Reactionary opinions and speculation really not helping through current sticky patch

This afternoon's disappointing draw at home to Hull City will have quite rightly been deemed unacceptable by most in attendance, both in terms of the performance we witnessed and the point ultimately gained. Confidence is low at the minute, the football poor and results below par, but that's not to mean we should consider resorting to reactionary decisions, and as supporters we have a duty to back the players and manager through the dip in form.

Sadly, some see a few dropped points as fuel to go over the top whilst venting their spleen. Not that they're not perfectly entitled to do that, as paying fans, but a bit of common sense is needed all round, and those who think us sitting in the top six isn't good enough might want to remember where we've come from in recent years. That's not being pessimistic, more pointing out that any huge improvement takes time, there will be ups and downs along the way, this run being one of the latter.

Funnily enough, those who seem most vocal against Hughes on the forums often seem to appear online within minutes of any game in which we drop points. No doubt sat waiting for the final whistle with baited breath, badly spelt and usually brief 'Hughes Out' rant already typed, their popcorn nearby, ready for some verbal jousting, no facts or real thoughts needed, just a generic provocative statement after seeing ninety minutes of buffering IraqGoals footage.

What they don't seem to understand is that there are huge expanses of middle ground. Those of us pointing out that even the suggestion of a change at the top is reactionary and daft see Hughes' flaws, that's always been the case, and we all agree that what we're getting at the minute isn't good enough. None of us blindly defend the manager for the sake of doing so, we've just seen where these sort of decisions have gotten us in the past, and believe in giving whoever is in charge a fair crack of the whip.

You absolutely do not change your gaffer a third of the way through a season having given him £120m to spend that summer, especially with them having only lost one of sixteen games. At the start of any given campaign a manager will be made aware of his targets for it. Hughes', officially, was to finish in the top six, the position we currently sit. Off the record some suspect his instructions may have been to better that and achieve Champions League football. Unless my eyes are deceiving me we look to be in quite a good position to achieve that.

My opinions on the current boss haven't changed in light of this run of draws. I see him as the man for the job at hand, if not maybe the task of leading us to where we ultimately want to be, winning the title and regularly competing for European trophies. Those targets, realistically, are some way down the line, but some progress has quite obviously been made. The current owners have done the correct and honourable thing by giving a previous regime's man time and the resources to prove himself, and i'm sure they'll go on doing the same.

Sadly, some have a ballooned idea of our club's stature. We're immensely wealthy, and cash is obviously a draw in any walk of life, but we've been an absolute calamity of a club for a number of years and those who think that were Hughes to go, the elite of the world's managers would be wanting the job, well, i think they're a touch deluded. The best managers mange the best clubs, and i believe there's a step we have to make before we can genuinely attract the biggest names, and the odd example apart i think that also to be true regards signing players.

The name that pops up most, of course, is Jose Mourinho, and a good number of the 'Hughes Out Brigade' appear certain he'd walk out of one of the biggest clubs in world football, ignore the advances of his numerous suitors, all so he can come to Eastlands and blow a small fortune. It's not going to happen, even if there was anything beyond idle gossip to the current incumbent's position being under threat.

Jose Mourinho could hand-pick his next employer, and whilst current goings-on at some Premier League sides might limit his chances of a big job in England, he'd go to a club that's already one of the established superpowers, not one with hopes of being there in five years. A bit of money doesn't make us one of the big boys, it just doesn't, to us the vast figures that could be on offer would swing it, but for the cream of managers and players leaving a legacy and competing for big shiny things is what it's all about.

The other name being bandied about is Guus Hiddink, who did an excellent job during a short stint at Chelsea last season and has a wealth of experience all over the world. Folk seem to be conveniently ignoring the fact that on several different occasions he's expressed a desire to not take a club job requiring day-to-day management, and is almost certain to accept a more hands-off role somewhere once he leaves Russia. Given his links with Roman Abramovich, it's thought he'll return to Chelsea in some capacity.

