Perhaps City fans can take some consolation from the fact Sir Alex Ferguson has decided to call time on his United career, and is to be replaced by Everton’s David Moyes at the end of this season. Ferguson has been in the United hotseat since 1986, and guided United to 13 of their 20 league titles.
In my opinion there is one big question that most people are asking about City now: “will Mancini be sacked?” In the age when managers seem to be sacked within a few months of being hired, it does seem likely that this is what will happen, but you never know in football. Mancini has been at City since December 2009, when he replaced the sacked Mark Hughes. In the three-and-a-half years since he joined the Citizens he’s won them their first trophy for 35 years (the FA Cup in 2011), and also their first league title since 1968 after their dramatic win over QPR on the final day last season. But what now? This season he’s got his transfers all wrong, the tactics all wrong, and severely damaged his chances of still being at the club next season.
If City’s hierarchy do decide to terminate Mancini’s contract, they will have to appoint someone proven in his place to take the club forwards. So who could it be? Here are some of the candidates I think could be in line for the role, and the pros and cons of each:
Jose Mourinho – despite Mourinho’s apparent desire to rejoin former club Chelsea, I still think he would consider a move to City if the opportunity arose. City are now one of the biggest clubs in England, with some fantastic players that any manager would love to manage. I also admire Mourinho as a manager (well, the tactical side of him anyway) too. He’s managed to win the Premier League before and league titles in three other countries, alongside two UEFA Champions League triumphs in his career. However, I see one massive flaw: he alienates the dressing room. At Real, he’s managed to turn many of the club’s key players against him, which is a bad situation to be in as a manager. This is why I don’t want him at City, as he could disrupt the balance we have going on.
Jurgen Klopp – the name Jurgen Klopp is now one of the most well-respected managerial names in Europe. He’s been in charge of Borussia Dortmund since 2008 and in that time has won successive Bundesliga titles, which is difficult in any league, but when you’re up against sides like Bayern Munich, it’s even more respectable. This season, Klopp has also managed to guide his team into the final of the Champions League, where they will face bitter rivals Bayern at Wembley. However, on the domestic front, things have been much less glamorous. His side lie 20 points behind Bayern, who have been dominant in all competitions this year. 20 points, even for a league as unpredictable as the Bundesliga, is a huge margin, and is the reason I don’t want him at City if Mancini leaves. I have to acknowledge that he is a very good manager, but if we sack Mancini for finishing so far behind, then why should we appoint Klopp who finished even further behind?
Manuel Pellegrini – the Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini is the candidate that I think is most likely to be given the job at City if Mancini leaves us. Pellegrini has built up his reputation as a manager over the years, including a spell at Spanish giants Real Madrid, and Argentine juggernauts River Plate. The 59-year-old has been involved in football for going on 40 years now, so obviously knows his stuff. I wouldn’t mind him as manager, although my pressing concern is that he seems to not really be a big winner of trophies, which is what City want now, not to be sitting in mid-table trophyless. Still, he has never really been at a big club long enough to judge, so maybe if he was given the chance at City, he’d be able to succeed.
One of the few high points of City’s season this year has undoubtedly been the FA Cup run which has lead City to the final against Wigan. I’m writing this on the eve of that final, so I don’t yet know the result, obviously. I’m not Italian, I’ve not match-fixed it. I think we’ll win the final, as you’d expect us to against a Wigan team struggling for form and fitness, but this is football, and you just don’t know what will happen. The thing is though, even if City do win the Cup tomorrow, will it really save Mancini’s job? Don’t get me wrong, I’d absolutely love to see him stay with us, but I can’t see the board keeping him after the performance in the league this season.
That is why I feel that whoever is in charge of the Blues next season, winning the title and bringing it back to the Etihad is absolutely crucial. We definitely haven’t deserved it this season, so we need to be able to show how well we can bounce back and win it next season, to prove that these players are good enough, and that our title in 2012 wasn’t a one-off thing.
One thing that could help in City’s quest to regain the title is David Moyes’ move to United. No manager will successfully be able to take the United job and immediately replicate what Fergie has done. I think there will definitely be a transition period when United aren’t as good, and won’t win anything whilst they’re settling into the new manager. This could open the door for City to snatch the league title relatively unchallenged next season, provided we make the right signings this summer.
Let me just get one thing straight: I want Mancini to stay with us at City. He’s more than proved himself capable of being a successful manager, with a league title, a domestic cup, and another final to look forward to, so why should we get rid of him because he’s had one bad year? Everyone has bad seasons. When United don’t win the title, they haven’t sacked their manager. They’ve stuck by Ferguson all these years. If we sack manager after manager like we used to do, we’re going to get a Chelsea-esque reputation, which is never a good thing to have. The reason we’ve been so poor this season I think is due in part to the poor signings we made last year, while the other big teams were beating us to the signings of RvP and Hazard, we were chasing after the likes of Sinclair. Not going to bode for a good season, that isn’t. So I feel that if Mancini is given the proper backing to go out and make the signings that he wants this summer, the title is ours next year.