Tired of winning, indifference, and richer-than-God owners… I want my Man City back!

Editor F365
Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour and chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.
One Mailboxer wants Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour gone.

The Mailbox features a Manchester City fan who longs for something simpler than state-backed domination. Also: Mo Salah won’t leave; and lots of love for our Johnny.

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com

Sympathy for the devil
At some point – often at a young age – we ‘choose’ a club. We stick with this ‘choice’ for life, come rain or shine. It’s the price of entry to football fandom and the banter.
Fandom is a rollercoaster and following City over the last few decades it’s been the frustratingly mediocre series of false dawns that most football fans experience.
Then the rollercoaster goes up and the highest it can get is actually winning things. The Aguerooo moment was truly exhilarating.

However, there’s diminishing returns when you constantly win – like keeping on eating chocolate cake. Success concentrated in the hands of a few ruins it for everyone (mmm? That reminds me of something…).
And knowing how much more enjoyment fans of a club that hasn’t won for a while would get makes it start to feel gluttonous, because I’ve done nothing to earn this success. And nothing to earn the hate than naturally follows (or even worse the sour indifference when answering Man City to *the question* down the pub).
Add to that having owners who I find objectionable on levels which make sport irrelevant and you have the existential crisis of the modern football fan.

I’ve been supporting this club since sheikh Mansour was in nappies, what am I to do? Abandon my football allegiance and withdraw from the game of football chat? I’ve thought about it because I don’t even want to give tacit support to the regime ( like, I’m an environmentalist and it’s oil ffs).
The usual response from fans of winning clubs is defensiveness and arrogance but I’m gonna go with honesty.
I want to support the players and fans but the whole thing sits very uncomfortably now; the recent figures showing City as the world’s richest club made me feel slightly sick.
I want my club and fan identity back and to have people smile warmly when I answer Man City.
Mansour out!
Hartley MCFC Somerset


Salah will stay
Maybe I am deluded as “Paul the (myopic) Man City Fan” – but I do not think that Mo Salah (as Will Ford seems to think) will go to Saudi at the end of the season.

As they will host the 2034 World Cup that league isn’t going anywhere, so the money will still be around for the next decade at least.

Also, Salah is still at the top of his game, not fading as a lot of the high-profile players making this move seem to be. Alongside this, as Liverpool seem to be challenging again with Salah being the focal point, with younger players around him.

If they show this season, and secure Champions League for next, and players like Mac, Soz, Nunez et al continue to improve he will have a decision to make.

I know that the money will be massive, but the Harvard Business School’s study into his contract negotiation shows that Salah feels he can play at the top level until he is 40.

If I were Liverpool’s Director of Football, I would offer him a 1-year extension every year until one of them feel that it is no longer beneficial.

That may be when Klopp leaves in 2026. But that’s another conversation
Ian H

Brighton offer the argument for FFP​
An argument I keep reading in the mailbox and elsewhere is the notion that FFP stops traditionally smaller/less well off clubs from becoming big/rich clubs, and thus in a position to win leagues and cups etc. Whilst there is definite merit to this argument and it is something I largely agree with I hardly ever see the counter point discussed. Within the rules of FFP if a club is well run and makes smart decisions for a sustained period then it will grow and become more competitive over time.

The club that demonstrates this most obviously is Brighton. The chairman Tony Bloom took control of the club in 2009, just a year after the Mansour take over of City, when Brighton were in the lower reaches of League One yet now the club challenges for European places in the Premier League. This was achieved not through a massive investment in the world’s best players, but with careful logical management, by taking a long term view and implementing strategies that led to incremental growth.

Last season Brighton finished 6th in the Premier League, though without the massive investments in Newcastle, City, and Chelsea that would probably have been 4th. Reaching the Champions League would have brought the increased revenue and higher status that can help make that leap to sustained UCL qualification and perhaps a title winning side. Those making the most noise about unfairness of FFP are also in a way restricting the clubs that are working within the rules and still achieving the growth which according to them would be otherwise impossible.

