City lack class in announcing Pep signing now, says Neil Humphreys
Man City show once again why money can't buy pedigree
SUNDERLAND v MAN CITY
(Tomorrow, 3.40am, Singtel TV Ch 104 & StarHub TV Ch 229)
No matter how much money they lavish on first-rate managers and second-tier superstars, Manchester City will never buy integrity.
Despite pumping billions into the Abu Dhabi PR project occasionally known as an English Premier League football club, the owners remain blissfully unaware that class cannot be bought.
Heaven knows they've tried.
They've bought championships, decent coaches and the "world's greatest players not quite good enough to play for Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich", and now they've acquired a new manager.
The trouble is they already have one.
But City rarely let one man's dignity get in the way of the owners' avarice.
Pep Guardiola will become the club's new manager on July 1, confirming the worst-kept secret in football, putting an end to persistent rumours and sending Manuel Pellegrini to purgatory.
The Chilean is not quite going to hell in the next four months. But he certainly isn't experiencing any sort of professional heaven, either, and for the club to brazenly suggest that the announcement was made out of respect for Pellegrini insults the intelligence of all involved.
For starters, City's track record in this department is far from exemplary. Since Mark Hughes was summarily shown the door despite managing the club through a tricky transitional period, City have treated coaches like disposable tissues.
They had a purpose, but it was brief. They cleaned messes until something more substantial came along.
And finally, it has, in the guise of the erudite, enigmatic Guardiola, who has once again wisely picked the playgroup with the best toys.
After Bayern Munich and Barcelona, the Spaniard will now collect the managerial match-ball after scoring a hat-trick of the wealthiest clubs in their respective leagues.
Undoubtedly, he takes on a professional challenge, in the way Hugh Hefner takes on a professional challenge when selecting his latest flock of playmates. It's a tough job, but not the most taxing for a man of his background and experience.
Of course, the usual suspects in the media are falling over each other like zombies at a blood-filled trough, eager to gorge on the news feast. The world's greatest manager is joining the world's greatest league. It's headline nirvana.
Unlike Pellegrini, Guardiola is already being touted as a babe magnet for the football elite, with the likes of Lionel Messi desperate to be in his groovy gang.
The ink was barely dry on Guardiola's contract last night before Messi was being linked to City, with overeager scribblers putting two and two together and coming up with a farce.
Barcelona stand on the shoulders of an illustrious history. City stand on a flimsy bank statement. There's no depth.
Messi will not join for the same crass reasons that Pellegrini will soon leave the club. City are all superficial sheen without substance.
Their unedifying announcement, which strips their current manager of any remaining self-respect and leaves a dressing room with confused, conflicting ambitions, shows what the bumpkin billionaires really are.
City remain an obscenely rich club still struggling to understand why they cannot buy the international adoration they so desperately crave just by outbidding everyone else at the cattle market.
They want what Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and the giants of Spain, Germany and even France have acquired across decades and they want it now.
But kudos don't come with a price. It comes with a clock. Pedigree takes time.
City's mishandling of another managerial fall guy is further proof that for all their chequebook waving, they are firmly in the camp of nearly men alongside Chelsea, wondering why they still aren't revered like England's established giants.
Pellegrini, a decent, honourable man, deserved better. Had he failed to land the championship, he would've been fired anyway.
It's the cut-throat profession he has chosen.
But to remove his head with four months of the season still to play, essentially leaving him flailing around like a comatose character from The Walking Dead, humiliates a manager who has conducted himself impeccably throughout.
Pellegrini didn't quite meet the lofty expectations of his club, but he never lost his professional dignity along the way.
The same cannot be said of Manchester City. They never really had any to begin with.
Name: Josep Guardiola
Date of birth: January 18, 1971
Birthplace: Santpedor, Spain
- Spanish league: 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011
- Spanish Cup: 2008-2009, 2011-2012
- Spanish Super Cup: 2009, 2010, 2011
- UEFA Champions League: 2008-2009, 2010-2011
- UEFA Super Cup: 2009, 2011
- FIFA Club World Cup: 2009, 2011
- German league: 2013-14, 2014-2015
- German Cup: 2013-2014
- UEFA Super Cup: 2013
- FIFAClub World Cup: 2013
Pellegrini 'Supports Decision'
The move would have been no surprise, but the timing of it all caught out almost everyone in the football world, when Manchester City announced yesterday that Spaniard Pep Guardiola had signed a three-year contract to take over as manager in July.
Manuel Pellegrini will leave the job on June 30 to make way for Guardiola, who joins after three seasons at Bayern Munich in Germany.
Guardiola, who won 14 trophies with Barcelona in his four-year coaching spell, had turned down a contract extension at Bayern late last year after winning back-to-back league titles and the German giants are on course for a third straight Bundesliga crown under the Spaniard this season.
"Out of respect for Manuel Pellegrini and the players, the club wish to make the decision public to remove the unnecessary burden of speculation," City said in a statement.
"Manuel, who is fully supportive of the decision to make this communication, is entirely focused on achieving his targets for the season ahead and retains the respect and commitment of all involved with the leadership of the club."
Chilean Pellegrini, who took over at City in 2013, said he had informed his players to avoid any speculation regarding his future.
"I finish here on June 30," he said, at the end of a news conference.
"There's been lots of speculation, nothing done behind me. But I don't think it is good to have the speculation, so that is why I told the press and the players."
The much-travelled Pellegrini, 62, is the first Chilean to coach in the Premier League. During his tenure, City won 64 of the 99 games played. The only coach to have won more in his opening 99 Premier League games is Jose Mourinho (73).
City, who sit second in the Premier League behind Leicester, remain in the running for four trophies this season. - AFP.