On the day Chelsea announced their ridiculous decision to sack manager Carlo Ancelotti for coming second, it was poetic that Manchester City celebrated their arrival as a major force in English football by parading the FA Cup through the streets of Manchester.
While Roman Abramovich acts like a spoilt rich kid who throws his toys out the pram when he does not get his own way, there is a growing realisation that Chelsea is a club in decline and Roberto Mancini’s men are not only emerging as the strongest challengers to the mighty Manchester United . . . City have already arrived at the top table, and Chelsea’s seat is no longer to be taken for granted.
City have eclipsed the fat cats from Stamford Bridge by winning their first silverware in 35 years and matching Chelsea’s points tally in the Premier League – nine behind United – in the process. The Blue Moon is rising and it’s not Chelsea’s dreams that are taking off. But the club that replaced them as the richest club in the world. And the difference is that City are building for the future.
With Arsenal disappearing into fourth place it can already be argued that the City of Manchester now boasts the two best teams in England. And with a summer of unprecedented spending by the Arab funded Blues about to begin, it will be no surprise to see both Chelsea and Arsenal battling it out with Spurs and Liverpool for the third and fourth spots next season while the Manchester rivals battle it out for the top prize.
Mancini promises a bright future at City’s victory parade to celebrate FA Cup triumph
Not since a brief spell at the end of the 60s has the City of Manchester dominated English football and shared the major trophies. But there is a growing feeling that history is set to repeat itself with a new era that could last a lot longer this time around. Mancini has proved himself as a manager who can deliver and if he is given the chance to build his own dynasty at Eastlands there is no doubt the noisy neighbour is the biggest challenge yet to Sir Alex Ferguson’s empire.
Chelsea, meanwhile, must start again with a new manager, an ageing team and the puzzle of how to build a new one around their crazy £50 million punt on Fernando Torres. Sacking Ancelotti 12 months after he won the League and Cup double is a disgrace. And if the new man does not provide a quick fix, the problems at Stamford Bridge may get a lot worse next season.