CFG Out

Christopher Jee

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A guide to the four major investigations currently hanging over Man City
https://theathletic.com/870471/2019/03/15/a-guide-to-the-four-major-investigations-that-currently-hang-over-manchester-city/

Don’t even have to get into sportswashing.

What really kills me is the exploitation of the African academy. Even if they didn’t execute on any of it (because I don’t know if they did or didn’t), the fact that the plan was clearly put into place is damning enough.
The sportswashing is probably a bigger deal to me than the FFP stuff, since FFP in itself has its issues (solid discussion here: https://www.playthegame.org/news/news-articles/2014/is-financial-fair-play-in-european-football-any-good/).
 
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ZYanksRule

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I just want to take this on for a second, though I think your issues with those investigations are bang on.

The field always looks like shit on Opening Day, because the grounds crew doesn't have enough time to get the sun on it in February. I think we've had a major snowstorm every year in the week or so before the home opener. The reason the field looks so bad is that it only gets green when it's being exposed to sunlight. They don't keep the grass on the field all winter, so they just didn't have enough time to lay it down -- plus the snowstorm a week before the opener and cloudy conditions in the days before the game meant that infield area never got sun. I bet you it will look much better this weekend now that it's had a week to take hold and we've had so much sun this week.

As for going to matches -- I disagree. This is all personal opinion, but I rank NYCFC games up there with Rangers games as the most fun atmospheres in NY sports. (I don't go to Giants/Jets games so I can't speak to that). I actually think that in regular-season action, the stadium gets consistently louder and more engaged for NYCFC than it gets for most Yankees action.
I'm going to amend this comment to note that while I stand by what I wrote above, it's fair to say the field has never looked as bad as it did last week.
 

Ulrich

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I thought we had put aside the "not trying to win" BS when Mitrita was signed for an $8.5 million transfer fee, one of the largest in MLS history.

Not trying to win and not knowing how to win in MLS are different things. I think CFG wants to win in MLS. I don't think they know how to win.

Though our records under Vieira -- and our pretty good roster construction -- indicate to me they were close. Then they hired Dome. Listen, they made a mistake with the coach hire. We all see that. Hopefully that mistake can be rectified soon, but I don't think making a mistake on Dome's hiring indicates that they don't want to win, not when they just put down such a large transfer fee.
I think using Mitrita as the lone barometer of how invested CFG is in NYCFC winning is myopic. CFG *HAD* to sign a real DP considering the other two spots are taken by Maxi and Medina - essentially just a single DP - and to go in to the season with just Maxi would be the highest form of malpractice from both a marketing & competitive standpoints. So, whatever, they signed a guy for $8.5m, what about the rest of the team?

Conventional wisdom is that a Pro Team has to infuse it's ranks every off-season with new mercenaries. The goal is two-fold, to raise the quality/talent of the team's floor and ceiling. Typically, by raising the ceiling, the floor is also raised as byproduct, which is why teams try to bring in 4-6 new starters every year. New starters push the old starters down the pecking order to the bench, and that is a natural way of raising the floor.

And yet, NYCFC did not do this. Instead, they took the route of raising the floor, while leaving nearly every starter in place. This was an absolutely idiotic decision considering the team, while talented, was not the best team last year, and so if they go with the same starters who couldn't get it done while other teams are increasing their rosters, then NYCFC falls further down the rung with their starters. Sure their bench is better, but so what if the bench plays a fraction of the minutes compared to the starters. Lets review:

GK - Johnson - the one position we did not need to upgrade.

CB - Callens, Chanot (Ibeagha) - when both are on, they're the best combo in the league. The one area that raising the floor was appropriate, and yet we don't have a 4th true CB.

LB - Sweat (Mata) - Mata is a defensive liability every time he's on the pitch, and Sweat out-performed his contract the last two seasons, but not sure his new contract is worth it and yet his stock was soaring, so he was primed for a trade with proceeds going towards a new starter. The only feather is that he's an American starter which the team has had a small number of over the years, but still, the team missed an opportunity to raise the bar.

