In light of the latest dramatic events I've decided to place today's planned feature on City's ownership and management structure on temporary hold.
I'm going to spend the rest of the day trying to make some sense of the latest developments, but it should be noted that a statement on the official site refers to the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG) "investing" in the club rather than taking it over.
Personally, I sense there's a lot more going on here than meets the eye, and I'm not yet convinced that Thaksin really intends to sell up. But hopefully we'll get a much clearer picture over the next couple of days.
Tomorrow I'll be publishing an updated Premier League / world transfer spending table (which may contain a surprise or two) and later in the week I'll be detailing how much City have actually spent since the Thaksin takeover.
Player ratings v Sunderland
I don't know if Sky are annoyed at selling their 10% stake in City too cheaply, but this week I've given them the red card for their bizarre ratings for this game.
Ratings come from (in order): MEN (Chris Bailey); xavi6, Vhero, bobadji, LookMumI'mOnMCF.net, Svensational, SvenIsDaMan, goat_thelegend, Niall Quinns Discopants, Grob, (Mancityfans), blue_blue (Wookie's Lair), Sky Your Rating and the BBC.
Hart: 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, 7, 7.6, 6.9 (av: 7.1 )
Precious little to do in terms of shot saving but there was confidence about work. (MEN)
Composed, solid etc etc. Didn't have a lot to do but did the little things well again. (xavi6)
Not a lot to do, but conceded 0 is all that matters. (bobadji)
Corluka: 7, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 7, 9, 9, 8, 7, 6.6, 6.7 (av: 8.2)
Couple of dodgy moments early on but settled well into rhythm. (MEN)
Best game in a loooooong time. Very calm, played lovely football, and defended well. (xavi6)
Brilliant today, hopefully he'll stay and form a decent partnership with SWP. (bobadji)
Richards (Ben-Haim 46): 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6, 7.2, 6.5 (av: 7.0)
Took a could of nasty blows to either end of his anatomy and off at break. (MEN)
Kept Cisse quiet while he was on. Hopefully he's ok. (xavi6)
Went off at h/t but looked a lot better at CB than midweek. (bobadji)
Dunne: 7, 7, 6.5, 7, 7, 7, 9, 8, 7, 7, 6, 8, 7.3, 6.7 (av: 7.2)
When he starts well the captain often continues in the same vein and did here. (MEN)
The skipper did well today. Didn't give any of the strikers a sniff. (xavi6)
Didn't have anything to do really, but what he did, he did well. (bobadji)
Ball: 7, 9, 9, 8, 8, 8, 8, ,8 ,8 ,8 7, 8, 7.1, 6.4 (av: 7.8)
Continues to show improved form and was neat, tidy and accomplished.
We all knew he could defend but he actually looks a threat going forward now. Played very, very well again. (xavi6)
Really good, solid at the back, and grabbed himself an assist for SWP's 2nd. (bobadji)
Ireland: 7, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 8, 7, 8.2, 7.5 (av: 8.3)
Survived the axe when Petrov went lame and did himself proud again. (MEN)
Some lovely link play with Jo and a great finish for the goal. Another good game from Superman. (xavi6)
Preferred to Elano. Scored, and looked generally lively. (bobadji)
Hamann: 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 7, 7.6, 6.6 (av: 7.8 )
Never does anything extravagant but it always has a positive purpose. (MEN)
If only he was ten years younger. Can draw a foul in any situation and was a real calming influence in the middle. (xavi6)
He's great to watch, good passer, good tackler, knows when to foul, and knows how to draw the foul. Shame he's slow as fuck really. (bobadji)
Johnson: (Gelson 81): 7, 8, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 7, 8, 9, 5, 7, 7.8, 6.7 (av: 7.5)
Looked much more influential when he managed to get forward. Made goal. (MEN)
Liked him a lot today. Played more like the West Ham game than the midweek one. Got forward a lot and generally just played well. (xavi6)
Looking much better, like the start of last season. Did well for Ireland's goal. (bobadji)
Kompany: 8, 9, 9, 8, 8, 8, 9, 8, 8, 8, 9, 8, 8.2, 7.5 (av: 8.3)
Another impressive effort and he doesn’t seem to have a weakness. (MEN)
We've got a real star here. Last week clearly was no fluke. Has all the assets to be a top holding midfielder. (xavi6)
Another cool performance from the Prince. He's Hamann but 10 years ago. Brilliant. (bobadji)
Wright-Phillips (Elano 85): 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 9, 10, 10, 10, 9.5, 9.1, 9.0 (av: 9.7)
Superb. Never stopped running, tackling, smiling and scoring!
Carlsberg don't do dream returns........!!!! Fantastic to have him back and two goals capped a great day. (xavi6)
What can you say? Superb. (bobadji)
Jo: 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 8, 8, 7, 7.5, 7.9, 7.1 (av: 7.8)
Much better. A threat in air but miscued his one real chance to score.
