Last season, Brazilian flop Robinho slated the blues when he said that the blues lacked a winning mentality and in some ways he was right and maybe that mentality has been passed onto the supporters.
I was speaking to a friend the other day (yes I do have some) and we were talking about the possibility of finishing fourth and he just looked at me and said ‘we could still be relegated you know.’
For a moment, I wondered if I’d heard him right but he went to explain that it was not mathematically impossible for Bolton or Burnley to catch us up and we’d be relegated. Even when I pointed out that, although it wasn’t mathematically impossible it would take a monumental collapse on our part, coupled with an amazing run by either Bolton or Burnley, which would see them win virtually all their remaining games, for us to go down, he still said he wouldn’t be happy until we were ‘safe.’
But after he had been carted off to the loony bin I sat and thought about why he would think we could be relegated and could only come to one conclusion; our own winning mentality.
For many years, we have lived with the belief that we can achieve something again but something has always happened to shatter our dream. For as long as I can remember, we’ve seen players stroll into the club and just not perform. We’ve had managers come in and the promise has been there but never delivered and the supporters have seen the club take one step forward and two steps back.
Twenty years ago, City were promoted to the First Division and were involved in a relegation fight but the following two seasons they finished fifth, a position that would get us in Europe today. Things were looking up for City but then the shattering blow that the supporters were waiting for arrived. Manager Peter Reid was not given the money to strengthen the squad and was sacked a few games into the new season which started our downward spiral.
In the mid to end nineties, we found ourselves involved in either promotion or relegation battles. Relegated in 1996, battled relegation 1997, lost the battle in 1998, promoted in 1999, promoted in 2000, relegated in 2001, promoted in 2002. Keegan resigned, Pearce almost took us to Europe then almost took us down. And it was only last season that Mark Hughes’ side found themselves in the bottom three before pulling away to safety.
So is it any wonder, even given our current league standing, that blues fans are still looking over their shoulders with a quarter of an eye on the bottom three? The fear of failure amongst the supporters is greater than ever (even though we don’t want to admit it), given the huge amounts of money that has been invested in the club.
And although we won’t be relegated, only success in a cup competition or qualification for Europe will begin to banish the mentality that has been built around the blues. The the supporters will then be able to look up at the league table and calculate how many points we need to be at the top, rather than counting the ones that will make us safe.
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