Opinion: Anything other than Manchester City dominance is a distraction

Opinion: Anything other than Manchester City dominance is a distraction

Manchester City Dominance: The Treble Could Be On

It is a great relief that Arsenal failed to see out the Premier League.

It stops the establishment from pretending that the Premier League still has a competitive playing field.

It is a great relief that Manchester City steamrolled Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final.

They have been good enough to win that tournament for a long time, Pep’s inner mad scientist just got in the way.

Sheikh Mansour and Abu Dhabi are now one game away from capturing the only missing jewel in their sportswashing crown. But that also means they are stirring concerns in football supporters’ hearts more than ever before.


File photo dated 21-11-2021 of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola who will miss Manchester City’s FA Cup third-round tie at Swindon on Friday after testing positive for coronavirus. Issue date: Thursday January 6, 2022.

Manchester City Dominance

As you sit there watching Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland and Bernardo Silva making a mockery of Europe’s most successful side; fawning over their football ability somehow feels less suitable than thinking: ‘what’s the f****king point?’.

The Sky Sports broadcasts chug along each week with a convenient whiff of ‘let’s talk about the football’ while Rio and the BT boys celebrate the latest great City goal and inevitable City win.

Their media point of view will be thankful for the title race talking points in recent seasons. Liverpool produced a stunning season of champions in 2019 to finish just one point behind City, and Arsenal made a less convincing but still commendable attempt this year.

Title races extend the illusion of the competition’s validity, thus extending a status quo intrinsic with record breaking profits.

As City get better and better, preserving that status quo could become more and more challenging, however.

What would the public attitude be like if Klopp hadn’t put a punctuation mark on City’s six-year surge? And what will it be like when City go ahead and add another four? How will “customers” respond to that?

Nights like last night – nights that see City batter Real Madrid 4-0 in a Champions League semi-final – play an important role in getting people talking about the important issues facing football.

A big job for the Premier League’s buddy broadcasters awaits. Rest assured that those who portrayed the privately streamed Super League as evil will be (and already are) working over-time to sell a Premier League conquered by alleged rule-breakers and sportwashers as “riveting”, “thrilling” and “captivating”, no matter how bad things get.

It’s in their interests, and questioning the credibility of their subscription-selling product is not.

Reform or reinforcement?

Back in February, the Premier League accused Manchester City of 115 different breaches of financial rules between 2009 and 2018.

As though the advantages of being an oil-state club weren’t enough, the club allegedly abused their status to report inaccurate accounts, ignore FFP rules and breach sustainability laws (among other things).

It shows, at least, that these state-backed clubs must adhere to Premier League financial rules or face legal action – but that doesn’t mean that Newcastle United (Saudi Arabia) and potentially Manchester United (Qatar) won’t benefit hugely from the Premier League’s liberal stance on takeovers.

In fact, the Premier League’s track record suggests that they could hush public frustrations about Man City and the unequal playing field in the worst possible way: by doubling-down on the state-sponsored circus.

You wanted competition for City? Well here it is. The artificial television product saved and prolonged. The game’s traditional values obliterated.

Those of us hoping that City’s increasing dominance will trigger a fan-pressured reformation might be dreamers, but those who entertain City’s success are validating first steps towards a football dystopia. The angrier their success makes football fans, the better.