Emergency? What emergency?
No one likes to see a player get injured (OK, that’s not strictly true), especially such a talented individual as Man City goalkeeper Shay Given. But the fall out from the dislocated shoulder the Republic of Ireland number one suffered at the Emirates on Saturday has caused much debate in the football world.
The Eastlands side have received special dispensation to sign Sunderland keeper Marton Fulop as a replacement for their remaining three games after getting the green light from the Premier League.
The race for fourth is the closest it has been since the position has yielded Champions League qualification, with Liverpool, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Manchester City all vying for the coveted spot. So when the competition is so tight, and with the circumstances involved, should City be allowed to bring a new face in so close to the season’s climax?
Apparently, all of their competitors have released ‘no comment’ on the matter, but many fans are up in arms. With five professional goalkeepers on their books, they have three currently unavailable; Shay Given and Stuart Taylor are both injured, and Joe Hart has spent the season on loan (with no recall option) to Birmingham City. They do however, have both Faroe Island international Gunnar Nielsen and Colombia’s David Giraldo available.
There was talk of bringing Hart back from St Andrews as a first option, but why should this be allowed? Spurs fans will argue that a few years ago, they (needing a win to guarantee the fourth spot) were struck down by food poisoning on the eve of the last day in the now infamous ‘Lasagnegate’ affair. Most of the squad were at best half-fit, but what did the Premier League say to a request to delay the game? “No chance, get on with it!”.
They lost 2-1 at West Ham, and Arsenal got the three points required to pip them to Europe’s elite competition.
Manchester City should not have been allowed to bring anyone in at all, and even if they are it should be stipulated that the player signed is without a club. Maybe with a bit of persuasion Fabien Barthez or Dave Beasant could be tempted to put the gloves on for a last hurrah? At present, what’s to stop them throwing Juventus a few million for Gigi Buffon’s services for three games?
The situation makes the Premier League look weak and swayed by money. The situation has arisen through nothing more than poor squad management on City’s behalf.