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Why Mancini is the man to help Man City paint world sky blue

Speak to anyone connected to UAE football, or even Al Jazira, and they'll tell you there's more to Sheikh Mansour's Manchester City ownership than European glory.

City is seen as a vehicle for the UAE to increase it's global profile and enhance the nation's international reputation.

Big-name signings, trophies now being lifted, like Chelsea before them, City are attempting to achieve in months what it has taken the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid to build over decades.

And it's working. With their galaxy of stars, some stroppy, some pure talents, City are dominating the headlines and making news across the football landscape.

They have their top of the table team to support, their big names available to the world's media and their website and social media partners waiting to mix with fans. All it needs now is someone to bring the story together and keep the chapters flowing.

And City have that man in Roberto Mancini.

Like his team, the City manager's profile has grown since his controversial appointment at the expense of Mark Hughes two seasons ago. Where once he was regarded with suspicion, now Mancini's methods are celebrated by the local press. His managing of the Carlos Tevez controversy, the rapid progress of Mario Balotelli and the development of David Silva into a genuine world class talent have all been acclaimed.

The Italian is also doing great things for England. He has four of his team in the current Three Lions squad and rather than put his arm around the potential fifth, he is siding with Fabio Capello and demanding more from Micah Richards, as he has from Adam Johnson.

Just as significantly has been Mancini's success in reviving the coaching career of David Platt. Once viewed as a future England manager, Platt had been away from coaching for seven years before getting a call from his old Sampdoria teammate. Now he's thriving in his role and the success of Richards this season has been put largely down to his influence.

With this platform, Mancini's words are now being given greater weight - and the Italian does love a chat.

The story goes that when Sir Alex Ferguson first arrived at United, he spent those first years regularly on the phone to TV producers demanding his team get headline status in the 'Match of the Day' coverage. He was at them day and night, attempting to lift the profile of the club.

Now Mancini, if allowed, can do the same for City.

It's not enough for City to win trophies, they need to keep the club in the daily conversation of the world's football fans. And Mancini, just as Harry Redknapp does with Tottenham, is capable of doing this.

It's often hidden away from the English-language media, but anytime Mancini gives an interview to the Italian press, it's an eye opener. He loves talking about players, his plans for City and what he makes of the Premier League. Like Redknapp, he's so generous with his opinions that City would do well to encourage their manager to be just as open with the English media.

We're now getting more of the true Mancini character: and it's good news for City. When Vicky Kloss, at a Mancini press conference, was jeered by journalists for warning them against asking questions about Tevez, guess who was leading the booing? Mancini! He wanted to discuss the issue and had no desire to hide away from it. That he was able to still make his point with a bit of humour spoke volumes of the potential he has to sell City to football fans around the world.

Of course it hasn't all been positive for Mancini since his arrival. The freezing out of those he doesn't want to work with doesn't reflect well on his man-management. While Jim Cassell's departure from the academy and the amount of foreign youngsters now filling the elite development and youth squads do raise doubts about City maintaining it's local core.

But the buck does stop with Mancini and these decisions are part of a larger goal which has taken City to the top of the table and into a maiden Champions League campaign.

Winning won't be enough for City if, as Peter Kenyon previously coined with Chelsea, they plan to 'paint the world sky blue'. They need a frontman constantly banging the drum - and Mancini is now showing he fits the bill.

Chris Beattie
About the author

Chris Beattie

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