RB - Tinny (Scally) - Tinny's 4 goals last year are likely more an aberration than the norm. Defends decently but nothing lights out and went down the end of last year; his crossing leaves a lot to be desired. Can only imagine that the reason a starter wan't brought in to push him to the bench is that the team wants Scally to get minutes and being 3rd would kill it. Still, a missed chance to make an impact.

Midfield - Maxi and Ring were top quality last year, so no need to replace them. Herrera had to be replaced, and NYCFC brought in a bunch of depth but no guaranteed starter, with the most likely being Parks, but he's been pushed down the pecking order so that Ring can play more advanced (not exactly raising the bar since he's the best DMid) and so Sands gets minutes. I like Sands a lot, but I don't think our Midfield ability has increased by playing Ring out of position in order to get Sands on the field - one could argue that Sands is playing worse than Ring did last year and in turn Ring is playing worse than Herrera did, so a step back. Plus, Maxi may or may not even be playing in the midfield......

Forward - Mitrita is a push with Villa - has the potential to score a lot of goals and has the potential to try to do to much. ITS has been benched, Medina hasn't been replaced and he looks worse than ever, and Lewis lost his starting spot even though he got an assist vs Orlando. Taty being better than Berget is a tough argument, but at any rate, the CF position was not made better. So the change from ITS/Villa/Medina to Taty/Villa/Medina is a drop/push/drop. Sure the club is reportedly bringing in a new CF, but when and how long will it take to mesh????

So looking back, I can't find one position where CFG raised the talent level to make the team more competitive. We are literally the same team as last year, albeit one year older which is good for youngsters and bad for the older guys, that was solidly locked out of the top two spots. The team cannot score and has zero offensive flow. Throw in that we have a manager that is a tactical fool, and the team took a major step backwards.
 

ZYanksRule

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I think using Mitrita as the lone barometer of how invested CFG is in NYCFC winning is myopic. CFG *HAD* to sign a real DP considering the other two spots are taken by Maxi and Medina - essentially just a single DP - and to go in to the season with just Maxi would be the highest form of malpractice from both a marketing & competitive standpoints. So, whatever, they signed a guy for $8.5m, what about the rest of the team?

Conventional wisdom is that a Pro Team has to infuse it's ranks every off-season with new mercenaries. The goal is two-fold, to raise the quality/talent of the team's floor and ceiling. Typically, by raising the ceiling, the floor is also raised as byproduct, which is why teams try to bring in 4-6 new starters every year. New starters push the old starters down the pecking order to the bench, and that is a natural way of raising the floor.

And yet, NYCFC did not do this. Instead, they took the route of raising the floor, while leaving nearly every starter in place. This was an absolutely idiotic decision considering the team, while talented, was not the best team last year, and so if they go with the same starters who couldn't get it done while other teams are increasing their rosters, then NYCFC falls further down the rung with their starters. Sure their bench is better, but so what if the bench plays a fraction of the minutes compared to the starters. Lets review:

GK - Johnson - the one position we did not need to upgrade.

CB - Callens, Chanot (Ibeagha) - when both are on, they're the best combo in the league. The one area that raising the floor was appropriate, and yet we don't have a 4th true CB.

LB - Sweat (Mata) - Mata is a defensive liability every time he's on the pitch, and Sweat out-performed his contract the last two seasons, but not sure his new contract is worth it and yet his stock was soaring, so he was primed for a trade with proceeds going towards a new starter. The only feather is that he's an American starter which the team has had a small number of over the years, but still, the team missed an opportunity to raise the bar.

RB - Tinny (Scally) - Tinny's 4 goals last year are likely more an aberration than the norm. Defends decently but nothing lights out and went down the end of last year; his crossing leaves a lot to be desired. Can only imagine that the reason a starter wan't brought in to push him to the bench is that the team wants Scally to get minutes and being 3rd would kill it. Still, a missed chance to make an impact.

