Published on May 19th, 2014 | by Ian Cheeseman0
Ian Cheeseman West Ham Blog
“Best Job in the World, just got better!”
What a fabulous season it was for Manchester City, over 150 goals scored in all competitions and two trophies as their reward. The football was mesmerising at times, full of one-touch, slick interplay; football played the right way, truly the beautiful game.
The team had everything; swashbuckling, stylish players, who could step up a gear when needed. There were the hardworking, reliable types who never let you down, the leaders, the magicians and those who’s skills were unexplainable, yet dazzling in their brilliance. Has the Manchester City team of 2013-2014 been the best in the club’s history? I don’t ask that question lightly, and of course the great teams of the past can’t and perhaps shouldn’t be compared to those of other eras, but I’ve seen everything from the Brazil of 1970 and 1982, to the Barcelona of recent years (albeit only on TV) and many many different faces of Manchester City, from the ridiculous to the sublime, and I don’t think I’ve seen a more joyous team than this one.
Manuel Pellegrini must take a lot of the credit for his football philosophy, and the togetherness he has brought behind the scenes, but of course it’s not all down to him. The Abu Dhabi owners seem to be determined to do everything the right way, as illustrated by the development of the new training ground and the appointment of visionary’s like Feran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, who are as crucial to City’s playing style as the manager.
Roberto Mancini has to be given some credit too, under his watch the club brought in Silva, Toure, Aguero & Nasri, to name just four, but having the right players doesn’t guarantee it’ll work, and that’s where Pellegrini came in.
How was the gentleman “engineer” not named “manager of the year”? As well as orchestrating the stylish successes of the team on the field, he’s shown great dignity off it. I can only recall a couple of times when he was drawn into anything away from his usual cool approach.
The last game of the season was much different than it had been in 2012, on the pitch, on the terraces and in the press box.
It proved to be a calm, controlled performance, with the result never in doubt, much to the disappointment of the “outside world” who seemed desperate for there to be another twist in the title race. Even the news that Liverpool had fallen behind against Newcastle at Anfield didn’t seem to matter. On another day, in another era, it might have made all the difference, but not in 2014.
It seemed very fitting that Samir Nasri scored the opening goal. I’ve never doubted his qualities, and having been lucky enough to have spent a few private minutes with him towards the end of last season, when he recorded a private video message for my son’s 18th birthday, I got to see what a genuine human being he is.
On the terraces, a mass “Poznan” which included me and Shaun Goater, was part of the relaxed joy of enjoying a great team rightly claim the title, and unlike Nigel Gleghorn before him, Shaun didn’t leap into the air and take BBC Radio Manchester off air! To be fair, back in 2012, events had been a bit more dramatic, but this title, and this season, was far more controlled, in every sense.Just to cap it all off, City’s inspirational leader Vincent Kompany scored the final goal of the season.
I was lucky enough to be on the pitch with the players as they did they lap of honour, I spoke to Samir Nasri, James Milner, Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero, Stevan Jovetic, Manuel Pellegrini, Les Chapman and Noël Gallagher all live on BBC Radio Manchester, and as Nasri strolled down the tunnel, he threw me his shorts!
The following evening I broadcast from the bus that toured around the City centre, and got a glimpse of what the players enjoyed as they slowly made their way through the crowded streets.
What a season, what a show, what a joy, and for me, what a privilege to have seen every minute of every game, from inside the stadiums, from Moscow to Man United and from Carrow road to Wembley.
Two years ago, when Sergio Aguero scored that late, late goal against QPR, and before that in the second half of 2008 when the ownership of City changed hands and the future looked so much brighter, I often described my job as the “Best Job in the World”, but during the season just completed, “The Best Job in the World, just got better!”
– Ian Cheeseman