How did you celebrate league win, Brian? 'I had a cup of tea'

Least glamorous of City's title slickers is keeping stars' feet on the ground

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The Independent Online

While Manchester City's celebrations after winning a first League title in 44 years were so exhaustive – and exhausting – that they contributed to the FA cancelling England's Spanish training camp, their assistant manager took things more steadily.

"I don't do the glitz," says 62-year-old Brian Kidd, which will be confirmed by all who know him. "I wasn't in the celebrations afterwards. I went home with my family. The boring anorak am I. I had a cup of tea. My kids and grandkids were there. Those were the ones I wanted to share it with."

The wildest that most people can remember seeing him is, ironically, in celebrating a Manchester United goal: the late, late one by Steve Bruce against Sheffield Wednesday in 1993 that sent a tracksuited Kidd rushing over the touchline to kneel in triumph on the Old Trafford pitch. – "I couldn't do it now. I couldn't get up off my knees." – It took United to the top of the table, where they stayed to record their own first title in the Premier League era.

Last Sunday's triumph thus earned Kidd a unique place among the coaching fraternity as well as the undisputed right to analyse where it all leaves Manchester football and the two clubs he has served longest in a career that began as a United hopeful some 45 years ago.

Spending the first seven of those years at the club and, later, another decade there as a coach under Sir Alex Ferguson taught him essential values.

"I was brought up to show a bit of modesty and humility and when you win things you have to be extra humble," he says. In doing that, before even a week had been spent in the championship glow, Kidd was never going to repeat the hubris of Malcolm Allison, telling all after City's title in 1968 they would go out and "terrify Europe". Go out they did; in the first round of the European Cup.

"People are talking about creating a dynasty but no one knows what's going to happen," Kidd says. "No one will be getting complacent here."

Quashing any hint of that will be the first task for City's coaches and manager, Roberto Mancini, after the summer break. Presumably there will be a new face or two among the assembled ranks, quite probably players whom United also sought. For all the United chief executive David Gill's words last week about the attractions of Old Trafford, City retain the ability to pay what Ferguson called "stupid money, silly salaries" when in direct competition with other clubs for players such as Lille's Eden Hazard.

The squad they brought together in the season just finished made the training ground a lively, often heated place, though Kidd is at his most animated in discussing criticisms of the spirit there.

He is particularly supportive of the maverick Mario Balotelli, with his four red cards in two eventful seasons and a work ethic which from the outside might seem to collide with that of Mancini, Kidd and David Platt: "I've been around players a long time and you know when there's a [bad] side to them, but that's not the case with Mario. There's no nastiness in the lad, take it from me. He's a good lad, a kind lad and I really like him. He's a smashing trainer, he works as hard as anyone else and he gets on with it."

And the discipline? "I've always tried to have some empathy with players because we've been there and done what they've done. I got sent off in a Cup semi-final for Everton [against West Ham in 1980] and I told Mario that."

As for lack of team spirit: "People have constantly been taking cheap shots at us. I couldn't believe some of the rubbish that has been said. People cannot question the spirit and camaraderie of the group of players we have here, not after Sunday. The lads answered all the criticism they've had in those last five minutes against QPR."

Solskjaer waits on Villa job

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is prepared to listen to an offer from Aston Villa if they make contact again, but is happy to "stand by" the remaining two years of his contract with Molde. But after a four-hour meeting with Villa in Birmingham on Friday, the former Manchester United striker returned to Norway to learn that Molde's billionaire backer, Kjell Inge Rokke, had pulled the plug on his company's 20-year support as a result of the meeting with Villa.

Solskjaer said: "It's up to Aston Villa whether there's anything more. I've only spoken with them and expect them to speak to more people."

He added: "I have not had any offers. I'm not looking for another job. In football, and in life in general, things turn up that you have to make decisions about. I have a contract for two more years and I'll stand by that."

He guided Molde to the league title for the first time in their 100-year history in his first season in charge, after starting his coaching career with United's reserves.

Wigan's Roberto Martinez and Norwich's Paul Lambert have been linked with the vacancy.

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