Forever in the memory of Manchester City fans? Roberto Mancini is hard done by but not faultless for sacking

Comment by Barrie White, Sports Editor

The worst kept secret in football is now confirmed – Roberto Mancini has been given the boot by Manchester City, a year to the day he delivered the club’s Holy Grail, the Premier League title.

The Italian’s exit was confirmed through a club statement, but in spirit, Mancini was gone the moment Ben Watson’s superb glancing header downed City in Saturday’s cup final.

Actually, it’s probably fair to say the Manchester City board made its collective mind up when Manchester United comfortably sealed Sir Alex Ferguson’s 13th and final Premier League title with games to spare, silencing the ‘noisy neighbours’.

All of City’s fans will never forget that with Sergio Aguero’s sensational last-gasp winner, Mancini delivered the Blues their first Premier League title and bragging rights over Manchester United.

Add this to the club’s first trophy since 1976, when Carlos Tevez – so often a thorn in Mancini’s side – lifted the FA Cup after victory over Stoke City in 2011.

For those two glittering reasons, Mancini will remain loved by all in Manchester blue, while the ire of fans will be directed at the club’s ‘Barcelona Boys’ – Ferran Soriano, who was chosen by Khaldoon Al Mubarak to replace Garry Cook, and Txiki Begiristain.

The pair have met with the agent of former Real Madrid and current Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini, who could take the reins at the Etihad, and left Mancini exposed.

The Italian chose, ill-timed possibly, the post-match press conference to launch a scathing attack. However, not on his bosses, but on the club’s (usually very good) PR team, showing signs of enough was enough for him.

One can have huge sympathy for Mancini if viewing this in isolated fashion, but that Mancini himself met with representatives of Monaco last summer, there’s more than a feeling of what comes around, etc.

Similarly, while he was poorly supported in last August’s transfer window by the club, the Italian cannot deny he was often at the heart of the angst and anger at City.

His stubbornness over Mario Balotelli’s role and presence at the club caused friction between himself, the Italian forward and other senior players, before the pair themselves fell out in spectacular fashion on the training pitch.

Mario, as Mancini so often said with a wry smile, was soon returning to Milan.

Mancini announced he would like to have punched under-performing Samir Nasri to improve his play, while even club captain and City idol Vincent Kompany wasn’t spared the sharp tongue treatment after playing for his national team, despite missing a number of weeks for City.

Players, such as Tevez, appeared fed-up with tinkering and predictable substitutions, with the Argentine usually making way.

There never appreared to be a clam influence at the club, with England international Joe Hart chastised for speaking his mind, and all these stories of conflict and niggles all led back to Mancini’s door.

The proof will be pudding if this is a correct choice – quite simply, any successor, be it Pellegrini or even the ‘Chosen One’ Jose Mourinho, has to reclaim City’s Premier League title and deny new United boss David Moyes a first trophy.

Anything less and City’s fans – seemingly one of the more patient lot in English football – will soon turn on the decision makers.

As for Mancini, he’ll be back, probably in England. He might even just plan some excellent revenge too.

Image courtesy of BBC Sport, via YouTube, with thanks

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