Manchester City have qualified to play in the UEFA Cup next season through the Premier League’s fair play table.
The Premier League came top of UEFA’s fair play table (I guess fewer fouls are given in England than anywhere else?) and although Manchester City were 6th in the Premier League fair play table, the 5 teams above them had already qualified and therefore City sneak through the window and will be in Europe next season.
Coupled with the increased earnings due to the Premier League’s new TV deal, these are good times for Manchester City and especially their owner, Thaksin Shinawatra.
For starters, a European campaign gives the club hope to retain the star players that were linked with a move away from City. The Blues will need to ensure though that they have a squad capable of challenging on at least 2 fronts (Premier League and Europe) otherwise they will end up neglecting both or worse, fail to qualify for Europe again next season (which must be a goal now for Manchester City).
Also, the promise of European football makes it easier for City to bring in new players, regardless of who is in charge next season. In fact, European football would also allow Shinawatra to attract a top name to the club, although with City now in Europe he might reconsider and give Eriksson another year to provide stability to the side and give him a chance to prove that he can bring sustained progress to the club.
Congratulations and good luck Manchester City – you’ll need it.