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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
I was delighted to see Manchester City lose this weekend. How appalling is that? It made me feel dirty. It is a truly sad man who takes pleasure in the misfortune of others, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to feel anything other than contempt for Roberto Mancini's men. They were well beaten on Saturday by a Hull side assembled on a fraction of their transfer budget and boy, did it feel good to watch.

I don't hold with this view that Manchester City are 'mixing it up' at the top of the table, as if they're plucky upstarts from the backwaters of English football, a modern day Norwich City challenging for Europe by virtue of some Jeremy Goss thunderbolts. They're nothing of the sort. They're a rich man's toy. They're a teenager cheating at Football Manager. For the money they've spent on players and wages, they could have just bought Liverpool from the Americans, shut the club down and sold Anfield off for flats. That would have freed up a place in the Champions League. Actually, I shouldn't have said that, Garry Cook might be reading.

It is Cook who is responsible for much of this ill-will. Their egregious chief executive has just two sub-routines in his decision making process. Plan A, offer lots of money. If Plan A fails advance to Plan B and offer even more money. His summer pursuit of John Terry, and how much fun would last week have been if that deal had gone through, was hilarious. Will you join for 100 grand a week? No? 200 grand a week? Still no? Erm...300 grand a week? Cook makes Peter Ridsdale look like a Methodist accountant.

I miss the real Manchester City. The club whose fans held their heads up even in the shadow of their more successful neighbours. The fans who turned up in their hundreds at Roots Hall in 2006 just because former hero Shaun Goater was retiring and they wanted to see him off properly, regardless of the fact that he actually played for Southend United at the time. They were a proper club, representative of some of the better aspects of the game.

I'd imagine that a man like Cook likes to gaze across his empire every now and then, casting his eyes over everything he has bought. I wonder though, if he ever considers what he has lost.