Everyone in football should say a great big thank you to Sheik Mansour of Manchester City. City were bought by the Sheik Mansour’s Abu Dhabi investment company in August 2008 and have subsequently spent more than £200m on players in a bid to get to the apex of the Premier League.
A few months on and City have achieved a modicum of success but will have to wait until after the frenetic Christmas period to actually realise the benefits of the enormous investment injected into the club.
Paradoxically, the strategy adopted by Manchester City has done more for the Premiership in one season than competent referees, Goal Line Technology or FIFA possibly could.
City’s spending spree was unparalleled in the history of the game. They bought the talented, the misfits and the pretenders of the Premiership in a desperate attempt to usurp the top 4 teams … Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool. They also splashed out on some quality foreign players (David Silva, Mario Balotelli, Jerome Boateng, Yaya Toure and Aleksander Kolarov).
The transfer market was for a time like the bottom of the ocean just after a big dredging by a trawler.
The revenue clubs received from transfers inevitably helped them to balance their books and recuperate. This cash was badly needed, more so than the actual value that many of the players had to offer.
Because the availability of players in the transfer market dropped to near below zero, managers and coaches just got on with the game. Agents backed off and used the time to count their money.
Owner, manager and coaches grabbed the opportunity to concentrate on the remaining players in their squad and actually started to coach them to compete in the Premiership. This levelled the playing field for many clubs in the Premiership.
Most clubs rose to the challenge and worked harder and smarter with the players they had and as a result of this, the Premier league is now more entertaining, interesting and balanced.
The Christmas period is when the Premier league gets tough because of the crowded fixture list. Manchester City should fare better than most because of the strength and depth in their squad. The difference this season is that the other clubs have learnt to adapt and manage with less, and are trying harder. Even the owners are becoming more pragmatic. Thanks to Manchester City!