Friday, March 11, 2011

Kiev 2 City 0; Allergies, excuses, and media blackouts...

Barring an extraordinary turn-around in form in the reverse fixture, Manchester City look likely to crash out of the Ropey League at the Round of 16 after a limp 0-2 loss to Dynamo Chicken Kiev. And by failing to score a vital away goal, the Blues will now need to score at least three in the return leg to progress.

I haven't seen Mancini's post-match interview, but I imagine that it will be along the lines of "we are tired", "we're playing every three days", "it was cold", "the pitch was not good" or some other ham-fisted attempt to justify a flaccid City performance (does Kolo Toure have a pill for that too?) by almost everyone on the pitch — and that includes the referee. UEFA ban coming for LiP methinks!

And not for the first time this season, Mancini is having to defend the performance of Mario "Top Deck" Balotelli, who had to be taken off early in the second half after suffering an allergic reaction to cold weather hard work the grass. He still had plenty of time to pick up a now customary booking, of course.

"He had an allergy, I don't know what, his face was swollen. He wanted to come out for the second half but he had this problem 10 seconds before coming out for the second half. I came out one minute before the players and I didn't see Mario" Roberto explained, without actually explaining anything. Like how he got through the first forty-five minutes just fine.

Mancini opted to start with a midfield three of Zabaleta, Gumboots Gaz, and Yaya Toure...

Speaking of managers speaking, or rather not speaking — earlier this week, Slur Alex Ferguson from That Club Up The Road came under fire for enacting a strict policy of blanking every media outlet possible — whether that be the BBC, Hale Preparatory School's monthly newsletter, or seldom-updated and overly-wordy Manchester City blogs. This blackout even extended to said-club's own television station, leaving a gap in programming that had to be hastily filled by repeats of Bargain Hunt, where two teams scour the lower leagues of Europe to find "value in the transfer market".

As easy as it is to describe Ferguson's bully-boy attitude to the media as "petulant" and "deplorable" (that's because it is), I sometimes wonder whether that would be a better alternative to what Manchester City are doing at the moment.

There's no doubt that City's Official Site is fantastic. There's plenty of fresh content, and most importantly, it doesn't look like a dog's breakfast compared to some other football websites. Watching the kitman going the gurn and doing some bit about the Oscars? Fine. Eating like your favourite Manchester City player? That's okay too. (Or if that doesn't take your fancy, you could always eat like your favourite Manchester City supporter...)

But then on the eve of one of the most important games in the context of this season, the club posts this video on Facebook, showing the team piss-farting about in the hotel before the match — and right in front of the manager too! Maybe if Mario had shown that kind of urgency during the match, the side wouldn't be in the predicament they're in now?

Sure, the friand-eating, square-framed-glasses wearing types that usually work in "Social Media" think this kind of publicity is the greatest thing since bikes came with fixed-gears, but can you imagine this happening at another club? Do you think Ferguson would have stood for that? Is this the kind of thing teams with "winning mentalities" do?

I don't mind the side losing occasionally, but when it seems the team can't be arsed, it winds me up no end. Especially when I then can't be arsed to turn that into 600 or so words of "witty" prose...

#UkraineFact: The national anthem of Ukraine is the Tetris theme Type B.

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