FOR those of us who still believe that sport is not all about money, the current travails of Manchester City can be viewed with detachment.
The City manager, Roberto Mancini, has said that his team are not good enough to win the Champions League and he has pointed out that it took Chelsea nearly 10 years of Champions League slog to finally win the tournament.
This is very bad news for City's funder Sheikh Mansour. If my calculations are correct, and it takes t10 years for City to win the Champions League, and they maintain their current levels of spending throughout that period, then the Sheikh, while not likely to need social security, will be several hundreds of millions of pounds lighter in his pocket.
Recent estimates put Sheikh Mansour's wealth at around $17 billion, while his wider family sit on a fortune of something like $1 trillion. Imagine having access to that kind of wealth, and imagine deciding to “invest” – that is, gift – a big slice of it on a football team in east Manchester?
Well, it is a free country (the UK that is, not Abu Dhabi...) so he can spend it in any way he chooses. I just wonder if he has given City's management a budget or whether he is prepared to pony up more cash every year to realise his dream?
People like Sheikh Mansour are dreams come true for the clubs they invest in, but I wonder if they also rob sport of its essence by providing resources on such a vast scale to their beneficiaries that it is all but inevitable that they will eventually win every competition.