Despite their financial villainy Man City are, from a purely footballing perspective, an extremely well run club with an outstanding academy which produces incredible young players. Given their massive head start over Brighton (already being a Premier League club would really have helped) I think it’s likely they would have still achieved title winning sides by now. They wouldn’t have all the 7 titles they’ve achieved since the Mansour purchase, and maybe Pep would be joining as manager now rather than 6 years ago, but I reckon they’d still be one of the clubs regularly at the top of the league and could be looking forward to a sustained period of dominance like United had.

Surely in the long run that would have been better for the club and its fans, and the league, and all the other clubs and their fans, and the just about everyone associated with football except the billionaires and gulf nation governments.
Dave, Manchester


Where City’s money actually comes from
Once again, the mailbox is dominated by rival fans who think it’s the 1990s, and City couldn’t possibly generate real income to match their own famous historic clubs.

Let’s look at a few facts :

City have qualified for the Champions League for 12 consecutive years, and the knock out stages for 10 consecutive years. Huge TV, prize money, and matchday revenue, (insert Empthyhad lies here).

City have dominated the Premier League for a decade. Huge TV, prize money, and matchday revenue.

City usually go deep into both domestic cups. Decent TV and prize money, and match day revenue.

City have, and had, some of the most recognisable faces in world football. Sponsors want to be associated with winners.

City have an academy the envy of the world, now producing first team players and generating huge revenue in player sales.

City have a myriad of multi-national sponsors – Etihad of course, PUMA, Nissan, EA, Sony and many, many more – deals which have been analysed to death by UEFA and the CAS for any inflated value, and/or related party transactions.

City have almost no debt. Money that comes in goes on the club, the team, the wages.

The Etihad is currently undergoing a £300 million expansion to increase capacity and add a hotel.

The UK’s largest indoor entertainment arena is currently being built by Manchester City and Oak View on the Etihad campus.

City are valued at $5 Billion by Forbes.

City are 20% owned by Silverlake, a gargantuan U.S. investment firm.

Millions of kids sitting in bars around the world, watching your team on dodgy internet streams, in dodgy jerseys, don’t generate income.

The above list generates income.

Sorry about that,
Wexford Blue.


Money and politics
Blimey Charlie. I’m a City fan and even I’m getting thoroughly bored with this FFP malarkey. It’s not rocket science and it breaks down like this. If you’re supporters of a rival club, or even if you think you are (looking at you United fans) then you’ll be rubbing your hands with glee and jumping on any crumb of info that indicates that City will be docked 300 points and handed the world’s biggest ever football fine. (As a disciple of the ‘typical City’ religion, I wouldn’t be all that surprised btw). If the roles were reversed, so would I. Absolutely no question about it.

But here’s the thing. Essentially, the PL have charged City with 115 FFP breaches. In response, City have said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “That’s b*llocks that is. Not guilty your Honour”. In turn, this means the only outcome for both parties is to say, “See you in Court”. Which is where we are now and have been for bl**ding ages.

The consequent rabid and intense to and fro speculation in this mailbox and elsewhere is just that. Speculation. It literally cannot be anything else until the independent panel hand down their findings. At which point, it seems to me, one of four things will happen.

*All 115 charges are found to be correct, and City are handed a punishment commensurate with that finding. Massive points deduction and massive fine. City then appeal.

*A lot, but by no mean all, of the charges are found to be correct. Sizeable points deduction and large fine. City appeal.

*Some, but by no means all, charges are found to be correct. City receive a punishment that those with a vested interest will believe to be nothing more than a ‘slap on the wrist’. Scandal. PL make token appeal. Reports of Allardyce-style hotel meetings surface and various undercover journalist stories emerge as do some very murky links between key PL, UEFA, FIFA, FA personnel and those linked, either directly or via third parties, to MCFC.

*All charges dismissed. City issue dignified statement and PL says b*gger all. Football media sites melt. The end of days is proclaimed.

