Sunday, December 19, 2010


What an extraordinary story continued to unfold at Manchester City. Their captain and heartbeat has decided he no longer wants to play for them. The same player who forced through the hugely acrimonious move across Manchester, and who has gone onto score 33 goals in 50 games to become an instant legend in the blue half of the city has decided enough is enough.

If we consider the facts, this is no surprise whatsoever. Tevez is nomadic. He hasn’t remained at any one club for more than 2 years and whilst talented has a very high opinion of his own ability and worth. There is no doubt that he works his socks off every time he steps onto a football field. For this he is rightly cherished by the fans who pay good money to see him. There’s nothing more galling than a player who doesn’t appear to be trying hard enough – a criticism often levelled at Berbatov – ironically the player who remained at Old Trafford at the expense of Tevez. Sir Alex risked the ire of United fans by jettisoning crowd favourite Tevez at the same time as Ronaldo. It looks like he got both decisions right. Ronaldo is a supreme talent but he had long made it clear his desire to play in Madrid and Fergie ensured he received the maximum transfer fee. The decision not to pay over the odds to keep Tevez looked misguided but he always knows best and we are now finding out that he was spot on. No player is bigger than the club. Even the biggest clubs.

City fans will rightly point out that Tevez, almost singlehandedly, has led them to the brink of the Premier League summit. It’s true. Chelsea’s implosion and United’s tendency to surrender leads has helped City to remain in touch and after the arctic conditions practically wiped out this weekend’s entire football calendar, City are being afforded the opportunity to hold top spot at Christmas if they beat Everton tomorrow. I suspect they’d take that.

It’s for this reason that Tevez will play rather than be made an example of. I am intrigued to see what sort of reaction he gets. I expect him to put in a man of the match performance. Without him City are a good team, with him they are potentially great. However it cannot be denied he has become a little too central to their quest for success. And this, I’m afraid, is entirely of their own making. Sheikh Mansour has not disguised that he is prepared to pay to win the league. Such a strategy can work in the short term but is surely doomed to failure in the longer term. It breeds the sort of mercenary greed that could ultimately undo all the good work so far this season. Tevez purports to be homesick but does anyone really expect him to return to his native Argentina. He’ll be playing in Spain or Italy during 2011. Another club will take a risk on him. He will let them down too. However, his disaffection at City comes a little early for them. Without him, even the most ardent City fan doesn’t give their club much hope of holding onto top spot in May.

I am and remain a huge fan of Carlos Tevez the football player but not of Carlos Tevez the man. He has proved himself to be a disgraceful human being and I have to pinch myself not to feel sorry for the club he has wronged.

In the mean time Rooney remains at Old Trafford, Torres at Liverpool and Lampard is due back for Chelsea. Christmas has perhaps come a little too early at Eastlands and there will be little sympathy if it all goes horribly wrong.