Manchester City could soon have some serious questions to answer
If losing against Spurs yesterday was an unpleasant but not entirely surprising setback for Manchester City fans, it will have amounted to little or nothing compared to today’s bombshell revelations that the Premier League hijacked a certain striker’s protracted milestone goal celebrations with a cry of “Hey Harry, hold our beer!”. This morning it was revealed City are facing over 100 charges of breaking the organisation’s financial rules after a four-year investigation, a scenario we all thought might be coming down the pipe at some point in the distant future, but certainly not so soon.
We can only speculate over whether the Premier League were waiting for a day on which City were already feeling down to give them a good shoeing, but regardless of the timing, the reigning league champions appear to be staring down the barrel and could soon have some very serious questions to answer, despite their commendably straight-faced claims to have answered them already.
Related: Manchester City’s Premier League charges: the key questions answered
Charged with illegally cooking the books over a nine-year period following their Abu Dhabi reboot with the creative culinary zeal of Ainsley Harriott, Tom Kerridge and an entire series worth of MasterChef contestants, they specifically stand accused of failing to give “a true and fair view of the club’s financial position”, failing to “include full details” of player and manager remuneration, and failing to comply with rules regarding financial fair play or cooperate in a Premier League investigation.” City have vociferously denied they are engaged in any such moody machinations ever since their disclosure as part of the “Football Leaks” hack in 2018.
Their fate now lies in the hands of an independent commission which will consider the charges and, in the event of being found guilty, City could find themselves in all sorts of bother. With no punishment off the table, they could be fined, docked points, banished to the Northern Premier League Division One West, stripped of several titles and made to hand the 2014 Milk Cup to its rightful owners, Sunderland, ideally in a lavish ceremony to be held in Bigg Market on the day after Newcastle lose this year’s final to Manchester United. With no apparent statute of limitations on their offences or recourse to the kind of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport that has previously served them so well, their army of well-paid briefs may struggle to find ways to obfuscate or delay any future consequences of their actions. So, what do the club themselves have to say about all this?
“Manchester City FC is surprised by the issuing of these alleged breaches of the Premier League rules, particularly given the extensive engagement and vast amount of detailed materials that the EPL has been provided with,” harrumphed a club statement so oblivious to the irony of its content that it might have been written by Alanis Morissette. “The club welcomes the review of this matter by an independent commission, to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence that exists in support of its position. As such we look forward to this matter being put to rest once and for all.” Having previously said he would walk away from the club “the next day” should he discover he has been lied to about their finances, Pep Guardiola continues to stew over yesterday’s setback and has yet to comment on today’s.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“When I sit on the touchline at the end of the match, I am almost in disbelief that we find a way to lose because for me, we were better in almost every phase and moment” – Jesse Marsch certainly rated Leeds’ performance in defeat at Nottingham Forest, but the club’s owners have seen enough and sent him through the Door Marked Get Outta Here earlier this afternoon.
FOOTBALL DAILY LETTERS
Re: Playing Football with the Stars (Football Daily letters passim). When I lived in London in the 1990s, I fell in with a bunch of lads who knocked a ball around at a nice leisurely pace at Victoria Tower Gardens by the Houses of Parliament, one of whom was Andy Cox, guitarist of the Fine Young Cannibals and previously The Beat. A nicer man you could not meet – a funny, friendly, very patient lifelong Baggies supporter. I have a strong recollection that it was Andy who miscued a shot which careered off at approximately a 90-degree angle and hit Ann Widdecombe on the leg while she was being interviewed next to the park. She stopped speaking, turned around and booted the ball back with a grin – in spite of her politics, I retained a soft spot for her after that” – Peter Logan.
Back in the 1970s I played for my workplace in a north London five-a-side league. We had a last-minute drop out from the team and one of our players said he could get us a ringer, as one of his mates was an apprentice at the Orient. Thus I played a few minutes of football with Laurie Cunningham, who as far as I know remains the only player with the Orient and Real Madrid on his CV” – Brian Wilson.
In the late-1980s I played football for the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. Small though the school was (it’s part of London University), trials were still required. I recall strolling up Euston Road on our way to play at Regent’s Park with fellow student and leopard-print enthusiast, Jonathan Ross. I played in my brand new black-trim Patrick boots; his choice of footwear was a pair of Dunlop Green Flash tennis shoes” – James Furse.
As captain of the Magdalen College second XI, I had the pleasure of benching our non-scoring centre-forward Freddie Windsor, then about 35th in line to the throne. Lovely guy, albeit pretty quiet, and perhaps unsurprisingly keen for the opposition defence not to know who he was” – Alex Metcalfe.
Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Peter Logan.
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