Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Evolution or Revolution?

A famous RockNRoll band once sang:

"You can wait for a lifetime, to spend your days in the sunshine"

This applies to both Chelsea and Manchester City

In-spite of Chelsea's power in the last few years, reaching the last 4 of the Champions League with almost clockwork precision, they had always been on London's second tier of football clubs, yoyo-ing up and down the divisions through the 1980s and lagging behind the traditional capital powerhouses "North of the River" in Arsenal and Tottenham...they were always competing more with the West Hams of this world rather than the Barcelonas, and European football was only likely if they had a pre season jaunt to Sweden to fight Millwall fans in Malmo. Their hooligan right-wing "Headhunters" supporter base were more famous than their players..they could eat Ultras for breakfast.

Manchester City, like Chelsea, were no strangers to lower league football. Most of their fans still remember their journey to the third rung of English football in 1999 (and only escaping that division with an extra time play off victory versus....Gillingham!) when their crosstown rivals were winning The Treble and making history.

In 2009, things are very different. Here begins a season where two of English football's Big 5 (City have used it's chequebook to ram-raid its way into the Big 4 party) start two of the years most interesting sporting projects.

'Can true success be bought or can you take what you have, and tweak your way to trophies'

Chelsea still have the post-Jose blues, and are now about to chew their way through their next high profile manager. People have already forgotten how highly regarded Big Phil Scolari was just twelve months ago. But after dropping just a handful of points, and one day giving Lord Jonathon George Terry "a funny look" in training, he is now considered an incompetent buffoon and has been banished to Uzbekistani football...Ancelotti beware! A trip to Malta's Premier Division may be your next call.

Milan's former don should do well at Chelsea. He already has a good set of players, but the club's supposed inability to spend to support him this season is baffling. I have heard the Italian say the classic words "I am happy with the squad already" These are the same words that Scolari used in 2008. Whatever happens, Chelsea will challenge hard. But I think Ancelotti will have to adjust more to English football, than his team will have to adjust to him. Scolari fell foul of this last year...being a World Cup winner was simply not enough to know how to deal with Stoke City or Wigan Athletic on a wet and cold December night under floodlights. I feel Ancelotti will have similar problems.

Man City, following the old formula of recent Chelsea Past, are a totally different proposition, and an exciting one at that..even to a United fan! Having raped and pillaged clubs and countries for the players their hearts desired, Mark Hughes' men are in a unique position. Many will say that City will need time to gel. Nobody told Blackburn this in the 1990s.

Jack Walker was a very very rich man. He brought in a top manager and paid big wages for good players. And he got what he wanted. Instant success.

I believe Manchester City can do the same

Lets face it. None of us want City to do well. They are now a symbol of vulgarity. But i do not blame them, that if they get bought out by an oil rich giant, that they don't splash the cash in a big way and go for it.

Robinho, Tevez, Santa Cruz, Bellamy and Adebayor will all get goals. Barry and Ireland will give them power and finesse. And if they complete their Goodison Park theft of Lescott, with Toure, Richards, Bridge and Given, they will shut most teams out. And worst of all......they will keep spending and adding to this.

Sounds dangerous to the status quo, huh? And that is a clear and present danger NOW to the whole Premier League. That is the truth of the matter. Not a danger in 1 or 2 years. NOW. Today. Forget your "bedding in". Forget your "need for a really big signing". City are here and now, and in our faces.

And I for one welcome the competition.

This year is excitingly shaping up. More exciting than previous years. Can Liverpool stop always being the bridesmaid? Will United not score any goals without Ronaldo? Will Arsenal field a youth team every week? What is for sure is that the evolution of Chelsea and the revolution at Eastlands will probably steal all the gossip column inches in the months to come.

"..and darling, this how we used to do it in the 80s"

Evolution? Lets hope so.

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