So a new season is almost upon us. Thank the lord, for we can all forget the swathe of pointless pre-season friendlies, and I of course include the Community Shield in that list. Sympathies for those that travelled down for the game and felt that the players didn’t give their all, but City fans should be used to football ruining a good day out by now, even if we have been spoiled in recent years. The result was quite predictable, as it was fairly clear that weighed down with the multitude of chips on his shoulder, the game meant more to one of the managers. The worrying aspect of the game is that we will reach the start of the season, and a tricky away game, with a multitude of players not match-fit. You do have to wonder how this situation has been allowed to develop? I accept that the world cup players need a rest, they have earned it, and it is imperative that all players return completely fresh, especially with the many muscle injuries suffered last season, but whilst I can accept the three Argentineans only just returning to training, I don’t understand why the likes of Vincent Kompany and David Silva could not have featured more in the pre-season programme, as their World Cup ended earlier. I’m probably being unduly harsh, but whilst I am certainly not one of those who decry the modern wages of footballers, as it is simply market forces in a global game that makes huge profits, I do feel that one sacrifice that top players have to make is a short holiday every other year. It’s not the biggest of sacrifices, but Pellegrini and his coaching staff see the players every day and we must trust him on this. My concern is that we will spend much of the season playing catch-up again, especially as the early fixtures have not been that kind. As for Arsenal’s voyeur manager, he is beginning to breed fans in his own image, and that’s without considering Piers Morgan. We all know that certain Arsenal fans cannot comprehend any of their players leaving their club to better themselves, so have to invent new reasons usually linked to money. Considering how much Arsenal rip off their fans on match-day, you wouldn’t think money would be an issue. Now Samir Nasri is clearly a precious soul at times, as shown by his fall-out with Deschamps, but pretty much all he has said us spot on. He is a footballer making career decisions who has no ties to Arsenal (or City for that matter) should he decide to move on. What is even more laughable was a selection of Gunners deriding Nasri and Sagna because their club lost a glorified friendly. I am sure they cried themselves to sleep on Sunday night. We’re not any better as fans, mind. A minority of Chelsea fans now see one of their greatest ever midfielders a traitor for joining City on loan for six months to keep his fitness, whilst a small number of City fans have already expressed discontent with the performances of Fernando. Do we ever learn? The insinuation from Wenger and others that Lampard has joined City as some Financial Fair Play ruse is utterly laughable, as he was available on a free transfer all summer. Lampard is possibly my favourite Premier League midfielder, but is obviously in the twilight of his career now. He shouldn’t figure too much, but can still offer much on and off the field and it will be a pleasure to see him in a City kit, however briefly. City have a rich tradition of signing players past their best, though previously it was borne out of desperation. Let’s hope Lampard’s stay is more successful than the likes of Maicon, Weah, Fowler et al. At the Community Shield City once more demonstrated that they are considerably weaker without their spine of Kompany, Aguero and Silva, in addition to Toure who doesn’t over-exert himself for such games. I have seen Caballero getting some criticism for Sunday’s performance, though the third goal took a big deflection. Whatever, he has been superb in La Liga for many seasons and will be healthy competition for Hart. I doubt very much he has come to City to sit on the bench. As for Boyata, I am loathe to criticise any City player, and we all know about quotas for home-grown players, but I am mystified as to why he keeps appearing on the pitch. What are we all missing? And finally, it has actually happened. The transfer saga of the summer has ended and Mangala has signed for City. This has dragged on for so long that it looked like Wesley Sneijder would sign for United first, but with 3rd party ownership issues it was never going to be simple. As is often the way with City transfers, rival fans like to add the odd ten million pounds or so onto the transfer fee, and this has proved a great opportunity to do that, with many presuming that City paid over £40m for Mangala using the figure that Porto received for their share of the player. However, this is rather flawed reasoning as City could and probably did negotiate a different figure with the 3rd party owners, and the general consensus is that he cost £32 million. This is still a lot of money for a player that is not considered the finished article, but he will have been extensively scouted, so fingers crossed – we certainly needed to buy a central defender, so that could be the end of the transfer business for the summer, unless Nastastic leaves. ————————————————————– The last finally was a lie – I need to mention a book, unfortunately. The last thing you probably want to read is me pushing another book (understatement of the century), but it is for a good cause. In 2008, in a land not very far away, an ailing football club down on its luck won the lottery and changed the lives of those around them forever. This book is the story of Manchester City from 2008-14 through the humorous articles I wrote during that time. It looks at the vitriol the club attracted after they were taken over six years ago as Thaksin Shinawatra fled to the east. It also looks at the wider game, from the role of social media in the modern game to City’s illustrious neighbours down the road, who finally gave City fans something to laugh about over recent years. But most of all, it’s just light-hearted observations on City and football as a whole. By purchasing this book, you can be assured that all profits will be shared between two wonderful charities: The Neuro Foundation, which helps people suffering from neurofibromatosis, which is the name for a number of genetic conditions that cause tumours to grow along your nerves, and secondly for Macmillan Cancer Support, who you will probably know more about. £1.50 from each sale will go towards the charities. Contains: The Bumper Bundle of City Slurs Football In The Bible MUTV Listings How To Be An ITK’er World Cup 2014 Review The Louis Van Gaal quiz And much, much more (The book contains five articles not previously published.) You can find the book here, available on Kindle: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bumper-Bundle-M … ard+hockin And in paperback: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bumper-Bundle-M … ty+stories Thank you! A share on FB/twitter is always appreciated, I hope you can help towards two great causes and I promise not to mention any books for at least a year……maybe.