Come on City! - Reactions from the Manchester Derby

By Nathan Powe
This afternoon saw a rejuvenated Manchester United beat a bewildered Manchester City 4-2 at Old Trafford to cement third place in the league and all but end City's title defence.

Given recent results in the Manchester derby and the current state of the league the outcome in it self is fairly significant but it was the manner of City's capitulation which is most telling.

Within eight minutes city were 1-0 up having cut United to pieces right from the kick off. Aguero, who bagged a beautiful opener, finished off the scoring with his 100th goal for City on 88 minutes after United had gone down to ten men, Carrick forced to withdraw through injury. Despite the landmark goal, achieved in record time for a city player, Aguero and his teammates jogged back to the halfway line and wasted their numerical advantage as injury time passed by. Much like City themselves over the past few years they missed their opportunity.

Sheikh Mansour has invested millions in City, buying some of the world's finest players, paying huge wages and building world class training facilities to rival any club in the world yet in 2015 his team have looked mediocre at best.

The old cliche states that winning a title is hard but defending it is even harder and so it has proved for the boys from Eastlands as they have failed to defend either of the Premier League titles which they have won in the last four years. 

City have done brilliantly to break apart the hegemony of the Premier League, but crucially they've failed to push on. When the Premier League was formed in the early 1990s United were a sleeping giant, Leeds had just won the league and Liverpool were waning. The folks at Old Trafford capitalised and built a new dynasty, the same should have happened in the blue half of Manchester in the past five or six years but it failed to materialise. Arsenal have been hamstrung by financial constraints, Chelsea failed to recognise that Mourinho was their most important asset and the other major clubs lacked the resources or vision to put themselves at the top of the league. City were perfectly positioned, instead today they've been embarrassed by their bitter rivals and serious questions are again being asked about where they are going as a club.

City's management have to take a large chunk of the blame, Pellegrini has been incredibly stubborn this season, failing to recognise that his tactical preferences have been figured out and slow to react to in-game situations. Txiki Begiristain, City's Director of Football, the man in charge of signings, has had a stinker since moving over from Spain. One of his most high profile signings, Eliaquim Mangala, brought in for around £31 million, has proven himself unable to dislodge the 34 year old error prone Martin Demichelis at the heart of City's defence and looked hopeless when he was brought on in the derby. 

Other City players don't seem to bothered either, Yaya Toure, once the most menacing player in the league doesn't look interested at all and Sergio Aguero's reaction to scoring 100 goals for the club should cause a significant worry to any fan of the club.  

Much has been made of the fact that City's squad contains too many ageing players but they have spent the last couple of years signing young potential, the problem is they never play them. Jack Rodwell, Scott Sinclair and Jermoe Boateng all spring to mind as examples of excellent young players who were discarded by City.

If City really want to become the biggest club in the world then they need to show the resilience
that their neighbours have shown so many times over the years.
City must look back to their roots, bring young hungry players through in to the first team and 
look to win and then defend titles. City haven't slipped in to short-term thinking yet but they 
are on the brink of falling in to that trap, it must be avoided at all costs or City will end up like 
so many rich clubs throughout history, a footnote instead of a dynasty.

Nathan Powe is a regular contributor to Until Kickoff. You can follow his random grumblings on Twitter here and on Until Kickoff's feed.

A New Year & New Railroaders!

The Crewe Railroaders returned to regular practice on Sunday for the first time this year to a newly developed team, the club struggled in the last seasons competition winning only 2 games out of 10, albeit each game was hard fought in what was perceived the most competitive division in the UK, the Crewe Railroaders wanted to make a change, 
With new Coaches, Coordinators, Players and overall team structure the first training session was received by all as the most positive result yet, with attendance by more than 40 players and staff, the first day back reflected the hard work that this team is putting into the upcoming season. The expectation is for the team to enter the leagues national playoffs where they will compete against the best teams in the country at the Div 2 level with the hope of division promotion and achieving the clubs first major success.
Regular training will be held every Sunday at South Cheshire college until the season starts in April. Players & Staff are still being recruited by the club and anyone wanting to play or be involved in American football is welcome to attend training or contact the Club (, for further information on happenings at the club visit their website on

Lewis English is the Editor of Until Kickoff. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Making Michael Fabiano Accountable. The numbers behind Start 'em Sit 'em

Accountability. There is very little of it in journalism. Who watches the watchmen? Matthew Atkinson - That's who. Below is an account of how Fantasy Football Hall of Famer (Really? that's a thing,) Micheal Fabiano has done in the first three weeks. Enjoy. -    Lewis English, Editor

Here is a look at the success of Michael Fabiano in his predictions of which players you should start and which players you should sit on a given week. I took his choices through the first three weeks then compiled each players ranking at their position for that week to determine the success of his selection.

Non-League Picture of the Month: Best Team Names and your Hopes for the Season

Jim McAlwane: Thurnby Nirvana 1, Cogenhoe United 3

The season is finally here! Teams are now piling into the season with dreams of success on the mind. The season is a marathon, not a sprint, so we will see come May who gets the glory.

The above photo is courtesy of Jim McAlwane and is from Thurnby Nirvana 1, Cogenhoe United 3 from the UCL Premier.

Tell us about your teams hopes and dreams in the comments below and see if you can beat the name of Thurnby Nirvana!

Lewis English is the Editor of Until Kickoff. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Non-League Picture of the Month: Things you'll only see at your local ground

Simon Langston: Maidstone United 1 v 0 Dagenham & Redbridge 

Just look at that picture above. Isn't it glorious. 

There are few things in life more magical than a shed end and a portacabin cafe. Going to a non-league ground can be like stepping back in time, where flopping on the ground is met with a "get up" from your own manager, and where Bovril is still 30p.

Quick Take: Titans' AJ Bell experiment provided the blueprint for success, are BAFA listening?

No One Said The World Cup Is Fair

By Nathan Powe
The World Cup is a brutal mistress, she promises great rewards but sometimes all you get is an early flight home or a broken vertebra.

The Quarter-Finals have been completed and we're left with heavyweight clashes as hosts Brazil face off against Germany and the Netherlands are set to take on South American powerhouses Argentina. For many these Semi-Final draws are ideal, the two big local nations are there and two major European teams have made it through. However there are millions around the globe who have been enthralled only to be left disappointed as new found favourites have fallen. It's not fair, but hey, that's football for you.