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So What If We Buy Success?

If, as expected, City spend another £100m + on new players, I for one will not exactly care whether or not we are seen to have bought success. I’m sure we’ll be in for much more abuse from opposing fans once Roberto Mancini has completed his spending for the summer. In fact, it has already started.

Roberto Mancini Manager Manchester City 2009/10 Manchester City V Manchester United (0-1) 17/04/10 The Premier League Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Earlier this week, Mancini defended the club’s summer spending, saying ‘it is hard to win trophies if you do not invest in areas where you can improve.’ Of course, this will be seen in some quarters as City trying to buy success but, in all fairness, who hasn’t?

In the 1980’s Liverpool spent vast amounts on new players. In 1987, Peter Beardsley moved to Anfield for a then British record £1.9m and John Barnes also joined the Merseysiders from Watford for £900,000 in the same year and also £750,000 on John Aldridge in the early part of the same year. In those days, spending almost £4m on new players could have bought a whole team for many top flight outfits, yet Liverpool deemed it okay to spend that on just three players. These players later went on to be the nucleus of the all conquering Liverpool side.

In the late 80’s our neighbours United spent £800,000 on Steve Bruce, £850,000 on Brian McClair, £1.5m on Neil Webb, £1m on Paul Ince and £2.3m on Gary Pallister. Not to mention the fees paid for the Wallace brothers, Mike Phelan, Dennis Irwin and the £1.8m paid to bring Mark Hughes back to Old Trafford. Again, these players went on to become the nucleus of the team.

The thing is, both Liverpool and United, after spending millions over consecutive seasons, went on to spawn successful youth products, such as Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, Steven Gerrard, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt amongst others.

These teams have won trophy after trophy and left the rest of us struggling to compete. Arsenal have also done the same and we all know of Chelsea’s spending over the last six or seven years.

What has been evident in football ever since the day it became legal to accept money for the transfer of players, is that prices have gone up and up. They will never come down and will continue to rise (unless UEFA come up with another hair-brain scheme). In today’s transfer market, we just have to accept that we cannot expect to pay 1980’s prices for top quality players.

If you look at the newly promoted clubs today, they are spending much, much more than when City were promoted in 1989. Back then, the blues spent around £2m or so on new players, yet today, the likes of Blackpool, Newcastle and West Brom will be expected to pay at least that for just one player if they want to try and survive.

But what is incredible is that the fans of the teams mentioned above, mainly Liverpool and United, seem to forget what their clubs paid out back then. They seem intent on slating us for spending millions on a player and accuse us of trying to buy trophies. They forget that, without their own investment back in their successful days of the 80’s and 90’s, they would not be where they are today.

And they wouldn’t have been able to launch the careers of their youngsters in the way they did. In fact, it is possible they would have suffered our fate of boomerang years of promotion and relegation, rather than success and triumph.

What short memories they seem to have.



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