Published on January 19th, 2015 | by Ian Cheeseman0
“Two generations in one day” | Ian Cheeseman
What a day! I ventured through the Sunday morning mist and ice for the noon start at the “City Football Academy” – a celebration of the lovely new mini-stadium, with an u21 game against my “other” team Schalke 04. It was actually City’s third game there, and I’d also attended the two FA Youth Cup games at the mini-Etihad, and the performances by the boy blues in all three games was impressive, to say the least.
The passing, “flowing football” is a joy to watch and there are players a plenty who have a real chance of being stars of the future. Brandon Barker is the man of the moment, he scored a cracker against Coventry (one of a hat-trick of goals) and scored against Schalke too. He’s a genuinely two footed winger, and I tweeted during the game that I hoped he’d at least be on the bench against Middlesbrough; why not?
There are plenty of other young players to look out for but I’m not going to list them all, I’d just encourage fans to get down there for a game when you can, and form your own opinions, it’s much more fun!
After that game, wrapped in three pullovers, wearing my Schalke hat and gloves, I made my way over the bridge to the Etihad Stadium for the “main course”, the first team visit of Arsenal.
I was disappointed by the result, of course I was, but what a cracking game! Sometimes you just have to admit that the “other team” were better on the day and give credit where credit is due.
I’ve always been a big fan of Arsene Wenger, he builds teams that play entertaining and attractive football and with the money he’s spent (or not) he’s achieved great things with Arsenal. Santi Cazorla was my man-of-the-match. What a great player.
Modern football, to many fans, is just about winning it seems. If I’d felt that way over the last 40 years I’d have given up a long time ago. Only one team is a winner each season, the others are just “degrees of failure” and all that failure is relative to expectation.
Even the Rochdale manager Keith Hill is sensitive when it comes to expectation. As his team performs well in League One, he constantly guards against the higher expectation which is heaped on his team. Having challenged for a playoff place, so far this season, if they end up mid table, some Dale fans will say the team have failed. Respectfully, a mid table finish for Dale would be a great achievement by the talented Mr Hill and his team.
At Manchester City, because of the quality of their Stadium, the Academy, the money spent, and the trophies won during the last few seasons, expectations have risen to an unprecedented level, where losing a game is seen as failure.
I enjoyed my “Super Sunday” at City – two great games in one day, in two great stadiums. There were wonderful players on show in all four teams, but a disappointing City result in one of those games. Simple as that.
On another day I might analyse the senior game in more depth and maybe be more critical, because there’s always something to find fault with, but today, as I sit at home writing this, I feel happy, content and lucky to have had such a great day watching the sport and team I love so much.