Man City are at the mercy of an ARSENAL member, who will presumably sacrifice 40 years of respected professionalism to let Gunnersaurus make the final call.
Reach for the stars
At this early and precarious stage of the story surrounding the FFP charges brought against Manchester City by the Premier League, it is difficult to report much beyond what is already known. The allegations have been laid out and referred to an independent commission, whose review will require an indeterminate amount of time to undertake.
The rest is down to speculation and conjecture; the potential punishments for any offences are public knowledge and open to interpretation but this situation is unprecedented in the English game.
But it is very funny to see the understandably diametrically opposite stances taken by two sister sites who have made a click-based killing out of proudly displaying their bias and partisanship. This sort of subject does not lend itself naturally to opinion but corners need to be fought here.
‘There are some within the club who dream of this bombshell news,’ says chief Manchester City writer of the MEN Simon Bajkowski, who adds that those unnamed figures see this ‘as the chance to finally dance into the sunlit uplands of innocence, with the commission having the opportunity to eradicate not only any blame lain at City’s door but also the idea that they have only got away because the claims are time-barred’.
‘The chance to finally dance into the sunlit uplands of innocence,’ is almost beautiful. Utter bollocks but beautiful.
Bajkowski then snipes at ‘the Jamie Carraghers of this world’ who ‘have jumped on City’s alleged misdemeanours at the earliest point’ and been ‘desperate to find wrongdoing’ at the Etihad.
Which leads us nicely into Paul Gorst, correspondent for the Liverpool Echo, who hardly need an excuse to reprise their recent role of unabashed This Means More cheerleaders.
‘The entire tawdry episode will no doubt leave a stain on the top level of the game and at a time when so many are becoming increasingly disillusioned with what elite football looks like in this country, a guilty verdict for the most successful team of recent years could very well be the straw that breaks the camel’s backs for those searching for a more pure environment in which to enjoy the sport.’
One man’s ‘dream’ is another’s ‘tawdry episode’. And Mediawatch cannot remember reading much on the Echo about how ‘so many are becoming increasingly disillusioned with what elite football looks like in this country’ when Liverpool were brilliant trophy winners chasing a quadruple. Must be a coincidence that we need ‘a more pure environment’ now that they’re 10th and struggling.
You can sense the air of superiority with which Gorst finishes by saying ‘the record of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool is clean’. But congratulations to Reach plc, who have fan-baited both sides of this situation as impeccably as ever.
It is a little bit strange that the comments have been disabled on this Liverpool Echo story, mind:
‘Former Liverpool defender looks ahead to ‘bus parade’ after Man City charged’
If you deem Jon Flanagan’s thoughts important (clicky) enough to base an entire story on one of his tweets, at least own the predictably dismissive reaction from Liverpool supporters who would understandably rather not be associated with him.
Dave Kidd wonders what this all means for Manchester City’s rivals in The Sun:
‘With Liverpool in meltdown and City under threat of expulsion, Newcastle’s Geordie Arabia regime – who are being careful with FFP – will be rubbing their hands at the prospect of a potential title charge as soon as next season.
‘Chelsea, who are flying close to a hurricane with FFP, might be more wary about balancing the books but will also sense renewed opportunity.
‘The English old firm of United and Arsenal will be emboldened, too, if the Premier League’s dominant club is brought to its knees.’
Do the current Premier League leaders, five points clear of Manchester City with a game in hand, really need to be ’emboldened’? It’s not exactly been an insurmountable obstacle to their progress.
There is a certain currency in approaching this all from an Arsenal angle. And boy, do some outlets cash in.
‘Lawyer who will head the Premier League panel looking into Man City’s alleged rule breaches is an ARSENAL member… with the champions facing the threat of points deduction or even expulsion if found guilty’ – MailOnline, who rather comically later point out that ‘Arsenal will have no direct involvement in the commission which will decide City’s fate’. Mediawatch had assumed an independent commission of Gunnersaurus, Rob Holding and Piers Morgan were going to be appointed so that is a relief.
‘Arsenal member appointed chair looking into Manchester City’s charges’ – The Sun website, who call Murray Rosen KC ‘an avid Gunners supporter’ with more than a wink and a nudge.
‘Lawyer in charge of independent commission on Man City is actually an Arsenal fan’ – Daily Star website, who write that ‘while members of the King’s Counsel are deemed to be too experienced to be influenced by outside events and voices, Rosen is a passionate Arsenal fan’.
‘Arsenal member appointed to chair independent commission into Man City finances’ – Daily Mirror website.
‘Arsenal member set to chair commission into Man City finances after Premier League breach’ – Daily Express website.
‘Lawyer heading Man City’s alleged rule breaches panel is an Arsenal member’ – SportsJOE.
They all know precisely what they’re implying and honestly, fair f**king play for pretending this is all a conspiracy for Arsenal to eliminate their main Premier League title rival.
Stamp your authority
For anyone worrying about the impartiality of Rosen, step forward Henry Winter of The Times:
‘Rosen brings a forensic, considered take to the circus of football. He’s acted for Robbie Williams, The Who and Duran Duran, collects Surrealist art and has arbitrated in cases over forged stamps, so it’s fair to say Rosen has seen a bit of life, he’s got some perspective, he can be trusted.’
Phew. You mean this expert in sports law with over 40 years’ worth of experience is going to be neutral and not sacrifice his entire career and reputation in the name of Mikel Arteta’s process? That is a shock.