Manchester City or Inter? It all comes down to this

<span>Photograph: Nick Potts/PA</span>
Photograph: Nick Potts/PA


In 2004, Porto met Monaco in the final of Big Cup, a supremely unappealing match which seemed like the last of its kind: two relative minnows contesting the biggest game in club football. Since then, there’ve been one or two what are they doing here moments – most particularly when Liverpool added Tottenham to a list of mighty opponents vanquished which already included Club Brugge and Borussia Mönchengladbach – but not until now has the trophy been contested by two such such unheralded clubs, put-upon disruptors whose owners are some of the world’s poorest billionaires.

Manchester City are the feelgood story of this and every summer – a paean to more innocent days when Gazprom was just a cuddly fossil-fuel provider embezzled from the Russian people that absolutely loved the soccer, rather than the financier of a mercenary army in an illegal and mass-murderous war. And really, who could possibly have foreseen that pivot? Poor Uefa, it’s always the ones you least expect. Then there’s Inter, 19 times champions of Italy and three times champions of Europe, plucky small-fry who’ve suffered from the unfortunate ill of other clubs having even richer owners than them.

Of course, there’s far more at stake than the resting place of ol’ Big Ears. Should City triumph on Saturday, they will become the second English club to win the Treble – the first was, apparently, Manchester United, but Football Daily isn’t certain as they don’t often talk about it – which will anger the countless people still convinced that Alex Ferguson’s success was actually their own personal accomplishment. At which point, all that’s left will be for the riveting “which team was better” debate, punctuated by net spends and all our other old friends; why, it’s enough to make a person pine for the glory days of Porto v Monaco.


Join Barry Glendenning from 8pm BST on Saturday for hot Big Cup MBM coverage of Manchester City 2-1 Inter (aet).


Take on our big Big Cup quiz.


Everything you could need to set you up for Big Cup final: a tactical breakdown from Jonathan Wilson on how Inter can cause Manchester City bother; Nicky Bandini picks the Inter players to watch; Karen Carney looks at the current spell of Premier League dominance; Jamie Jackson on how Manchester United’s 1999 vintage compare with City’s Treble-chasers; and Nick Ames reflects on the “pioneer” Norwegians who transformed the Premier League.

Manchester City fans outside a pub in central Istanbul.
City fans outside a pub in Istanbul. Photograph: James Manning/PA


“From the first time I spoke with Steve I knew we had found our next manager … I have loved listening to his plans of how he intends to take the club forward and I love the fact that he thinks nothing of dropping down to non-league to create opportunities going forward” – Hornchurch chairman Alex Sharp reveals his delight at former Cardiff boss Steve Morison making the Isthmian Premier club his next managerial port of call.


Re: Robert Courtney (yesterday’s Football Daily letters). Rest assured, we’ve all been behind you at West Ham all along. We bought you a stadium, after all” – Jon Millard.

I dare say I’m missing out on all sorts of amusing material [in here? – Football Daily Ed], but I just won’t follow links labelled ‘click here’ or indeed, simply ‘this’, as in yesterday’s letters. That practice is really frowned upon in web/IT circles, for both accessibility and security reasons, as it says nothing about where that link will take you. So I’m just going to have to assume that Noble Francis’ letter about Messi going to Miami was trying to lead me to The Goat, by Tramhaus” – Steve Allen.

Send your letters to Today’s winner of our letter o’ the day is … Steve Allen, who wins the final copy of The Three Lives of the Kaiser, a biography of Franz Beckenbauer by Uli Hesse. Never fear, though, as we’ve got more prizes next week.