Monday, December 13, 2010
Courtesy Box Office Football
As a journalist of some twenty five years in the trade I tend towards the cynical end of the spectrum as far as my view of human nature is concerned. But even I have been shocked by the decision of the Manchester City captain and top goal scorer Carlos Tevez to hand in a written transfer request to the club's management this weekend. It is a venal disgrace.
Presumably the curtain raiser to this sordid opera was the flirtation of Wayne Rooney with Manchester City earlier this year. A striker who owes a great deal to Sir Alex and Manchester United was considering taking his Bentley across town to the side's most bitter rivals: why? Manchester City fans (I am a long standing sufferer) would have had big problems accepting him. Nevertheless some sort of financial flirtation was reported to be taking place before Rooney's common sense prevailed and he decided to stick with a club which wins things most years as opposed to one whose most recent addition to the trophy cabinet was made in 1976.
Now the irony here is that Tevez made exactly the same journey some months before. For reasons which were inexplicable at the time Fergie decided let him go. For months City fans have had a laugh about this but now it's starting to look like one of his better decisions.
Mr Tevez has made two statements which contrast in the most severe way with the club's account of the affair. Money, he says, has played no part in his wish to sever his very profitable relationship with Eastlands. The rumour this morning is that he is paid £280,000 per week. No, it is his growing disenchantment with football, and the inconvenient geographical position of his estranged wife and two daughters who live in Argentina which is uppermost in his mind at this time.
The club sees it much differently, and a statement from them this weekend claims that until very recently the players representatives were angling for a pay rise and an extension to his contract. Football contract negotiations are a hall of expensive mirrors, but there is a ring of truth about this.
City fans love Tevez, or did until Saturday night. He works and works. He actually scores frequent goals. He can light up the grimmest of afternoons in the shabbiest of surroundings. This quality has been marred in recent weeks by the overt disrespect he has shown to the club's stylish manager Roberto Mancini. The timing of this contract problem is to say the least suspicious and unfortunate, coming as it does with City joint top of the Premier League - the highest position since 1977. I will be interested to hear the fans reaction should he ever have the guts to pull on a blue shirt and run out in East Manchester again.