Some potential punishments are needed for Man City and Guardiola. Bringing back Elano, loaning out Haaland and returning their Carabao ought to teach them.
Manchester City are in a spot of bother and the Premier League can have these penalties free of charge.
10) Everyone gets to loan Erling Haaland for a game
The charges might pertain to the period between 2009 and 2018 but Manchester City’s financial impropriety extended well into 2022 with the £213m signing of Erling Haaland. It really is only fair that each Premier League team gets to borrow him for a game now. The Norwegian has to spend the remainder of the season testing Chelsea’s striker curse, checking Jamie Vardy’s intravenous Red Bull drip, fighting Diego Costa in training and being forced to wear a Chris Wood mask by a lustful Sean Dyche.
9) Manchester City must revert to their most recent pre-charge squad
Another requirement is for the band to be reassembled. The Manchester City which operated under Thaksin Shinawatra’s squeaky clean ownership is the default setting here and the current squad must be replaced by the crop of 2008/09. It means the formidable punditry careers of Micah Richards and Nedum Onuoha are put on hold, Stephen Ireland is welcomed back with open arms, Darius Vassell returns to a reception akin to his Ankaragucu days and Felipe Caicedo reclaims his status as the Premier League’s best Caicedo. Shaun Wright-Phillips and Elano could absolutely still do a job and Vladimir Weiss and Daniel Sturridge are still only 33. That side finishes mid-table at worst, but it is a drastic shame for promotion-chasing Bradford to lose manager Mark Hughes at this juncture. Them’s the rules.
8) Manchester City must face previous title rivals in one-off Winner Takes All games
Kindly laying out the power possessed by the independent commission to which the Premier League has referred the alleged Manchester City breaches, Sky Sports News explained that the club could: be suspended from playing league matches; have points deducted; be expelled; be ordered to pay compensation; have player registrations cancelled. It was added that the commission can ‘make such other order as it thinks fit’, rendering the rest of the list rather redundant, but the most eye-catching sanction went unexplained: ‘recommend to the board that league matches be replayed.’
That can obviously mean only one thing: Manchester City have to play one-off matches against the teams they beat to the Premier League trophy to decide the ultimate winner of that specific season’s title race. Phil Jones gets to fight for 2011/12 justice again. Aly Cissokho, Iago Aspas and Joe Allen all return to Liverpool for one last chance at slipping the 2013/14 medal into Steven Gerrard’s pocket. And…
7) Jose Mourinho gets an uninterrupted hour-long press conference to celebrate his finest achievement
The shiniest penny for the thoughts of Jose Mourinho, who already deemed finishing a distant second with Manchester United, all of 19 points behind The Centurions in 2018, as one of his finest career achievements. The Portuguese is otherwise unaffected by the furore in his current role of chasing Champions League qualification at Roma but only a fool would expect him to remain silent on the matter for too long. Gary Cotterill has almost definitely already flown over to the Italian capital to capture the soundbite of Mourinho demanding respect while holding up four fingers to represent each of his hard-fought Premier League titles and insisting Luke Shaw be stripped of his medal before he is even awarded it.
6) A permanent ban on appointing Vincent Kompany as manager
The landscape has changed somewhat since the subject of Guardiola’s successor was last relevant. Since the Spaniard signed a two-year contract extension in November there had been little point in assessing the options available to Manchester City, with Mauricio Pochettino considered among the leaders of the most recent candidates. That will no longer be the case with Vincent Kompany prowling the Turf Moor touchline. The Belgian has wisely avoided the Gerrard pitfall of signposting the stepping stones to his holy managerial grail by signing a Burnley deal which doesn’t happen to expire at the precise same time as Guardiola’s, but it is a matter of time until he is given the apprenticeship treatment and only proper sanctions can prevent the inevitable.
5) Pep Guardiola is forced to stay through the relegations
“Whatever league we are in, I will still be here. Even if they put us in League Two, I will still be here. This is a time for sticking together,” Pep Guardiola is alleged to have told his Manchester City players when UEFA tried to get their own FFP charges to stick in February 2020. When a proposed Champions League ban was overturned that July he publicly outlined his commitment to the potentially sullied cause, stating: “My personal situation was clear. I said a month ago I would stay and it didn’t matter if we were in the Champions League, or like a lot of people here in England suggested League Two. I would have stayed here.”
It is time to see whether Guardiola is a man of his word. The Spaniard must lock horns with Steve Evans on the touchline, devise a plan to thwart fourth-tier stalwart Jamille Matt, brave the food at Priestfield Stadium and cheer as the ball goes through that hole in the Bishop Street Stand at Mansfield. It’s the only way to make this right.
4) Guardiola is banned from falling out with any of his players for a whole season
And his starting line-up has to be formed of players he has clashed with previously before banishing and then selling. Joe Hart; Danilo, Jason Denayer, Joao Cancelo; Jadon Sancho, Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri, Raheem Sterling; Wilfried Bony has the makings of a solid side before chucking in the apparently p*ssed-off Haaland and Bernardo Silva.
3) Guardiola can only play a basic 4-4-2 with every player in their natural position in Champions League knockout games
Overthink that, you daft sod. It’s probably more of a blessing than a punishment but still.
2) All the Carabao must be returned
While the wider focus remains on the fate of the Premier League titles Manchester City won in the period under investigation, of far more pressing concern are the Carabaos they gulped over those nine years. Sunderland, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Tottenham were beaten at Wembley in first Manuel Pellegrini and then Guardiola’s relentless pursuit of the fabled energy drink but the only viable solution is to confiscate them. No-one wants their Mango Burst or Orange Blast to be tainted and this whole sorry affair has brought the proud, distinguished name of Carabao into unforgivable disrepute.
1) Some legal name changes
Bald Fraudiola confirmed as the manager of Manchequebook City at the Emptihad. It has to be. Lean into it. Own it. Every time a journalist asks about the charges at a press conference just give them the old “I’m so happy, more than you believe,” followed by a stare deep into their soul. Appoint Manuel Akanji as the club’s official accountant and make Scott Carson CEO. Keep making more revenue than all other clubs. Double down. Accept the £10m fine and crack on, you cowards.