So, it’s all up for the title – again. Manchester United’s bandwagon rolls on with no end in sight – or is there? It may seem a bit of a contradiction, but bear with me and I’ll try to justify the theory that Manchester United’s apparent humiliation of their “noisy neighbours” in a distinctly average Premiership, could be the very catalyst that brings down the curtain on their long domination of the English domestic game. No, no. You’ll see, Bear with me.
Is there anyone who doesn’t actually believe that the title race is over? I guess there’ll be a few cautious United fans with memories of the collapse to Arsenal, a chunk of years ago. Let’s be honest though, twelve points clear, with twelve games to go, is a pretty dominant situation. It’s going to take a ‘blow up’ of Devon Loch proportions to throw this one away.
So, let’s project forward to May. Fergie’s holding the Premiership trophy aloft. Let’s be cautious and think they’ll blow half of their lead – can’t see that they will, but just for the sake of argument – and they’ve secured the title by six points; a relative ‘pipe and slippers on’ canter by last season’s criteria. It’s another ‘red letter day’ at Old Trafford, whilst over the way at Eastlands it’s not only the moon and shirts that are blue.
A City review of the Mancini performance over the last twelve months doesn’t look that great, does it? Another season of abject and embarrassing failure in the Champions League, the Balotelli ‘fiasco’ looks just that, players signed in the summer have mainly been bench warmers, and the glorious heart-stopping moment of Aguerooooooooo is now just a distant memory. OK, City do have a winnable FA Cup tie on Saturday, and let’s be generous and say they go on and win the old trophy. That’ll take them back precisely to where they were two years ago.
I know what you’re thinking, the City hierarchy are going to be really happy with that and keen to throw another £100 million or so at Mancini, and say ‘no sweat, mate,’ have another go. Hmm. No, I don’t think so either. If only, they’ll be thinking, there was another option; a died-in-the wool winner who could also guarantee not only success, but also to get under the skins of the reds’ supporters. Well, it just so happens that, over on the Iberian peninsula, there’s a certain dapper chappie, a long–declared lover of English football, who’s probably just been shown the door by los Blancos of Madrid.
Call it a wild caprice, but I’ve got an inkling that some bright spark at City may well say something along the lines of “Why don’t we give Mourinho a bell and see if he fancies, a massively paid job, an almost limitless transfer budget, the opportunity to win the title with another English club, and perhaps claim the Champions League with a third different club?” It could actually be a fourth if he performs his party piece in the closing chapters of the season at the Santiago Bernabeu. Doubtless Jose will don his traditional coquettish garb and persona, full of “Oh, I’m not too sure,” but in the end, £10 to a carrot says he’ll probably be donning the sky blue and white scarf at a press conference anytime soon after that.
You can see where I’m coming from now can’t you? Following a series of likely outcomes, and erring on the side of comfortable caution in others, we have probably the guy that Fergie fears/respects (you choose) more than any other manager, ensconced as his new neighbor – complete with drum kit and ghetto blaster; ‘noisy neighbour’ will be an understatement.
Come August, Fergie will have clocked another few months on his mileage. Now, it’s entirely possible that the opportunity to lock horns with ‘the Special One’ will invigorate and inspire him to kick on again. On the other hand, faced with a guy who caused him trouble with Abramovic’s few billions, he may decide that the same guy with ten times that amount at his disposal will be too much hassle. He calls for his pension, sidles off into history, and the new guy has to face a pumped-up tooled-up Mourniho.
Suddenly, it all makes a bit more sense and looks a bit more likely.
What do you think?