Football club ownership has rarely, if ever, been anything other than a murky business. In point of fact, and I stand to be corrected, but I can’t remember many ending their time in charge coming out smelling of roses. Certainly not in the era of the PL anyway (and I’m a lot older than that). Leeds, The ‘Toon, Charlton, Derby, Coventry, Fulham, Pompey and so on and so forth. I could go on and it’s perhaps not the best set of examples, but you get both the point and also that the common theme amongst all of them was their determination to gamble the football clubs’ possible future success whilst glibly risking their assets (be it players or grounds) at the same time and to that end. Ring a bell Toffees? Oh, and the Glazers anyone?

Didn’t work? Administrators get called in and the main villain f*cks off Scot free. The club and it’s fans meanwhile?

I have absolutely no idea if City are righteous or whether the PL are. None of you reading this do. Statements such as “If they’re hiring lawyers, they MUST be guilty” or “Why can’t City fans recognise that their club is GUILTY?” are utter nonsense because, once again, none of you reading this know that. Nor does any City fan.

I don’t see points 1 or 4 that I made above coming to pass. Would I be surprised if there was a fudge between points 2 and 3? You betcha. It’s called politics. And money. Always, always, money. (Are the two ever separate?).

I’m not condoning it for a second. But I’m biased in terms of court and legal hearing situations because I’ve spent the best part of 30 years watching lawyers (generic term) taking their CPS equivalents to the cleaners in both criminal and civil courts. Know why? Not because one had right on their side but, rather, if you were any good, you wouldn’t be working for the CPS.

And as other mailboxers have pointed out, you must not lightly dismiss the possibility that the Everton sanction was made as a fop, and by no accident made slap bang in the middle of the Interlull, to prevent the Govt installing an independent regulator on football. Something the PL and FA are utterly desperate to avoid and yet, something that Manchester City voted for. Funny that.
Mark (Politics and money is never anything but dirty. At the same time, let’s remember the amended ‘those that live in glass houses or used to’ adage may just apply to your club. Not now maybe, but not all that long ago. Still not condoning that mind). MCFC.


The point of FFP
My God, it’s like you people have never heard of Google! I’m looking at you, Rich, AFC.

FFP was not brought in to stop billionaire owners buying the league, it was specifically brought in by UEFA and the FA to stop clubs getting in to unsustainable debt in the pursuit of success, which, if achieved, they hope will pay off the costs incurred. It wasn’t to stop clubs doing a Chelsea or Man City, it was to stop them doing a Leeds or Portsmouth.

Hence the ongoing criticism that FFP now acts as a barrier to success – the already successful teams have a bigger income and can outspend less successful rivals who cannot now borrow to catch up. Chelsea got their seat at the top table prior to FFP, and had the massive increase in income as a result of getting in before the Rules changed and buying their success at that point. City were a little late, and maybe that’s the cause of their current difficulties, if they have had to be creative in order to spend the money. They should have hired Todd Boehly’s accountants…

Regardless of whether or not FFP was designed to stop billionaires buying the league (it really, really wasn’t), if you want to be in the league, you have to follow all the Rules, not just the ones that suit you. If either club are found guilty then they deserve what’s coming to them.

Changing tack, all the best to Johnny Nic – maybe this is a salient lesson in not getting so angry at things he can’t change, like capitalism, but regardless of how much I may disagree with some of his arguments, I look forward to disagreeing with him again in the near future. Here’s to a speedy recovery, champ.
Monkey Steve


City and CAS
Just read the mail from Ash about City & FFP, and after receiving oxygen due to laughing so uproariously at the innovative, high level ‘bantz’ (‘tens of hundreds’…hilarious!) I noticed Ash quoted from the CAS report to illustrate his point.

I’m just surprised Ash chose to ignore the most important bit of the report, the bit at the end, where it says ‘conclusion’, and relates to the actual charges and not a side issue. The bit that said:

“In view of all the above, there is no doubt that Etihad fully complied with its payment obligations towards MCFC and that MCFC rendered the contractually agreed services to Etihad in return.

