Banana Republic – Man City v Latics

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Some people say that you get all you deserve if you wear a yellow and black chequed away kit. And so it was that your eager eyed correspondent watching Kick Off that evening saw city spank ten past a hapless Huddersfield. They got one back I think – although anyone implying that it would be even a ‘consolation’ would receive a punch in a face off a shirt which resembled a large Wilsons’ beer mat.

I wouldn’t mind but I think Huddersfield Town played us the season after, still wearing the yellow and black away kit and they beat us 2-0, one of the goals scored by the diminutive Junior Bent. I remember this due to the marvellous way the tongue tied commentator on the end of the season video described the build up to the goal ‘And Junior Brent has just spung the offside trap’.

And yes you read that right, Huddersfield had the same away kit for TWO SEASONS IN A ROW, imagine that eh? If you could forgive anyone for changing their kit after only one season, you could forgive Huddersfield after inflicting that acid house abortion on the football spectating public at large.

 

Anyway, this isn’t about a bunch of garish double digit conceding Yorkshiremen, this is about Manchester City and I made my first trip there when all the banana stuff was kicking off. I can’t remember the year but it was a 2-2 draw against Shrewsbury and the Shrews brought about 12 fans spread across the huge Platt Lane end, 6 of whom looked like the EBF and one of whom was waving a solitary blow up banana. Carl Griffiths scored two for Shropshire’s finest. How on earth do I remember this sh*t?

I went to tick the ground off – I mean like, WE were never ever likely to be playing there were we? Stood on the Kippax, joined in the banana banter – sorry I forgot I’ve banned the word banter haven’t I? Joined in the songs, enjoyed the game as a pure neutral. Ten years later, I’m there again but not due to Wigan Athletic’s progression, more due to City’s demise. We all still moan about the Hand of Goat but the unpunished scything down of Kevin Sharp in the City box that night was a bigger injustice. There’s no point banging on about it now though is there, it gives us something to moan about and both clubs have moved on.

Our record versus city in the Premier League era more reflects their progress as a club than ours. The weak, yellow bellied perennially underachieving City of a few years ago were regularly in receipt of losing three points to the cheeky young upstarts of Wigan Athletic, including one 4-0 shocker at the JJB Stadium but eventually money turns into results as city have slowly transitioned into a side that puts the little clubs to bed and starts to give the top sides a run for their money.

Nevertheless, I doubt you will find too many City diehards getting too carried away. They have set out their stall last year by actually managing to win a major trophy after 36 years embarrassing at least one United tit with a flag in the process. Winning the Champions League or Premier League might not be as straightforward though.

Yet if the early season barometer’s are anything to go by it looks like they are ready to step it up another gear again. The two Manchester clubs look set to dictate football for a considerable time, United with some quality juniors purchased and coming through, City with a squad of Galacticos who have the sort of God given talents that they can’t fail to pull most sides apart. And I don’t particularly begrudge them their millions, if it wasn’t them it would be someone else. It’s unfair to blame city for the fact that football in general has been ruined by money.

It looks like there could be the sort of Real/Barca situation and the gulf is so huge compared to the small fry in this league like us, then it would suit all concerned if the pair of them would b*gger off and form their European Super League sooner rather than later. Not that I expect Liverpool or Chelsea fans to agree with that.

So what chance have we got he wails openly?

Well very little.

Despite local radio’s insistence that we are city’s bogey team, we’ve only actually taken a singular point off them in the last two years including a shocker at the City of Manchester Stadium a couple of years ago, where Tevez got Gary Caldwell sent off and then proceeded to bang in a hat trick for good measure. We mustered up a 1-1 draw at ours but last year they beat us without ever getting out of second gear at the DW.

As recently as March though, it was only a rare Al Habsi fumble that gifted City the points at Eastlands and even then Conor Sammon came ridiculously close to snatching a point for us, so maybe it isn’t impossible.

However, even the Man City of six months ago is vastly different to the City of today. Silva and Dzeko look vastly more settled and the addition of another world superstar in Aguero adds another dimension. Even if is, as rumoured, the Argentinian is rested today, they’ll just draft in some rubbing rag called Tevez, who rarely looks homesick when faced with our defence. Add in a ridiculously talented attacking midfield where the likes of Milner and Adam Johnson are limited to bit part appearances and what you’re left with is a tall order of Stephen Fry perched on Jeremy Clarkson’s shoulders proportions. Perish the thought.

In some ways, it may have been better to play Everton this week and City the next to try and maintain any kind of momentum. As it stands, if we manage to still have a positive goal difference at 5pm, let alone our unbeaten run intact, it will represent a minor miracle.

We can’t go into games with this attitude, fans or players and we somehow need to resurrect that ‘nothing is impossible’ spirit of Wigan Athletic past. Surely it is just eleven men against eleven at the end of the day? Well sort of. More like eleven men attempting a containment exercise while the other eleven strut around and wait to utilise their divine skills to glide through their opponents.

I didn’t see the City v Spurs game, which is the really frightening one but we can take a little bit of heart from the Swansea game in that they managed to limit City for an hour, just as Latics have done in the past many times. The difference now is that they have the kind of attacking riches which always break through sooner or later and once they do they don’t seem to be happy to just settle for the one goal.

It is not inconceivable that we could see some absolute spankings handed out by city this season when their forward line is in such irresistible mood. We can but hope for a solid performances which limits those attacking intentions and gets a bit lucky in defence and attack and hope that those drubbings are issued to somebody else.

Now, what colour away kit are we wearing today?

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