Fan's Eye View: Manchester City
A C Grayling
A. C. Grayling is an English philosopher and founder of independent undergraduate college, New College of the Humanities. He is the author of several books including The Refutation of Scepticism (1985), The Meaning of Things (2001) and The Good Book (2011).
Wednesday 10 August 2005
Recovering from a shambolic start and 2-0 down at Norwich to win 3-2. Delia Smith's half-time antics and Robbie Fowler's fortuitous last-minute winner made it all the more sweeter.
And the worst?
The 1-0 home defeat to Bolton, which happened to be Kevin Keegan's last in charge. The players lacked motivation, but that all hanged with the subsequent appointment of Stuart Pearce.
Who was your best player last season?
Richard Dunne has improved dramatically and was incredibly consistent, earning himself the player of the season award. Shaun Wright-Phillips was also antastic throughout the season but we all know what he can do now.
Who was the most under-rated?
David James has his moments but I believe he more than makes up for it with his shot-stopping. Saved us on a number of occasions, most notably at Chelsea.
And the worst player?
During his few appearances last season, it was clear that Steve McManaman, one of the club's highest earners, no longer had any desire to play football. No surprise to see him leave this summer without bothering to find another employer.
What was the most memorable moment?
Robbie Fowler's injury-time penalty miss in the final game against Middlesbrough. That moment and indeed the game itself was the culmination of a spell which had revived the hopes of everyone involved with the club. It may have cost us a place in Europe (and perhaps Shaun Wright-Phillips too) but it was typical City - the City we all know and love. At least relegation wasn't riding on it.
Funniest moment, if any?
Has to be David James being moved into attack in the closing stages against Middlesbrough. Having an outfield shirt ready-made for him topped it off.
Whose was the best individual performance against you?
Can't say anyone stood out in particular but Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scored a tremendous 30-yard piledriver at Sportcity on the final day of the season, which even managed to top his free-kick at the Riverside in December.
Best set of fans, besides your own?
Arsenal in League Cup, plenty of banter (although it was virtually a reserve game so there wasn't much to entertain us on the pitch).
(Note to ed: I'm sorry, I really can't think of anything that wasn't rude or offensive.)
Which ground is your favourite to visit and why?
Anfield because of the history and tradition. Still feels like a fortress but these days you actually have a chance of snatching something.
What improvements need to be made this season?
No Shaun Wright-Phillips to rely on so can't afford to have more than two or three players having an off-day during the same game. Consistency is needed throughout. 0A
Individual with most to prove?
Trevor Sinclair should be fit enough to start the season after a long-term injury. A life-long City fan, his performances in a City shirt so far curiously seem to have lacked both commitment and passion.
Which game are you most looking forward to?
Chelsea, not just because we took four points off them last season and they failed to score a single goal against us - they're also the champions and will have a certain new signing in their ranks.
Which of your young players has impressed you?
Stephen Jordan deserves a mention for the way he adjusted to Premiership football but I believe Nedum Onuoha could be a star of the future (don't tell Chelsea though). Did well enough to keep Danny Mills out at right-back and that's not even his preferred position. Showed tremendous strength and positional awareness against Boro and Hasselbaink when deputising at centre-back for the injured Dunne.
If money was no object which player or manager would you like to see at your club?
We need a top-class striker and in my eyes Inter Milan's Adriano is the best around. We're more than happy with Stuart Pearce but Everton's David Moyes has proved himself capable of delivering results with limited resources.
What would you consider to be a good season?
European qualification or a trophy.
How would you sum up your manager?
Ambitious, hard-working, enthusiastic and passionate. We will see in the coming weeks if he can deliver in the transfer market too.
If you had to put a £1m bet on where your team finishes, where would you say?
I'm not confident we can build on last season's strong finish or bring in sufficient reinforcements with the Shaun Wright-Phillips cash but I still think we have enough to stay clear of relegation trouble. I've learnt not to set my expectations for City too high so therefore I'd say 14th.
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