At the time of writing we are three points off being level with Arsenal in fourth, the way some of our supporters are carrying on you'd think we were bottom of the division. No-one's excusing the drab and spineless performance we saw today, or the inexcusably bad defending against Fulham or Burnley, but we need to see how things pan out rather than acting like tools and losing faith in Mark. He needs to motivate his players, and those same players need to stand up and ensure we remember how to win games again, but it's a wobble more than a crisis.

Whatever your thoughts, and it is only a minority who absolutely don't think Hughes is the man for the job, in real life it seems that way anyhow, the anonymity of forums mean we're never really sure whose opinions are worth taking notice of, i'm sure we'll all agree that the next game is huge for several reasons. I'd encourage those who seem to be almost taking delight from our current results in order to be seen to be proven right about Hughes to go and scream their hearts out against Arsenal. We're all in it together; fans, players and manager, now's not the time to be losing faith.


  1. I agree to a certain extent. We were sublime today for long periods,but we were trying to walk the ball into the net - so much selflessness shown from all the flair players. This match could so easily have gone the same way as the 6-0 drubbing of Portsmough last season. I think we are as a majority largely behind the team and the manager, but massive frustration creeps in, and i was also screaming for hughes' head after the gut wrenching dissapointment of the Hull penalty. However, like most, i have later reflected on it and calmed down. However, i do feel strongly that we are wasting our time with Santa Cruz - people are saying "bless him, he's not 100% fit" - well at 45 years old, neither am i, but i can stand up without awkwardly slipping over like bambi on ice everytime a ball comes near me. He was garbage. Anyway i join you in the rallying call to get behind the manager and the team one and all.

  2. I'm a season ticket holder who goes to most of the away games,i'm just stating this because i think i'm reasonably well positioned to make valuation about how we're progressing as a club. This is the first time i've ever voiced my opinion on one of these sites, I'm just replying to what the city fan stated about how we could have had any manager out there for the second half and he wouldn't have been able to do anything with this team, It's a fair comment but all this mess didn't really start today at 1600, It all began last August when Hughes took over, we've played well four times in the league this season, first half against the rags we played well against villa for almost a whole half also Arsenal and Liverpool And this isn't down to tactical genius on the managers behalf, but in my humble opinion down to two factors 1, The quality we've ot out on the pitch. 2,the opposition forcing us to play a style that suits gifted players.

    I looked at the team today and it wouldn't have mattered who we could have playing up front or in the middle of the park come the January window. The system we were playing today isn't suited to top four club from any league or division in the world. It's designed to accommodate the style of play for a middle to bottom to third club. Teams cautious in their lack of own ability but not a club confident in it's ability to progress. We pack the midfield and play a really congested configuration at the back, Nigel practically plays as a fifth defender, and in the end our pro active players end up taking the ball off our back four,five so it becomes really difficult for our creative midfielders to weave their magic and mega simple for the opposition to keep the ball in the middle of the park. The only time we play well is when we play against quality and they force us to open up, that then gives barry , Ireland and our other WORLD class players the space they need to be creative.

    Hughes is a pragmatist and sticks to systems and formulas he knows will work,

  3. How do we expect a mid table manager to inspire top of the table thinking and tactics.
    What worries me is that we seem to be limited in ideas on the pitch and full of excuses in the press conference.
    So as for Hughes being the man for the job im not so sure.
    Whilst i have hope that hope seems to in vain and dwindling fast.

  4. fair comment - Hughes was a great manager at a, playing to the strength of the resources he had avaialble,decent defence, no flair players, snuffing out attacks and banging the long percentage ball up to McCarthy and Santa Cruz - at city, he has loads of flair players, a less than sturdy defence, and still persists with the same negative tactics, ala the Liverpool game playing 4-5-1 with poor addy having no support up front - only when his arm was forced after going 1-0 down, did he introduce Tevez and made us play positive football. His tactics are very suspect to say the least.

