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Starring Brian Marwood As ‘Jack’ & Gary Cook As ‘His Beanstalk…’

‘We can afford it’ ‘Oh no we can’t’

George Caveney is getting to grips with the Panto Season at Eastlands…

I guess we’ll never really know what’s brought this box-office smash to the fore, but the word is Tevez has long had a problem with Garry Cook and Brian Marwood. And there I was thinking it was Balotelli’s poles-apart lack of application and professionalism that was tipping Tevez. Oh well.

That Cook is a bell-end is no bolt from the blue. Nor is Carlos’ unhappiness, and you have to wonder whose hand was up his bum when he made the least convincing PR pledge to the club’s future yet. But what has brought this to a crescendo so suddenly? And how will it affect us?

Okay, I’m not Garry Cook’s biggest fan, and maybe his shocking lack of tact, diplomacy and interpersonal skills isn’t half the story, but imagine you’re physically tired, emotionally torn and incredibly rich, and only a flimsy but admirable sense of duty is keeping you somewhere you’d rather not be.

And then you have Cook on your case about it. Exactly. It’s not hard to picture Cook leaning back in his chair, putting his golf shoes up on the desk and saying, ‘we own you, Chavez, get on with it.’

Like I said, we’ll not be privy to the facts. We’ll get a statement and crowd round it like pigeons. We’ll interpret and extrapolate for a week or two and then move on. The message boards will top-up with barbed comments on why we’re such a bunch of retards and will never win anything. Boring.

While money ‘isn’t a problem’ for City, in this case it could turn out to be a very expensive saga – depending on what Tevez ultimately decides to do. City have rejected his transfer request, quite rightly. He’s not the team, but he is our captain, terrier-like in his pursuit of goals, a clear motivational force (to everyone except Balotelli) and one of the highest-paid players around.

He has a big chunk of his contract left, and within the last week has publicly stated his intentions to see it through, so we simply can’t give in to that. He may broker a move to Spain, where it’s suggested his family would relocate. But if this doesn’t pan out, and he retires, it costs a serious amount of money. This would unveil his true motivations, but that would be scant comfort for anyone. Okay – it won’t break the biggest bank in football, but it will upset the owners, management and players, which tends to upset the results and the fans.

At this stage, the extent of the fallout remains to be seen, but at least it will reveal how far Mancini has got with settling the squad, and handling egos and wage inequality.

We’ll have someone to blame if we ‘underachieve’ again, but that’s no consolation at all. It’s not about having excuses. We may lose more players and have another manager in seven months. Not good – this is where it would start to get difficult, and expensive in the wider sense, as effectively we will have achieved nothing, and the hyperbole will have worn paper thin.

All we will have is a scapegoat, who for the ruminant masses will be Carlos Tevez, but the real reasons may never be clear. Let’s just hope – if this badly timed saga does all turn to shite – that we don’t end up having to point fingers and react with another misguided sense of urgency. Let’s hope we succeed and forget, and that City now has resources beyond oil billions to pump into the void Tevez will leave behind.

Which leads me to ask what Mancini et al knew about this before our trip to West Ham. If any of the players were aware of how advanced Carlos’ problems with City were, we didn’t show it. Unless Balotelli knew, and was so upset about it he had to behave like he’d fallen out of his pushchair into some nettles.

Regardless, this could be a good sign. But if the squad knew nothing, it could spell trouble for the next few fixtures at least. Fixtures that, when you consider our closest current rivals will meanwhile be playing each other, could define the rest of our season – and the next – in a truly significant way. Sad but true. And an interesting month ahead for City, to say the least.

‘Oh yes it is!’


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Article title: Starring Brian Marwood As ‘Jack’ & Gary Cook As ‘His Beanstalk…’

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