The opposition View - Man City
How long have you been a Man City supporter?
I've been a Blue as long as I can remember, my Dad taking me down to the misty magic Maine Road in the 70's and ensuring I caught the bug!
How's life under Mark Hughes?
Sparky 'Bluesy' Hughes will always have a job on winning over City fans like myself who still find it hard accepting that a die hard rag,
so often our nemesis is now our gaffer. That said, he comes across as extremely determined, business like and a man on a mission, hungry for success. I like the way he handles the hacks and presents our public image. I think many of us are warming to him.
Do you feel Thaksin Shinawatra is the right man own your club?
Ask the vast majority of Blues what the story is in Thailand and we'll tell you that we haven't got a clue, but we are learning all the time. Frank/Toxin depending on your point of view's takeover came at a time when we were heading into an irreversable nosedive under Stuart Pearce. We needed investment badly and a whole new direction. The club's hierarchy at that time took handed over the books, took the money and the rest is history. But. Our furture remains as uncertain as that of the owner. Many of us have been unsettled by the unhelpful, out of touch with real football fans comments of our newly installed Executive Chairman, the former Nike Jordan boss Garry Cook. Rumours of financial instability continue to surround Eastlands, but we are learning to live with it. We've been through worse.
On the spot however, I'd say I remain uncomfortable with Thaksin as the owner.
Are you happy with your summer signings?
Absolutely. Jo is an exciting young Brazilian striker who has been sensational for CSKA Moscow. Tal Ben Haim and Shaun Wright-Phillips both have the much needed Premier League experience that will help stabilise our young team. Vincent Kompany, our new midfield holding/central defender from Hamburg had a superb Man of The Match debut in our convincing dismissal of West Ham last sunday. One more signing could be arriving by midnight on 1st September. It's rumoured to be Espanyol's Argentine midfielder Pablo Zabaleta.
Who should the Sunderland fans watch out for in the Man City team?
This is an increasingly exciting young Manchester City side and will take the field at The Stadium of Light with a more balanced look thanks to the new signings. Danger lurks for Sunderland from a number of angles now. The lightning Martin Petrov on the left wing and quicksilver Shaun Wright-Phillips on the right wing. Elano can make things happen and teenager Daniel Sturridge has got superstar written all over his natural goal scoring instincts. Micah Richards meanwhile is a sensational athlete.
How do you feel Man City will do this season?
As the team gel, and improve their fitness levels under Hughes' demanding regime, I think we will do well. Our small squad is getting stronger and even though we have a raft of striker injuries, our MCFC Academy lads Ched Evans and Sturridge are hungry for goals. Once Jo settles in, you get the feeling that by Christmas we could be handily placed on a number of fronts provided we avoid an injury crisis. I still feel we lack a midfield general but maybe Kompany is the answer.
How do feel the Sunderland will do this season?
Like City, the revolving door at Sunderland has been moving very quickly and I expect you to do a lot better than you did last season under Royston Vasey Keane's leadership.
If you had to pick one of the current Sunderland players to be in your squad who would it be and why?
I rate Kenwyne Jones highly. He looks to be a Jo type of player, big lad with good movement. He'd certainly be an acquisition.
Who do you think will finish in the top 4 and bottom 3 this season?
I still don't see any team with the strength in depth and resources required to seriuosly challenge The Big Four so I'd say that lot for the top four again? Bottom three? Definitely Stoke City. We have a history with them. I reckon Fulham will not escape this time and West Brom will probably go down while Hull survive. The gulf between the top two divisions in england is ridiculous.
Prediction of the score between Sunderland and Man City?
You will be welcoming a Man City side on cloud nine having battered West Ham and come through a tremendously difficult UEFA Cup Qualifier in Denmark on Thursday. Shaun Wright-Phillips return home from his Chelsea bench warming is a massive boost for everyone and the travelling Blues will be in good voice.
I'm going for a 2-1 victory to City.
Many thanks to Vital Manchester City's Phil for taking the time to fill out our questionnaire.