Article by Real Mancs Are Blue
One thing we can say for sure about Roberto Mancini is he doesn’t go much for sentiment. Forcing Stephen Ireland out of City as part of the James Milner deal is a defining moment in his City management career and one which may prove to be his downfall.
‘Superman’ has been a fan favourite amongst us blues for many seasons. Sure, he’s a bit of a mental case and sure, sometimes his head is in the clouds but with the ball at his feet he is a player that can inspire. That season we saw a glimpse of Stevie’s talent, tearing apart defences and scoring goals for fun; he wasn’t player of the year for nothing. Last season was a different story. Played out of position as a holding midfielder Steve often looked lost and ineffective, no longer a goal threat he was sidelined into a peripheral role that baffled us all, but we all still loved him, ‘Ireland is Superman’ rang through Eastlands whenever he warmed up on the sidelines.
The way we have used him a bargaining tool to get a vastly overpriced James Milner leaves a bad taste in the mouth of a lot of fans. A player like Ireland needs the ‘arm round the shoulder’ approach and instead got the ‘foot up the backside.’ He is still only 23 and with the talent he has he could have been nurtured into one of the City greats, time and patience would have been rewarded and we could have had ourselves an invaluable attacking midfielder. Instead, the pursuit of glory comes at the price of patience and Mancini seemingly has no time or patience for the likes of Ireland, a mistake I hope he doesn’t live to regret but I fear he will.
My point is this. The way Steve has been forced out has done nothing to enamour Mancini with the fans. First Bellamy, our best player by far last season, then the best player the season before both shown the door. If Mancini loses the fans he loses his job. I’m sure James Milner will be a useful and quality player for us although he will be playing under the weight of impossible expectation; he’ll always be thought of as the player that cost a fortune and who cost us Superman.
Mancini will have to tread very carefully in future. A lot of fans are already questioning some of his transfer dealings and if we aren’t in the top six at Christmas, it won’t just be the fans baying for his blood.
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