  5. Excellent article, and very good follow on posts, nice to see no one-liners such as appear on the MEN forum.
    I love to read objective indepth reviews of the team and game from supporters, really hate the knee-jerk abusive rubbish from the manager out brigade (doesn't actually matter who said manager is it seems!).
    Keep up the good work, some of us really appreciate it.

  6. Outstanding post. I couldn't agree more and only hope more City fans read what you've written today. Especially as I for one believe that if we want to shed the "typical city" tag once and for all then we as City fans need to be 100% behind the team and the manager for the full 90 minutes because if we're not then we are indeed part of the problem.

  7. Norfstander, can I firstly just say what an outstanding article this is. I write for my own City site, http://mancity.blogsfc.com/, and although I have had to decrease my number of blogs there this season due to heavy school work and therefore limited time, I would be eternally grateful to share a link with this site.

    Anyway, onto your article. There has been so much utter nonsense written on various City sites, such as http://man-city-issues.blogspot.com/, about his match and how Hughes ought to be given the boot. It is thus refreshing to be able to read your article, which is a class above anything else I have seen this weekend. Without rushing to make non-sensical statements about hughes, you lay out your views intelligently and with precision. Wholeheartedly, I agree with the vast majority of what you say. I started off, holding Hughes in high esteem and hoping that he would be the one to deliver the goods to our beloved football club. Although now I have worries about his lack of tactical awareness and his sometimes infuriating lack of ideas from the subsititues benh, he must be given time to build. Having spent the sums of money which we did over the summer, it seems to me incredible that Hughes could be sacked. Fortunately, our owners seem to have more sense than most of the fans. They accept that success will not be immediate, and they realise that any manager must be given time to build a side that he desires. Yes, it's true that Hughes's sides often contain upto 11 of his own personal signings, but I still have faith in the manager and his backroom staff that he will pull it around.

    Once again, I just want to complement you on this article. It's such a pleasant change from the other garbage written on the internet and in the papers.

    Just one tip, is there any way in which you could change the style of the site, so that instead of reading white letters on a black background, that could be reversed, as at the moment, it is challenging to read.

    Anyway, that is only a minor suggestion for an otherwise superb site. Well done!

  8. hi Norfstanfer,

    what annoys me is ..any criticism of Hughes has been deemed unacceptable, it's a popular line to take in the blog world to sit on the fence and accept the medicority as apart of a learning curve.

    Were not in a crisis, but we bloody well could be if we dont get it right in the next few games. I certainly expect us to raise our game for arsenal and see a better performance from the likes of adebayor. But it seem verboten to criticise Hughes whithout being labelled as a Hughes outer. He 's not doing a good enough job and the moment and deserves the scrutiny. He's not flexiable enough, too rigid in his subs and tactics. We have lost 2 leads at home, you have to ask why? Especially last match, after a long run, were 1 up, we want to secure a win. We didnt come out the second half with the same buzz or venom and our striker continued to struggle. So suring up the middle to aid de jong with a kompany would of stopped bullard becoming more and more effective. Everyone sat around me said they sensed a hull goal, as the pattern had been set from previous games. We could still of been effective going forward on the break, especially if he put bellamy through the middle, where he is more effective rather than left wing. The subs were neither one thing or the other, if anything less attacking, but not defensive either. It blunted our final play.

    These are the issues that need discussing, rather than just telling people we cant get mourinho!

  9. I'd like to defend Norfstander for what he has wrote here. He is certainly not siiting on the fence but holds a strong opinion. In my opinion, this is the best City blog around and some of the articles written on here are amongst the very best.

    It is always the first I will check for opinions on City as it always analyses situations fully and looks at both sides of an argument.

    As for Steven Goran Erikkson's post, I would like to inform you that I have retracted and deleted my previous post and have apologised on blog. I wrote that article as a spur-of-the-moment after coming home from Eastlands extremely frustrated.


  10. I'd like to commend Scragg on his actions, it took big cahones to do what you did, you are a top man and I wish you all the success in the future.
    Proud to Be Blue alongside you.