Today is Friday, the end of our working week and another step closer to this blog getting a fancy face-lift. Whilst there is a part of me that sort of likes this weird, thrown-together layout, I have to be realistic and say it looks incredibly poor compared to other blogs. I feel that sometimes, the quality of the site undermines what we write and soon enough, that will all change. We’ll look fancy and there’s going to be buttons here, there and everywhere. I can’t put a date on it just yet, but it will be very, very soon.
Anyway, in this morning’s news, Sam Sheringham of the BBC, reports that Bryan Robson believes that Sir Alex Ferguson’s zero-tolerance approach to unruly players will give his club the edge over Manchester City in the title race.
According to Robson, Manchester City players Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli have been allowed to disrupt their team’s title challenge in a way that Ferguson would have never allowed, stating, ‘the Tevez saga, stories of Balotelli’s nights out, Ferguson doesn’t allow it to happen in his club. He does man-management really well, that could be the biggest difference’.
It would seem that Robson has made a very large oversight here, completely forgetting the Wayne Rooney saga which enveloped Manchester United last season. Rooney claimed he was not going to re-sign his contract with Manchester United, stating that United ‘lacked ambition’ and wanted out. It was no hoax either, as a tearful Sir Alex Ferguson revealed all during a press conference before a Champions League match against Bursaspor.
If Rooney was not to sign a new deal with Manchester United, then it would have meant Rooney going on the cheap in January, and even cheaper that summer if he were to stay, with Rooney being a free agent at the end of the current season. (2011/2012) Rooney’s public tantrum saw him offered a huge contract, above any other United player. Rooney knew he held all the cards. In Rooney’s position as star player and a lucrative figure for Manchester United to use on tours of Asia and America etc, it would have been a disaster to let him go and just as expensive to replace him. Rooney knew that and forced Sir Alex Ferguson and the Manchester United board into giving him a massive contract.
So I ask you, Mr Robson, how tolerant was SAF on Rooney during that whole saga, or how tolerant was SAF when Rooney was revealed to have had a threesome with two prostitutes? Since Rooney’s contract saga, he’s been involved with prostitutes and just a few months ago, was dropped from the United squad for a few matches, having been caught out at a restaurant with his wife, Coleen, the night before a match.
I’d say that Rooney is skipping about, doing as he pleases under Sir Alex Ferguson’s watch, wouldn’t you? There are instances where Sir Alex Ferguson had been unable to tame a player and it would seem that Mario Balotelli is another player who can’t be tamed into being a fluffy, household pet.
As for the Carlos Tevez saga which Robson refers to, well I believe Roberto Mancini handled that episode expertly. Having refused to play for Manchester City against Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena, in the Champions League, you know, the biggest club competition in world football, Tevez was immediately dropped and sent away. Mancini vowed Tevez would never play again for Manchester City.
When the dust had settled and Mancini had indeed calmed down, he stated that Tevez would be allowed a way back into Manchester City’s team, but only when he’d apologised, which was a very fair thing to say. That was Mancini simply being the bigger man and offering Tevez an olive branch, on the condition that Tevez grovelled to grab a hold of that branch.
Since then, Carlos Tevez has publicly apologised, though it did take much pouting to get him there, and Roberto Mancini has re-introduced him into the fold, keeping his promise. Tevez lost £10 million in wages, sponsorship etc, so he got a severe punishment financially.
For Robson to suggest that Mancini has no control over his players is ridiculous, they clearly all play for him, or they would have never managed that tactical masterclass over Manchester United at Old Trafford, winning 6-1. It wasn’t just a few individuals who won the match for Manchester City that day, but a collective team effort, all drilled to Mancini’s wishes.
Finally, we’ll end today’s news in Russia, or Dagestan, where Chris Samba was racially abused whilst playing an away match for Anzhi Makhachkala against Lokomotiv Moscow. At the end of the match, which Lokomotiv won 1-0, Samba had a banana thrown in his direction from a member of the home support.
Lokomotiv however, dispute claims that their fans threw the banana and are laying the blame on Anzhi’s travelling support. Lokomotiv spokesman, Denis Novoselov told the Daily Mail that: ‘We studied all the video from surveillance cameras, carefully reviewed the testimony of witnesses , and the results of this investigation found that the banana was thrown by a fan of the Dagestani team. Anzhi vice-president, German Chistyakov then responded through the media: ‘We’ll wait for the results of the official investigation by RFPL (Russian Premier League). In the current situation we demand Lokomotiv provide us with the conclusive evidence, or immediate and official refutation with an apology to our fans and the club. Otherwise the case will be brought before the court and the law-enforcement bodies, not the ethics committee’.
Photo courtesy of Sovsport.ru
It really concerns me that these statements were flaunted before an investigation by the RFPL proved conclusive either way. It shows a lack of organisation, practice, professionalism and an awfully childish approach to a thing as serious as a race-row. All of this as Russia prepares itself to host a World Cup? It’s ludicrous to think that the world’s different ethnicities are bound to descend on a country so hostile in its treatment of other cultures.
There has even been an excuse made for the throwing of said banana, as in Russian culture, ‘to get a banana’, means, ‘to fail a test somewhere’. Lokomotiv has been linked with bananas before, having made a banner following ex-striker Peter Odemwingie’s transfer to Premiership side, West Brom. Lokomotiv’s banner read, ‘thank you West Brom’, with the words surrounded by bananas and showed one big banana.
Again, it worries me that such an attitude is displayed in Russia’a capital city towards black players and that Lokomotiv actually permitted their fans to display this banner. The banners you see at Arsenal are all permitted by the club and are only allowed up once they have been reviewed by Arsenal. Is there such organisation within Russia? I don’t believe that Lokomotiv Moscow ordered the banner removed immediately, either.
So here’s my final question. Having failed to captain Russia to World Cup 2010 and (though I hate to say it as I love the player) following a failed move to Arsenal, just how many baskets of bananas does Andrey Arshavin receive per week? If anybody can give me an account of lumps of bananas turning up at the doors of Roman Pavlyuchenko, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Andrey Arshavin, then I’ll shave my hair off, and even put the footage on YouTube to prove it.
That’s all from me today, I’ll see you back here on Monday. Till then.