For Manchester City, What a Difference a Day Makes...

James BroomheadAnalyst ISeptember 2, 2008

While the world was busy watching the sagas of where Dimitar Berbatov would move to, whether Andre Arshavin or Robinho would move anywhere, and whether my beloved Nottingham Forest would realise that conceding 5 (five) goals in a game is someone's way of telling you that you need to buy defenders (OK, so maybe the world wasn't watching that one), there was a none-too-silent revolution going on at Manchester City.

To be honest, the Blue half of Manchester has been the subject of a footballing saga for longer than 24 hours.

Cast your mind back a year (yes, I know it hurts) as deposed Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra took them over, and promptly showed signs of having a cheque book like a certain Mr. R. Ambramovich (in that it dispenses those sort of novelty cheques you only ever see charity events, with the 0s to match).

He brought in Sven-Goran Eriksson as manager and a bundle of largely unproven players, apparently bought on the reports of Eriksson, after the Swede watched them on VHS tapes.

And while everyone was fearing the performances these video nasties would put it, they actually did rather well. They got off to a great start, including a win over their city rivals, that had everyone sitting up and taking notice, as well as wondering why Sven could never do this with the national side.

They faded away, but still there were few horror shows. However, their final day battering by Middlesborough and their balloon-assisted humbling at the hands of Championship side Sheffield United in the FA Cup stand out as reasons showing there was still much work to be done.

Then yesterday happened.

Shinawatra out, the supremely uncatchy sounding Abu Dhabi United Group in. Then the comedy sized cheque book appeared.

Suddenly there was a £30 million offer for Berbatov on the table, yanking the proverbial carpet from beneath Man United. City fans were probably laughing their heads off. The man their illustrious neighbours had been chasing all summer was coming to them.

Then Berbatov surfaced to have a medical in Manchester.


What the...? Do you think his agent told him to go to Manchester for a medical and dear old Dimitar forgot about the other Manchester? Berbatov signed for United. Which left Man City's new owners with an awful lot of money burning a whole in their pockets.

So to Real Madrid, where Robinho had been posturing for a move away seemingly all summer. Chelsea was the word, but then Man City came galloping over the horizon with a £32.5m cheque (a British transfer record, no matter how odd it sounds) for him, and voila, Robinho was a Man City player.

Now the dust is starting to settle, what can we see?

There is a radically different look to English football. Besides the skyscrapers of Chelsea and Manchester United, and the smaller outlines of Liverpool and Arsenal, there is a new shape. A tower designed to be unimaginably high, with cranes showing the great intentions of the architects.

That tower is Man City.

Now, for the bit that will dampen Man City fans' happiness. They have money. Money is for buying big players. Big players will not want to come to Man City, they all want Champions League football, they don't have that at Eastlands (yet).

City can offer huge wages, but the number of players who have left Chelsea—Shaun Wright-Phillips, Damien Duff, Scott Parker—show that despite the undoubtedly huge wages clubs can offer, believe it or not...

Football is about far, far more than money.