There is a famous quote about football to which the title of this blog refers – so famous I don’t even need to re-quote Bill Shankly. He may well have said it tongue-in-cheek of course but this weekend reiterated that at the end of the day, this sport that we all love and dedicate so much of our lives to is, when push comes to shove, just a game. There are more important things in life, and that’s how it should be.
Manuel Pellegrini missed the second pre-season defeat for Manchester City, as he jetted back to Chile as a result of the death of his mother, just months after burying his father. They both thankfully lived long lives, but it is still a devastating blow to take to lose both parents in such a short amount of time.
The selfish part of the brain, and the bit obsessed about the fortunes of your individual football team immediately triggers a brief thought about how such news affects your team, but thankfully common sense and deceny soon take over and you realise that it is irrelevant – there are more important things to consider, and whilst the media have reported that Pellegrini will be back with City in Hong Kong within a couple of days, he should of course be given as much time as he needs to deal with the recent breavement, be it one day, one week or longer.
City have wrapped up most of their transfer business with plenty of time to spare. Pre-season is not about the results of course, but getting the squad back to full fitness before the important games begin in just a few weeks and City can function without their manager for now. There is still business to be done though in the transfer market. Pellegrini will want to add some depth to his defence, reportedly by luring Pepe to the Etihad, and there will surely be the odd exit or two, Gareth Barry’s position looking particularly perilous at the moment. But at least with this early business concluded, there should be the avoidance of the last-day panic-buying that shapes many a team’s activity. And at least the new players can hit the ground running by settling in before the season starts. So far, City’s executive team have delivered with an impressive performance in the transfer market. Long may it continue.
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