Midfield - Maxi and Ring were top quality last year, so no need to replace them. Herrera had to be replaced, and NYCFC brought in a bunch of depth but no guaranteed starter, with the most likely being Parks, but he's been pushed down the pecking order so that Ring can play more advanced (not exactly raising the bar since he's the best DMid) and so Sands gets minutes. I like Sands a lot, but I don't think our Midfield ability has increased by playing Ring out of position in order to get Sands on the field - one could argue that Sands is playing worse than Ring did last year and in turn Ring is playing worse than Herrera did, so a step back. Plus, Maxi may or may not even be playing in the midfield......

Forward - Mitrita is a push with Villa - has the potential to score a lot of goals and has the potential to try to do to much. ITS has been benched, Medina hasn't been replaced and he looks worse than ever, and Lewis lost his starting spot even though he got an assist vs Orlando. Taty being better than Berget is a tough argument, but at any rate, the CF position was not made better. So the change from ITS/Villa/Medina to Taty/Villa/Medina is a drop/push/drop. Sure the club is reportedly bringing in a new CF, but when and how long will it take to mesh????

So looking back, I can't find one position where CFG raised the talent level to make the team more competitive. We are literally the same team as last year, albeit one year older which is good for youngsters and bad for the older guys, that was solidly locked out of the top two spots. The team cannot score and has zero offensive flow. Throw in that we have a manager that is a tactical fool, and the team took a major step backwards.
All due respect to your thorough post, I just don't feel like relitigating the offseason again. That said, I don't believe the roster is the problem. A better coach -- a coach more able to lead this group -- would have kept us at the top of the table last year and would have been able to keep us there this year.
 

Ulrich

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All due respect to your thorough post, I just don't feel like relitigating the offseason again. That said, I don't believe the roster is the problem. A better coach -- a coach more able to lead this group -- would have kept us at the top of the table last year and would have been able to keep us there this year.
Not a question of re-litigating the off-season. You may not think the roster is a problem, but it’s impossible to find a team with ambition in any league that doesn’t upgrade the starting roster in the off-season. NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB all bring in top mercenaries in the off-season who are slated to be starters. Real Madrid, Barca, MCFC, Liverpool, ManU, Juve, etc all bring in multiple new starters every year and push people to the bench.

The fact that CFG didn’t do that with NYCFC is indicative of their intent.

And failing to upgrade the roster and Dome being a disaster are not mutually exclusive. We have problems on both fronts.
 

Christopher Jee

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Not a question of re-litigating the off-season. You may not think the roster is a problem, but it’s impossible to find a team with ambition in any league that doesn’t upgrade the starting roster in the off-season. NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB all bring in top mercenaries in the off-season who are slated to be starters. Real Madrid, Barca, MCFC, Liverpool, ManU, Juve, etc all bring in multiple new starters every year and push people to the bench.

The fact that CFG didn’t do that with NYCFC is indicative of their intent.

And failing to upgrade the roster and Dome being a disaster are not mutually exclusive. We have problems on both fronts.
If they do get in a banging number 9, how much does that change your assessment, not of the off season but the intent to win?
 
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Ulrich

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If they do get in a banging number 9, how much does that change your assessment, not of the off season but the intent to win?
None. It means they’ve upgraded only a single position after failing to upgrade either outside back and taking a step back with the collective misaligned midfield and also the forward line.

Edit- I’m also concerned with the apparent unwritten club policy of making/allowing an example of one player every year and black listing them. First Mix, then Lewis, and now ITS. I find it impossible to believe ITS has changed his training intensity from last season when he put up all-star type attacking stats. Mix was successful after he left and Berhalter has proven Lewis is a baller. And yet the club each year takes issue with a single player to make an example - that’s just fcked up and a club intent on winning would override a coach on a power trip who’s not using his best talent in a cap-tied league. Part of not using ITS is that it directly makes the front line’s ability step back.
 
