Money talks? Blackpool show it's not all about the cash you've spent
By Leo Spall
Last updated at 12:16 AM on 15th August 2010
It is enough to give all the smaller clubs in the country hope that they can make it in the big time.
As four goals rained in for the Premier League’s poor relations Blackpool at Wigan without reply, Manchester City could not buy a successful strike at Tottenham.
Ambitious clubs with unlikely designs on making it into the top flight have been heralding the achievements of Ian Holloway’s side since they were promoted from the Championship via the play-offs last season.
But if the first day of the Premier League campaign provides even the slightest indication of what is to come, with Blackpool spending a few proud hours at the top until the dark side pushed them into second by thrashing West Bromwich, club accountants will be reviewing their spending plans quicker than you can say oil-rich Arabs.
City’s starting team at Tottenham, as the table above shows, came at a cost of more than £152million and they had £85m worth of talent on the bench to boot.
Despite that, they had to rely on the heroics on the cheapest signing in their line-up — £600,000 goalkeeper Joe Hart — to scrape a point from a goalless draw.
With their spending this summer breaking the £100m barrier, Roberto Mancini’s starting side were comfortably more costly than every other club in the Premier League yesterday bar one.
Enlarge Only the dark side came close, but most of their big spending came soon after Roman Abramovich took over in 2003 — and they are not suffering with the player disenchantment that City manager Mancini is.
Striker Craig Bellamy is already on his way out of the club after falling out of favour, while Mancini’s decision to back Hart to earn his spurs has prompted yet more fall-out.
Shay Given, the man whose place England goalkeeper Hart has taken, left White Hart Lane with his City career apparently at an end.
Given had already said that he would seek a move if he was not Mancini’s first-choice goalkeeper and last night declined to comment on his future.
City want him to stay but Mancini hinted he could be ready to listen to offers, with Celtic interested.
Fulham boss Mark Hughes, who signed Given for City, is being discouraged and the Scottish club are considered preferable at Eastlands because they are not direct competitors.
They may even be prepared to carry some of Given’s £70,000-a-week wages if a loan is agreed.
Mancini said: ‘We must speak. We have 17 days until the end of the market. I respect every decision, but I hope Shay stays and I hope there isn’t an offer. I’m lucky because I have two fantastic goalkeepers. I had to take a decision and I’m sorry for one keeper. Today I chose Joe.
‘Joe is No1 for now. I know Shay expects to be No1 and Joe is asking for it as well. I hope Shay stays here because we have four competitions.
‘His reaction was normal. He didn’t agree with me but he respects my decision. He is a big man and a big goalkeeper.’
It was all change at Blackpool, too, but Holloway has been battling with very different problems.
He threw three new players into his starting line-up after the club’s lack of spending power made it a summer of struggle in the transfer market and, instead of financial rewards, will be relying on team spirit to keep his club buoyant.
‘Hopefully we can make a difference to everybody’s life in Blackpool,’ he said. ‘I had to play three of my new signings and they had literally just met each other. I am very proud of our boys.
‘I will take a photograph of the table and then retire.
‘It has been a horrible summer and I am quite worn out. This is quite a scary place to be.’
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