The Ghost of Season Past
September 02, 2012


There appears to be an emerging trend among football managers lately and I for one wouldn’t mind if it stays for good.

When James Collins scored his second goal for Swindon Town in the League Cup last week, manager Paolo Di Canio celebrated by giving the man a high five, before proceeding to kick his bum. Collins went on to score a hat-trick to trump Stoke City 4-3, and bring them to the next round. It’s hard to fault tough lovin’.

Three days later, yesterday, Edin Dzeko scored Manchester City’s second goal in their 3-1 win over QPR at the Etihad. The goal came a minute after QPR leveled the score with a Bobby Zamora header in a game largely controlled by the home team. It was long time coming as City could have easily killed the game in the first half no thanks to a number of wasted chances.

For the fans and staff in the City dugout, despite the final score, it was a ball-breaking 90 minutes. A bright sunny afternoon against QPR at home was a setting all too familiar to that -- here I go again -- fateful day in May. Though the stakes are not as high, and as much as we’d like to relive the moment all over again, I’d much rather City put the game to bed and let us enjoy the rest of the weekend in peace.

So when the camera panned to Roberto Mancini after the Dzeko goal, he was seen celebrating by cussing in the air words that probably only him and David Platt know unless we have the guys from the Suarez-Evra saga translate them for us. It was not quite Di Canio’s roundhouse kick but it was a sight that defined the afternoon.

In Mancini’s words after the game, "I think we played well in first half, but we have one problem at the moment -- when we have a chance to score, we don't score and the game can change."

It’s not rocket science. But the man echoes what some of us thought of the performance. Three games into the season without a clean sheet now and I begin to wonder if we’re being fair, or if we’re simply asking too much i.e. spoiled.

I don’t expect us to be finishing games at half-time week in week out. But when we’re bossing the game, it’s probably best if we don’t wait until extra time to score the winner. It took ex-City defender Nedum Onuoha playing Carlos Tevez onside for him to score in the 92nd minute to cement the win and secure all three points.

I take back everything I ever said about Phil Neville, Everton and Manchester United.


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Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
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