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ZYanksRule

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Not a question of re-litigating the off-season. You may not think the roster is a problem, but it’s impossible to find a team with ambition in any league that doesn’t upgrade the starting roster in the off-season. NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB all bring in top mercenaries in the off-season who are slated to be starters. Real Madrid, Barca, MCFC, Liverpool, ManU, Juve, etc all bring in multiple new starters every year and push people to the bench.

The fact that CFG didn’t do that with NYCFC is indicative of their intent.

And failing to upgrade the roster and Dome being a disaster are not mutually exclusive. We have problems on both fronts.
I just think we're all being overly negative because we've lost faith in Dome. There are probably at least 20 teams in MLS that would trade their roster for ours. LAFC, Atlanta, maybe Sporting KC ... do we think anyone else's roster is actually better than ours?

Dome is this team's biggest problem right now. He's lost the plot (if he ever even had it to begin with), and we've lost faith in the coach. Yes, I think we could have improved our fullback situation. We could use more depth in center back and holding midfield. Realistically we're stuck with Medina unless we sell him for a loss. But not improving those areas doesn't mean a lack of ambition.

It's still a great roster being made worse by the coach. That's a mistake they made last year, a mistake they're probably going to pay for the rest of this year. The thing we have to hope for is that mistake doesn't lead to more mistakes.
 

Ulrich

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I just think we're all being overly negative because we've lost faith in Dome. There are probably at least 20 teams in MLS that would trade their roster for ours. LAFC, Atlanta, maybe Sporting KC ... do we think anyone else's roster is actually better than ours?

Dome is this team's biggest problem right now. He's lost the plot (if he ever even had it to begin with), and we've lost faith in the coach. Yes, I think we could have improved our fullback situation. We could use more depth in center back and holding midfield. Realistically we're stuck with Medina unless we sell him for a loss. But not improving those areas doesn't mean a lack of ambition.

It's still a great roster being made worse by the coach. That's a mistake they made last year, a mistake they're probably going to pay for the rest of this year. The thing we have to hope for is that mistake doesn't lead to more mistakes.
“That mistake” that you mention, Dome, is not the first mistake the club has made, but one of many in a long list of business side decisions. Each mistake should be looked at as part of an entire canvas and not a single brush stroke.

And even if we take only the three teams you listed as having better rosters, then that’s still a sixth of the league better than us since I’d also add DC and Columbus with the possibility of LA (if ever healthy) and Seattle. And from a collectively synchronized team, RB - perhaps not individually more talented, but like KC, performing like a roadster fresh from getting a tuneup.
 
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ZYanksRule

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“That mistake” that you mention, Dome, is not the first mistake the club has made, but one of many in a long list of business side decisions. Each mistake should be looked at as part of an entire canvas and not a single brush stroke.

And even if we take only the three teams you listed as having better rosters, then that’s still a sixth of the league better than us since I’d also add DC and Columbus with the possibility of LA (if ever healthy) and Seattle. And from a collectively synchronized team, RB - perhaps not individually more talented, but like KC, performing like a roadster fresh from getting a tuneup.
That's my point. They've made mistakes. That suggest ineptitude, not a lack of desire. Have they not spent a lot of money here? $6M/year on three DP's, then a gigantic transfer fee on a fourth DP. So out of the 6 DP's in team history they've spent huge money on 4 of them. Again, they want to win. I just don't think they know how to win in this league.
 

Ulrich

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That's my point. They've made mistakes. That suggest ineptitude, not a lack of desire. Have they not spent a lot of money here? $6M/year on three DP's, then a gigantic transfer fee on a fourth DP. So out of the 6 DP's in team history they've spent huge money on 4 of them. Again, they want to win. I just don't think they know how to win in this league.
You’re confusing money spent to market a team with money spent to win. Pirlo and Lampard were 100% marketing. Maxi and Medina were 1000% budget.
 

