Premier League - Man City spending to 'catch up with United'

Sat, 19 Nov 11:13:00 2011

Manchester City's major spending in recent seasons is no more extraordinary than local rivals Manchester United's has been over a much longer period, according to former City director Dennis Tueart.

2010 Manchester City stadium fans general - 0

Tueart, who won the League Cup with City as a player in 1976, believes the large number of expensive signings bankrolled by Sheikh Mansour may have been over a much shorter timescale but were necessary in order for them to compete with the Premier League champions.

Star acquisitions such as David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko - who each cost City well in excess of £20 million - have helped fire City to the top of the Premier League table and see the club installed as the favourites to rob United of the title this season.

Tueart, who served as a director at the club for more than a decade up until Thaksin Shinawatra's takeover in 2007, believes that the club is merely making up for lost time.

"We're throwing it around because we are trying to progress in a short space of time," he said. "If you look at the past, Manchester United have always had money. Rio Ferdinand is still the most expensive defender in the country.

"Alex Ferguson is a past master at managing the change he has overseen there, but he has always had cash. He has always paid top dollar for his players.

"You can go back to when he paid £2.2m for Gary Pallister from Middlesbrough (in 1989), which shocked everybody. Juan Sebsatian Veron, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Jaap Stam, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Roy Keane, Paul Ince... He has always spent big on players every year.

"We've had to spend quicker to catch up. The gap was so wide and we were going so far backwards, because of the globalisation of football. Therefore we had to pay premium prices, and quickly. Now Roberto Mancini looks to be rewarding us."

In addition to the vast spending on the playing staff, City have invested heavily in purchasing land backing on to the Etihad Stadium on which they will build a new training facility.

Such spending has led to the club posting a loss of £197m, the biggest ever in English football. However, Tueart believes it is a small price to pay for City to become "one of the best in the world".

"On the face of it, they look like terrific owners," the 61-year-old said. "A lot of these foreign owners have been accused of profiteering in a lot of ways, but you couldn't say that about our owners because they've just agreed with the council to buy 80 acres next to the stadium to build a fantastic training and academy centre.

"So you can't accuse them of short-termism. So that's exciting, as far as I'm concerned. We could be one of the best in the world."

Tueart ensured his place in the club's history books when he scored an overhead kick to win the League Cup final for City during his playing days. The club, and the game in general, may be very different from the one he played in 35 years ago, but he believes there is little point harking back to the past when City are on the cusp of a new era of success.

"Football is changing, and you have to not be frightened of change. Change will happen, and you've got to understand it and manage it. Manage the change, go with the flow, enjoy the ride and see where it takes us."

Dennis Tueart's autobiography, My Football Journey, is published by Vision Sports Publishing (RRP £18.99). Dennis's royalties from the book will be donated to the teenage and young adult cancer unit at The Christie cancer centre.

Tony Mabert - on twitter @tony_mabert / Eurosport

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