While the above may seem like an attention grabbing headline, those of us who have supported this club for a longtime know that nothing is ever easy at City. Switching managers mid season has already led to a player revolt and the hiring of a manager with no Premier League coaching experience. (And only four matches as a player).
In other words, Garry Cook and Brian Marwood have begun the process of City rediscovering its recent history and becoming a relegation fighter again. City’s 29 points are only 12 clear of the relegation zone, which is a similar position to where the Club found itself in the 2006-07 season under Stuart Pearce. That season, City escaped relegation by all of three points.
Cook and Marwood evidently want to tempt high profile Continental targets to Eastlands, but who is to say any would choose City over let’s say Inter or Lyon, and furthermore, how can Continental players be trusted to fit into an English team in the dead of winter? The acclimation to the English game is nearly impossible for a target brought in during the January window. That’s why Hughes wisely spent his time focusing on English based targets, who would play the game the right way.
City’s form prior to the Sunderland match 11 points from 10 league matches was almost relegation form. Included in that stretch were home draws against Burnley, and Hull as well as Derby draws versus Wigan and Bolton. All four listed teams are relegation fighters this season. Without Mark Hughes ability to rally his team spiritually, all four matches could very well have been loses which resulted in six point swings against City. Hughes may have been tactically inept at times, but his force of personality allowed City to escape several matches the side should have lost, with draws.
While Richard Dunne did not appeal to “fans” in China and India whom Cook seems to be concerned about, he certainly appealed to those in the Northwest that supported City have been through the relegation wars. It is highly possible that with a star laden team on big contracts, that City will simply wilt after this managerial change.
Roberto Mancini will need to use every trick he has in his management repertoire to keep this side afloat. Relegation may not be looming, but a bottom half finish is looking likely as the Cook/Marwood revolution takes the building blocks Sven Goran Eriksson and Mark Hughes built, and trashes them.