Carlos Tevez is bad for football - I don't care how successful he or Manchester City are between now and June. The guy has stuck two fingers up to just about any of the footballing values that I hold dear.
When one player is allowed to rip up the rule book that his team mates have to conform to and is subsequently welcomed back with open arms, something is definitely rotten in the state of Denmark.
I sympathise with Roberto Mancini - the manager of a multi million pound football club, business and brand in 2012 has to consider much more than say, a young Brian Clough did in the early 1970s as the young manager at Derby County.
The results on the pitch, whilst still the primary focus, have to be considered alongside the profit and loss column, shirt sales, players' image rights and how many followers the players have on Twitter when Mancini's day of reckoning comes.
I envisage that day of reckoning might come on a yacht on the Cote d'Azur, accompanied by the Chief Executive, Commercial Director, Head of Football Strategy, a small army of legal advisors and maybe even the club's owner.
Clough's acrimonious fall out with his chairman at Derby, Sam Longson, in 1973 was probably played out in the tunnel under the main stand or in the bar at the Baseball Ground whilst they both puffed away on Navy Cut cigarettes, in the presence of the club's kitman or canteen staff.
So I don't blame Mancini for bringing Tevez back into the fold. The boy can play. During West Ham's quest for survival in the Premier League back in 2007, I would argue Tevez carried Alan Curbishley's team to safety on his shoulders alone. He scored goals, he created goals and he was at the heart of everything West Ham achieved as an attacking force during the final few games of that season.
Just as noteworthy however was his work rate and visible hunger - he willed his team mates to do better and led by example impeccably. Everyone loves a trier, and everyone loves a trier who can also stick the ball in the back of the net on a regular basis. West Ham fans took him to their hearts as result, and with good reason. Tevez built the type of special bond with those fans that only special players can build.
His footballing career since then, though successful at Manchester United for the most part, has failed to scale such heights again, at least in my eyes. The regular skirmishes with Alex Ferguson and then Roberto Mancini have often been followed by talk of homesickness and disillusionment at life in the UK. His PR machine has failed to avert the fans' eyes from the fact that money appears to be at the heart of Tevez's personal aspirations (or at least those of his personal advisors), and the existence of the more Corinthian sporting values he showed whilst in a West Ham shirt are conspicuous by their absence.
Going AWOL during the season displays a complete lack of respect for the game, his employers and the millions who watch the game. Refusing to warm up, ie to do the job for which he is reportedly paid in excess of £200k a week, should have been the final straw. The measure of this man seems, unfortunately, to de determined by pound signs rather than trophies, supporters' adoration and evident pride in the shirt on his back.
Clough had his problems to deal with at Derby. His skipper Dave Mackay was reported to have enjoyed a drink or two, and often trained with black bin liners under his training kit to help sweat the previous evening's consumption out. Clough, being a manager at a time when results on the pitch were really all that mattered, was able to do things his way. Man management was by all accounts his strong suit, and it is widely believed that he set out very strict rules that the players had to abide by.
Talking to the press without consent, smoking at the training ground and owning a stake in a pub were all strictly forbidden, as was taking any leave without consent from the management team. Clough's treatment of players throughout his career proved that no player was ever bigger than the club, and anyone who didn't conform would lose should they challenge that position.
Oh how Mr Clough must be looking on in amazement at Tevez's reappearance in a Manchester City shirt this season. As a player with a market value of at least £25m, Mancini has little choice but to bring him back into the fold in order for him to retain his value as a club asset. I guess if I was a city fan, I'd probably be prepared to forsake my values in exchange for a first league title since 1968, but a City fan I'm not (I'm a Middlesborough man, and Tony Mowbray would have had Tevez publicly flogged outside the town hall long before now, with Steve Gibson's full consent!)
It was without so much as a sniff of the type of rather prima donna-esque behaviour we've come to associate with Carlos Tevez that we went up to Alderney and secured our place in the Muratti final with a 7-0 win last Saturday.
It was a no win game for us as, having not lost to them since 1920, we were expected to win. The manner in which we did it was one I took enjoyment from. The dressing room before the game gave me the distinct feeling our boys wanted to impress badly, and they were thoroughly professional in the way they went about their business out on the park.
It wasn't particularly pretty but we were effective - the goals are on Channel Online - and I was satisfied with our performance. Alderney worked hard and never gave up despite our dominance.
The game is a big day for the people of Alderney and we were looked after extremely well both before and after the game, despite the result. As the local fans in blue and white said, "there's always next year" for them, whilst our attentions now turn to the Muratti in final in Jersey on 7 May.
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