Within the space of a week, the manager of the red half of
United’s pre-season tour has seen Fergie speak more about those around him rather than his own squad. Perhaps he intends for it to be that way. Speaking from the team’s pre-season tour of Fast East Asia, in one interview the United boss rubbished City’s chances of breaching the top four and then criticised the wisdom of signing three high profile strikers.
Given just after City had signed Emmanuel Adebayor from Arsenal, the second interview was much more interesting.
Dave Wallace, editor of the City fanzine King of the Kippax, gave the perfect retort. Wallace was speaking in the Manchester Evening News (MEN), directly to those who had splashed the Tevez poster with dots of red paint, but his words are also relevant to Ferguson: "They like to dish it out - like the poster they've got at Old Trafford showing how many years it is since we won anything - but they really can't take it back. It shows just how bitter they are."
With regards to the saboteurs with red sponges, another City fan posted on the MEN website: "Bit of advice lads, get a longer ladder and don't use water-based paints next time, it's been lagging it down today and it's all washed off."
Benitez and Moyes get in on the act
And then last weekend, Everton boss David Moyes seems to have accused City of tapping up his centre back Joleon Lescott: "It is about showing respect - and we are not being shown that. I've always tried to contact the managers and show respect to them in terms of transfers and no matter how much money I might have to spend I would always want to keep that up. It goes back to the managers having a drink together after the game, to the fact managers will still phone each other up when they are looking for a player. That is part of the way it should be done."
The messages of sniping
It is good to know that all of this sniping – particularly with United - is alive and well. Dig below the surface though, and there are serious points to be had.
However true or untrue,
As for Benitez and Moyes, well, they ought to step back into reality.
Benitez is still smarting over the failure to acquire Gareth Barry last summer. The charge that Barry signed for money is, I think, a tactic to make himself look better in the eyes of the
Moyes’ tapping up accusations are the sign of a manager that does not want to lose one of his prize assets. I like David Moyes and I like the idea of what he has done at Everton, plus what he is trying to do. Had Moyes arrived as a manager a decade or so earlier, he might well have been another
Moyes seems to talk of a time where the tapping up of players didn’t happen. Tapping up, sounding out, call it whatever you want – it has always gone on. Agents will always talk and players will always listen. Of course, that does not make it right. But it is football. Tapping up – in one form or another - is all around us.
For City fans solely, the words of
But a new hatred appears to be focusing on Eastlands. They are beginning to hate us for our money. They are beginning to hate us for our ambition. They are beginning to hate us even before we have kicked a ball.