The majority of the Panel finds that Etihad Sponsorship Agreements are presumed to be negotiated at fair value and that MCFC, HHSM, ADUG and Etihad are considered not to be “related parties”.

The Etihad Sponsorship Agreements were legally binding contracts. There is no evidence that agreements were backdated or that MCFC otherwise retrospectively tried to cover up any alleged violations following the publication of the Leaked Emails.”
Michael The Bert


​Kenny’s legacy
I’m having a lovely time in Disneyland Paris for my daughter’s birthday, and I’m struck by the large amount of young Irish tourists wearing the GAA Cul Camp backpacks. And that there is the real legacy of Stephen Kenny’s Ireland reign. It’s the intangible what if, the absconded promise of a better tomorrow not lost and won’t be realised for years. Despite bedding in new players and his “progressive football” needing time, behind the bluster and big talk, was a coach of little substance. His backers, particularly within the Irish media, love him because he’s a proper Irish Manager, which is simply code for League of Ireland “quality”.

But under his watch he’s given a whole generation of Irish children no imperative to get involved in soccer. And let’s be clear the GAA is an incredible organisation, with an ethos of community and instils a passion in amateur sport that is frankly close to professional. That’s what the FAI has to compete with. Ireland is a rich sporting nation and we should be doing better. Being the manager of a national team has a responsibility to make it aspirational, and Kenny failed in every conceivable metric you can think of. But there’s a whole generation who are growing up who won’t even think to player soccer, why would they, they’ve had nothing to ever dream towards. Let’s stick to Gaelic games. But sure listen to Kenny, it’s all Champagne f*cking football when you’re paid half a million a year for absolute muck.
FENT, Belfast


​Have the Glazers been so bad?
Now as a Scotsman with only a passing interest in English fitbaw, I don’t usually bother regards issues in the game down South but I write in regards to Peters piece.

I had just read the Mediawatch post which has a daily blast at the Papers for its hyperbole when I then met the language used by Peter Fitzpatrick in his FFP related post.

While these takeovers have undoubtedly benefited City, Chelsea and Newcastle at least in terms of on-field success, the opposite can be said for both Everton and United, who have both been run terribly under the stewardship of Moshiri and the Glazer family respectively.

United have been run terribly?

In whose eyes? In whose judgement?

Business wise – I am sure The Glazers would dispute that comment. In October we saw reported record revenues of £648.8million for the year ended June 30, 2023.

Football wise – Isn’t it every other Mailbox post reminding us how well Man United have actually done and how things are looking so good with so many key players still to return?

Given such terrible stewardship, I can only assume Man United haven’t been able to buy anyone at all, no famous International players and n World renowned Managers since The Glaziers arrived, am I correct?

Some may claim “But they owe £1b” which duly sounds dramatic but having worked in Football finance, I can tell you that it’s all relative. Apple owe $98B but those iphones just keep on a coming.

The closing line reads: Leveraged buy-outs are now illegal in football, largely due to the Glazers’ destruction of United

Destruction?…did I miss The Red Devils going into Liquidation? Surely that news would have made the papers if not 30 articles on F365 per day?

It wouldn’t be so bad but a few paragraphs up we are being told how United are the EPL Form side at present.

Make your mind up fella!

Awrabest to Johnny Nic
Paul Healy ( F365 CSC – that’s Celtic not Chelsea), Glasgow


Read more: Football might break out at Everton v Man Utd amid talk of takeovers, FFP and deductions


Get well, Johnny
Just saw the shocking news about John’s stroke. Nothing to say other than I hope he gets well soon and continues to aggravate the hell out of the people who thoroughly deserve it. Oh, and the NHS is a heaven-sent blessing that we must treasure and protect.

All the best man. Get yourself mended.


