From time to time phrases enter the public consciousness and become everyday parlance. Often they are phrases borrowed from comedy shows, TV adverts, or American sitcoms or similar. They often raise a very gentle laugh through the nostril on first hearing but quickly become tiresome and eventually inspire pathological hatred in me towards the guilty cliche monger. A really good example is "Simples!" from the Insurance ad, which was not even funny in the first place but this phrase is now the staple preserve of the moronic, internet poster.
In football, the phenomena is even more pronounced. Very little is ever said in football that is not a cliche of one form or another. At the end of the day, we're all sick as a parrot or over the moon and all credit to the lads we just have to take each day as it comes. You get the picture.
But there is one particular phrase that I keep hearing in relation to my beloved Manchester City and whilst I do try and just accept that we are in the public eye for various reasons, I'm afraid I'm going to have to call this one out. That phrase is "You can't buy history". I know where this started, it came from United fans alarmed that their long suffering neighbours may have finally awoken and had suddenly become "noisy" neighbours. (there's another one). It has since been adopted by anyone for who City's new wealth does not sit comfortably.
I have a few problems with this phrase. Firstly. it's not true. You can buy History. Chelsea have spent hundreds of millions and won trophies that will be recorded in the history books and will live long in the minds of their supporters. Blackburn even did it in the 90's, even though it did not last long, their premiership winning season is more than just a footnote in the football almanacs. Man United spent big in the 1990's and in doing so created the most successful period in their history.
The second problem with this phrase is that we already have plenty of history. Here is a list of our honours :-
Football League First Division (first tier)
Winners (2): 1936–37, 1967–68
Runners-up (3): 1903–04, 1920–21, 1976–77
Football League Second Division / Football League First Division (second tier)
Winners (7, record): 1898–99, 1902–03, 1909–10, 1927–28, 1946–47, 1965–66, 2001–02
Runners-up (4): 1895–96, 1950–51, 1936–37, 1999–2000
Football League Second Division (third tier)
Play-off winners: 1998–99
Winners (4): 1904, 1934, 1956, 1969
Runners-up (4): 1926, 1933, 1955, 1981
Winners (2): 1970, 1976
Runners-up (1): 1974
Winners (3): 1937, 1968, 1972
Runners-up (4): 1934, 1956, 1969, 1973
Full Members Cup
Runners-up (1): 1986
European Cup Winners' Cup
Winners (1): 1970
It may not be the longest list in football and it certainly lacks recent entries but nevertheless it puts most football clubs to shame.
But the biggest problem I have with this phrase is that it seems to have been adopted by foreign football players when ruling themselves out of transfers that were never going to happen in the first place. This weekend Mascherano and the hapless Dirk Kuyt have both used it in interviews.
Kuyt (pictured below) who is possibly the worst and least prolific striker ever to have graced the premiership was particularly vociferous in the papers today.
If they carry on signing and playing players like Kuyt, Liverpool may just find that their history becomes a distant memory and their rejection of City's money is particularly ironic given their mounting debt situation. Funniest of all Kuyt actually seems to think that playing for City might be an option that he would be in a position to reject. He really is living in his own fantasy world.