Imagine the headline spoken in an intolerably thick Birmingham accent and you will surely remember Harry Enfield and his nouveau-riche comedy characters Stan and Pam Herbert ,who revel in their new found wealth and are desperate to convince those around them that this guarantees them greater happiness and social importance.
Swap Stan and Pam for Garry Cook and Mark Hughes and the situation is similar over at Middle Eastlands. After years of footballing mediocrity the rapid rise to the richest club in the World has left the press, the club, their fans as well as their opponents struggling to comprehend their new found position.
But like any newcomer to the top table the established members of English football’s elite are treating City with disdain. Those with old money feel threatened and distrust newcomers, displayed by the various comments echoing from the grand old houses of Old Trafford, Emirates, Anfield and Stamford Bridge.
The reaction to City in the press tows a similar line. Many scribes still point to the ill-advised pursuit of Kaka in January as evidence of City’s still lowly status, despite their riches. Others speak in a patronising tone, treating City as a young upstart who has no right to be where they find themselves.
Some may say it is the bias towards the big four, others will say it’s the British mentality for favouring the underdog – buying the league just isn’t fair (that one doesn’t really hold water when you look at the already big four heavy nature of the Premier league). But you can’t help but notice the frosty reception each multi-million signing receives from those not in Sky Blue.
City themselves are trying, almost too hard, for acceptance. But given the reaction to their spending so far, they are fighting a losing battle. They can talk about the \’project’ all they like but every player who signs on will be labelled greedy, any success they have will be bought rather than earned, and every side in the country will want to beat them just that little more just to say smugly “you can’t win everything with money.”
But as a giant Sky Blue billboard was erected in Manchester this week featuring Carlos Tevez, the former darling of the Stretford End, now a Blue, I think it’s a safe Premier League bet that not many City fans will care.