donal_hanksThey say a tiger never changes its stripes. This was never more hilariously true than in the case of Manchester City, says Donal Hanks

Man City have always been comedy. Whether it is the comic stylings of the late Alan Ball with his funny, funny voice or the ridiculous celebrations of one Uwe Rosler. Maybe their seemingly endless drop through the divisions tickled your funny bone. To each their own.

So some people might have worried when a Saudi oil man with billions of pounds burning holes in his pockets decided he’d purchase this convivial sky blue and white tiger.

Some people might have thought that the fun was over. No more silly managers like Kevin Keegan or Brian Horton. No more silly players like Hall Of Famer Uwe or Darius “Where am I?” Vassell.    That he would have enough money to change those tiger stripes. But have no fear, Manchester city, billions of pounds in tow, are still the same old Manchester city.

There’s still drama only now it’s very expensive drama like they’ve gone from Coronation Street to Titanic.

After their FA Cup exit to Stoke City, City have serious/hilarious consequences to deal with. Firstly, after spending six billion on new players this summer, they are still going to finish the season trophyless.

To give you an idea of how much that will hurt City fans, not only will United, their city rivals, be able to update their banner counting how many years it’s been since city won a major trophy, but if United do become champions again this year they will have won the top division title in England a record 19 times. Some perspective – City hold the record for Second division wins with seven

Secondly, City sacked Mark Hughes this season because the Abu Dhabi board of oil men didn’t believe that his performance was good enough. Let’s look back at Sparky’s record as City manager –   two defeats this season. Two.

Fair enough, they did draw a few games they should have won but when a man who has lost only two games and plays the kind of swashbuckling football fans actually want to see and who is very popular with the players he himself signed in the summer is sacked, the man replacing him has got to be untouchable.

Roberto Mancini is definitely touchable. Not in that kind of way though.

The bungling of his hiring by the obnoxiously arrogant Gary Cook got him off to the worst possible start. And I would like to point out that said bungling was very City like in its execution. It was like they said to themselves let’s get this wrong in every possible way we can. And they did it, bless them.

Mancini made a decent start; they beat Wolves, Stoke, Blackburn and Middlesborough in the cup. Now I know what you’re thinking, where are the hard games right?

Well they lost their next match away to Everton then all of a sudden things aren’t looking so stylish for the man in the scarf. They were knocked out of the League Cup (their best chance of silverware) by United and in a little over a month he has lost as many games as Mark Hughes had in the first half of the season and they’re now out of both cup competitions.

Questions are also being asked about his style of football. Some people call it very defensive. Others call it extremely defensive. But worst of all, the City fans are calling it boring.

Some City fans are even moping about how they don’t care if they make fourth place because they’re bored to tears watching them in England why on earth would they want to follow them onto the continent?

So, just to recap, Mancini is losing games, he’s been eliminated from two cup competitions, he’s losing the crowd to a sea of snooziness. What’s left to lose? The players.

There’s another old saying, there’s no smoke without fire. So when paper upon paper day after day is printing stories about players like Stephen Ireland and Craig Bellamy being angry and upset and arguing with the manager one can only assume that there is definitely a fire in the City dressing room.

So, using the formulae employed by the Abu Dhabi board of oil men to come to the decision to remove Mark Hughes, surely they must be considering if Mancini is the right man for the job.

Sacking a manager a few months after he’s been hired? How very Man City of you.

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