We have joined up with Man City blogger Danny Pugsley who runs the Manchester City blog bitter and blue. (Not bitter and twisted as previously written! Sorry Danny. Anyway, we both answered some questions from each other.
My answers for Danny’s questions can be found here, and below you will find Danny’s responses to my questions.
Thanks for doing this Danny.
Do you feel that you will become a bigger club than your neighbours?
It is a difficult task to become bigger as such, given their achievements over the last twenty years in particular which, having coincided with the explosion of the Premier League popularity has ensured they have a huge global presence to go with the trophies they have won and history they have built up.
The new ownership that is in place has clearly got big ideas and plans for the club though, and what is impressive is that their focus seems to be on what we can achieve and creating something in our own right rather than aiming to be the ‘next whoever’ or focusing on what United are doing – something I don’t feel we have always done.
Did Shinawatra tarnish your club?
Looking back the answer is a definite yes. It is fair to say that his unsavoury past (which were only allegations at that stage it has to be said) was largely glossed over because of the money he brought to the club but as the season he was in charge (2007/08) progressed it was clear that the problems were anything but going away.
We are fortunate that not only did the new ownership rescue us when they did as it is frightening to think what position we could have been in had they not, but the way they have gone about things in terms of development of the club, vision, continuing ties with the community, academy etc has meant that although the Shinawatra era is a stain on the clubs history any damage caused has been repaired.
How do you feel about being owned by people from abroad?
When both Shinawatra and ADUG respectively took control of the club I don’t see where they were from as being an issue – and feel that is a view of the overwhelming majority. Most fans of course just want to see more money being ploughed in (see Liverpool wanting the Yanks replaced with the Sheikhs) so overlook geography.
As proved with our current ownership group, it is not where they are from but their approach to the club, fans, history etc that is important and whilst we were guarded at first when they came in they have most definitely been warmly received. Having unlimited pots of cash to lavish on the club doesn’t harm their standing either!
Did moving to the new ground make a difference to the supporters either good or bad?
Whilst it was sad to leave Maine Road, we had outgrown the place in terms of capacity (35,000) and it needed expanding and rebuilding so it was the right decision to move although for nostalgic reasons you always look back fondly at it.
The stadium we have is fantastic, well sized (with the potential to grow further I believe) with great views etc. I think it has taken longer than anticipated for fans to ‘settle’ though, and atmosphere has definitely suffered in the seasons since the move.
I would say last season and so far this one though – perhaps coinciding with better fortunes on the pitch – this seems to have been rectified and maybe it is finally a place to call ‘home’ and start generating its own memories and history.
Which of the big money signings has made the difference, and is there one you wish didn’t happen?
All of the signings that Mark Hughes has brought in have been for a reason and all fit into a certain role within the side and squad. It is early days of course but all have impressed for different reasons and none have ‘flop’ written all over them.
Most impressive so far this season is Craig Bellamy though. Hughes took a lot of flak from fans and the media when he signed him but he has been sensational so far this season.
From what you have seen of us this season, do you think we have the wherewithall to stay up?
Definitely. You look to be in a far stronger position squad wise than when you were last in the Premier League, although (like most teams to be fair) look to lack a genuine goalscorer and as it has been shown with promoted sides it is wins, not avoiding defeats that keep you up.
The injection of cash will be useful in January and could be vital in bringing in goals at a crucial time.
I do think you will survive, and your case will be helped by the increasing number of poor sides at the bottom end of the league,
Which of the squad should we be worried about on Sunday?
It is difficult to know precisely what the side will be as we have players back from injury now (who did well in midweek in the Carling Cup). Whilst we are strong in all areas – particularly in attack and whilst his goal ratio could be better Carlos Tevez has the ability to run the defence all over, which frees up space for the rest of the attackers.
2-0 to us.