How We Would Love To See A Fly-On-The-Wall Documentary Of Manchester City's Current Plight

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 28 December 2018, 10:55


LET’S HOPE the cameras are still rolling deep within the walls of Manchester City. But don’t
hold your breath.

For NOW is the time we’d all be far more interested to see what’s going on behind the
scenes of the world’s most expensive football brand with them stumbling en route to glory.

Forget the sanitised view of ‘All Or Nothing’ - the sterilised fly-on-the-wall documentary about
a brilliant team, with a brilliant manager doing brilliant things on the way to winning the Premier
League title and breaking records.

It’s right now that I want to see the combustible City manager Pep Guardiola lose his
ongoing battle with self-control and let rip at some of his defenders who cost a fortune but
aren’t worth two bob right now.

To see them run ragged by Leicester City on Saturday was so refreshing. To see the Etihad
Stadium silenced by Andros Townsend’s stunning goal for Crystal Palace four days earlier
was like a Christmas gift for all those who hate seeing one team dominate the most exciting
league in the world.

Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri had struck a blow a few weeks earlier with his 2-0 win that brought
the razzmatazz surrounding Manchester City to an abrupt halt.

Now to see them really hit the buffers has got to be celebrated even if we should still admire
the cavalier way Guardiola has them playing. Yes, it has been great to watch David Silva
glide across a pitch, Raheem Sterling twist his way along the flanks, Sergio Aguero smash
home goal after goal.

But it is also reassuring that two unfashionable teams in Crystal Palace and Leicester have
managed to find a way round all that and unlock City’s ‘haute couture’ football.

It was strange enough seeing 71-year-old Roy Hodgson mastermind last Saturday’s
shocking 3-2 home defeat - the Crystal Palace players seemed more surprised than anyone
else if we’re honest.

But it’s worth an Amazon Prime mini-series in itself to witness whispering Claude Puel warm
up for the destruction of City by knocking off Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Who’d have thought we’d be hailing the most uncharismatic, uninspiring of all 20 Premier
League managers for blowing this season wide open? Not just that but doing it just a few
days after we all thought he was getting the sack.

Puel probably celebrated with a night out watching paint dry or re-folding his vintage French
road maps. But let’s just be grateful to the most unlikely man who has put some magic and
sparkle back into our game.

For City needed to be brought down to earth to keep us all interested.

Unlike the period when their near neighbours Manchester United dominated the Premier
League, City do not deliberately engineer a siege mentality.

Under volatile manager Alex Ferguson, United thrived on the fact the rest of the country
resented them, despised them even.

That was the only trigger players like Roy Keane, Eric Cantona and Paul Ince required to
drive them onto trophy after trophy. Being vilified at every away ground was the fuel for the
fires of success.

City aren’t like that. There are no hatchet men in the team, no spiky midfielders waiting like
drooling guard dogs in the centre circle to send opponents spinning into the air.

City is a 21st century product: slick, neat, PR masters and commercially driven on a global
scale. It’s all very sanitised and sometimes it’s hard to decide which is worse? Their way or
the Fergie way.

You can only dream what a documentary filmed inside United’s dressing room would have
been like. Spying on Ferguson, Keane, Ince, Peter Schmeichel would be compelling.

City can never compete with that kind of colour and character. But wouldn’t it be good if just
for a couple of weeks while they are considered mortal, we could see?

It’s entertaining enough seeing City’s defence crumble under an onslaught from Leicester
City but another thing entirely to then be allowed inside the dressing room afterwards to see
these superstar footballers responding to crashing defeats in the raw.


Managers Departed

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David Wagner
(Huddersfield Town)
14th January
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