It's City's season, but it will take more to truly dethrone United
Published: 15.05.12 / Written by: David Gold
It was quite a season, rounded off in the most spectacular fashion at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Two goals in injury time secured the most dramatic of Premier League titles for Manchester City. With their spending power, some have heralded a new, light blue dawn, over Manchester, the Premier League, and possibly beyond.
It is all a familiar tale. Team with significant money wins the league title and suddenly is proclaimed as the new side to take over. Blackburn did so in 1995, and then Chelsea ten years later, and now Man City. In between times Arsenal have enjoyed a similar tone. In 1998 they were the new team who could take over an dominate. Man Utd then won the treble the next year. In 2004 Arsenalís invincibles were set to be the force who ruled over the Premier League.
None though have really lasted. It says much that of these teams, the one who has remained the most competitive over the longest period is Arsenal, who have spent least and had the same manager.
It shows something. That money is not a sustainable route to success. City may well find one still but one title victory does not make a dominant force. And to move Manchester United from their indisputable position as the top dogs in English football will take more than just this championship. Unitedís position is earned through sustained success. City are merely experiencing fleeting glory, spectacular and impressive as it may have been.
With financial fair play coming in, Cityís abilities will be challenged and tested. Whether they can adapt to spending less is one big question. UEFAís resolve to uphold their rules will possibly be tested by City, but they are not big enough to ride roughshod over the rules of Europeís governing body.
Chelsea, seven years ago, won the league title for the first time in even longer than City had to wait. This season they finished sixth, behind Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle, armed with significantly fewer resources. It is unclear whether City will follow the same path as Chelsea when it comes to the trigger happy tendencies of Roman Abramovich. The signs are ominous though. Mario Balotelli, who has gone from indiscretion to indiscretion, was in the middle of the celebrations yesterday after coming on to make an appearance just weeks after his ludicrous behaviour at Arsenal. Carlos Tevez swanned home to play golf for half the season, before being welcomed back.
This is a team who have myriad challenges ahead. The likes of Samir Nasri have been lured to City for the money, it would seem. To continue to challenge without spending as much will be a major problem for the club. Chelsea failed, with similar extravagance in the transfer market. Unitedís success was not, as some have contended, built on big money transfers. It was built on a team ethic, and a respect for Sir Alex Ferguson and his methods that permeates the club. It comes from a tradition, a clear philosophy and through continuity. City have only two ingredients at present; money and good players. There is much they still have to learn before they can proclaim themselves the best.