Two league defeats all season, not that far off a Champions League place and a couple of games away from winning the club’s first silverware since about the reign of King Ethelred the Unready.
Not a bad season you would have thought. Well, as it’s turned out, not good enough for the people who run Manchester City.
Manager Mark Hughes and his backroom team sensed something was up on Saturday ahead of the match against Sunderland. After City’s 4 – 3 win, it was clear that Hughes was waving goodbye to the fans as well as to his job.
Some will ask how on earth this can be? Particularly when it could be argued that the man who did the sacking, chief executive Garry Cook, has made far more mistakes in his time at Eastlands than Hughes has – most of them public and also acutely embarrassing.
Let’s not forget, this is the man who accused Kaka of ‘bottling it’ when he decided not to move from AC Milan to Manchester. It must have been an agonising decision for the Brazilian. ‘Do I wait until Real Madrid come in for me or go to a club which is run by a couple of former boot salesmen?’
Indeed, some have suggested that when Cook hired his former Nike colleague Brian Marwood as a Director of Football, it seemed to drive a wedge between Team Hughes and Team Cook. Clearly the relationship between the two camps suffered and never recovered.
What is also clear is that Cook had long since lined Roberto Mancini as the new coach. With the Italian already in the city, Hughes underwent the footballing equivalent of ‘death by a thousand cuts’ on Saturday afternoon.
That said, have City made the right decision? Was Hughes not up to the task or has the club reacted far too quickly to a relatively poor run of results? What about the way the sacking was handled and how do you see the role of both Cook and Marwood in all of this?
Also, is Mancini the right man or will he be another top name coach that comes a cropper at City?
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