Fully deserved a goal. Ran his bollox off upfront and got involved in some lovely build ups. Couple more weeks playing with the rest and he'll be sorted. (xavi6)
Great touch and movement, did really well for 2 of the goals. Just lacking a goal or his game would've been complete. (bobadji)
Ben-Haim (Richards 46): 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, - , 7, 7, 8, - , 6.8, 6.3 (av: 7.1)
Intelligent and sturdy defending. (MEN)
Solid, didn't give their strikers a sniff. (xavi6)
Didn't have lots to do, but was solid. (bobadji)
Gelson (Johnson 81): 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 8, - , - , 6, 6, 5, 6.3, 5.9 (av: 6.1)
Plenty of energy. (MEN)
Buzzing as usual. (bobadji)
Elano( Wright-Phillips 85)
Didn't have a real chance to influence the game. (bobadji)
Subs not used:
Schmeichel, Garrido, Evans, Sturridge
Is it time for a new badge?
There's been plenty of discussion about this on the talkboards over the last few days, fuelled by this highly dubious Sunday Mirror story, which claims that Thaksin is going to give our badge a Thai-makeover, incorporating an elephant / mythical creature / Bangkok ladyboy, or whatever, into the design.
Considering that this is the paper that brought us the classic 'Thaksin Asks Players To Bow' nonsense, and that photos of next season's kit, if genuine, have the current badge on them, I'm guessing the story is largely mischief-making by a disgruntled - and possibly former - employee.
However, the possibility of a change of badge was raised at a Points of Blue meeting earlier in the year, attended by City's head of operations Sara Billington, and the matter appears to be under review. Certainly, with the club under new ownership a change of badge might be appropriate, particularly as there are plenty of fans, myself included, who have never been happy with the current one.
Although the introduction of the new badge in 1997 made good sense (Francis Lee revealed at the time that we weren't getting royalties on the old one), I do think it's a very flawed design. While the overall look of the badge is not bad, it hardly screams either "City" or "Manchester". Here it is close up:
My first gripe is the eagle, which looks too much like the back of US quarter, or worse, a Nazi symbol. The eagle was taken from this creepy-looking City of Manchester badge created in 1957, but doesn't appear on the much more commonly used City of Manchester coat of arms (pictured lower down) which was created in 1842.
The three stars "have no significance and are purely decorative", according to Mcfc.co.uk, and there's even a question mark about the meaning of the Latin motto "Superbia In Proelio". Although it translates as "Pride in battle", "superbia" is best defined as an arrogant or excessive type of pride.
Below are the designs that have been used throughout the club's history, starting with the Ardwick AFC badge dating from 1887:
That design was ditched after Ardwick evolved into Manchester City in 1894, and the official coat of arms of Manchester was adopted as the club crest. United also used this crest until the late 1960s though it appears that, unlike City, they needed permission on each occasion. "Concileo et Labore" loosely translates as "wisdom and effort":
The only other design I've seen used before the 1970s is this odd one that appeared on season tickets in the 1920s. Thankfully, it doesn't appear to have lasted that long:
The 1970s saw a redesign of the official Manchester crest which, for some reason, involved losing a stripe:
Traditionally only worn for Cup finals, the crest was used on shirts from 1977 to 1981:
I love both the look and the idea of using the Manchester coat of arms on shirts, but the fact that the club can't copyright it means it's unlikely to make another appearance. I'm presuming that copyright was also the reason the classic round badge was introduced, with clubs recognising the potential in club merchandising by the 1960s.
According to Gary James' Manchester: The Greatest City, the original version of this badge first started appearing in programmes and club documentation in the mid-1960s, but wasn't used on the shirt until the 1971-72 season:
In January 1972, a modified version of the badge was introduced. Surprisingly, this particular design has only been used on shirts for 19 seasons (compared to 11 seasons for the new badge) though somehow it feels much longer than that. Maybe my feelings about it are largely shaped by nostalgia, but I just think it is a thing a beauty:
Personally, I'm with Sir Ron Manager at Citymancs, who believes we should revert to this design. It's not clear who currently owns the copyright on the badge, but it might still be Eddie Phillips, who ran the old souvenir shop. According to this interview with Francis Lee, Phillips bought the rights to the badge from Peter Swales in the 1980s and also paid an annual flat fee for control of the souvenir shop, worth just £60,000 a year to the club in 1994.
That deal was terminated in 1995 when City took back control of the Maine Road souvenir shop and Phillips moved out (the redeveloped merchandise operation was making an estimated £2.5 million-a-year by 1998). It appears he took his badge with him, although there are still a few items at the City Store with it on.
Considering how much design consultants charge, you do wonder whether it would be just as cheap for the club to buy back the copyright. PR doesn't come cheap either, and reverting to the classic badge would certainly be a great publicity coup for our controversial owner.
Another option is a new badge that's close to the traditional design, such as this one posted by Wheelsy OSC Sydney at Bluemoon.
Or failing that we could just go the whole hog, with this design posted by MaineRoadMemories at Mancityfans:
~ I found an an excellent site called Behind The Badges, which has the history of the club badges for 98 English league teams.
~ You can see a graphic of every City home kit since 1884 at Historical Kits.