Carlos Tevez has returned to resume his Man City career after awarding himself three months off in the wake of his refusal to play/warm up against Bayern Munich last September. He claims to have been treated ‘like a dog’ but he certainly isn’t coming back with his tail between his legs. In fact he seems as belligerent as ever about his falling out with his boss Roberto Mancini and is adamant that he has done nothing wrong.
Man City earned a lot of praise for the initial position they took on Tevez which was proclaimed by all and sundry as morally upright, correct and a blow against player power. Mancini declared that Tevez was ‘finished’ and there were ‘hard lines’ and ‘tough stances’ being taken everywhere. This was the correct way to deal with these overpaid millionaire prima donnas, show them who is the boss.
So what now as the unabashed Tevez returns? There will be anguished cries from some parts of the media no doubt and there may even be some reluctance from the Man City fans but all that would be to miss the point spectacularly.
Man City were not taking a principled stand when they initially sidelined Tevez. They had already bought a replacement for him last summer in the expectation that he would be sold, they were in supreme form and dismantling most opposition teams, they looked like they could stroll to victory in the English Premier League. In essence they were in such good shape that they felt strong enough to make an example of Tevez.
A few months later and things are very different, their form is much shakier and victory in the EPL is far from assured as Man United continue their usual remorseless pursuit. Suddenly Carlos Tevez looks like an option that might be worth using again. It was expediency then and it is expediency now, there is no point criticisingManCityfor retreating from the moral high ground because they were never on it in the first place. The praise for their initial stance was equally undeserved.
I am not sure that the moral high ground exists in football. For example, it is laughable when Sir Alex Ferguson calls for Liverpool to get rid of Luis Suarez for not shaking Patrice Evra’s hand when he has backed a player that physically attacked a person in the crowd and a player that didn’t turn up for a drug test.
All football clubs and all football fans have a high tolerance to pretty much anything if it is to the betterment of the team. Carlos Tevez acting like a spoilt toddler and then skulking off is small beer compared to teams and fans that have welcomed drink drivers, wife beaters, racists, addicts of all kinds, etc. As stated the fans may baulk at first but they won’t be able to help themselves when Tevez scores a vital match winning goal, in the end expediency will trump everything else.
Now this may not be an especially noble thing to admit to but football fans should be a bit more honest about this so they don’t end up espousing the pathetic and hypocritical moral sentiments that you often hear from those that follow Rugby Union.
by Nilesh Bhagat