…All the best with your recovery Johnny. I’ve never actually seen your face than before today, and being honest, I’d assumed you’d like something more akin to Steve Nicol.

But there you are. Looking like the rockstar rebel your words come across.

“As the world continues to embrace the beautiful game, football internationals will remain a cornerstone of sporting spectacle, a symbol of national pride, and a source of unadulterated joy for fans worldwide.”

As usual, very well said. I’d take the above, add in yourself and the F365 team and community, and the same message applies.


…Just wanted to add my best wishes to Johnny Nic.

I’ve been reading F365 for almost 15 years and his writing is one of the things that kept me coming back. His manager and pundit profiles used to have me stifling laughter at my desk and he deserves kudos for (in my estimation) popularising the “PFM” archetype.

His writing has gotten a little less humourous and irreverent in recent years but honestly I think that sadly this just reflects the world we live in today. I always love his articles on football broadcasting and he’s due a lot of credit for his long-standing championing of the women’s game. As a Scot I also appreciate his support of our leagues – proof if proof is needed that he truly loves the game of football no matter how badly it’s played!

Get well soon Johnny, I look forward to reading your articles for another decade.


…The man we love to hate. Except that we don’t hate him, and we all love a good argument. What would we do without Jonny and all his sometimes crazy, sometimes spot-on views on football? I utterly loved “We ate all the pies”, and have thoroughly enjoyed reading about all his rock and roll adventures down the years.
Get well soon buddy, it won’t be the same until you’re back!
Andrew – Canada

John Nicholson

…I think I’ve been visiting this website most days for the last 20 years, after discovering it during an IT lesson at school, but have never written in.

After hearing the news about John Nicholson I felt compelled to get in touch for the first time – please pass on my best wishes. I’ve never met him but after reading his articles for so long I feel like I know him and was genuinely taken aback when I saw the news just now.


…I don’t always agree with Johnny Nichs more political articles and he occasionally boils my proverbial but good football people always come together in the more difficult moments regardless of club or tribe.

Get well soon Mr. Nicholson and speedy recovery to you Sir.
Edward Canhands (Brackets for the sake brackets)


…I have been coming here since I left Uni in 2000 and Johnny’s articles have always been riotous and enjoyable, I too have loved the journey from rock and roll to social commentary with football on the side. Whilst I don’t always agree with him I am pleased the see he upsets all the right people; on VAR and the chaos of football he is spot on.

I have had the joy of chatting with him on Twitter about football and music, he just seems to be a top fella and great writer.

I wish him all the very best for a speedy recovery.
Paul Rhodes


…First time writer here. John’s articles wind me up and send me sideways. Mainly because I agree with him and I deplore the state of modern football (society). Can’t imagine my week without that. Wish him all the best and can’t wait to hear his views on the Lansdowns pathetic management at Ashton Gate (which I’m sure is forthcoming and will be his cause celebre once he’s recovered).


…Very sorry to hear about John, and hope he will fully recover, particularly his eloquent and persuasive powers of thought and speech.

I have always sought out his articles on your site, because they are without fail challenging (to the football establishment and all the hype and money around it), very well thought through and passionately written. I feel that he is the voice of very many of us who have loved the game, but find it increasingly at odds with so much of the values and attractions that made it so important to our lives. He thinks things through, and then writes provocative, well-argued and deeply felt articles which put forward arguments completely missed and usually ignored by the commercial PR behemoth of football and its journalist fellow travellers. John is old school in the best sense of the phrase, and understands the pleasures of football at grass roots level, where it stills harbours its soul, away from VAR, oligarchs and the utter banality of TV coverage.

For that I willl be eternally grateful and wish him all the best and a good recovery – take your time, John. I welcome the day I see his byline once again, but in the meantime rest assured John that your work has meant a lot of many of us and does not go unappreciated.



…Johnny Nic is a phenomenal writer and one of the few who could definitely bang out 500 words of literary excellence on a wet & windy night away at Stoke if he needed to.

All the best dude, get well soon
Sesh Juan