Please Don't Sell Micah Richards (or Barton)
Almost two years ago and days after Nicolas Anelka had been sold Alistair Mackintosh was quoted by the People as saying “It is nonsense to suggest that we are on the verge of financial meltdown – our debt is under control and manageable”. He went on to say “Fans do not want another Leeds and I can assure them that will not happen here”. In July that year Shaun Wright-Phillips was sold; in the space of six months two of the most talented players to ever wear a City shirt had departed in quick succession.
Despite Macktintosh’s public pronouncements most City supporters knew deep down that the club was in a perilous financial situation however, losing our top players is still hard to take especially when you see the performances of some (not all) of the players brought in since then.
Fast forward eighteen months since Shaun Wright-Phillips’ transfer and Stuart Pearce was quoted on our Club’s website recently as saying “We are not in a situation at the moment that we maybe were two years ago with Shaun that we had to sell.” Stuart Pearce is not the Chief Executive/ Financial Director so you will have to take his comments with a pinch of salt but even taking that into consideration you might still find yourself asking the question; was Mackintosh’s comments at the time correct or has Pearce let the proverbial cat out of the bag? Only the right people in the right places know the answer to that question.
Last summer Oldham confirmed that they had been approached by our Club to buy out their “sell-on clause” should Micah Richards be sold. At the time there had been much speculation about where the player’s future lay but credit where credit is due our Club managed to tie him down to a longer contract. Now some six months later, speculation has surfaced again and that was inevitable. Richards has continued to progress at an alarming rate, has made the England team and perhaps he is the one beacon of light for us long suffering City supporters.
Not too long ago we had Nicolas Anelka and Shaun Wright-Phillips to idolise; two players who we egged the team to pass the ball to knowing that they could create something out of nothing, give us the flair and skill we craved, give us the heart stopping excitement we wanted and give us a good reason to come week in week out. Those players are City players no more and it is the likes of Richards and Joey Barton we have turned to in their absence. It is no coincidence that we feel much closer to “our own”, the players that have come up through the ranks of the academy whose progression we have followed closely and encouraged as opposed to the Anelka/ Wright-Phillips replacements that were brought in.
Many City supporters have been there, seen it, got the t-shirt when it comes to seeing directors, managers, teams and players come and go over the years. The board are the current custodians (which is one of their phrases they quote publicly) and the playing side are passing ships in the night but the City faithful will be here forever and a day much like the Supporters Trust will be. We’ve all got that powerful drug “City” coursing through our veins for which there is no cure, love or loathe it we are going to watch our Club through good times and bad (and we half expect it).
Following City is never easy and no wonder when we’ve seen so much, almost soap opera like, debacles happen consistently over the years. It is therefore no surprise, that when our Club come out to deny the current speculation over Richards' future in the current January transfer window that there is a little doubt eating away at the back of our mind.
In these current times, players and their agents have a lot more say then they did years ago but if we could have one wish this year it would be a wish in the shape of a direct plea to the board “Please, please, please do all that you can to prevent “our own” leaving our Club, Richards and others like him are the future and their sale will have a deep and long lasting negative effect on our Club and the supporters in many shapes and forms. We have one of the best academies in the land to provide us with our players of the future. In the current climate where “cash is King” please do your best to stop our academy providing other clubs with their future and leaving us without our dreams”.