.. people were lovely but the town was a bit lacking (quite 'Detroit') and my mind often wandered..
I was explaining to a young spurs fan the other day how Tottenham might yet do well this year - as Manchester City haven't spectacularly collapsed in a while.
He scoffed at the suggestion. This was a new City, full of talent organisation and resolve instilled by their Italian manager Roberto Mancini
It's true, they are packed full of talent and a bankrolled by a family than controls apparently 10% of the worlds remaing supply of oil. it is only a matter of time before they conquer every arena in football. But they still remain Manchester City and it is in their DNA to have at at least two more Biblical screw ups on their way. Roberto Mancini's cool italian will just trail off into disbelief, because when the wheels next come off this giant panjandrum a soundtrack by Henry Mancini will sound more appropriate.
My young friend only had memories that go back to Newcastle United level fuck ups and collapses. When that great Geordie Circus starts to go wrong (King Kev and its sequel) it has a real element of tragedy, like a good Woody Allen film. When City goes wrong it's like a Naked Gun sequel directed by Cecile B Demile.
(see Alan Ball, theatre of base comedy etc etc)
How, from here, does this team, which thrashed United 6-1 at their most recent meeting go wrong?
Well the characters are all their waiting for the storyline to coalesce around them. A large collection of the best players from second tier teams that have won nothing are sprinkled liberally with some timeless comedy genius. Headbanger matrial artist Nigel De Jong, who tried to kick a Spanish players head off in a world cup final, serial sulk and Mutley look alike Carlos Tevez, ex footballer turned millionaire sofa pilot Wayne Bridge.
And Super Mario, who it is actually very difficult to wish ill of as his antics have apparently captured the hearts of even United fans.
The fugitive Italian is misunderstood in Italy apparently but 100% understood in Britain's north west. 'Daft' probably translates into Italian as 'mentally ill ' but in large parts of what was Lancashire it is a valid lifestyle option, in the way that 'dandy' or more recently'Sloan' might apply in London.
Mancunians love Mario Ballotelli because they have known and loved his like before. George Formby, Norman Wisdom, Frank Sidebottom.... Bez.... All cool in a particular Lancastrian style that looks so appropriate to Super Mario you would think Franny Lee discovered him doing keepy uppy football tricks in The Pheonix club.
It will be a tragedy for Ballotelli when his team blows up, with a great comedy fart noise, in some future football final but he is essentially a great player as well as a comedian, and the real laughs at that point will come from the uncomprehending stare and gestures of Mario's straight man and manager. Much of the Norths existenial meaning and Manchester City's place in the cosmos will be lost until "Bobby Manc" learns what Daft is.
(I feel compelled to add that the aforementioned 6-1 thrashing started with a brilliant goal from senior Ballotelli)
Sent (direct from the drunken notes) of my iPhone