Sunday, May 27, 2012

Colin Bell - Reluctant Hero: The Autobiography of a Manchester City and England Legend by Ian Cheeseman and Colin Bell (Mainstream Publishing 2006)

I would like to have played on the perfect playing surface and been involved in the modern game - I'm sure I would still have held my own - but I have many concerns about the way the game has developed.

During the era in which I played, most teams had the potential to win the League Championship and the major cup competitions. These days money has become the dominant factor, with the emergence of Chelsea providing the perfect example of the way things have moved on.

Every club had three or four great players in the '60s and '70s. These days, if a great player emerges, like Steve Gerrard at Liverpool or Shaun Wright-Phillips at City, it is seen as only a matter of time before they move to one of the biggest three or four clubs, the only ones who are seen to be capable of winning the major honours.

I think it is a sad state of affairs that those types of players don't think that they can fulfil their dreams at the clubs who encouraged them to meet their potential. It never occurred to me that I would have to move away from City. I was a City player for life and my ambitions were to win trophies with my club. I expected to work for success and not simply move on to a club that had already achieved it. It never crossed my mind that I would reach a certain stage and then feel that it was inevitable I move on.

I hope things will change soon and that Manchester City will be able to compete for the top honours again with a group of players who are loyal and care about the club they play for. I wonder if the days when football was more sport than industry will ever return. I've been blessed with such wonderful memories of my days playing for City and having been part of such a great family. We're very close and I spend a lot of time talking to Jon about my favourite subject, football, and in particular Manchester City.

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