Why Manchester City Should Be People's Second Team

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Why Manchester City Should Be People's Second Team
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Don Revie, Manchester City legend.

Ask Manchester City fans today if the attitude towards them from other clubs supporters has changed since Sheikh Mansours' takeover, and you will be told that they have.

With the exception of Manchester United fans, City was considered by many as a second club.

For years of course, City was no threat to anyone so it was easy for Arsenal, Spurs, or Everton fans, for example to say that.

Through the lower divisions, there were many fans who liked City because their own team had player and beaten City. They had been the giant killers and so had an emotional attachment to the club that they had beaten.

But most of the sympathy and empathy that fans of other clubs had had has been washed away by ill-formed opinions or plain jealousy.

But there are many reasons why City should remain in the hearts and minds of other clubs supporters.

Let's start with the big one, United.

You may think that I am overreaching on this one, but City and United are traditionally more friendly than they are now.

Of course, United used City's ground after World War II in a very neighbourly way, and that went a long way to keeping United in existence. Many fans went to City one week and United the next.

But one man also links these two great teams, and he is a man that is loved almost universally across the footballing world, Sir Matt Busby. Sir Matt played for and won the FA Cup with City and was also very close to joining the City board in the '70s.

What better reason for United fans to have City as their second team?

Next, and perhaps even less likely is Leeds United.

Again they're led by a manager who had previously played for City, Don Revie. Don had been a hugely impressive player for City where they formulated the 'Revie Plan' which helped to win the Cup on one occasion and be runners up on another.

The work that Revie did at City was later used to create the great team at Leeds.

Arsenal fans could also look at City's greatest ever manager with huge amounts of affection as Joe Mercer was a stalwart, and indeed captain, of the post-war championship wining side. He was one of the reasons Arsenal moved on from lower-league survival and to pre-eminence.

Evertonians will also remember 'Genial' Joe for his time as a player, and of course the kindly Mercer is highly regarded by many England fans for his role as caretaker manager after Sir Alf Ramsey resigned.

Mercer also spent time at Villa and Coventry and Sheffield United as manager and surely there cannot be a better example of how football men should comport themselves as Joe Mercer?

Derby fans should also thank City for selling them a certain F. H . Lee whose 33 goals in a season was a major reason for their Championship win in 1974.

Footballers in general should also thank City, via Lee for the wages they can now earn as he was a central figure in the removal of the maximum wage that at the time limited what players could earn.

Wolves should also thank City for the massively inflated fee payed for the rather limited abilities of Steve Daley. The transfer of Daley for just short of £1.5m was possibly £1.2m more than his worth, and that money surely helped Wolves survive for a number of seasons afterwards.

Then of course Portsmouth are no doubt still raising a glass to City for the crazy £3.3m spent on Lee Bradbury, never before had so much be spent on so little talent.

The whole of the footballing world should also thank City for employing Alan Ball as manager and saving their own club from the indignity of relegation!

Moving further afield the great Barcelona owe City a debt of gratitude, and this is a link that almost nobody realizes exists.

When Joan Laporta and Johan Cruyff we're showcasing the wonderful youth development at the Nou Camp last season, few people realized that it all started after the club had copied what Manchester City had done with the 'Junior Blues' back at Maine Road in the 70s.

City were the very first club to incorporate a specific youth club into the structure of a football club anywhere.

So perhaps there are a few people who should think more kindly of City and even accept that the history of such a great club is woven in the fabric of so many other teams.

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