After slating City fans for not turning up to their FA Cup game against Fulham, Pep Guardiola has backtracked. And rightfully so.
So it seems Pep Guardiola wasn’t happy with the attendance at City’s game against Fulham. A crowd of just over 39,000 was the third-largest in that round of fixtures. Not good enough for Guardiola, though.
“Hopefully, more people can come than today, hopefully [they] can support us more. I don’t know the reason why, but it was not full.”
Doesn’t Guardiola know the reason why? Maybe he should look back at what he’s been complaining about of late.
“A distance of two or three days [between games] again and again. The players suffer. They want to do well and the clubs have a lot of pressure to win or qualify for the Champions League. We push and push. The body says ‘stop’, ‘enough’. With that number of games, the players break down.”
Perhaps fans wallets have finally said, “stop, enough?”
Sorry Pep, but your outburst following the win over Fulham was ridiculously over-the-top. Football fans, especially in England, are expected to pay a small fortune every season to follow their team. If you’re a City fan, then it’s league fixtures, Champions League, and domestic cup games. Not to mention that a lot of fans travel out to these money-spinning pre-season tours of China or the United States.
Guardiola has since backtracked on those comments, and rightfully so.
His comments even drew the ire of the official supporters club. General secretary Kevin Parker didn’t hold back with his comments.
“I’d suggest he’s not in touch with the financial reality facing football fans. Pep has to accept that this is a working-class group of supporters who spend a lot of their money on football, so stop beating us up about it.”
Well said, Kevin. In a season where supporters see that the FA Cup doesn’t warrant more than a developmental side and coach, why should fans be expected to dip into their pockets once again?
The English game has been about money since the 1990s, but it’s starting to get worse. We have managers complaining about players having no time to rest, yet we see top clubs fly halfway across the world for pre-season tournaments in Asia.
Jurgen Klopp, for example, has made a significant issue of fixture congestion and has claimed that “someone has to speak for the players.”
He’s making a stand when it comes to the number of games over the festive period.
“What we do is throw football at the people. How many games were on Boxing Day?”
However, when it came to flying his poor, overworked player to Qatar the week before Christmas for two club world cup games?
“For us, it feels really special now. It is the most important [game] in the moment because we are here, it is the only game we have to play tomorrow, so let’s try everything.”
Why the difference in attitude? Simple. Money.
Pep Guardiola backtracked on what he’d said, and that’s a good thing. Good for him, as he had angered a lot of loyal City fans with his remarks. However, actions speak louder than words, and we’ll always see money take priority over the fans.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.