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Winner Takes All

There is no doubting the achievement by Manchester City Football Club this weekend. That they have outstanding players and an outstanding manager is beyond dispute but the scale of what the club has done does have some disturbing implications.

Firstly, the size of their win in Saturday’s FA Cup Final, by 6-0, has not been managed by anybody since 1903 and only two other clubs have scored that many goals in the final. City have become the first club to have won all four of the major honours available to English clubs; the FA Community Shield, The Carabao Cup, the FA Premier League and of course, the FA Cup. The question is: is it not a bad thing for one club to be so utterly dominant?

The second issue is an old one: have City ‘bought’ their success? Undoubtedly yes, but that accusation has been made against countless clubs countless times and going back throughout the history of the game. However, does that not prevent or preclude local young players form making the grade at their home town club? There is plenty of evidence to suggest that it does, not just today but in the past also.

Allied to that, is a question we have raised before, namely that of progression for English players generally. What has made Manchester City so different are the foreign players they have bought. Granted those players are very, very good and those like Vincent Kompany have graced the game in England and been an asset to it. Let’s not forget that City also have Raheem Sterling, John Stones and Kyle Walker, (all English yet bought from other clubs however).

There are a further five English players in City’s squad, of whom nobody has ever heard, at least not yet, but one that most people will be familiar with is Phil Foden, an outstanding prospect. To be fair, Manchester City are giving room to ‘some’ English talent. But is it enough?

The other question concerns the accusation from UEFA that City have breached the rules over their finances. All we can say here to UEFA is let’s see the proof. But – and only but – if that is forthcoming then it raises even more disturbing questions over how and with whom, modern day football clubs do their business.

We hope there is no proof and no offence – Manchester City deserve congratulations and a kick up the backside to other clubs; get your houses in order, find local and English talent, develop that talent properly and let’s see English clubs, with significant numbers of English players, playing in more of Europe’s top competition finals.

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