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Robin Sainty, INCSC chairman
Saturday, May 12, 2012
And so City’s travels are over for the season, neatly book-ended by deserved draws and with an incredible journey for the players, management and supporters in between.
While the point at Wigan was a decent start, Paul Merson, a pundit with all the cerebral firepower of a water pistol, was happy to pronounce that we were certainties for relegation after just the one game. How sweet it was, then, for City’s final road trip to result in Merson’s former club having to rely on others to get them into the Champions League, but how dare little Norwich City go to the Emirates and refuse to lie down? No wonder that Arsene Wenger stormed off down the tunnel at the end.
Wenger is a manager I used to have great respect for, but six trophy-less seasons have turned him into a very peevish man. We all know about his ability to see every perceived transgression against his team while missing all those they perpetrate.
That’s actually quite funny, but his blatant show of disrespect towards Paul Lambert at the final whistle on Saturday was an absolute disgrace as were Bacary Sagna’s ludicrous allegations against Bradley Johnson in a French paper.
Unfortunately, Wenger’s belief that nothing is ever the fault of himself or his players (could he be a secret scouser?) permeates through to the fans. That was perfectly illustrated by a remarkable article on an Arsenal blog site which actually claimed that Newcastle, Spurs and Chelsea are somehow conspiring to nobble the referees of Arsenal games. As an example of uncontrolled paranoia it takes some beating, with quotes like: “I hope that the club will be gathering evidence to give to the Premier League about what is going on and suggest that unless action is taken they will make their views public.”
I’d love a seat at that particular press conference….
Of course, it could just be that Arsenal were disappointing and City were excellent, but no-one’s going to believe a crackpot theory like that when it’s clear that there is a highly organised covert campaign to deny Arsenal a Champions League place.
Comedy gold, but there was more post-match fun with the odious Piers Morgan throwing an epic tantrum on Twitter and, in the tradition of bandwagon jumping ‘fans’ everywhere, laying into his own players while hurling insults at Alan Sugar and Gary Lineker.
There’s always a little bit of extra pleasure when City do well in London, given the patronising tone adopted by the media whenever we hit the capital, with Five Live’s remarks about City fans gazing at the magnificence of the Emirates in awe being the latest example of it.
One can only hope that no unsuspecting Arsenal fan used a cigarette lighter in front of the peasant hordes from the East, as he would almost certainly have been carried back to Norfolk to be worshipped as a fire god .….
While I was disappointed to miss out in the ballot for tickets, I have to say that it was both refreshing and instructive to watch the game on ESPN’s stream with Steve McManaman as a commentator.
His fulsome praise for City, and particularly Grant Holt, was refreshing to those of us who have had to suffer a diet of Hansen and Lawrenson all season.
Not for McManaman the bluff dismissal of Holt’s England prospects favoured by the louche plastic Irishman; in fact, he even described him as “England’s number nine” after one exquisite flick on to put Wes Hoolahan clear.
Despite the sneering from some quarters the campaign to get the great man to the Euros is gathering pace and Roy Hodgson could do an awful lot worse. Get him on the plane.