Retail and media giant Amazon recently released a documentary on Manchester City, focusing on the record-breaking title win last year. Titled All or Nothing, it aired during the summer and received plenty of critical praise.
While the focus was mainly put upon the tactics and philosophy of City’s mercurial coach Pep Guardiola, the documentary also hinted at the ambition off the pitch: a global network of football clubs feeding each other, amazing facilities for youth players, an Etihad university campus. One theme above all stood out in the documentary – ambition.
Meanwhile in Salford this summer, Manchester United were finally giving the go-ahead for a women’s team. For many, United, so often the innovators in football, were well behind the curve on this one. City’s women’s team was firmly established, coming runner-up in the WSL last season. It was almost bizarre that one of the biggest clubs in world football was so late in seeing the merit of adding a women’s team.
United’s record revenue hides several shortcomings
Recently, United announced massive revenue projections once again, fuelled by huge television deals and a marketing strategy that is, frankly, the envy of the sporting world. But there hasn’t been much cheer for the Red half of Manchester on the pitch. A series of poor results has seen coach Jose Mourinho put under enormous pressure. Currently they see teams like Bournemouth and Wolves ahead of them in the Premier League table.
City, of course, have been looking down the table at everyone else nearly on a permanent basis since last season. The bookies’ odds tell us everything you need to know about the expected trajectory of the two sides this season: City are odds-on at 4/6 (Bet365) to win the Premier League and 9/2 favourites to win their first ever Champions League.
United are a whopping 100/1 to win the Premier League and 40/1 to win the Champions League. Free bets are available to back either side, but would you really be tempted to back United given their shoddy form?
Newcastle game showed players and fans still have passion
Indeed, not since the days before Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign have United been given such high odds at this stage of a campaign. But there is hope for the millions and millions if Red Devils around the world. Their most recent Premier League game, a 3-2 victory over Newcastle had all the hallmarks of a ‘Fergie victory’.
United, 2-0 down after just 10 minutes, threw everything at Newcastle. When the winning goal went in, Old Trafford was rocking like the old days. The feeling among those fans was that those 100/1 odds were not out of the realm of possibility – they believed again.
To be blunt though, United might have to deal with being the second club in the city for a while. Sure, they are not going to be suddenly relegated or inconsequential. It’s just that City have wonderful prospects for both the short and the long-term. Under Pep Guardiola the team is pushed to reach perfection, but the directors and executives of the club are looking for even more – world football domination. Talk to City fans who remember the club languishing in the lower divisions just over a decade ago and they will give you the same answer to the club’s new lofty position – surreal.
In the end, Manchester is blessed to have two great clubs. It’s a great advert for a vibrant city to have two top teams at the elite end of global football. Fans should enjoy it while they can.