Having had a week out of the country I got back on Sunday to something of a meltdown in progress.
Since the curtain came down on City’s latest failed attempt to establish themselves as a Premier League club it appears that the news vacuum that always follows the end of a season has been filled by rumour, fantasy and, in some cases outright paranoia.
The fact that the club have employed a headhunting agency used by the likes of Liverpool and the FA to spearhead the search for a new chief executive has come in for plenty of criticism, often from the very people who derided the internal “scouring of Europe” exercise when Neil Adams was appointed manager as amateurish and insular; a case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” if there ever was one.
At the time of Spencer Stuart’s appointment Ed Balls said: “We decided to get the best to help us, and that means we don’t just have to wait to see who comes to us. But also we will go out and look right across the whole football world and potentially more widely – although I think we’re looking for deep football experience – to make sure we get the best.”
To the untrained eye that would appear to be an entirely logical and professional decision, and one that suggests a desire to get the right man, not just a quick appointment, yet to the negativity ninjas it apparently constitutes conclusive proof that the board have no idea how to run a football club.
That dubious conclusion received further succor when the Times ran a poorly written story (the writer couldn’t even get the interim chief executive’s name right) claiming that the club had employed agencies “to handle all of their player sales (note that purchases weren’t mentioned) this summer because of their concern about a lack of expertise and contacts within the club.”
The article implied that sales were needed to fund a promotion bid and then went on to name three players who the club were desperate to cash in on.
Two of them, Brady and Redmond, would hardly have required the use of a crystal ball given their international aspirations but the third was Cameron Jerome. Yes, that Cameron Jerome, the one who’s just signed a new three year deal.
Still, it’s been in the papers so it must be true…
And then we had Gary O’Neil, last season’s fan favourite but at the age of 33 not a player that I would expect an ambitious club to be building a team around, leaving for Bristol City.
It was perfectly understandable that Alex Neil would only offer a one year contract to a player whom he didn’t see as a regular next season and equally so that once the Robins offered a two-year deal the player would leave.
All part of football and nothing to see here, unless of course you want to press the “a smaller club can offer better wages than us, therefore the club’s a shambles” button.
Add in a couple of cryptic and speedily deleted tweets from a disgruntled Under 21 player who has been released after making virtually no impression in the last couple of seasons and there is just a modicum of smoke that can be hyped into an almighty conflagration if you’re so inclined.
However, if we leave aside the abundance of conjecture for the moment, all that’s actually happened is that the board have put the search for a CEO in the hands of a highly rated company while ensuring that transfer and contract activity isn’t contingent upon an appointment; an arrangement that Alex Neil has declared himself perfectly happy with.
An out of contract player has been allowed to leave and options have been exercised on several others, while Jerome’s new contract makes perfect sense for a player who bagged 20 goals in his last Championship season.
Other than that there are lots of rumours about Nathan Redmond, but with a year left on his contract and no apparent desire on his part to sign another, why wouldn’t the club cash in for the right price?
The summer transfer window was always going to get off to a slow start because of the Euros, but it appears that City have been no more or less active than the majority of other clubs up to this point, and while I expect to see a lot of activity in the next few weeks as a much needed rebuilding takes place I honestly can’t see anything that suggests that there is any reason for fans to be overly concerned at this stage.
Of course, it may all go horribly wrong because I know nothing more than the next man about what goes on inside the club, but until something bad actually happens my pants will be staying resolutely dry.