UK is in its first double-dip recession since 1975 at the moment and somewhere in Manchester, one team will be looking to do the double over local rivals Manchester United on Monday for the first time since 2008. It’s pretty ironic that the nouveau riche assembled team of gold diggers will be looking to do what the oil wealth fueled Chelsea did to United in 2004-05 season – winning both the home and away fixtures.
When Chelsea first won their premier league title after 50 years, the price of crude oil was $40 a barrel and today in 2012 it is hovering at $120 a barrel. So much has changed in these last seven years, foreign investment has either taken a club to new heights or into administration.
If you say that success cannot be bought with money, then Roman Abramovich showed us how it’s done. But this time the enemy is different, stronger, and more ambitious than the previous. However, the repercussions will be far more greater than previously. Losing to Manchester City would only mean bowing down to an army of 100,000 Persians commanded by King Xerxes like King Leonidas and his 300 men.
The analogy couldn’t get any better with Carlos Tevez leading City’s vanguard like Ephialtes – a severely deformed Spartan - who betrayed his homeland.
Without Ephilates…erm…Carlos Tevez, Man City still has enough firepower to hurt United. The FA cup game at Etihad in January where United almost gave away a three goal lead to a 10 men City, is a strong reminder of what City can do.
It is not what City can do, it is what impact they are going to have on the premier league. A title win after 44 years would only mean more spending in the summer transfer window, increase in tickets rates, and more executive boxes being added to the Etihad stadium. All this will not only distance the average working-class fan from the club, it will have a domino effect on the other teams in the league.
Clubs will be forced to spend beyond their limits to play catch-up with City. Wage ceilings will be breached, owners will break the bank to sign the ‘next big thing’, huge amounts of money will be borrowed for this high maintenance lifestyle, and clubs will eventually fall into debts.
The story of Leeds United must serve as a lesson to all the clubs before they fall into this money trap.
The financial disparity between the clubs is visible in the La liga. With almost two thirds of the clubs in Spain carrying debts, perhaps this is the answer to which is the best league in the world.
Hence the significance of this derby match is much more than the title itself. Tactics, formations, mind games and all the hype that accompanies a title decider, would be rendered useless after the referee blows the whistle, signalling the start to the game.
If Manchester United succeeds in slaying this Lernaena Hydra’s head, two more heads will take its place. It will take more than the mythic hero, Hercules to stop Chelsea and City next season.