Things We Think We Think #186


1: We’ll do the Burnley performance first, and then its grisly consequences. They froze. When confronted with both the most important and most winnable fixture of the entire season, almost every single City player froze with fear. Gone was the swashbuckling display at Crystal Palace or the tenacious overcoming of Liverpool, replaced with a feeble, terrified, abject offering.

2. We must sadly conclude that our failure this season is caused by mental weakness. On paper – where football is obviously not played – we possess a squad patently capable of having secured safety weeks ago and able to possess loftier goals than mere survival anyway. But repeatedly this season, in big games, or winnable home fixtures, or tricky away fixtures, the side has collectively failed to show up. Are the players bottlers? Is the manager incapable of motivating them? Barring a miracle (about which more shortly), we’re going to spend a long, unhappy summer of recriminations, which are sure to focus on the pitifully soft nature of our side.

2a. That MOTD graphic showing that we’d outspent the 6 other sides that constitute the bottom 7 was grim reading wasn’t it? A reminder too, that you can buy talent and potential, but not heart and pride.

3. Barely any of the side who slunk from the field on Saturday escaped without a severe dent to their reputation. Quinn was busy, though in a midfield that also contained the idle Huddlestone and the hopeless Livermore, he could scarcely have looked poor. Jelavić looked full of running when he came on, if patently unfit. And that’s about it. What a rotten time for almost everyone to completely fail to turn up.

4. At the moment, we aren’t terribly interested in excuses. All sides get injuries. Everyone benefits and suffers from patchy refereeing. Sunderland’s brace of deflating deflections earlier on Saturday afternoon cannot mask a season of underachievement. And so on. At this stage of the season, the table doesn’t lie.

5. Of course, there’s still scope for the table to be adjusted in our favour – but that is going to require something we frankly don’t think our side is capable of. Tottenham may be mentally on the beach by now, but that seems of little immediate use when our side is in the equally unhappy situation of cowering in a corner. Meanwhile, there’s not much to suggest that even a Manchester United side with little to play for won’t overpower us on the final day. We probably have to win both of those games, though a win and a draw might just see us collapse over the line if other teams have an accommodating disaster of their own. However, the bookies’ price of 1/3 on City to go down doesn’t feel especially unfair right now.

6. And then what? The club has promised (stop laughing) that a review of prices will follow relegation. But can you seriously imagine Assem Allam doing anything remotely supporter-friendly? Armed with the knowledge that four extra fixtures will be played, he’ll probably think prices should go up. Meanwhile, few will renew until relegation is confirmed or miraculously avoided; at which point, those who covet the Premier League will decide to spend their £500+ on something else, leaving only a disaffected and embittered hardcore that the club is in any case doing its best to drive away.

7. Who’ll go? Who’ll stay? It turns the stomach a little to think of indolent millionaires skipping away from the club towards the latest fat contract without a single backward glance, but the avaricious nature of the game makes that inevitable.

8. However, we still have two games left to go before that all unfolds. A quirk of the fixtures means that City can’t actually be relegated at White Hart Lane, though another significant stride towards the Championship can be made. That means no-one will have the opportunity to make themselves look silly on the television by affecting distressed tears next weekend.

9. How would relegation impact upon Assem Allam’s idiotic attempts to change the club’s name? He’s said before that it’d be pointless in the Championship, as though it was somehow a fabulous wheeze in the Premier League, but then he’s said a lot of things before and his word is a currency possessing minimal value.

10. Hull Tigers v MK Dons next season. Try to imagine that without wanting to vomit.

21 replies
  1. Peter Boasman
    Peter Boasman says:

    I love reading this… It’s the cheapest form of counselling for post-match depression!

  2. Cumbria Tiger
    Cumbria Tiger says:

    It has to be said that the players who have done their best for most of the season are McShane, Quinn, Elmo, Rosenior, Bruce, Dawson, Meyler and Brady. They seem to value their places in the team and work hard. Jelavic has been unlucky with injuries but Hernandez, Aluko, and N’Doye have disappointed. Livermore and Huddlestone are not the players they were last season.

