Man City FFP: City are not Thanos, they’re much, much worse

Editor F365
Man City FFP
A view outside Manchester City's Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City and their shenanigans continue to dominate the agenda with nobody even pretending to still be interested in the Iceland game or whichever Gareth Southgate squad decision is to be blamed for that and/or England’s inevitable upcoming humiliating Euro 2024 exit.

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These days, if you score a goal against City…
What we have learned from City suing the FA is that just like the country their owners control, City want to rule with an iron fist. They want to dictate to everyone else which rules they will obey and which ones they will not.

It’s fast becoming obvious that allowing dictatorship regimes to buy British sports clubs was a mistake from the very start. If they’re found guilty, they will ignore it. If there are rules, they will cry they’re unfair, and ignore them.

How long is it until the City owners start challenging opposition goals in court as unfair and throwing their money at it until it becomes illegal to score against city?

You might laugh and find that ridiculous hyperbole but so far they have just decided to ignore rules that everyone else follows and then when they’re faced with a consequence for ignoring it they go to court to play victim.

These are the rules you accepted when you decided to become an owner in this sport and to so disrespectfully ignore them and arrogantly assume the rules should be whatever City owners decide is good for them shows their true colours. They don’t want fairness, they want to make the rules enable their own success. I honestly think they should be forced to sell their ownership of the club as they cannot and will not obey the rules. This isn’t your country or your sport where you are the dictator and everyone trembles beneath you for fear of reprisal.

Every other owner accepted the rules when they bought in. If you can’t do the same your ownership should be made invalid. It’s that simple.

I feel sad for City fans because this should be a proud period for them, instead their brutal and violent owners are turning the sport into their own play thing with force.

👉Man City explainer: What Premier League rules do they want scrapped? And which rivals support them?
Man City FFP: Pep Guardiola’s 2023/24 players ranked on their chances of staying post-expulsion


(Most) City fans: is it even fun any more?
I wanted to offer a response to Nick’s fair questions about boycott hypocrisy, but first I need to wax at length about what kind of fan I am. I am an Arsenal fan, but I did not grow up in North London, I grew up in rural western Canada. In 2011 I moved from northern Alberta to southern California, for reasons that are probably pretty obvious to anyone who’s ever been to northern Alberta. But separated from the religion of hockey I grew up with, trying to keep up with my beloved Edmonton Oilers while surrounded by palm trees in January just felt a little sad. I’ll always be an Oilers fan, but I needed something new.

My friend David was from London, so I asked him to recommend a “soccer” team for me. “F*ck off,” he told me, “you’re an Arsenal fan now.” And so it was that I became an Arsenal fan. At first it was kind of a joke, like my partner would ask me “oh, you still pretending to like Arsenal?” and I would spend way too long trying to figure out what offsides was. But something about it just stuck. Van Persie had just moved to United, so let no one accuse me of being a glory hunter, but I enjoyed getting up early on the weekends to watch the games on Pacific time, there were no ads, the American broadcast was great, Rebecca Lowe kicked ass, and I was done and ready for the rest of the day by 9am.

Before long I knew all the kids’ names, I was way too emotionally invested in Arsene Wenger, and I was following all the ridiculous transfer gossip during the summer (still half-expecting us to sign Julian Draxler any minute now.) Somewhere along the way I had become an honest to God Arsenal fan.

In those early days I went to this local English pub that would open at 5am and play all the games for a crowd of American hipsters and a few shockingly intense British ex-pats, most memorably this one meticulously dressed elderly Mancunian who would just stand there motionless in front of the screen playing United for two hours, fists at his side, clenched, teeth clenched, just repeating “c’mon you fookin reds!” over and over again. It was a good time.

But eventually I had kids, and Arsenal mornings became our own little tradition on my couch. They wake up with me, and we cheer on the Gunners together. Watching my 8yo run around the house cheering after Reiss Nelson’s goal against Bournemouth was genuinely one of the best sporting moments of my life. I treasure those mornings, and it would mean the world to me to watch Arsenal win the title with my kids. And I’ve been out of touch with David for like ten years.

I have no illusions that Stan Kroenke is anything other than an evil billionaire like the rest of them, but he’s pretty easy to ignore. In the event that Arsenal were taken over as some sinister state project by a petro monarchy that persecutes women and queer people like myself, uses slave labor to build footballing infrastructure for no real good reason, or was using its billions to game the political system and circumvent rules that keep the league competitive, or even if the current Arsenal ownership f*cks off to some kind of super league, I can honestly say it would kinda take the air out of the room for me a bit. The whole thing just wouldn’t be as fun anymore.

I obviously wouldn’t jump ship to some other Premier League team, but I’d probably just devote myself to women’s soccer in America– I’m already trying to do more of that anyway.

But for all that fun narrative I just spun, I understand I’m still not Nick from Manchester. I wasn’t born into this. I was born into small town Alberta hockey culture, and I know the difference between my lovely time spent supporting Arsenal, and having this in your cultural DNA. My hockey team, the Oilers, are currently in the Stanley Cup Finals, and it is an absolute ordeal for me to even watch.

I’m lowkey convinced my eyeballs on the TV screen curse the team, I constantly feel like I’m about to throw up, there are moments where I’m pretty sure my life is going to actually end. I am the meticulously dressed elderly Mancunian. I am not there because I am enjoying myself, I am not there because I choose to be, I am there because I have to be, and it probably doesn’t make any kind of sense to anyone who wasn’t raised with a bunch of people who all shared a sports team as a religion and for whom it is a matter of identity. You can’t just walk away from it.

So what I’m saying is this: if you’re Nick, or if you’re like Nick, and you grew up in the blue side of Manchester and you’ve been cheering for them since long before you knew what Abu Dhabi even is, then by all means you are absolved. Please enjoy your titles, however ill begotten, I have no more to say to you about your team than I’m sure you do to me about ice hockey. But for everyone else, which is to say the vast majority of Man City fans in today’s global market, who are like me with Arsenal but with a fair bit more glory hunting, I’m honestly wondering: how is this even fun anymore?

I just don’t see it, and while I may not have much to say to Nick, I can speak to the global fans and the glory hunters, and if I were in their shoes I really would feel the exact same way.


In defence of Thanos
​Let’s just be clear, Manchester City are not Thanos.

Although his methods were brutal, Thanos’ intentions were fundamentally altruistic.  The same cannot be said of City.
Andrew – Canada