As Benji kicks off the Man On season with a thoughtful and diligent precis on the weekend's action, I am left to write inspired only by an air of disillusionment and anger. News has broken today that Craig Bellamy will be playing his football in The Championship next season, presumably leaving many premier league fans as exasperated with the news as I am. Bellamy returns home to Wales, effectively ending his top flight career. However, as we all know, the 31 year old Welshman's move across the border is nothing to do with football and marks a significant moment in the development of the premier league. Manchester City's growing monopoly on the transfer market has taken a sour turn as they attempt to ruin the career of one of Britain's most talented forwards.
Many will point to Bellamy's affiliation with Cardiff as the reason for the move; however, make no mistake lads, Roberto Mancini has achieved exactly what he set out to do. Clearly, if what we read in the press is to be believed, Bellamy and Mancini's personal relationship has deteriorated. 'He hasn't spoken to me since February', Bellamy reported as he gave an insight into Mancini's somewhat flawed man management.
Mancini is not the first manager to sell a player on the basis of personal differences; nor is he the first to show Bellamy the door. The issue is about respect and professionalism; and never in all my time of observing football have I seen a player hung out to dry in this manner. Manchester City's quite vulgar financial prowess has left them in a position of ultimate power and has illustrated further a potential shift from the much maligned 'player power' to 'club power'.
Having decided that Bellamy was surplus to requirements, Roberto Mancini made him available for transfer. Naturally Bellamy had aquired a number of suitors and claimed he had 'never had so many top flight offers'. As Tottenham Manager Harry Redknapp swooped for Bellamy's signiture, the news broke that Bellamy would not be permitted to sign for any team considered, by Mancini, to be a rival. With the Italian running scared, this was deemed to rule out any of the interested premiership parties, a policy Redknapp himself described as 'ridiculous'.
Bellamy's performances and workrate last season won him countless plaudits, winning Player of the Month twice during Mancini's first 6 months at the helm. Having performed so well in any company, such abrasive treatment would leave anyone filing for unfair dismissal. But football's different; and City know it. Not even the £10 million Bellamy could attract would sway City. Therefore, Bellamy signed for his hometown club Cardiff on loan, wandering into the abyss in terms of top flight football. A club he has turned down his country for on numerous occasion has rewarded him with the sort of loyalty you expect when wandering into an oppostion trench. With the Welshman popular at Eastlands, and with a combative, but not creative, midfielder earning nearly £1 million per month, Mancini has little time to prove his methods.
Though the main question here is this: has 'player power' plateaued? With Bellamy left snookered, Fabregas still at Arsenal, Scott Parker going nowhere and even Mascherano turning out at Anfield on Sunday, it's food for thought.