Can’t Buy Me Love

By , Posted on 27th January 2012 - Posted in: News

John Lennon was once famously asked ‘Is Ringo Starr the best drummer in the world? With barely a pause he replied ‘He’s not even the best drummer in the Beatles’, a retort that showcased all of the acerbic Scouse wit the Fab Four were duly noted for (that is, in addition to their rather special music).

As the Premier League’s very own Fab Four morphs inexorably into a Super Six, I’m reminded of Mr Lennon’s quip. It’s one that seems very apt when talking about the relative merits of the two northern giants that sit first and second in the Premier League table. Yes, Manchester United may well have considered themselves top dogs on the world stage in recent years (at least until the current incarnation of Barcelona knocked them off their perch) but nowadays you’d be hard pushed to say they were the best team in their own city.

And yet. And yet. Though we see the writing on the wall, Manchester City haven’t quite done it yet, have they? As the world’s richest club, with one of the strongest playing squads around, the inevitability of them imminently assuming the mantle of England’s top dogs, prior to becoming the world’s best side doesn’t seem to be such the shoe in it did a few weeks back.

For starters, there’s a lot more to it than cash. Quite simply, and for the time being, City are all piss and vinegar; vulgar young pretenders, still wet behind the ears. What they have in the bank they lack in gravitas and credibility. Though the world affords them due respect no one feels City have yet earned their stripes. And they’ve wobbled of late, dropping league points and getting themselves unceremoniously knocked out of both domestic cups as well as the Champions League. Being top of the tree is not as easy as it seems.

Something else they’ll learn is that no one will shed any tears each time they take a tumble. They’ve long since handed in the lovable, dysfunctional misfits badge. Stakes are high now and everyone wants to beat them.

Of course, in the long haul no one doubts they’ll get there, but there’s still a fair way to travel. If they already have usurped their more famous neighbours (and it’s a big ‘if’) we won’t really know until May.  Then the serious work will begin in earnest. Getting to the top is one thing, staying there’s another matter.

Conquering Europe and the world will be a whole new ball game and should City take the Premier League title it’s by no means a guarantee that global domination will follow. Football’s  a strange game, and so is life. Once again it’s to John Lennon that we should look for insight. He didn’t know much about football, but he did make the famous observation, ‘life is what happens when you’re making other plans’. Older Manchester City fans at least, will know the wisdom of that.

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