Posted: 2/15/2018
Title: SKY BLUE HEAVEN

Blog:                                                                                                                         

         When you are basically owned by a country you can usually buy anything...including football clubs and players and titles.

         Read the fascinating and informative RICHER THAN GOD, a first class book by local journalist and Man City fan David Conn. Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyn the Sheikh from Abu Dhabi is worth £17 million and his family of companies Abu Dhabi Group (ADUG) maybe £1 trillion. His £400 million yacht takes £380,000 to fill it up and he has two wives and six children. He bought Manchester City in 2008 for £210 million which according to Forbes is now worth over £800 million.

           After 35 years of nothing in the trophy cabinet the men's team has won two EPL titles 1 FA Cup and 2 League Cups. At present 16 points ahead of 2nd place Man United and virtually through to the quarter finals of the Champions League after a record breaking 4-0 away win at FC Basle in Switzerland.  He also owns NYCFC, Melbourne City, home town Al Jazira and 5% of Ferrari.

          It was to the Academy Stadium that I went by bus on Sunday lunchtime for the FAWSL 1 clash between Manchester City Ladies and Liverpool Ladies from less than 30 miles west on the M62.   IT TURNED OUT TO BE NO CONTEST, a stunning 4-0 win.  Top of the league after 9 matches with 25 points, 2 more than Chelsea and 8 more than Arsenal. They had been on the road for 6 matches and delighted the 2,500 crowd in freezing weather to a class performance despite top 3 players gk Karen Bardsley, captain of City and England Steph Houghton and Jill Scott being out  injured.

         Steph from Sunderland was given a presentation pre kick off by City legend Mike Summerbee after playing her 100th match for City at her home town club Sunderland. The Ladies were brought into the City fold only 4 years ago and train and play at The Academy, a 7,000 capacity mini stadium connected to The Etihad by a 500 meter walkway over Alan Turring Way and next to the £200 million Etihad Campus with about 16 pitches, offices, sleeping accommodation, medical and training facilities, used by all the clubs teams. Well worth a visit or checking on line.

         The FAWSL (www.thefa.com)  has two divisions and has moved to an autumn through spring season recently. Next season all Div 1 clubs will be full time professionals. Houghton with her City and Three Lionesses salary, plus promotional income, probably earns upwards of £200,000 annually, not quite what the top Ciy mens players earn in A WEEK, but not so bad.

        Unlike many of the top women's clubs who play at small, out of the way sister club stadiums The Academy Stadium. used by some of the mens teams is less than 10 minutes by Metrolink light rail or by bus from Piccadilly in the city centre. EPL season ticket holders get in free but its only a £1 or morre for kids and a pleasant atmosphere, with music, drums and chanting. .It is part of Sports City, built for The2002 Commonwealth Games with a Velodrome and more.

        SAME CITY, SAME PASSION is a club wide campaign focused on promoting womens and girls football wherever a ball is kicked. Womens and girls football in England is growing fast. Read www.shekicks.net.... a agreat monthly magazine also available on line. The London F.A. yesterday announced that they are hiring 100 more female coaches to introduce the skills and passion of The Beautiful Game to the young girls in the nation's capital.

        Nikita Parris opened the scoring after 70 seconds after a clearance by a Reds defender went staright to her. and she scored her 10th goal of the season. 1-0 at the half but then an Izzy Christiansen penalty and a second goal by Parris plus a 4th from  Abbie McManus sealed the 3 points. The next two matches are away at Birmingham City in the cup and the laegue before an showdown with Chelsea at home. One of the more interesting players is Nadia Nadim from Herat, Afghanistan, a refugee who reached Denmark and signed for  B52 Aalborg, IK Skovbakken, Fortuna Hjorring and then Sky blue FV and Portland Thorns. 75 caps for Denmark and 22 goals.

      Manager Nick Cushing turned down the chance to apply fo the England job and his team is already in the Continental Tyres Cup Final at Adams Park, home of Wycombe Wanderers v Arsenal on March 14th,  followed a week later at home to Linkopings of Sweden in the Champions League Quarter Final 1st leg.

      Manchester United now have pressure to start up a womens team although they do great work with girls football.. Real Madrid still don't have a womens team while Juventus of Turin were also a hold out until two years ago and now they top their domestic Italian League.

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