The Blog that's not always wrong.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Back where we belong

Roberto Mancini Manager Manchester City 2009/10

             We know just how you feel Roberto. But not tonight.

.We did it. I didn't doubt it for a moment, honest. But the strain of being optimistic and up-beat for a whole season from the first game when we beat Liverpool to the City clincher last night has really left me emotionally drained. The whirlwind opening that opened up the possibilities; the defeats by Arsenal, Chelsea and Man.Utd that seemed to put us firmly back in our box; the late surge following the defeat at Wolves to finally clinch it with 9 wins out of 11 to earn our best ever points haul in the Premiership.. Was this just one season? It seems longer.

The sobering thought is that every season might be like this for years to come as we take our rightful place amongst the big boys. Are we up to it? Not the team obviously, but the supporters. Some of us have mental and physical conditions that won't tolerate such levels of constant stress or happiness. Oh well like Ledley and Gomes I'll just have to risk it. They were either both drugged up to the eyeballs or so high on adrenalin that they didn't notice the pain. Either way they were magnificent and Dawson too when we were under pressure in the first half. This defensive solidarity has been the improvement that has been missing in the last few seasons. Once again a clean sheet and the ability to close out a match when required,

We are already benefiting from the Top Four reporting bias because the BBC report used the phrases Tottenham were the 'vastly superior' side and that Manchester City 'at no point exerted any authority'. We shared possession and made as many clear chances but we were by no means 'vastly' superior and City certainly dominated the first 20 minutes and a lot of the first half..

They started brightly but we resisted with some character and grit. By the second half they began to lose heart and we asserted more control of the match. If it hadn't been so important it would have been a really enjoyable game with both sides looking to win and reap the rewards. Kaboul's strength created the chance that fell to Crouch and both had particularly good games. Not too much escaped the full-backs and when it did both Dawson and King cut out the crosses.

This was a superb all round team effort, including the substitutes. Congratulations to Crouch who atoned for an earlier miss and for Harry who called everything right once again. Not capable of taking us to the next level? Well it looks as if he just has.

Another Hanson phrase along with 'you never win anything with kids' that can be assigned to the cliché dustbin is his banter with Lineker about Spurs 'always letting you down in the end'. Not this time Mr.Hanson, not this time. And kids can win anything if they are good enough. The same fans who knew that Defoe would miss the penalty against Chelsea were probably the same ones that knew we wouldn't make fourth. All wrong.

I felt curiously deflated following the win, being hugged by complete strangers, albeit from Stamford Hill, in an Irish bar in Madrid. I don't think I quite realised that we had actually done what I have been saying we could do. City fans were gracious in defeat more than you can say for their owners looking foolish in their City scarves and trying to work out who suggested investing in the wrong half of Manchester instead of Mexican taco futures, or Mid Western pork scratchings. With so much money available their time will eventually come. But not this time and not at our expense.

But since then I keep remembering it with some excitement and pride. After a long wait we are back in the top rank where we belong. It's a poke in the eye for the money men and a tribute to a club that has done it the right way. No financial risks, the steady development of a quality young squad who came to us not because we promised them pots of gold but as an attractive footballing side with a great tradition and history. Lets hope we all reap the reward we so richly deserve. I said earlier in the season that my dream was Champions' League football at the new stadium. We can cross the first one of the list.

Now the fun begins. The smile that Bellamy gave Harry after the game which seemed to say 'I'm all yours mate' is a sign of things to come. All the bounty hunters, or their agents will be bending Harry's ear . But this is the time to stick by the players that have got us where we are and with a couple of judicious signings to make further steady process. Bellamy is one of those players we need not look to now. The time of second best has passed. You made your bed Mr. Bellamy. Enjoy!

If there is any justice both King and Dawson will make the World Cup squad and with Crouch ,Defoe, Lennon, and Huddlestone we might just win it. I think I'm getting into the swing of this new found status. I could get to like it.

While there is an outside chance of finishing third I don't think that Harry will field a radically different team on Sunday. If Arsenal draw against Fulham we need to win 11-0 at Burnley. Fulham have a Europa final a few days after so even at my most optimistic I can't see it happening. But stranger things have happened. Tottenham making 4th for example. We couldn't get to third and enjoy automatic qualification for the Champions' League could we? Watch this space.


Anonymous said...

I also felt deflate! - it was more of a relief than anything - I am so happy and if we get to the group stages it will be befitting for White Hart Lane to have the CL music played before we replace it. COYS


Anonymous said...

Not deflated but drained, it has been a long season. At Anfield I watched possibly the most gutless, clueless performance I've ever seen [and I was there for the 7-0, 34 years ago, seems like 10]. I was at Wigan also and didn't dream that that game was the turning point - on the field the turning point was Modric's re-entry and Pav replacing Defoe. I think Defoe is a big problem, too selfish to play with anyone [amazed he made the pass to Bale for the Woolwich goal]. Pav has dried up since Defoe came back in, and Defoe has dried up too. So Harry's still got work to do for next season, there are not yet 11 great subs for 11 great players, just a good blend that plays as a unit. If Modric goes it shouldn't all fall apart, but who knows? I'd replace Defoe as a priority, though who with God knows. And the other plus factor in the run in? The dreaded, dreadful Jenas not getting on the field. I'd prefer all the Spurs players to stay at home this Summer - and get ready for the biggest test for decades!

Anonymous said...

Good blog. It really does seem a lot longer than just one season. And we were just watching. Imagine coping with that week in week out for years like the managers do. Great job of course but draining too I am sure.

Hope some of Harry's critics can learn to bite their tongue now. If we had sacked him whenever the bar room chorus started up then we would not have seen a night like Wednesday.

Best things of this season were seeing us playing beautiful football and learning not to bottle it too. Don't often see both in a side. But we have this season.

Well done to Harry and the lads and hope Fulham can do us a favour.

elwehbi@ibleedhotspur said...

You are a brilliant man JimmyG2! It's been a fantastic season!

No need to overhaul at Tottenham. We just need one or two brilliant additions to the squad; but players who will make a difference. We really do have something special here.

JimmyG2 said...

Relief you're probably right.
Good call about the music. You seem to be getting into the swing of it too.

Anon 17:31
Yes I agree,Liverpool was our darkest hour.
No chance of Harry replacing Defoe though, or Crouch now.
Bale signed up and Modric about to extend his contract.
The future's bright....

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