THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Monday 13 July ~

Both John Terry and Gareth Barry have been criticised over possible moves to Manchester City this summer. The allegation seems to be that choosing to move to City – and receive an increased wage – is an affront to their professional ambitions to win trophies. The argument has a simple flaw: it assumes that money and success do not go hand in hand in football. If anyone has witnessed the disproof of that theory it is Terry – the “Mr Chelsea” of the Abramovich era.

Irked by Gareth Barry's choice of City over Liverpool, Rafael Benítez claimed Barry was only interested in money. Without saying too much, Rafa commented: "If it's just for money sometimes you will make mistakes, like Gareth Barry. I won't say too much, but it was clearly for money – 100 per cent." The argument does carry some weight. City are offering astronomical wages but cannot claim any recent silverware. They barely finished into the top half of the Premier League table this season and will not play in the Champions League next season.

However, unlike Chelsea, and to a lesser extent Liverpool, City's squad is going through a period of extensive enhancement. To claim that Barry and Terry are only interested in money is to disparage the club's footballing ambitions. Three of the players they have signed since the Abu Dhabi United takeover last September have Champions League calibre. Robinho was snatched from under the covetous gazes of the then Chelsea manager Luiz Filipe Scolari; Barry was pursued repeatedly by Liverpool; and Carlos Tévez has reportedly turned down a five year contract with Manchester United to sign for Mark Hughes.

After lifting the FA Cup last season, Terry urged his bosses at Chelsea to sign Franck Ribery or David Villa. The club have so far failed to buy either of these two, and – despite being linked to Alexandre Pato, Zlatan Ibrahimovich and Kaka – their only recruits have been Yuri Zhirkov, Daniel Sturridge and Ross Turnbull.

To think that Terry's head has been turned only by the lure of City's lucre underestimates the rising level of footballing quality at Eastlands. If Terry signs for Man City his earnings will be staggering, but, as Chelsea have shown in the past six years, money and silverware are firm friends in football. Paul Campbell

Comments (5)
Comment by Percinho 2009-07-13 17:01:21

I think the bigger problem with Terry is his regular announcements that he's Chelsea through and through and wouldn't consider playing for another club. As soon as they start to look uncompetitive and another team flashes the cash however he seems a little less certain about it all.

Granted, there's a lot here that could just be paper talk, but he could very easily have ended all the speculation with a single statement, and has signally failed to do so.

Comment by paulandrewparker 2009-07-14 01:02:50

To suggest that Barry, Tevez and Terry might join City for footballing ambitions is ludicrous - They're managed by Mark Hughes for God's sake.

Comment by ian.64 2009-07-14 11:00:30

"To claim that Barry and Terry are only interested in money is to disparage the club's footballing ambitions."

'Ambition' is a word that used to freely to put a discreet spin on the phrase 'spending like there's no tomorrow', and the above phrase implies that we should all respect Man City's new-found penchant to wave a huge contract in front of any players they want. Of course, no one can stop them doing what they're doing and, after grumbling about it, I suppose even cynical buggers like me can see that if anyone's offered a gargantuan amount of cash to take up a new position elsewhere then that person will go to where the money is and sharpish.

But it's a huge shame that football is now about turning the sport into a vending machine, where if you put money in, the best will come tumbling out, ready for you to win trophies, top four positions, etc. And, more saddening, is the reality that 'building' a team will now be seen as a product of a bygone era. It is, of course. If you even try, as a manager, to introduce promising new blood to build a team upon, the top clubs will be in there like a shot to steal it from you and your plans turn to dust. The pendulum swung towards the powerful in the game long ago.

There's bullish talk by them more complacent, c*ntishly-blase pundits that Man City will 'break the monopoly' of the Top Four, as if that were a sign of optimism to make the most of us, who haven't got benefactors with pockets the size of Switzerland, blissfully happy. First off, there'll probably be a Top Five impossible to break into from now on, or that one of the Top Four will fade away, leaving Man City to take their place, so leaving such monopoly unchanged.

Of course, some Man City fans who, having gotten used to their club being the Chuckle Brothers of the football world, now have new bravado and glee of their own. Understandable, I suppose, having had not all that much to shout about for so long. But it's amusing, in some quarters, to see this new brand of nouveau riche come out, all guns blazing, to tell us how they'll rule the world. That bloke who used to mumble about holding onto a 0-0 draw while sinking his pint is now Arnold Schwarzennegger, and his lot are going to grind your noses into the dust, pitiful, moneyless weaklings that you are. The milquetoast who didn't say all that much has been transformed into Chuck Norris. And he wants Champions League football. Now.

You could argue that Chelsea did all this before, so why not Man City? True, but the anger of Chelsea's seemingly boundless largesse faded to be left with tolerance. Which is not the same as respectfulness or admiration. Which is what will be with City. They'll spend like the clappers. And most of us will just stand by and go 'whatever'. Your money. Do what you like.

I can hear the question now: "wouldn't you be the same if it happened to you?" Of course I would. I'd be your king, you, my bitch. I'd stop being all level-headed and considered about the game and turn into this middle-finger warrior, using you as a welcome mat as we buy your top players and swipe a few of your young good ones, as well. Masters and servants.

But then again, I might not, because most of us would react in different ways. Not all of us are glory-hogs, just waiting to use a sugar-daddy to bolster our shallow personalities to climb upon a false plateau of superiority.

And there's the old chestnut: 'You're just jealous (add sneer)'. Well, of course we are. Steamingly so. Manchester City have limitless wealth and the rest will have more cause to rummage about the bargain bins more than ever. What did they expect? Rose petals and a red carpet? Key to the city? Oscar nominations?

Here's to a new era. Try and make yourself happy while it unfolds.

Comment by ian.64 2009-07-14 11:02:59

Have already spotted a few clumsy errors in my last post ("There's bullish talk by them more complacent, c*ntishly-blase pundits") . Sorry for that - but not for the spirit and intention of the whole piece.

Comment by t.j.vickerman 2009-07-14 11:34:06

Interesting to read Benitez's complaints.

After all it's not as if, by qualifying for the Champions League in its first few years, Liverpool have been able to earn more cash and outspend all the other non-'Big 4' teams to buy better players and cherrypick the best of the talent at other Premier League clubs, further widening the gap between them and the rest of the league now, is it?

But when a new team come into the picture it suddenly becomes all about the money.

As a supporter of a mid-table League 1 team, I don't take any joy in seeing Man City spending these amounts of money trying to buy instant success, much as I didn't with Chelsea. Then I don't care either way about the top end of the Premier League - they're all as unpleasant as each other.

But that's what the Premier League's about: greed. That's what it was created for in 1992. Live with it.

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