Heir Apparent

What goes on behind the scenes at Manchester City is shrouded in mystery. One can but hazard a guess. Roberto Mancini is summoned to the Big Sheikh’s palace somewhere in the sands of Dubai. The Big Sheikh relaxes in a bath tub filled with petro-dollars inspired by Uncle Scrooge. “Win all possible trophies and buy all possible star players.” Roberto is told. Roberto bows deferentially and is tossed a purse of gold by an adjacent scurvy knave. So Roberto knows what he has to do. For the record, he has to:

1)      Win every trophy (thereby incidentally “tearing down a banner at Old Trafford” which reminds the Eastlands team of the number of trophyless seasons that have passed them by.)

2)      Buy all star players like Kaka, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Lampard, Rooney, Gerrard, Pele, Maradona etc.

Quite lucid. However, Roberto Mancini has a most important task ahead of him before he attempts to fulfill either of these objectives. He has yet to select five and twenty players from his plethora of footballers to play in the Premier League. Whoa!

This list is obtained from their official website: http://www.mcfc.co.uk

·         Goalkeepers

·         Defenders

·         Midfielders

·         Strikers

*On loan.

This is the rule that is giving Roberto and his merry band sleepless nights:

At the close of each transfer window teams must announce a squad list of 25 players. The first such deadline is September 1. Eight of these 25 must be “home grown,” meaning they have been associated with the FA or Welsh FA for three seasons (or 36 months) prior to their 21st birthday. Home-grown does not refer to nationality, simply how many years spent in England as a youngster. In addition to their 25, teams can include an unlimited number of players under the age of 21. Players under the age of 21 in this context were born on or after January 1, 1989. Clubs can change their squad list only during transfer windows, with a provisional rule in place for extenuating circumstances (like goalkeeping crises). The registered squad can be changed freely during transfer windows. These squad rules are in effect only for Premier League matches. These rules do not apply to the Champions League, Carling Cup, or FA Cup. Before the September 1 deadline clubs are allowed to play any players registered with the FA.

I have, however, with the help of a devilishly clever super-computer, compiled a list of twenty-five eligible players. So the day the Big Sheikh decides to send Roberto Mancini to the guillotine, Abos Dudar should be next in line to the coveted, albeit jinxed post at the helm of Manchester City F.C. The Big Sheikh is advised to fling a purse of gold at my doorstep and the annoying banner at Old Trafford shall be taken down.

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