I think it would be fair to say that Manchester City fans have been through a lot in recent years. Relegation to the third tier of English football followed by promotion finally back to the Premiership. Numerous managers, including former England manager’s, who all failed to provide the club with the stability they desired. An owner from Thailand of, shall we say, questionable moral standings, finally replaced by the disgustingly rich Saudi oil baron Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. With a seemingly bottomless bank account, the club set about transforming itself into a footballing superpower, both on and off the pitch. The jewel in the crown for City was the acquisition of Manchester United striker, Carlos Tevez.
Since then, Tevez has been positively on fire, topping their scoring charts and receiving plaudits galore. City have managed to move themselves into contention not only for a Champions League place, but with a chance of winning the league. Whilst this is a remarkable improvement on what the majority of City fans are used to, should City fans expect more from the team? There has been a huge investment in the playing squad totalling well over £400m. Shouldn’t City fans feel that their team should be running away with this league, especially with the traditional ‘Big 4’ clubs faltering? Quite frankly, they should. And in my opinion, the main reason they haven’t taken the big step is because of Carlos Tevez.
Whatever your opinion of Carlos Tevez, whether you think he’s a footballing genius or a money grabbing whore, you can not argue with the man’s history so far in football. Boca Juniors, his first major club, after two years in the first team Carlos gets sick of the intrusion of the press in Argentina. He publicly argues with his coach and eventually gets move to Brazilian side Corinthians. Everything is rosy for all of ten minutes until Senor Tevez begins to argue with practically everyone associated to the club. Fist fights in training, bust ups with another coach and even an argument with the club president. Carlos is then granted his move to Europe, signing for West Ham United with Javier Mascherano. He lasted one season at Corinthians.
Carlos Tevez is fondly remembered at Upton Park by the fans as he almost single-handedly saved them from relegation that year. What those fans forget is that he caused massive disruption in the squad by falling out with players and the manager. He threatened to go on strike after being substituted and went AWOL to Argentina at one point. After the glories of keeping West Ham in the Premiership and gaining the adulation of the fans in East London, Tevez rewards them for their support by jumping ship to Manchester United after one solitary season.
His time at Old Trafford is one of mixed feelings for United fans. He was part of one of the most successful sides in United history. Forming part of a modern-day trinity with Rooney and Ronaldo, the attacking football wowed fans and pundits alike. However his time at United wasn’t without its knocks. After his first season, he complained of being fatigued and that he played too much football. After the arrival of Dimitar Berbatov, Tevez was relegated to more of a substitute’s role in his second season. This did not sit well with Carlos and he complained of not playing enough, despite only scoring five goals all season. Once the season was over, Tevez claimed no contract was offered to him by United whilst the club spoke of an offer being made. The writing was on the wall, he was off to City. In the two seasons he was with us we won the league twice and the Champions League in Moscow. These achievements will always be tainted with a sense of betrayal due to his move across the city to the blue half of Manchester.
This leads us to where we are now. King Tevez, the pride of Eastlands. Goal scoring sensation in his first season. Poster boy pin-up of infamous PR stunts across the city of Manchester and a vital cog in the City machine. Tevez is always golden for one season. His second season started off similar to the first. Goals started to pour in but so did the newspaper headlines. Obvious dissent on the pitch when substituted and this from the captain of the side. Threats of retirement from the game due to his feelings about football being ‘all about money’. Falling out with the manager and the club executives despite being the clubs highest paid player. Finally he hands in a transfer request, only to withdraw it less than a week later. Doesn’t all this sound so familiar? (see above)
There is one thing you can take from all the above information, Tevez is clearly a disruptive influence on his club and teammates. Having so much negative press causes additional stress on management which eventually filters down to the team. This can be seen in the recent form shown by City and the almost tactual ineptness of Mancini against Everton (leaving Zabaleta off for so long and costing them the second and crucial goal). The pressure cooker that has been built by the massive burden of the oil billions has been further increased by Tevez’s ill advised actions and even worse comments. Yes, he brings you goals and often moments of magic on the pitch, but the question City fans must surely be asking themselves now is ‘Is it all worth it?’, ‘Is Tevez holding us back from breaking into the upper echelon?’.
I know exactly what will happen from this article. I will receive vast numbers of comments from City fans who probably think that I wrote this piece because I’m a ‘jealous red’ or a ‘dirty rag’. Instead, maybe their time would be better spent reflecting on the facts, which all point to Tevez being a bittersweet pill to take. United fans had to do some reflecting themselves in October with Wayne Rooney putting us in a similar situation. The difference between the two being the Fergie is a master of deflecting negative press away from the team as he has shown a number of times in the past 24 years. Mancini, who is still relatively inexperienced as a manager, does not come across in the same manner. The fact still remains though that Tevez, whilst probably not 100% responsible, has played a massive part in disrupting what should have been a massive season for City.