
Aston Villa, Everton, and Tottenham have had many years of effort to break into the top 4 of the EPL and are only getting close now and then along comes the newly enriched Manchester City threatening to make light work of a top-four place.
What Villa, Everton, and Spurs fans should recognise is that it could be worse just look at Preston North End, Burnley, Wolves, and Nottingham Forest to name a few.
All of these teams were massive in English terms but that pre-dated the monied generations and they are highly unlikely to get back to where they were.
So please don't blame City fans or indeed the club for taking the opportunity that has been offered by the new ownership and their billions.
We are likely to put a few more noses out of joint in the coming months and years, and I expect we will be cheered along the way if we do break into the top four because we will then show that it can be done.
That will then offer hope to other supporters but I'm sure we wont ever be considered many fans second choice.
Will I accept that change in attitude if City win a few trophies? Of course I will.
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