Q And A With Vital Man City
The interview is below, good one this one...
1) Do you feel that Paul Ince should have been given more time or was the right move made at the right time?
Well, I can't get away with saying he was a rag and so he should have been sacked, now can I?! You've hit on a subject that seriously blew up amongst Blues worldwide when City went down at West Brom last week. The majority of us were reaching for the revolvers and calling for Mark Hughes' head. But all of us were consumed, and indeed still are, by the big question as to whether it is right to sack a manager in the middle of a season. There is certainly a massive element of a gamble involved. Harry Redknapp did wonders initially at Spurs but his sides fortunes have become more erratic. Sunderland have stabilised since Royston Vasey Keane walked away and Joe 'Kinell has had similar success at Newcastle.
I personally dismiss the gloating theory that the rags always churn out when the subject of sacking a manager comes up. They remind us how they stuck with Taggart back in the late 80's and look what he has achieved etc, albeit with far more spending power than the rest of us. I believe that the stakes are far higher than they were back then because the financial gulf between the Premier League and the rest of football is now so vast. Chairmen are under intense pressure to ensure that their manager's deliver. So glaring cases of regular defeat such as Paul Ince's are almost certain to end in a sacking and to be honest, I would not want a PL Chairman's poison chalice, I can tell you. So in the modern era, sure, he had to go and vital points are already being accrued.
But, and this is a big but, any new manager and his incoming backroom team have to get to know the entire squad all over again and rapidly. As we saw at City when Svennis was disgracefully ousted by Frank Shinawatra, a lot of underperforming players who had let Sven down badly found a stay of execution under "Bluesy." We've since seen them let the new gaffer down and so a vicious circle can set in. We live in the "instant society" but there is no quick fix in building a football team.
2) How do you feel Mark Hughes has made the transition from club with limited funds to the big spenders?
Well, with all respect, he was already moving to a bigger stage that would have required enormous focus when he signed on for the Thai's, but who could have predicted what was to follow when Sheikh Mansour gave the go ahead? To date he has been directly responsible for bringing in the classy Vincent Kompany, the dynamic Shaun Wright-Phillips and the impressive Pablo Zabaleta and each one of these players has flourished under his leadership. He has overseen incredible performances from our best player Stephen Ireland and repeatedly shown faith with our MCFC Academy graduates.
He's been dignified and a great ambassador for the club, but on the downside we've been surprised at the lack of a siege mentality and fight that his sides have shown this season. We all expected greater determination but 36 goals in 19 league games has also shown that when the desire to attack takes Hughes' City side, they can tear any team apart.
But quite often he has tinkered too much with the formations, been over reliant on one striker up front and persisted in playing poor players far too often. Then again, he has had to cope with the small, young squad Sven left behind and a raft of injuries and suspensions to key players. Reaching the last 32 of the UEFA Cup has been quite an achievement all thing considered.
In conclusion, to his credit he's stood his ground while the sports hacks have been whipping themselves up into a frenzy over his future. Thrashing Hull 5-1 has certainly afforded him some breathing space but for Hughes to hold on to his job he will have to start winning games consistently. He is far from out of the woods yet.
3) City have been linked with all these big names in the January window - if you could pick one, who would you sign?
Every day has brought a new rumour as the hacks play "Pin the Megastar on the Camel." I don't believe that we need superstars right now unless they currently play in the Premier League. It is that experience that will be absolutely essential in firing City back up the table. Outside of that I would bring in Van Bommel from Bayern Munich to get a grip of the midfield.
But if I wanted to really shake things up in the PL this winter then I would buy Liverpool's Torres. Ouch!
4) City have been hit and miss this season - where do the main problems exist?
t's as simple as this. An over reliance upon jaded performers such as Ball, Vassell or Benjani has underlined the lack of strength in depth the squad has. The manager has recently stopped the side playing to strengths with width and favoured a more cautious, bunched approach in an effort to stop shipping goals. The squad lacks real leadership out on the field and badly need a ball winning midfield general.
5) Have you any memories of Sam Allardyce?
Chewing gum, angry shouty face and headset in the stands.
5) Which 3 teams do you feel will bite the dust and get relegated this season?
There's very little margin for error but I'm expecting gaps to open up in January. Always one or two that fall away and both Pompey and Boro look vulnerable to me. So....
West Brom, Stoke and Boro.
6) Finally, can I bother you for a prediction?
I feel a back to back win coming on. SWP has revealed that a written off City have points to prove. Sam will still be hard at work finding things out so I'm predicting a 2-0 win to City.
Our thanks to Johnny and all at Vital Man City. Please check out our interview with them on the Man City site.
A superb interview as we welcome Mark Hughes back to Ewood tomorrow.