Saturday, November 06, 2010

Why I hope Mancini fails and Sheikh Mansour invests in FC United instead

Source: Daily Mirror

By Michael Calvin

Published 23:02 06/11/10

His Highness, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, wooed the wrong noisy ­neighbour.

Instead of blowing ­£1billion on Manchester City, he should have ­donated £1million to FC United.

He wouldn’t have been able to shape a club owned by the fans, for the fans.

But, for a relative ­pittance, he would have become a folk hero.

He would have helped expose the hypocrisy of the Glazers, the unfair burden of leveraged debt.

In so doing, football’s richest man would have discovered what football is all about.

The empowerment of a community, rather than the enrichment of ­opportunists.

Faith, defiance, and the credibility of ­commitment.

Passion, unprocessed and deliciously ­unrefined.

Joy, rather than empty rhetoric, and massaged opinion.

You don’t need advertising copywriters and simpering apologists to make a statement of intent.

Alienated Manchester United fans did that, when they formed a football club to give a human ­dimension to a protest movement.

Equally, the League ­pyramid cannot adequately measure the difference between City and FC ­United.

On paper it is seven ­Divisions. In essence the clubs are separated by a chasm, which separates constructive outrage and graceless vulgarity.

I defy anyone to watch a re-run of FC United’s FA Cup win at Rochdale ­without a smile. Players were stripped to ­homemade Superman underpants by euphoric fans.

They cavorted for the cameras in the dressing room, and promised not to turn up for work on ­Monday.

Their manager was wide eyed, and about to be ­legless. “We’ll have a couple of sherberts, here and there” he promised.

I’ll take Karl Marginson, before Roberto Mancini, any day of the week.

The FC United boss does need a personal ­website that is beyond parody.

“Roberto Mancini,” it croons. “The football. The class. The champion.”

Strange how it didn’t mention the cautious coach, the closet politician, and the cry baby.

Marginson used to be a milkman, reliant on boot money from the likes of ­Salford City and Bacup ­Borough.

You wouldn’t catch him posing for soft-focus ­photos, like a 10th-rate George Clooney.

Blue Moon Rising?

I prefer the red flares of class warriors, which ­illuminated Spotland’s ­Willbutts Lane Stand.

Money has siphoned ­innocence from football.

City’s purchasing power is intimidating, and ­intoxicating to outsiders.

I came across a caricature of a marketing executive late on Friday night.

He was worried my views would compromise his commercial relationship with Eastlands.

His type – swivel-eyed ­networkers who couldn’t spell the word integrity, let alone grasp its meaning – are everywhere.

I loathe what they ­represent, why they ­genuflect at the feet of the City hierarchy.

They are prepared to overlook the positive ­aspects of City’s problems.

Three successive defeats remind us that wealth is worthless, if used ­unwisely.

Briefings, and counter briefings, tell a cautionary tale of unchecked egos and unseemly ambition.

This is no time to sit on the fence. I once loved what City represented.

They were my “second” club as a schoolboy, an ­acceptable antidote to my chemical romance with Watford.

I wore the sky blue shirt, savoured the silly ­setbacks, and salivated at the skill of Colin Bell

To be fair, the new ­regime paid exemplary homage to Malcolm ­Allison.

The club tribute was simple, affecting, classy

But, with apologies to the vast majority of City fans who will understand my disillusion, let’s light the bonfire of the ­vanities.

I hope Mancini crashes and burns.

I pray FC United realise their impossible dream, a third round tie at Old ­Trafford.

And that someone, somewhere, has the ­courage to inform His Highness that he needs to act. Now!