Friday, 9 January 2015

City Have Not Been Frank On Lampard Situation

For such a multi-national and slick operation as Manchester City, why has it taken until now for the confusion over Frank Lampard's move to be cleared up? The BBC headline, back in August reads as follows:

"Frank Lampard will join Manchester City on loan from New York City FC until January, the English club's manager Manuel Pellegrini has confirmed."

Surely this wording had not escaped City officials? Maybe they did not envisage the arrangement lasting as long as it has, and therefore not clashing with the MLS season, but in the interest of full transparency, would a simple statement clarifying that Lampard was a free agent not have been the prudent thing to do? Or were they as equally in the dark, given that they too referred to it as a loan deal on their website?

Fans Stateside of the co-owned New York City FC are now left feeling betrayed, and for the joint owners, Manchester City, and the New York Yankees, this can only go down as a damaging PR disaster before a ball has even been kicked. It all comes across as a rather grubby episode, particularly when taking into account the Financial Fair Play penalties that have been imposed on City by UEFA. They may not have breached any rules over this, but a contracted Frank Lampard would certainly not have been a free deal. Even a loan fee for a season, from any other club other than New York City FC, would have been quite substantial, given the tremendous worth he has brought, and will continue to bring, throughout this season. It is no over-estimation to claim that City would be trailing Chelsea on points without the 36-year-old's important performances and goals. For the Etihad giants not to be fully in control of their PR and media operations regarding this arrangement will surely not have gone unnoticed at UEFA and will have raised a chuckle or two.

Speaking of PR gaffes, PFA leader, Gordon Taylor, inexplicably found it appropriate to compare the plight of those involved in the Hillsbrough disaster to the post-conviction troubles of ex-hopeful-footballer Ched Evans. Had I been drinking anything at the time of seeing this news I would have spat it out all over my screen. Someone as experienced as as Taylor should know so much better than to pick such ill-judged lines. Again, this is not to take any specific sides in the debate as to whether Evans should play again, as there is merit to both arguments, but to so carelessly antagonise such a huge section of the sporting world, not to mention those who have suffered terrible hardships in more clear-cut rape cases, is surely a matter to consider resignation over. It is one of many statements from the footballing world in recent times that demonstrates an out-of-touch mindset.

He may have a responsibility to professional footballers seeking work, but Taylor also has a responsibility to guide footballers in the right way. Instead of going to such great lengths to defending Evans, he should have recommended a much quicker apology than the one that emerged after two clubs had also shelved offers of a contract. It would not undo the horrible actions that he committed, but it would show a clear willingness to learn from mistakes and paint himself in a more self-aware manner, one that might be more palatable to the general public, who have stood in the way of his continuing employment in professional football.

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