    Which ever league we play in next season we need a top class goalkeeper, Harper can’t go on forever, a pair of midfielders who can deliver 75% of accurate passes and a couple of strikers who will score 15+ goals each.

  3. Paul
    Paul says:

    What about Bruce’s lame excuses on Humberside afterwards, I gather he also blamed the ref a bit for making Dawson go off. He wasn’t ready to come straight back on so that was clutching at straws big time.

    When you look at the players Bruce has bought and paid big money for it pains me to agree with what Sunderland fans have said about him, don’t give him money to spend. When you see how bad Huddlestone has been all season yet Bruce keeps playing him you have to question that along with bizarre tactics like pushing N’Doye out wide when Roberstson stays on the bench, etc. etc.

    Season ticket sales were always going to be tricky but now, at those prices, haha no chance. £600+ for 23 Championship games surely not! £26 a match, what will matchday prices be like?

    How the optimism on the pitch of two weeks ago has faded away so quickly.

    Agree all is not lost though, I can see us getting something at Spurs and Sunderland not getting another point, they were ridiculously lucky on Saturday, as they were the week before.

  4. James
    James says:

    I’ve been a right miserable sod since full time this has done nothing to lighten my mood. The grim reality is we face a leeds type scenario rather than a west Brom. We peaked at 8 minutes 3 on may 17th 2014 and been on a downward spiral since, how long before the brakes are applied is the key now.

  5. Jimmy Weekly
    Jimmy Weekly says:

    Cumbria Tiger reckons that N’Doye has disappointed. Without N’Doye’s goals we’d have been down several games ago. He has been a snip and City will double their money, Shane Long-stylee, in a post-relegation sell-off.

  6. Ceefax
    Ceefax says:

    Cumbria Tiger also repeated the myth that we need a fifteen goals a season pairing; without resorting to google is there a side outside the top two so blessed? He may recall that we promoted from the championship with no scorer in double figures. And according to James, we peaked two hours before the FA Cup final kicked off.

    Grim times. Despite all, it is difficult to blame this on Allam Senior and Junior.
    In terms of on pitch stuff they have done exactly what they needed to; appoint a manager they have faith in, leave the football side to him and back him in the transfer market. Before folk jump on my back about the off-field stuff, I really believe that this has had minimal impact on results. The best results both this season and last have coincided with the more heated NTHT and AllamOut noises off.

    As Allam’s investment will conservatively fall in value by 75% over the next fortnight, now is the time to see how careful a custodian he really is and whether he claims of financial probity are really true. Well managed, and a Norwich like season is possible, but the more concerning role models; City last time, Wolves, Fulham and perhaps more pertinently, Cardiff, are rather more numerous and more easily replicated.

    Separately, on a non-City note, how the hell did QPR scramble their way back last time despite being such a basket case, and surely they could do it again, could they?

  7. Kevin Foster
    Kevin Foster says:

    Dear Jummy. It seems you’re saying it will be a good bit of business to make a profit on NDoye- where have I heard that before? That was the worst bit of business we’ve done in a long time (forgive the pun). Will the loss of millions on Huddlestone and the rest of the midfield and attack be classed as good business too? I could not believe last Saturday- talk about kick and Rush- it was like watching an under 10’s game. I will renew my season ticket whatever division we are in- after 47 years of supporting the team, I know we have been to places financially and football wise, much worse than this. It’s not all over til …….UTT

  8. Ben Burgess
    Ben Burgess says:

    As stated the name change will be a non issue in the Chumpionship as no one around the world and particularly the far east is interested in what goes on anywhere but the PL. My concern now is what the fall out of relegation will be. If as has been suggested, Allam had buyers lined up, that would have been on the basis of the club remaining in the Premier League. He has to consider whether to re invest or asset strip to see as much of his loan repaid. I fear that in light of the Allam Out protests he may “take his bat home” and do the latter.
    I will be there next season whatever to support whatever City team takes the field. Fed up of hearing people say “I wont be buying a pass next season”. Fine that is your prerogative. Allam or not no one is in any doubt that crowds will be down next season – that much is obvious and if we are successful people will drift back. In my opinion if we are at home first game next season against unattractive opposition there will be 14/15000 there at most.

