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Friday, January 9, 2009

FootBall Live : Premier League : Portsmouth v Manchester City

City must get back to basics

Forget the galaxy of global stars Manchester City have been linked with this January, Mark Hughes needs to recruit some no-nonsense domestic players if he is to turn the club's fortunes around.

While the likes of Kaka, Lionel Messi and David Villa have captured the imagination of City fans, the only way to take the club forward is to overlook the superstars and focus on the nuts and bolts instead - for the time being at least.

It will be difficult - nearly impossible - for City to go from a club that has done nothing for the past 32 years to a club that can challenge the Big Four overnight, even with a host of world stars on their books.

A handful of expensive players will certainly put bums on seats but they are not going to provide long-suffering City fans with the instant success they so crave.

A successful team needs to be carefully assembled over a number of years and around a base of hard-working, hungry players. The flair can be added later as a final coup de grace to turn a good team into a great one.

Arsenal and Manchester United have taken this path - both sets of fans have had to wait as Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson have taken their time to construct highly successful teams.

Even Chelsea, who undoubtedly benefitted from Roman Abramovich's takeover and would never have won the Premier League if it were not for his millions, had been building for a number of years prior to his arrival.

In the years leading up to the Russian's buyout, Chelsea had won the FA Cup a couple of times, along with a League Cup and a host of top six finishes, including third-place in 1999.

The fact is that City have not won a trophy since the League Cup in 1976 and to expect an instant turnaround of fortune with a sudden influx of cash is optimistic at best.

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