THERE’S NOTHING wrong with setting out your stall before the season begins but you have to be careful with fans’ expectations, whether realistic or not.
First up was Man City boss, Roberto Mancini who announced “right now we aren’t ready to compete for the title.”
While I agree with Mancini I’m not sure that the long suffering Blues fans or the owner Sheik Mansour will.
The money spent by the new owner is close to £400 million and for that type of outlay I’m sure he expects to be challenging strongly for the title. The purchase of Sergio Aguero brings to 10 the number of players on whom City have spent £20 million or more.
Interestingly, Man United have only three players in this category while Chelsea have four and Arsenal nil.
Mancini ended 35 years of misery for City when they won the FA Cup last season but in truth it was a consolation prize and he will be judged on the league title, so the jury is still out.
Next up was Aston Villa’s new boss, Alex McLeish who says a gap has opened up between the top six and the rest of the Premiership and anyone outside that elite group will find it practically impossible to compete.
All very realistic but how will it play with Villa’s fans. For a start the Villa faithful very much regard themselves as a genuinely big club and won’t like being told by their own manager that they are not.
On top of that, this is a manager who is also very much on trial with these same fans. Many of the fans will remember that only two years ago Martin O’Neill looked as if he had Villa ready to challenge the big four so this type of statement from McLeish can hardly have went down well.
Sometimes fans just don’t want to be told the plain truth as it destroys early on, their dreams for the season. I’m reminded of a line from the Jack Nicholson film, “A few good men”, - “You can’t handle the truth”.
Read more form the Doc in the Journal every Tuesday