The Man City takeover: What the fans think...

Everton and Spurs have long been touted as the two teams most likely to eventually break up the quartopoly (if this isn’t a real word it should be) of Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, but have Man City overtaken them as the team most likely to usurp one of the big four this season and force one of them to suffer the ignominy of UEFA Cup football next term?

Could they even push for the title?

We’ve spoken to fans of United, Arsenal and Chelsea to see what they make of the developments of the past 48 hours in an attempt to gauge whether they’re really scared of football’s newest financial superpower.

"I miss Georgios Samaras soooooo much!"

Chelsea appear to have been de-throned as English football’s big spenders. Is Chelsea fan Ed Kemp concerned?

“Not a problem for me - good luck to them. There are lots of good players out there and Chelsea will still get their fair share, as will Manchester United, Liverpool and Spurs. As United kept reminding us, you can only have 11 on the pitch at any given time and the eleven we can put out at the moment will do fine!

Plus, I get a bit bored of people banging on about the money (even though United, Tottenham and now City have outspent us over the past two year), so City fans can put up with the moans and vitriol of other fans once the honeymoon period is over.

“I’ve always said that over time every club in the Premiership will have a mega rich owner – and if Arsenal have any sense they’ll realise they need to get one in pretty quick. Also, don’t forget that we are not even the richest club in West London – that title belongs to QPR!”

Robinho was widely believed to be heading for Stamford Bridge, with City seemingly coming from nowhere to clinch his signature at the 11th hour (and 50-odd minutes). Does Ed think City be able to poach more of Chelsea’s targets in future?

“It could happen again, but I think it had more to do with Kenyon's arrogance rather than being gazumped as the papers keep saying.”

But can City forge a real title challenge in the not too distant future?

“Absolutely! Players always have and always will go to the clubs that offer the best chances of winning and the best earning opportunities. City now offers players both of those.

“That said, having great players doesn't guarantee trophies (or even entertaining football) as we've found out, but it'll always make you competitive. This year is probably too early for them, even though they’ve spent upwards of £60 million, but I don’t see why they couldn’t win it next year.”

Next up is Arsenal fan Robert Frumkin: “I’m not really jealous of City - I'm concerned Arsenal haven't spent on one or two key areas, but if I got jealous every time other clubs went out and spent more than us, I'd be permanently peeved!

In truth, I'm happy for City - their fans have been through the mill for so long and in the shadow of Man United, it's good they've got something to finally laugh about.”

But did our Gooner think City would rival them to a top four place? “Not this year, but 2009/10 might be a different story!”

That’s all very well and good, but what do they make of it all across Manchester?

“Jealous? Not a bit. City’s new owners clearly wanted to make a big statement. They did that with Robinho – and to be honest, I’d rather he went to City than Chelsea”, claims United fan Matt Saunders.

“City failed to poach Berbatov. They haven’t bought any of our squad. So why should United fans feel slighted? We got our man.

This is honestly not at all gratuitous...

“City have a way to go, and a great deal more to spend, before they can threaten United & Chelsea. Sure, they’ve just pipped us on the spending front – but United have never been a big-spending transfer club and never will be with Fergie in charge.

“If they continue to play well, I see them in the race for third, along with Arsenal, Villa & Liverpool this season. They’ll need at least 12 months of excellent football, plus Champions League qualification, before anyone will take them seriously as Premiership title contenders.

Hughes and Al-Fahim could make the difference, but it won’t happen overnight.”

So those in the red half of the city are still relatively calm it would seem, for now at least: “When City win the double, I’ll start to worry. Having said all that, I’m sure they’ll beat us at least once this season: like Boro, they’re becoming a bit of a bogey team.”

Yeah, but when did Boro ever sign a Brazilian superstar...?

Last, but certainly by no means least, we spoke to City’s very own loyal band of supporters, who will surely never forget where they were when they found out they were about to change the face of the Premier League.

“I always check the BlueVibe message board and NewsNow for any latest news, and obviously the last day of transfer deadline is always active. When the news filtered through about the takeover at City, things got a bit busier!" says lifelong City fan Steven. 

"I actually took a full hour 'off' to watch Dragons Den - and so by 10pm, when I flicked over to SkySportsNews and checked the message board - the glorious plan started to become apparent.

Hughes had been knocking a golf ball about, safe in the knowledge that the Brazilian wonder had been sealed, whilst faxes with crazy money for the Bulgarian had ensured ‘Sir Taggart’ didn't have such a comfortable day - a warning shot if ever I've seen one.

"At 11.58pm City had posted on their official site of the Robinho signing, and so all attention was on whether Spurs would have the guts to tell Trafford to "do one," and then where the worried little lambs would actually try and discuss this in their one syllabic sentences - given that the United We Stand fanzine message board had crashed with the weight of worry at about 7pm!

"City selling it's soul? Champions (and runners up, second & third place) League next season? Overtake the team next door to Harry Ramsdens?

To be honest, I don't really care, it isn't real. As a Chelsea mate of mine has said over the past few years; I'm just here for the party whilst it's still on.

For every Robinho, Ronaldo and any other £200m fantasy bid for a player with an ‘o’, there will always be the 4-1 win at Ipswich in the cup, looking invincible with Andy Morrison, 10-1 v Huddersfield (White, Steward & Adcock hat-tricks), Gary Neville on his arse at Maine Road and an incident at Forest away I can only attribute to the vodka and cola bottles we sneaked in..."

Fellow City fan Bill Murray is maybe slightly more aprehensive.

“I have mixed feelings. I’m delighted to be in position to stick it to the dirty reds across town and especially the Jonny-come-latelys from Stamford Bridge. I have no concerns about the Abu Dhabi mob and am actually quietly relieved to see back of ‘Frank’.

I believe the Abu Dhabi boys are serious, committed and for the long term. But I have no idea if they understand football and especially what ‘proper’ clubs like City mean to the fans.

“I would obviously love a David Villa and perhaps a small number of truly high class additions, but actually think money being spent on one of the best academies around is also a priority. We’ve brought through Hart, Richards, Onuaha, Wright-Phillips, Johnson, Ireland, Evans, Sturridge and still have a long line coming through from last year's FA Youth Cup winning side.

The quality is there but it will need to be supported intelligently by some good buys. If we do it all the Chelsea way by buying an entire squad it simply won't mean as much (I'll take it but won't enjoy it as much!)

City's kids beat Chelsea. A sign of things to come?

Very admirable, but what does Bill envisage for City this term?

“There’s no reason we can’t finish third or fourth, but I suspect a trophy of some sort will be the more likely outcome. It’s possible that won't be enough to keep Hughes in his job, but I’m not totally in love with him anyway!

So, a new owner, a new manager, loads of new decent-looking players (including two Brazilians) and new, very high, expectations. Yeah, there’s no way this could ever end in tears...