Manchester City

Sod Lawro, Here Comes Caveney…

I don't belieeeve it

Ooo-eee. A wobbly loss at WHL George Caveney thinks…

I can’t see it any other way, I’m afraid. Just being realistic. I doubt our season’s going to take any meaningful shape until mid, late September, so as far as I’m concerned it’s damage-limitation points-wise till then. But that won’t stop Messrs Hack and Illiterate Nuts-reader forecasting our cataclysmic downfall before the first 90 are up. Even if we win.

The first three or four games of any EPL campaign are exciting, but let’s face it, they’re pretty meaningless. We’ve been deprived of all but an average World Cup for far too long, and while we can’t wait to get stuck in again, there’s nothing worth reading into just yet. Especially considering what’s already happened in the close season, and the twisty treats that will no doubt continue to enthral our tiny minds up to midday Saturday – and then a bit more until the transfer window slams shut and the 25-man submission deadline rolls up. Think Hodgson to Anfield. Think Hughes to Fulham. Think O’Neill bursting out the back door at Villa with his glasses all steamed up and wonky. See that coming?

Yeah, course you did. When you fink abaaat it, it’s obvi-urse, innit. Well, Mark Hughes didn’t. That we can all agree on. Maybe O’Neill actually waited till Hughes was gainfully employed again before walking out. It wouldn’t surprise me.

City seem to be pulling together more, and Mancini does inspire confidence. But again, there’s no real way of knowing. No real reference point for how things will pan out until they start to in earnest. It’s such a cagey time, and why the newly promoted teams often do well in the opening fixtures. They can’t be arsed checking out the other kids’ new uniforms and pencil cases, or the fresh faces in the playground – they just go out there full of piss and vinegar and chance it. Rough a few up till they pick on the wrong one. And why not? It works until everyone else susses the shallowness and naivety of their gameplan and turns the screw. Not knocking it, just saying. Watch Blackpool go from strutting hard-cases to worn-out, bullied strugglers in less than two months.

Anyway – back to topic. What was it again? Oh yes. Despite everything I’ve just said…

I do expect City to do extremely well this season, be it a CL place, a cup run or a Europa romp – or all of the above. But I do not expect it to feel that way on Saturday. If it did, any sentient City fan would be deeply disturbed on the quiet. I think Spurs will turn us over like they so nearly haven’t so often before. Or rather, we’ll let them. They’re the ones who most happily watch us snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They’re nearly always good games, though, and there have been some absolute pearlers, ever since the 1981 FA Cup final.

I do expect we’ll sit in the upper-mids till late October, when the truly remarkable will take hold. But I do not expect many contemporary pundits or writers to credit themselves or the cud-chewing masses with the stoic patience or confidence that it will come good for City. It will. You’d just better chuffing well believe it. Sit on your over-reactionary, speculative and bollock-boring column-writing hands, just for once. Tape up your jowly traps, for the love of God, if only for the ensuing moment of clarity. It will happen.

We can all say it was predictable in retrospect. Whatever happens, I saw it coming and so did you. What else did we expect? Alan Hansen saw it coming first, though. With his forehead vein and his magic eyebrow pencil.

Let’s just get Spurs out the way and get on with it. It will be mighty entertaining, if nothing else.

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