There was a lot of discussion ahead of the Manchester derby as to how close City were to United now that they can technically compete in the transfer market (even though it didn’t do any good in the pursuit of Berbatov).
Success is characterised by the benefit of thinking with a clear head. Manchester City still have, perhaps, 15-20 new signings to make before they’ll be able to compete for the Premiership. That’s a lot of thinking. United, on the other hand, are in the position where they only need to add 1 or 2 new signings per season to maintain their position. City’s success will be defined partly when they start winning trophies, but mostly by their ability to sustain that success. There are too many ifs and buts at City.
Likewise, failure seems to offer a similar inner calm. The monotonously inevitable defeat to Torquay in the cup means no more money, means no signings in the January transfer window, means more so-so form, means mid-table.
There was no guarantee the money from a third round tie away to Manchester United would have gone on players rather than rent, so perhaps the gloom and doom surrounding our exit is a little over-played. We have a pretty good first eleven, but we can’t keep them all on the field at the same time. We don’t have the personnel to cope away (compact, defensively minded, aggressive) and so we’re unlikely to find the away form needed to mount a challenge. We would need a dollop of injury free good luck to make anything of the season.
But, at least we know now.