Christopher Jee

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You’re confusing money spent to market a team with money spent to win. Pirlo and Lampard were 100% marketing. Maxi and Medina were 1000% budget.
Your first statement about Pirlo and Lampard is a bit ungenerous and lacks nuance. They both produced in some way and I think it can be argued that CFG overestimated how well they would play, vs disregarding it entirely.

Your second statement about Maxi and Medina only indicates that you don't know how percentages work ;)
 

Ulrich

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Your first statement about Pirlo and Lampard is a bit ungenerous and lacks nuance. They both produced in some way and I think it can be argued that CFG overestimated how well they would play, vs disregarding it entirely.

Your second statement about Maxi and Medina only indicates that you don't know how percentages work ;)
I would argue Pirlo was pretty much a bust on the field. He had no magic other than his shimmy turn. Lampard had the potential to be a coup had MCFC not held on to him - had he truly been looked at as a difference maker on the field, as opposed to just marketing, they wouldn’t have interfered with him coming to NYCFC on time and not injured. And even with him, we got lucky that he had the magic touch to knock goal in off every body part.

1000% is very real, it’s 100% (x10)
 

Christopher Jee

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I would argue Pirlo was pretty much a bust on the field. He had no magic other than his shimmy turn. Lampard had the potential to be a coup had MCFC not held on to him - had he truly been looked at as a difference maker on the field, as opposed to just marketing, they wouldn’t have interfered with him coming to NYCFC on time and not injured. And even with him, we got lucky that he had the magic touch to knock goal in off every body part.

1000% is very real, it’s 100% (x10)
Lol I don't agree with your point about percentages in this context, but I was just making a lighthearted joke. I also disagree on Pirlo and Lampard but broadly I agree with you and Midas Mulligan Midas Mulligan, as well as having other reasons for being disgruntled with CFG, and I wouldn't want to distract from that by getting into an argument that has been beaten to death.

I agree that CFG has appeared complacent about what it would take to succeed in MLS. I still think they are content to be fast followers in the American soccer landscape, and ride the coat-tails of more ambitious teams until the profile of the league is large enough that the return on investment (i.e. good publicity for the UAE) justifies putting all of their organizational might and wealth behind us. I'm also concerned that would mean that we are doing things that are morally and ethically dubious at best, as we're seeing with MCFC. And I'd like to think our soccer communities and city can do better than that.
 
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Keith Putnam

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A guide to the four major investigations currently hanging over Man City
This makes the "Pep to Juventus" rumors a *lot* more credible. Get off the sinking City ship before being hit with multiple transfer bans and a UCL ban.
That said, Juventus is a horrible organization too, which is doing everything in its power to shield Cristiano Ronaldo from justice regarding his rape allegations so fuck those assholes.
 

Kangaroo Jack

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This makes the "Pep to Juventus" rumors a *lot* more credible. Get off the sinking City ship before being hit with multiple transfer bans and a UCL ban.
That said, Juventus is a horrible organization too, which is doing everything in its power to shield Cristiano Ronaldo from justice regarding his rape allegations so fuck those assholes.
I absolutely despise Juventus but I think your take is a bit unfair. I’m not sure how they’re shielding him regarding his rape allegations unless they’re something I don’t know about. I do however think they’re public statement regarding it was offputting.

However, I’m not exactly sure what responsibility they have in it if any or what information they could actually provide to authorities. This happened years ago when he played for another team and in Las Vegas.
 
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Keith Putnam

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I’m not sure how they’re shielding him regarding his rape allegations unless they’re something I don’t know about.
http://www.espn.com/soccer/soccer/0/blog/post/3794488/six-months-after-ronaldo-was-accused-of-rapewhy-is-the-case-in-legal-limbo
Juventus and Serie A (obviously along with Ronaldo's own machine) are helping him avoid process servers by keeping him ultra-isolated.
I was with a nine-year old kid yesterday who was waxing rhapsodic about Ronaldo and it just made me so sad.