Tuesday, July 5, 2011


My dear Carlitos. No, hang on. Dear Carlos,

On the day when Rebekah Brooks and her filthy dirty linen was hung up for all to see, a moment pondering the cleanliness of mind of the likes of Kia Joorabchian and your extremely good self might seem moot, (look it up) but I enjoy a challenge. Much like your good self.

Not specially nice
You footballers do not generally leave us with much hope these days. The cash has forced a wedge between us and you, the phalanxes of purple-suited advisers have told you you are great once too often and all those young orange-faced Kylies and Rebekahs (or Marias and Evas), so ideologically wide at the hips, have yelped and sighed at every insane non-entity you lot opine. Yours is an odd world indeed with its never-ending hotel stays and every-two-minutes hand-shakes. Do you even know a quarter of the hands you have to shake? Who are all these people, who call you by your first name?

Fuerte Apache, a kind of Newcross sink estate with mesquelin bandits and cackling cut-throats, is where you began your journey. (We have to call these things journeys, bear with me). Amongst litter, squalor and intimidation, ten foot graffiti, barking feral dogs and the heavy, gluey aroma of hopelessness. A giant mural of El Pibe stared down at you whilst you pissed on the fence. That you have come this far, like Diego and many others before you, is a minor miracle. For this grand achievement you should be applauded long and loud. Perhaps because of all this cardboard and corrugated metal muddle, because of the fights, the accidents, the fear, that pan of boiling soup, the hellish trick that life played on you, you have made yourself into a fighter. You have shown us this side of yourself often enough. It is something that endears you to us northerners, happy in our thick-boots-and-coat mentality to trust the qualities of the pit and the dock, rather than the more effete skills of the paintbrush and the bassoon. 53 goals do not occur in a mere 86 games if you don't know how to put a shift in. We have all witnessed how phenomenally you pester the opposition, your drive and will to win, your controlled aggression and leaping spirit. You are a bit like a bulldozer with a Ferrari engine.

Yet, also, at times like this, you seem also like a small boy whose Mummy has taken away your Solero. A Solero Exotico, at that.

Manchester can be a wet, grey and uninteresting place. If you come from a land of glorious open plains, alpaca skin slippers and barbie-friendly t-bone steaks the size of Staten Island, it can be even worse, but it is clearly not a horrid little dive with two restaurants. You have have probably never even been to Hull. You, though, come from Buenos Aires, a city with a climate not that dissimilar to northern England. Admittedly, it is called the Paris of South America, it has the luscious culture of tango, the vibrancy of Latin America and the vivacious allure of the unfamiliar. But not to you it doesn't. Not for you the wide boulevards, the accordion musicians in the park, the wrought iron balustrades. Fuerte Apache seems to me to make Withenshawe look like a viable holiday destination and this, let it be said, is your Buenos Aires.

But it is not the place you miss. It is the people. Like many human beings in 2011, you are the owner of a complicated social life. Restless loins, low attention span, grade E in General Studies. Your kids seem to be the stumbling block. This time. It was Gary Cook last time, of course, but, which footballer, as somebody famously asked, ever left a club because he couldn't get on with the directors? In fact Cook is one of many individuals at City who appear to have gone considerably out of their way to cut you *some* slack. Enough, it appears, for you to get completely and utterly tied up in knots.

Consider the money. Ah the money. Money buys you freedom, unless of course you are contracted to play for Manchester City in the worst place on the planet. You, however, have already put up with this hell-hole for many years, occasionally even being able to break into a smile and hold it. Nonetheless, if you happened to be unlucky enough to earn a million pounds per month (...say that slowly out loud to yourself, then go pour yourself a stiff drink), you would, with the assistance of the one adviser you have with O levels, almost certainly be able to come up with a scheme that sorted out your problems. I will give it a brief try: See what you think. Apologies if I seem a little amateur in my imagining of how to spend vast sums of money as if I were availing myself of a bag of chocolate buttons.

  • Fly children and their mother over at own expense and agree to house them in a warm, Spanish-speaking environment, say, Barcelona, on the coast, near Sitges, in a mock Manueline pink granite mansion with three swimming pools, one of those hoovers for your lawn, a speedboat, a cook, a bottlewasher, a bottom scrubber, some canaries, a gymnasium, a tanning salon and a very very big television. Eight very very big televisions. No, eleven.
  • Get Skype. The expensive, corporate upgraded one.
  • Agree to fly your family to Manchester (direct from Barcelona, 2 hours and 40 minutes) as often as they wish, first class, with free crayons for the kids and foot massage for ex-wife/girlfriend/mother of offspring.
  • Agree to fly in opposite direction whenever afore-said arrangement cannot happen. Talk positively to club. They have already given you everything you could ever have wished for and more. They won't say "no", I guarantee it.
  • Buy an even bigger mock-Peronist townhouse and have it plonked 500 metres from the one you've bought the kids and mother thereof. When she gets tired of the sight of you, you can take them next door.
  • Hire a really good language trainer, on full-time flexible hours. Buy him/her a house and a frequent flier contract and ask him/her nicely to fit in with your schedule and help you become a successful communicator with the people who pay for your lifestyle, those other people who pay to watch you perform, and yet other people who live in the country where you are employed. By understanding them and making yourself understood, you might even make a friend or two!
  • Take a moment to understand the culture of where you have landed. It's free, this bit! It costs nothing!
  • Agree to raise Kia to 22.5% as long as he doesn't make a single noise ever again.
  • Continue to play really well for City. Everyone will eat out of your hand.

Simple as Gazpacho. What do you think?

Yours in highly-strung anticipation,

etc etc

1 comment:

  1. This is a fantastic blog, all due respect fella, from a City loving journalist.


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