Why freezing out Tevez will make Man City stronger - even if title sacrificed
Everytime one them tweets their 'support' for the Argie rebel, or openly talks with the media about 'welcoming' him back, they undermine Roberto Mancini and only increase the perception of a split between the manager and his players - just at the wrong end of the season.
City's players have spoken about team morale being rock solid as they stare down Manchester United. But any crack in spirit, real or otherwise, will be blown up as the title race enters its final straight - and City's players talking up the prospect of Tevez returning, without any word from the manager, only gives United manager Sir Alex Ferguson a huge free kick as he plans his mind games.
The Tevez issue is bigger than the players. It's about an individual undermining the culture Mancini, chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and Brian Marwood have been attempting to drive throughout the club since Sheikh Mansour's takeover. Mancini's demands on Micah Richards, his reluctance to talk up Joe Hart's progress, the late night texts to keep his players on their toes, it's all about whose in charge and who knows best.
Tevez going AWOL rejected that - and then he exasperated things by attacking Mancini in last week's interview. This is not to mention his vitriolic comments about life in Manchester before the season had started.
City's owners are building a new youth complex and developments. They want the club to become an even greater part of the fabric of the Northwest.
What message does it send to the local community that for all rubbish he's spouted about the city and his superiors, abandoning his teammates, refusing to meet his contractual obligations, he's forgiven because there's the chance Tevez can help City win the title? And what if City's pursuit falls flat? Then what? City will be left with a morally bankrupt decision which has ripped the heart out of all the good work that has gone before.
With the same result, the alternative is a second-place, automatic Champions League qualification, City keep the higher ground and the club's culture is stronger for it.
It's no coincidence that the majority in the media urging Mancini to welcome Tevez back are ex-players. Many of them simply passed through clubs. You pull on a shirt, pick up your wages and play until a better opportunity comes along. Those who stay with the club, the fans, the employees, the owners, deserve better. Simply put, Tevez has shown a complete lack of respect to everyone connected with Manchester City, made worse by the ridiculous amount of money he is paid.
Up until now, City have drawn a line in the sand and declared 'ENOUGH'. No-one is bigger than the club and what the collective is trying to achieve. They must now hold their nerve. Even if they finish without a trophy this season, Manchester City FC will be stronger for it.