Wednesday, May 15, 2013


It is not exactly anything new for football clubs -- any football club, and especially our own spotlessly shiny Manchester City -- to be accused of shabby manoeuvring and low-hand skullduggery with its managers, so FA Cup final weekend's inglorious tribute to Roberto Mancini and the many thousands of hours he has put in toward the Good Cause should not really have come as much of a shock.

Exactly a year on -- to the very day, let it be said -- from the greatest moment in any City supporter's lifetime, the air is full of the sound of tutting and expletives being offloaded into the night sky left, right and centre. Roberto Mancini has left the building with the wailing and gnashing of teeth loud and clear behind him. The Italian leaves in his wake a stream of distraught supporters, shocked at the brutality of the modern game and its lust for immediate success.

- Marcotti: Mancini's halted progress at Man City
- Brewin: City make no case for Mancini's defence
- Pellegrini favourite for City job
- WhoScored: Stats support Mancini sacking
- Jolly: Man City gamble with Mancini sacking
- Gallery: Mancini at City

In the whirring vortex of such news, it is difficult to see the wood for the trees, but let us for a moment try to take the man, his accomplishments and people's reaction thereto as our starting points.

In the maelstrom of innuendo and bleating, of finger pointing and gesticulating that we now find ourselves dispatched to, it is always the rational that is first to be dispensed with. That this storm of words was permitted to hit the nation's presses before the FA Cup final is borderline criminal, especially for a club whose appearances in these festive occasions can still be counted using the old upturned tree sloth and his three dirty little flea-infested fingers. Whether the news was squeezed out or escaped all by itself, the timing was legendary in its inappropriateness.

Roberto Mancini is a dignified man, who has often appeared ill at ease with the spit and flotsam that comes as part of the English football existence. He is, of course, Italian, so let us not pretend that he has not seen a few cut-throat shenanigans down through the years. He is no wet-behind-the-ears novice, after all. From Machiavelli to the Medicis, the Italian powerhouses have always been able to handle themselves, and Mancini is hewn from tough stock.

His departure now, with the papers falling over themselves to take a peek at Manuel Pellegrini and his credentials, smacks more than a little of the same ugly dustcloud kicked up around Mark Hughes when Mancini himself was supposedly waiting in the wings to take over.

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