Mancini needs to establish dominance
I wonder if Manchester City boss, Roberto Mancini likes Pink Floyd and in particular their best selling album, "Dark Side of the Moon?"
If I was a guessing man, I’m sure that track nine, "Brain Damage" would be his theme tune this season, because the lunatics really have been on the grass.
Despite his team sitting in second place, the City of Manchester stadium feels like an asylum filled with highly volatile, dysfunctional people who are either on the verge of crafting brilliance or staring at a complete breakdown, all within the space of twenty-four hours.
With a squad that has cost the combined GNP of small countries, expectations are higher for the Italian than perhaps any other manager in world sports. But if he wants to be the best shrink in the business, he can’t have it any other way, can he?
I would imagine in his office, the strains of Floyd float through the air, while a copy of Sigmund Freud’s, "The Ego and the Id" is prominently placed next to the chaise overlooking the grass where his loonies ply their trade.
Really has there ever been a team with as many sulking, unhappy, confused and stinking rich individuals as Manchester City?
Dissecting this squad, ordinarily, you’d look to the goalkeepers to find the nut jobs but in Mancini’s case, Joe Hart and Shay Given have been two of his calmest players. There’s been no grumbling, just solid professionalism, even taking into account Given’s lack of first team opportunities.
Once outside the eighteen-yard box though, things start getting zany in a hurry.
Micah Richards, who became City’s youngest ever captain when he took the armband against Aston Villa in 2007, is a firm believer in his own press. Brooding and demanding, he’s not been a presence in Mancini’s team due to injuries and attitude.
The $35 million dollar price tag around Joleon Lescott’s neck has completely messed with the body part attached to it, as his form hasn’t hit anything like his early Everton days.
And what can you say about Wayne Bridge, other than he’s a complete basket case. To think where he is now, compared to just a few seasons ago, when he was considered to have the potential to be one of the best-left backs in the world.
In midfield you’ve got Nigel de Jong who has more priors than OJ Simpson and could surely use a little therapy in anger management, while Shaun Wright-Phillips must be wondering how it all could’ve gone so wrong. But that’s small potatoes if you look towards the front line.
Roque Santa Cruz must be a hypochondriac. The Paraguayan has appeared in a City shirt a whopping 25 times in his illustrious three-year career, which works out to over $1 million dollars a pop. Boss, I’ve got a headache.
Brazilian striker, Jo, who cost about the same as Roque, doesn’t know if he’s coming or going. First he’s a Blue, then a Toffee, before disappearing to Brazil and eventually surfacing in Turkey. Now back at City, he’s plotting his next exit strategy.
Jo looks sane, though, compared to Emmanuel Adebayor. The Togolese forward who, despite kissing the crest at every opportunity, can’t wait to get to Italy and show the likes of Inter Milan how a real head case acts. I’m predicting that within the first week he’ll stamp on the face of Serie A royalty before giving the Curva Sud the finger.
Speaking of Inter, you know they weren’t that daft when they shifted Mario Balotelli off to Manchester. This has got to be the angriest twenty-year-old in the history of football and to think that it was Mancini that gave him his break at the San Siro.
Just what is going on in this young man’s mind? The angst is palpable. Judging from his body language when I’ve seen him play, he hates in no particular order, Mancini, his teammates, Manchester and football. He scares me.
And then there is the skipper, Carlos Tevez.
He says that he respects Mancini despite publicly rowing with him and that the problems that have led him to handing in a transfer request lie in his home life and ‘certain individuals’ at the club.
While I appreciate wanting to be close to his kids, part of being a highly paid professional footballer involves a great deal of sacrifice. If a Milan, Madrid or Barcelona suddenly came on the scene, I wonder how homesick Carlito would be?
As to the paranoid claim ‘certain individuals’ that have soured his ‘love’ of City, I find that one tough to accept. Other than the manager and the man who signs the checks, who else does Tevez have to deal with except his fellow players.
If you ask me, it all falls under the madness that is surrounding this expensive Middle Eastern toy.
Can it end in happiness? Not a chance in hell and as Pink Floyd so memorably sang 'and if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes...'
Roberto Mancini has a band full of emotional individuals and if he can’t get them on the grass playing the same tune he’ll surely head in the same direction as Syd Barrett, the mad genius who’s creation ultimately destroyed him.
Nick Webster is a senior writer for FoxSoccer.com covering the Barclay's Premier League and the English national team.