  9. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    If we set up to win at Spurs, Huddlestone dropped, Robertson in, Jelavić and N’Doye up front, then we have a chance. 3 points there would mean Sunderland would need 2 to survive.
    Sunderland are not a patch on Leicester and can they get a point away at Arsenal & Chelsea?
    Paul – I only mentioned MK Dons as it’s one of the few grounds I’ve never been to.
    If we do go down then £572 is going to be too rich for a lot of people. Albeit it could be worth it just to see us outclassing our Yorkshire rivals again.
    Fingers crossed for 3 points at Spurs and let’s hope the Ostrich inspires his team to another win.
    Man Utd might be at Wings Chinese, the night before our game :-)

  10. Bosco
    Bosco says:

    Kevin Foster – N’Doye was good business – £2.5M on a good striker.

    Long was sold for £12M and the money was spent on Hernandez (£9M and Diamme (circa £3M) – one is shit and the other is knackered.

  11. Ben Burgess
    Ben Burgess says:

    Hernandez has not had a fair crack at City – he will go on to a better team and score goals without doubt!

  12. Cheshire tiger
    Cheshire tiger says:

    Point 1- Burnley have played well this season and the writing was on the wall for Steve Bruce this particular game I fell. History repeats itself hopefully, and the last game of the season I predict Newcastle will go down as we get beat by Man Utd, and Steve Bruce will sing on pitch with Allam, Elvis Presley’s Alleluia.

  13. Paul
    Paul says:

    Sort of agree with Ben there. I find it baffling that Bruce has paid £10m for a player and not really played him. What sort of research had he done on him before spending such cash?

    Les agree with that, I could not listen to much of Bruce’s ramblings, he is clearly not able to motivate the team and his lame excuses are wearing very thin. Also how long has he not lived in the north east? Surely he could actually stop saying words that do not exist in the English language? “Pick wor selves up”. What does that actually mean?

  14. JohnK
    JohnK says:

    Time to change the Bruce Almighty rating I think. 7/10 is looking a bit too generous if you ask me.

    So here is a funny but very accurate story for you. On Easter Sunday, Steve Bruce was having an amble through a well known stretch of parkland in Manchester with his family. Somebody I am close to was also doing likewise and given that he has been a City fan since the mid sixties thought he would wander up and shake Steve by the hand. As his reputation suggests Steve was very friendly and approachable and they had a brief chat and a photo. As they parted my friend said to Steve “good luck for the rest of the season” to which Steve replied, “thanks, we are going to need it.”

    I know that Steve is well known for his honesty, and all credit to him for this however I think I might like to have heard him say, “thanks but don’t worry we are going to give it a right go and we won’t go down for want of trying!”

    Perhaps there was too much reliance on the “luck” required last Saturday.

  15. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    It is very strange that Hernandez hasn’t been given a consistent run. When he and Jelavic first got together they looked a great pairing. Injuries then seperated the pair but surely he’s more likely to score than Aluko?
    I agree that the Bruce Almighty rating needs to now be a 5/6?
    If boring, boring Nigel can inspire a mediocre Leicester side to 6/7 surely we should’ve been safe by now.
    I too am a little tired of the lame excuses. especially when the pre-Cup Final slump last season robbed me of £1,500 on a bet.
    However a win at Spurs, coupled with a Leicester win / draw at Sunderland and it’s game on again.
    If we don’t get the required 3 or 4 points from the last 2 games then we deserve to go down.

  16. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    Agree with much of comment above. Think the Sunderland result before kick off contributed, but SB’s inspirational leadership seems very hit or miss! We saw similar at the end of the promotion season, which ended as a scramble! On to Spurs where we really need a win … and others to fail now. I’d go…Harper, McShane, Dawson, Chester, Rosenior, Elmo, Meyler, Livermore, Brady, Jela, N’Doye….4-4-2….or could someone inspire Huddlestone to produce against Spurs. Think Robertson bit weak defensively, but would have considered v Burnley. Bit unlucky to lose, ref anall! Still a chance…COYH!

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